Guess what, Snarklings! It’s time to answer a question from a reader! A question that gave the Lady of the Manners a chance to use an Adam Ant lyric for a title, but she is a bit surprised the query hasn’t come up before, actually.
Dearest Lady of the Manners,
Hello! I must say you are a huge inspiration to me, and I think you are just Wonderful! I’m writing to you with a… simple question. Like, overly simple. Is it practical to be goth and not drink alcoholic beverages? I’ve been goth for six years now, and chosen a very long time ago to follow a straight edge lifestyle (I assume you know that means no drugs, alcohol, etc), and until now this has not been any sort of problem. Now that I’m of age and can linger and whatnot with other goth individuals, the choice is starting to have.. not that great of an effect. It seems that a particularly favorite pass time of any goth that I meet is going out on weekends or Friday nights to clubs and drinking. I’ve tried going to the club with friends, them drinking and me not at all, all of us dancing and having a mostly good time, and while I’m not really scorned and made fun of for not drinking, it isn’t the same. I end up feeling like almost a third wheel, or getting the vibe that I’m not wanted around there occasionally. And I truly try not be a buzz kill!!! (Which isn’t too hard for me, considering my natural self is rather goofy and quirky) They’re all great friends, they just have different views on drinking than I do. Is there any advice you can give? Do you think I will be forced to give up one or the other? And while on the topic of beverages, do you know any non-alcoholic beverages that are particularly “gothy” and tasty?
Thank you for Everything!
Dearest KittyPirate, and any other Snarklings who may have been wondering about this: it is absolutely alright to be goth and not drink alcoholic beverages! Now, the Lady of the Manners understands how the confusion would arise, as a lot of goth social life is focused on going to night clubs and fancy events. Not to mention the fact that many of the historical roots of goth are strongly entwined around the notions of being transgressive, redefining what is beautiful, and being terribly, terribly decadent.
However, it is possible to embrace all of those notions while not intoxicated! And that in some ways, being a part of the goth subculture while not drinking is a more daring and rebellious viewpoint to hold than the alternative, because it means that your thoughts aren’t blurred by anything other than your own visceral reactions.
As to your feeling “like almost a third wheel, or getting the vibe that I’m not wanted around there occasionally”, the Lady of the Manners must ask you a somewhat pointed question: have any of your friends actually said such things? Or are you perhaps creating concerns that don’t exist? Perhaps the Lady of the Manners has been very lucky with her social circles, but she’s never heard of anyone she knows in the goth community excluding someone because they choose not to drink alcohol.
Try this: the next time you go out with your friends, don’t mention drinking. Don’t comment on your choice to not drink alcohol, don’t comment on your friends’ choices to drink. Try not to bring it up at all, try not to think about it, and then see how the evening goes.
However, if your friends have been making comments about not wanting you around because you’re straight-edge, then what to do is very clear: make new friends. The Lady of the Manners doesn’t mean that in a flippant way, she’s quite serious. Friends should respect your boundaries and decisions, even if they don’t share them. Spending time with people who don’t, or who mock you for your choices is a losing game, and you shouldn’t call those people friends.
As for suggestions for “gothy” non-alcoholic beverages, don’t feel you have to select anything, be it a beverage, a book, an article of clothing, or a friend, based on how goth it is. (Yes, the Lady of the Manners is sure you know that, but repeating that basic truth never hurts.) With that caveat out of the way, some non-alcoholic beverages that the Lady of the Manners is particularly fond of are:
- Ask the bartender what they can make that is tasty and non-alcoholic! It’s easy to order a beverage that appear to be some sort of cocktail, but doesn’t contain any alcohol. Because sometimes people feel uncomfortable or judged if someone else is pointedly Not Drinking, even if that’s not what the non-drinker intended at all. So a beverage that looks like a cocktail can be effective social camouflage.
- 7-Up or Sprite with a splash of bitters. The Lady of the Manners is fairly certain that every bar or club will have regular bitters for drink mixing, so requesting this type of beverage shouldn’t perplex whomever is behind the bar. (Be aware that bitters are made with small amount of alcohol, so if your goal is to completely avoid alcohol, you may want to skip bitters.)
- Tonic water with a few wedges of lime. Mmmm, quinine! Plus, tonic water glows under black lights, which is always fun. If you don’t like quinine, or don’t want the sugar, club soda is also an option.
- If you like tomato juice (some folks don’t), a “virgin” or non-alcoholic Bloody Mary is always an option. Plus, you can tell yourself that you’re having one of your daily recommended servings of vegetables and feel extra-virtuous.
- Fizzy water with a dash of flavored syrup and a splash of bitters. The Lady of the Manners has a small collection of different flavors of syrups and bitters just for this purpose! Rose syrup with cardamom bitters, vanilla syrup with a splash of grapefruit bitters, or violet syrup with cardamom bitters are some of the Lady of the Manners’ particular favorites. Admittedly, your chances of finding a selection of fancy bitters and syrup at the local goth club are slim, but still ask!
Do any of you lovely Snarklings reading have a suggestion for tasty non-alcoholic beverages? Share them in the (moderated, as always!) comments!