Responding to Insulting and Mean Comments

Hello Snarklings! This time at Gothic Charm School, the Lady of the Manners is going to deal with a subject that both she and goths everywhere are sadly all too familiar with: people directing unkind or mean-spirited comments at you. Ophelia sent in the following question:

Dear Headmistress,
The other day I was touching up my lipstick in the school bathroom (I’m in high school) when I was caught rather off-guard by another girl’s loud comments. She said I was really scaring her, that I looked like I was going to a funeral (I was wearing a lovely Mary-Poppins-esque black coat, a top hat, and some Victorian boots). Not wanting to show any signs of surprise or annoyance, I simply smiled and said “thank you.” She opened the bathroom door and called out to her friends, making sure I could hear as she called me “scary” and “freaky,” and told them how I’d said thank you to the funeral comment. Then she left. Calmly, I gathered my things and left the bathroom as well; when she noticed that I was behind her she turned, shuddered emphatically, and hurried away.
I was a bit amused by the attention, but I also found myself thinking about it for the rest of the day, a bit bothered by it.
Do people do or say outright mean things like this to the Lady of the Manners? I assume some of the more unenlightened folks do, since our style garners us so much attention. But do those mean comments bother you, Headmistress? Should I have been bothered, or not? And what would you have said if you had been me?

::siiiiiigh:: Forgive the Lady of the Manners, Snarklings, she needs a moment or two to let her eyes recover from rolling in exasperation. Dear Opheila, you handled that situation in the same way that the Lady of the Manners would have done. One of the main fashion goals for most goths is to look like we’ve wandered away from a particularly opulent funeral, so if someone makes a comment along those lines, the polite thing to do is say thank you.

People like the girl who felt the need (or urge) to comment on your behavior and appearance do that to be provocative. They’re aware they’re being rude, and they don’t expect a polite, calm response to their jibes. In fact, they’re usually hoping the reaction to their insults will be an entertaining display of embarrassment, hurt feelings, or angry retaliation. They don’t expect a calm response of good manners; it confuses and disarms them, and they have no idea how to react.

In the Lady of the Manners’ experience, when people make rude comments to someone, those comments are a window into the commentator’s psyche. A window that shows their discontent and insecurities, because bullying someone (and make no mistake, those comments were a form of bullying, especially the “freaky” and “scary” ones) is the impulse of unhappy people who are desperately flailing about for a way to prop themselves up.

So when someone makes comments like the ones that were thrown at Ophelia, by all means, respond in a calm manner. If you feel particularly snarky (and the Lady of the Manners wouldn’t blame you in the slightest if you did), smile, say “thank you”, and then ask them why they decided to dress like that? As a matter of fact, when the Lady of the Manners has run into rude and impertinent people who think they’re the soul of wit by saying things like, “You know it’s not Halloween, right?”, the Lady of the Manners has been known to waltz past them while smiling and saying, “Then why are you wearing that costume?” But keep in mind that responding in a snarky (even politely snarky) way could be interpreted as you escalating the situation, which is never a good idea. Make sure you can leave the area and get away from the other person before you indulge in snark! A potentially safer response is, as many people have said before, to ignore them. Act like you didn’t hear them, and especially act like their comments don’t bother you.

Should you be bothered by those sorts of comments? Dear Snarkling, it’s not a case of shoulds. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to believe those comments, or take them to heart. When the Lady of the Manners has days where those sorts of comments annoy and exasperate her, it’s usually because she’s frustrated that people are still not only making those sorts of comments, but that they haven’t come up with anything new to say.

Here’s the secret, which isn’t really a secret: no one is universally liked, nor should they expect to be. So what? Just because someone says something mean or rude doesn’t make it the truth, and it doesn’t make it worth listening to. Ignore the comments as much as you’re able to, and always, ALWAYS remember that you shouldn’t base your self-worth or happiness on the opinions of other people.

