Of San Diego Comic-Con, Portland, And A Reader Suffering School Torments.

The NYC stop of the Gothic Charm School tour was oodles of fun, Snarklings! (If a bit humid.) The reading at The Mysterious Bookshop was lovely, and the Lady of the Manners was delighted to meet all of you who turned up there. The picnic at the Green-Wood Cemetery was everything the Lady of the Manners had hoped for and more! Goregously-dressed creatures, a historic cemetery, and weather that turned out to be pleasant instead of sweltering and sticky like the day before. Pictures from the events can be found over at the Gothic Charm School Flickr Group! What’s that, you say? You didn’t didn’t know there was a Gothic Charm School Flickr group? Well there is, and not only should you go browse through it, but if you have photos from any of the Gothic Charm School events, please add them! For more burbling about the NYC trip, trundle over to the Lip Service Webzine and check out the Lady of the Manners’ tour diary.

Where is The Lady of the Manners headed to next? Why, San Diego Comic-Con! She has been assured that the HarperCollins booth will have copies of Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide For Goths And Those Who Love Them for sale, so if you haven’t yet picked up a copy and you’ll be at SDCC, now’s your chance. Especially since the Lady of the Manners and her husband (you know, he did all the art for the book and the site) will be doing a signing on Friday, July 24th from 3:00 ”“ 4:00 PM in the Comic-Con autograph area, at table AA6. If you show up, you’ll get a sneak-peak at the Gothic Charm School Batty Heart pendant, coming soon from Rocklove Designs! Other than that, the Lady of the Manners will be roaming around the convention, probably posting random updates to Twitter (username CupcakeGoth). If you happen to see her, please come over and introduce yourself!

After that, Gothic Charm School heads to Portland, Oregon, for a stop at Powell’s Books on Thursday, July 30th at 7:30 PM. (Powell’s is one of the Lady of the Manners’ favorite places on earth, so she’s quite excited to have been invited there!)

The Lady of the Manners is still collecting suggestions and advice for Goths of Color, which she asked for in the previous post. The Gothic Charm School mailbox has seen a steady stream of helpful letters from readers, but please, do keep sending advice! The Lady of the Manners is hoping to assemble all of your replies into one post in the next few weeks.

In this post, the Lady of the Manners is going to focus on a letter from one of her younger readers, dealing with the dual problems of being picked on at school and dealing with a copycat:

dear gothic charm school, in my school im one of the only goths, their are two “goths” to be exact. and i have a few problems. one being that even though ive been at my school for a whole year everyone stares and gossips and points and laughs at me. i mostly ignore it but i cant help but listen to them some times and i just don’t know what to do about it. it bothers me and makes me feel like such an outcast in my own environment .and one kid had enough guts to draw a picture of our school and over the whole picture he wrote no goths allowed and showed it on the morning announcements! what should i do? Ignore them or say something? also the other problem is the other “goth” copies me at everything! i color my hair pink, she colors it pink too. i get a hello kitty backpack, she gets one too. i got this skelanimals necklace and got a few comments on it(amazing!) she gets the same exact one! what should i do?
p.s. i really need help its getting bad.

Oh dear, you poor Snarkling! What you should do about your classmates picking on you depends on how comfortable you feel about talking to the adults in your life about it. Do your parents know what sort of nonsense you’re facing at school? If they do, are they willing to go with you to talk to your teachers about the situation? Because a classmate drawing a picture of the school with no goths allowed and showing it on the morning announcements seems to be over the line of “just teasing” and headed toward harassment. Your school should not turn a blind eye to such things “just” because you are different from the other students. You (and your parents) should meet with your teacher (or the school counselor or principal), and very pointedly ask them how the school would react to a similar piece of art aimed at another student,who wasn’t a Goth? As the Lady of the Manners has said before, most schools nowadays have “anti-bullying” policies in place; check and see if yours does, and what steps you can take.

Of course, this tactic depends on you being, well, willing to speak up for yourself and to show your classmates that you’re not willing to put up with such treatment. The Lady of the Manners isn’t suggesting that you confront the people tormenting you every single time someone points and whispers, but you should make it clear that you are aware of what they’re doing and that you don’t approve. (You can make your disapproval clear through icy silences and glares, Snarkling. Don’t feel that you need to go get into insult-slinging matches with them.)

If that seems like too much confrontation for your tastes, then, dear mikomi, you may just need to ignore them. Grit your teeth, keep your head down, and get through the rest of your school years with as little interaction with your classmates as possible. The Lady of the Manners will be completely honest here, and say that she thinks that this path is not the one to follow because it is, in effect, letting the bullies win. She thinks it would be far better for you to stand up for yourself and be who you want to be even in the face of taunts and laughter. The Lady of the Manners knows it’s a daunting prospect but, trust her on this, your future self will thank you for being assertive now.

As to the other Goth at school who is copying you? Don’t accuse her of copying you, because even if she is, there’s no good way to prove it and she would probably deny it. Instead, the next time you notice her mimicking your style, go compliment her on what she’s copying. “Oh, you dyed your hair pink! What color did you use? I like (particular brand of dye)”. Or “Oooh, is that a Skelanimals necklace? I got one a couple weeks ago! Aren’t they cute?”

What you want to do is subtly point out to her that you are aware of her copying your style, but make it clear that you’re not going to tease her about it. Maybe, just maybe, she’s not aware that she’s drawing her fashion inspirations directly from you. Or maybe she’ll feel a bit uncomfortable that you’ve noticed her mimicry, and that will prompt her to start searching for fashion statements that are more her own thing. Or perhaps the two of you will end up being friends, and you can band together against the other classmates who are picking on you. (Don’t give the Lady of the Manners that look, it could happen.)

The Lady of the Manners hopes that school becomes less of a trial for you. Try to remember that while it seems intolerable and never-ending now, your school years eventually do end, and things will get better.

With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to go stare at her closets and try to come up with a packing list for San Diego Comic-Con. She hopes to see some of you there! But do remember, you can always write to Gothic Charm School!

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