For the most part, the Lady of the Manners feels a bit sorry for the sort of people that feel moved to make unkind comments about her appearance, because their lives must be a bit boring and unfulfilling if they have to resort to harassing others for amusement. Of course, the idea that a black-clad eccentric such as the Lady of the Manners, or you Snarklings, view them with pity would irritate and rankle those sorts of people, too, which is just an added bonus to it.

Finally, the Lady of the Manners suggests that Ophelia (and the rest of you!) visit the Gothic Charm School archives and reread the January 2011 post on dealing with bullies, which has even more suggestions for how to deal with this sort of thing.

Comments are open (moderated, but open!), so Snarklings may share their stories and how they’ve dealt with similar situations.

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32 Responses to Responding to Insulting and Mean Comments

  1. DraculaTheGirl says:

    I also am in High School. I go to a private institution and we wear uniforms, but we are allowed to show our creativity by makeup and hair and shoes, ect. I can relate with comments like that. I remember a rude freshman (keep in mind I am an upperclassmen) loudly saying that “Im afraid of those type of people”. I found it flattering, but mostly rude. I let it roll off because he hasn’t been taught how to respect people. Another instance is a popular jock that is a team mate of mine on Track And Field started to call me Dracula. He meant it as an insult, but it actually was quite amusing. So I let the nickname catch on. I think we all have to deal with these situations with a high head because it will never stop. In this way we can practice it for bigger discrimination in the future.

  2. HouseCat says:

    I used to get a lot of this (often from complete strangers) when I lived in the Thames Valley area of England, and I still get the odd comment sometimes even though things are better from that perspective in my new locale. Usually being polite and walking away does the trick. Unfortunately, some (especially younger teens) see a polite response as an invitation to see how far they have to push before you stop being polite. I don’t really have a good answer on how to deal with those other than walk away and ignore them. Don’t get upset in front of them, and try to at least pretend to be calm and collected until you are out of sight and hearing – some are particularly good at detecting ruffled feathers.

    As this happened at school, depending on exactly what happened on how supportive the school staff are, it might be worth reporting it. I doubt you’re the first person they’ll have been rude to, and it might be worth the staff picking up on that pattern.

    In the end, you don’t need their affirmation, approval or to attach any sentiment to /their/ failings (and in bullying someone, they’re showing that they have plenty of those), so try not to take it to heart. I’ve been poked fun at for long enough for it to have little emotional impact on me, as I’ve learnt to distance myself from what they’re saying and to just remind myself that I, and those whose opinions I actually care about, like what I wear, and that the opinions of passing strangers are of little consequence to me. You do not need permission from the world, or its approval, to be yourself. Concentrate on liking who you are and how you dress (and what music you like, what books, etc.) because there’s NOTHING wrong about being interested in different things or wearing different clothes, and the main person you need to please in the wardrobe department is yourself (yes, school rules, workplace rules, etc. apply, but that’s not what I’m getting at).

  3. pearl says:

    The best thing I ever did was learn to work around my work dress code. I’m still trying to push limits (I have double-gauged ears and multiple other piercings, and I’m fond of glittery, colorful makeup and nail polish) and I’m adding more and more pieces of clothing and jewelry with personality to my rotation. Fortunately, I work in a professional beauty supply and most of our clientele is a group of amazing hairdressers who are excited to see how I’ve changed my hair since they last came in and I’ve stopped counting the number of compliments I get on my makeup (mostly on my mad eyebrow-and-eyeliner skills).

    That said, I still get the odd dirty look or nasty comment thrown my way, but recently I came to the realization that… I honestly don’t care. This is all for me, I couldn’t give a flying fart in space if anyone else likes it. Obviously, it’s nice to get compliments, but I’d be just fine without them. Now I even laugh when people try to make me feel small. I’ve finally got the confidence in my knowledge and my self that I always needed, nobody can tell me I’m less when I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. THe last time I got an outright rude comment was years ago, back when I was in cosmetology school, when a frat boy in a bookstore made fun of my Black Sabbath T-shirt… and I shamed him (in a non-rude way) by saying, “Yep, I like Black Sabbath. ‘Paranoid’ is my favorite,” and walking away.

    Even on days where I’m struggling with something (my loneliness, my asexuality, work-related stress, et cetera) I just do my thing and everyone else can go screw. The more you pretend to be a confident, strong person, the more you’ll actually start feeling like one. Take it from someone who doesn’t believe in the whole “thoughts are things” trip, that one actually works.

    It’s my sincere wish that every alternative person out there can hold their head up the way I (finally) can. Stay true to who you are (and at this point I would like to say that you’re totally allowed to evolve your style if that’s who you feel like you are, God knows I’ve done that) and everything else will fall into place. Don’t let the nasty comments bother you. You are worth so much more than the stupid, petty crap others will sling at you for being “different.”

    I hate to regurgitate sentiments that have been stated over and over and over, but it’s true. I used to break down and cry and wonder if I should dye my hair brown and just be “normal” and one day all the things that used to trigger that didn’t bother me, and it was the best feeling. Believe me, this is a very recent development, but still. One day, you will know who you are better than any bully will ever know themselves and you will be *so proud*.

  4. Bridie says:

    I don’t think all the time in the world is enough for me to list all the ignorant and rude things people have said to me… To be honest, it doesn’t bother me when people remark about how I choose to look. It just kind of amuses me, it is a bit unsettling though when you’re getting stared at left right and center. I’m not actually going to school at the moment… whether those people contributed to that or not I don’t know.

  5. DirtyGirl says:

    When I was a teen I always dressed or acted however I felt. I never really thought about it, I just did it. If there were negative comments I ignored them easily because I was confident and self assured. Unfortunately I lost myself somehow when I became a mother.

    I moved to a small town in Southern Ontario from the Seattle area when my son was 3 years old. I was new to the country, city, and area. I longed to fit in with the other mothers at my son’s school. Ofcourse my dark gothy style was different from all the “preppy” moms. One day, a friend that I looked up to made an off hand remark. She said “What are you? Goth Mom?” Now, if she had said that to me when I was younger and more confident I probably would have just laughed and ignored it, but I ended up taking that small snarky comment to heart.

    Soon after the Goth mom comment, I ended up losing my true self for a short while. I changed my clothes to fit in with the new crowd. But here is the kicker: It took me at least a year to realize that clothes do not make a person what they are. I could change my clothes but I would never fit in with the “preppy” girls. I have always been drawn to the darker side of life. Be it movies, books, music, or even fashion. I realized that my fundamental thoughts and beliefs were completely different from the “normals”. It was I who had the costume on. I put on my preppy costume every day but I still never fit in.

    So what did all that teach me? All these years later (my son is now 16) I am truly comfortable in my own skin. (Or should I say black dresses?) I no longer care what others think or say about me. And I certainly don’t want to fit in with the preppy moms anymore. I think it was an important lesson to learn actually. I follow the Lady of the Manners advice and am polite when questioned why I wear what I do or watch what I do. When someone says “it’s not Halloween yet”, I just politely answer it’s Halloween everyday at my house. They don’t seem to know how to respond to that. As if owning up to my quirky, scary, or strange ways is more than they can handle.

    Unfortunately the bullies never go away. You just end up handling their petty and ignorant comments better the more you deal with it. Pearl is right, the more practice you get at being a strong and confident person the easier it becomes. And if you can learn that lesson sooner rather than later, you are far ahead of the game.

  6. justme says:

    Reading Ophelia’s letter made me sad. Suddenly all of these high-school memories (things I haven’t thought about in at least twenty years) came rushing back. One in particular, was a girl who insisted on following me around one day, saying things like “why do you look like that? you know you look ugly, right? you already ugly, why do you make yourself look worse by dressing like that?” and on and on and on… She was so insistent, that even her friends (who had been laughing along a minute ago) started to feel embarrassed, and eventually one of them said “uh, let’s go somewhere else, we don’t need to keep following her around like that.”
    I’m sorry that you have to deal with such mean people, Ophelia. One thing I can say is that I agree with DirtyGirl’s comment. Changing your appearance to fit in with them (even if it seems like that’s what they’re trying to shame you into doing) doesn’t make it better. In fact, it makes things worse (I know, because I also tried to “fit in” briefly). Changing your appearance to fit in sends the message that they have power over you, and that they can make you feel bad by pointing out every way in which you’re still failing to fit in, despite your best efforts (at least before, they were just annoyed that you weren’t trying to fit in, and that they couldn’t use that to control you).
    It does get better, though. True, some people never mature beyond their high school years, but at least in the “real world”, they have to play by adult rules, and stop being so obtuse. I am fortunate enough to work in a unionized environment that has no dress code (beyond public decency standards) and a very strong anti-discrimination policy. In general, I think that beyond high school, it gets easier to call people out on their nasty behavior, and make them be the ones to feel ashamed for it. It does get better.
    But you’ll still have Those Days sometimes. Days when you’ll feel hurt by a comment that you would have brushed off on any other day. Days where everything is going in such a way that a rude comment said at the wrong time goes straight past all of your built-in defenses, and hits your Now I Feel Bad Button. But the thing to remember is that everyone has Those Days. Even the people saying the mean comments. In fact, that’s why they feel the need to make others feel bad: they don’t feel good about themselves, and would never have the nerve to stand out as different the way you have. They’re not even confident about their place in their own social group, which is why they have to seek out an outsider to pick on, in hopes that it will secure their own position as one who belongs. They aren’t confident or happy, so they don’t want you to feel confident or happy in your own skin, either.
    I’m sorry I’ve been more commiserating than encouraging. But I hope that it helps to keep that in mind.

  7. Lady Spider says:

    Sadly, I understand this too well. I spent most of my seventh year getting bullied by ignorant preppy girls who thought they were better than me. My best advice is that if they persist in their attempts to make you depressed, to tell your friends. Friends tend to be the best protectors.


  8. Hannah says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say- I agree Bridie, people do this kinda stuff every day to me. This website is my favorite online site because I can relate to this kinda stuff.

  9. Mistress Rose says:

    I just wanted to send a little bit of encouragement to Miss Ophelia.
    I’m a third year student in university, and I can honestly say that it DOES get better after high school. I was subject to incessant teasing throughout all four years of my high school career for being “different”. Just hang in there, don’t let it get to you, and don’t change who you are to fit in with the “popular crowd”. It’s just not worth it. Good luck!

  10. Gin says:

    Oh High School, how I loathe and bemoan the memories of you!

    I had these types of things happen a lot to me when I was a teenager. The best thing to do is to remember that while you taking the time to figure out who you are and express yourself, there’s a good chance those being rude are just trying to do the opposite. They don’t want to be different, they want to be like everyone else, to fit in and not stand out. You are not doing this and because of this you will get a mixture of people who are jealous, confused and even upset that you don’t do what they do. That is what are society is about in many ways; assimilating.

    Keep being you, no matter who that may be. Later in life you will find that people will wish they had had the nerve to do what you did, to be themselves instead of what others wanted. You will also find that if you put your look together well and carry it with confidence, there will be more compliments than you could ever imagine.

    And sometimes the stares are those who like your look, but might be afraid to say so.

  11. gothicgirlvamp66 says:

    dear, lady of the manners i just wanted to say thank you. you inspire me to keep being me and never give up… 🙂

  12. Fal says:

    If anyone is looking for a non-snarky comeback to use with strangers, you could tell them that your parents are musicians (particularly classical musicians) and so wearing all-black is normal for your family. My parents actually ARE classical musicians, and I used to play as well, so we’ve had times where people have made comments about how much black we wear when we go out after concerts. It might help people put your “look” into a context they can understand. Obviously, don’t use it with people who might find out the truth!

    Also, to echo everyone else, yes it really DOES get better after high school. Very few people in college give a rodential posterior about what others are wearing and even fewer people in the working world do, beyond dress codes for work. A black pencil skirt may not be the vision of Victorian ostentation that I desire, but it’s still black dagnabbit!

  13. Jazzgirl9 says:

    Ophelia, I just want to pass on my sincerest empathy and tell you, along with everyone else who has commented on this post that the bullying you experience in high school will not last. I’m a first year university student and no one at uni cares how you decide to dress, the environment and students are very welcoming and open minded. An judging from these comments, you will always be understood an supported within the gothic community. 🙂

  14. Amber says:

    When people ask me why I’m so weird I usually counter with “Well, why are you so normal and boring?” as I walk away.
    I think the most fun I’ve had was when a woman told me “I think you look ugly in all that black!” I gave her a deadpan look, waved my hand in front of my face, then said “Does this look like the face of witch who gives a damn?” She stammered, sputtered, then made a snarly growling sound as she turned red and stamped away.
    I’ve also been asked “Don’t you realize it’s not Halloween?” quite a few times. I always widen my eyes and gasp then say “Oh, really? And here I thought it was!” with as much snark as possible. People really, really seem to hate it when I do that.

  15. Go go a no no says:

    Honestly, Ophelia:

    I used to be the one making those snarky comments. Not all of the time, but I had more than a fair share of being downright rude. My comments didn’t have anything to do with Goth though, but rather religion. But this situation is the same way with that as well.

    I was a totally – mmph mmph. I will keep my language clean. I was a jerk. A BIG JERK.

    Which is contradictory, since I was a daffy little creature myself. I should have been more supportive of those that could have been potential friends, aquaintances.

    The Lady of Manners is right, when people are being like that most of the time they have lower feelings of themself. It really does show the gears and works of their own brain. as well as the way they are brought up; how their family communicates and disects other-worldy things that they don’t understand. It’s not an excuse, to be rude, but that is something to always keep in mind:

    Parents/ relatives, the wrong group of friends. They can crush an individuals creative growth, which can be describe as the continuation of developing one’s own sense of self — creatively. Expressing yourself freely, a person’s autonomy.

    It’s sad when that happens, but please empathize with them don’t waste a moment feeling sorry for this girl and her friends. You never know, her friends may have thought looked cool. But, I remember high school fairly well, and you do and go along with whatever your group does.

    Which reminds me don’t limit yourself to just one group, remain inclusive and open to all who may share common interests, show genuine interest in you, and make you feel comfortable among many other things.

    You’ll be fine Ophelia, high school is a very controlled environment, keep reaching out to people — online and within your local goth community (if there isn’t one START ONE UP). . I am a junior in college, my school is uber religious and people literally dont bat an eyelash. And those that do get a nice little wave or smile, as I walk off being awesome. Sometimes, it feels bothersome to have to deal with negative attention, but expressing yourself freely is not easy and I salute you for your efforts and yourpolite responses to those that try to bring you down. Never assimilate to other people’s harmony of choice.



  16. laced and dangerous says:

    I am a college student who dabbles in a lovely dark wardrobe. I consider myself a romantic goth. In school, I attract so much attention, but I am prepared for that. I know that wearing black skirts and corset tops looks strange to the average person. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get bothered by rude remarks. As I was walking up stairs to get to the cafeteria, I heard someone say “Look at her, all smug. She probably thinks we’re all freaks when she’s the real psycho.” I’ve also heard people say “Look, it’s that Morticia girl again. What’s her problem?” and “That girl needs to grow up and get a life. She’s not a kid anymore.” I’ve even had a professor make snide comments about my turquoise hair. In all scenarios, I stay quiet and ignore them. It’s all I can do. But it’s not all that bad…once, a girl I saw every morning walking past where I waited to get into class stopped by me, and said “You know, I’ve seen you sit here every morning and I always find myself looking at your amazing outfits. I love your hair, and I wish I was brave enough to wear that. You’re just gorgeous, okay?” That made my whole semester. Once in a while you get some nice comments. It’s a great feeling.

  17. Delorian Jones says:

    Well, I’m a little late to this party, but what was once a mortifying experience like this for me is now one of my favorite stories.

    In college, I went to the mall with my friends to check out the Halloween decorations at Crate and Barrel (I went to college in a really yuppie area). Because it was October, I was filled with the spooky spirit and was wearing a tattered floor length skirt, opera gloves, a giant ankh necklace, a top hat, and carrying a skull topped cane I had just purchased. My friends quickly realized that I was getting more attention than usual and that stores were having me followed and parents weren’t letting their children look at me. Sadly, I was already really used to this– I’ve always been the only goth I know/only goth in town– but my friends thought it was hilarious. They started walking 10 feet or so behind me to better watch people’s reactions.

    While I tried to put on a snarky and self-confident air, I was really hurt and embarrassed. They were pointing out the mean ways people were reacting to me and leaving me alone to deal with them. By the time we got back to the car, I was pretty upset. My friends, not being jerks, were really sorry once they realized that what they’d done was hurtful and promised to stand by me when people were being close-minded and prejudiced. However, one friend shared a final observation which has become my favorite goth-cred story: one man who passed me, once out of my earshot, turned to his friend and said (in a thick Boston accent) “I shoulda brought some gahlic!”

  18. Ghost says:

    Although this article is about the negatives of the “normals”(and I do admit to having been teased and even subjected to cruel rumours that spread like wildfire) these days I find, teenagers at least, have much more tolerance than they used to. Oh but there are definitely plenty still too obtuse to use the an age appropriate mentality, more in some places than others. For me though, being in my second year in high school, I find myself receiving many more compliments than insults. Many times to I hear “you look very pretty today” or “I love your dress/choker/boots/style etc.” I especially receive many props for being courageous enough to act and dress as I like regardless of the norm and others’ opinions. I’m still subjected to the occasional stare or off-hand comment but I am quite assured of my own self-worth and I know that they are only one in contrast to the many who can appreciate my individuality. Now I won’t say this is true for everyone. Sadly my significant other who was forced to move to a city only 20 minutes from my own was subject to cruel bullying(even physical) for being “emo looking” and especially for being a lesbian. Although my heart aches at the very thought of such things occurring to anyone, especially someone I care for in such depth, I find there is little that can be done, especially with uncooperative faculty who would rather turn a blind eye and unconcerned parents. For those in such situations, my heart goes out to you but you must do your best to get through and it does get better. Also, never be afraid to reach out to someone who you can at least talk to and know cares. My sweetheart always tells me that being able to vent and get it out does wonders for her. can at least talk to and know cares. My sweetheart always tells me that being able to vent and get it out does wonders for her. I sincerely hope this is helpful to some of you.

  19. RaivenEye says:

    Unfortunately, there are some cruel people in this world. If any Goth in the UK Wiltshire area – particularly Swindon – would take note, the younger generations (including my generation) are particularly nasty. They don’t care who they insult, even if they are older than them. Also, we face the cruel words of Yehovah’s Witnesses and one particular Evangelist zealot in our town center who likes to give us Hel just because of the way we dress. I’ve been teased multiple times, and have learnt to deal with situations better and better over time.

    My babybat years consisted of beating the crap out of anyone who even gave me a funny look. Yet, as I have matured I’ve started to become a little bit more passive in my approach, and will take an almost passive-aggressive method. If someone lays their hands on me, of course I’ll raise my hands in self defense, but if it’s just a couple of pathetic girls pulling a slagging match on me, I play them at their own game nice and calmly. When it comes to the typical “halloween” comment, I ask them why they are dressed up as prostitutes and the jaws drop. When they give me death threats (“Why don’t we re-bury you?” and “Drop Dead” being my two favourites), I say back something along the lines of breaking their plastic boobs/noses, whilst breaking the balls is popular with the thick-headed jocks.

    The religious zealots? Just play them at their own game, as well. I get the “satanist” speech, I reply with the False Prophet allegation. Or with the Witnesses, I just ask them if they want to know any religious Pagan artifacts that date back further than 6000 years. I can even play that card to my own beliefs, as I am lucky enough to also be a budding Lokean Witch. Mention Egypt or Malta’s Goddess Temples and watch them run…

  20. Mina rae says:

    Hello mistress,
    My parents don’t understand. I’m 17 and love to wear black. I go to a private school and I’m only allowed to wear thin black eye liner. I love black skinny jeans and black t shirts. But they don’t let me wear so much black. I can’t buy my own clothes, I work under the table as a dog walker. I love working with dogs and would love to be a dog trainer. My parents don’t support that either. When I’m out working with the 5 to 8 dogs people are more amazed by my working so great with the animals and not what I wear. My parents want me to wear pink. I freak out if I’m not comfortable. I’m not good with stress. Pink brings attention to me. I’m shy and afraid of what people will say so I like to also where black because it does not bring to much attention to me. Do you have any advice on dealing with my parents on how to support me?

  21. goth mama says:

    I too have been tortured all my life it seems by rude comments and even threats to harm me. I am 22 years old and a mother of 2, and married, my husband was actually beaten for 2 hours to near death and now has PTSD due to bullies. I have gotten every nasty comment and mean look possible. i used to try to fire it right back, but after many fights and detentions later, i finally learned to just ignore it or shoot a snarky reply back. the many times i have got the classic, ” its not halloween,” or ” what are you trying to be a vampire? can you turn into a bat you freak?!” i smirk, usually donning fangs, ( i had fang caps at the time)and simply reply,” well since it isnt yet halloween, why are you wearing that hideous costume?” and when i even get it on halloween i say, ” really? because last i checked this was proper attire for today, why then are you celebrating since im such a freak?” and to the vampire comment, ” no im not trying to be a vampire, and i can turn into a bat as much as you can turn into a toad.” they get stunned and dont know what to say.

  22. Kat Melrose says:

    I get that kind of thing a lot, with people asking me why I’m dressed for Halloween all year around or other such nonsense. My favorite responses are to smile sweetly and wink or to ask in a surprised manner, “Wait, it isn’t October? What year is it? I have had such a horrible sense of time since I died.” and waltz out. To the people who have gotten physical with me, I tend to respond in like. I am quiet small compared to many people, and when I’m dressed so delicately and look so tiny I look like I am an easy target. A guy slapped my buttocks in passing and before he and his friends could start laughing, I had wrenched his hand behind his back and had him doubled over in pain. I’ve made it quiet clear, whether I’m wearing delicate lace or roughed up leather, I will do damaged to anyone who tries anything. If people say anything, smile at them. If they try anything, break their nose.

  23. Eve Grimm says:

    I don’t really get bullied a whole lot, but I hear these stories about people being jerks to fellow Goths and it kind of upsets me a little. I also don’t truly notice much of the negative things people say about me. My stepmother once told me that if someone isn’t directly talking to me, I’m oblivious to what people are saying.

    Anyways, but there was this one instance when I was a sophomore that I didn’t notice, and I found it to be very rude. I was wearing a mildly gothic looking black dress, with my black lipstick and eye make up, and was in my English class. I was really tired that day, having stayed up all night to study for a test, and so I was obviously really out of it and staring off into space. There were a bunch of silly immature boys on the other side of the room that were very loudly commenting on my attire and my facial expression, saying that I looked “possessed” and that I drank the blood of innocent Christians because I worshipped Satan. They were laughing and being stupid, and at first I was really angry with them. Not because they were insulting me in particular, but because they even did it at all. They were disrespecting our teacher, who asked for silence for the period, and they were disrespecting all the goths that were in the room.

    But thats truly the only instance I have ever really remembered of someone making rude comments about my attire

  24. Riannon says:

    I am new here and I am basically looking for somthing to ease my mind about the previouse events. I am goth but sometimes I think people want to judge me cause they can. One of the reasons they think that is because im freezing cold and wearing my black jeans long sleeved red shirt and sneakers in the summer.Then I ,listen to music that a lot may call Satanic. Problem is I cant my normal self when im with my holy family. Im even pushed around and not acknowledged at all by half of them. For a long time ive wondered if there was somthing wrong with me. I still do.
    Tell me is it normal to be the only Goth in a family that will leave me for Heaven in a heartbeat?

  25. Infiltrator_N7 says:

    Hi Mina rae, there are many articles on this site you might find useful under the Growing Pains section ( If you can afford it I also recommend the Gothic Charm School book which has some chapters which give useful advice on handling parents and I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the Lady of the Manners recommend you show your parents her book so they can better understand you.

    If the whole talking to your parents and calmly explaining why you don’t feel comfortable wearing bright colours such as pink and feel more relaxed in black I recommend trying to wear jewel tones and darker colours such as navy and purple. I felt the same when I was your age and still do to an extent that I feel uncomfortable in bright colours and girly clothes. When you get older and become an adult you’ll have more freedom in what you choose to wear (workplace dress codes pending).

    In relation to your work as a dog walker, that sounds great! It’s great that you’ve found something you enjoy. I think your parents may be wanting you to keep your options open and not limit your opportunities too soon. It’s good to get experiences and develop various skills early on to help you in your future career and have something you can fall back on. If working with animals is what you want to do then I recommend doing some research on careers in this area, particularly those related to dog training and see what you can do to help you work towards this such as courses you can enrol on, other ways you can gain relevant work experience and so on.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Like DirtyGirl, I also had enough confidence in myself to ignore the rude comments that were being thrown my way when I was young and first started dressing in black in High School. Unfortunately, though, I later went on to lose every ounce of that confidence. Even shortly after I graduated from high school, the rude comments began to affect me. It wasn’t that bad at first, but it slowly became much worse. After waiting a year after high school graduation to begin college, I already felt as though I didn’t belong at my school (located in a small town). The first thing that bothered me was that there were and still are no other students that dress the way I do daily; in head to toe black. It is very hard to deal with especially when you know you are the only one who does this and there is very little support for you that’s readily available unless it’s via the internet. Sometimes, I wonder if I am the only one in the whole town who chooses to look this way, and I wouldn’t doubt it if I were. Anyways, a year after beginning college, I was hired as a student worker in the financial aid office at my school. I believe this is where many of my problems began. As for some background information, the office is run by a terrible director who consistently harasses her employees, oftentimes to the point at which they become ill from the stress. The director also loves to intimidate people. Because I found the director to be so intimidating, and because I felt that I would have to change my identity in order to maintain my job, I started to dress differently to fit in. I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up wearing some very odd articles of clothing and outfits which were in strange colors and color combinations. Well, for some reason, nobody in the office would have anything to do with me for the first year. I managed to make one friend there, and she told me that she had heard the other women in the office (mind you, these women are well above their 40’s) talking about me and making fun of my clothing choices. She also told me that the director and our co-workers were trying to move me to the back of the office so I wouldn’t be seen by the public due to my appearance. Of course, this was devastating as I was just a shy, naive, 20 year old girl at the time who just wanted to fit in and be accepted. This caused me to try even harder to fit in, just as DirtyGirl had done, but wearing the different types of clothing to look “normal” made me feel even worse, and stupid looking as it was stripping my identity and personality away day by day.These garments were nothing but costumes indeed. Over time, I gained more confidence in myself. Most of which came with age. I decided that I would not be disrespected for any reason, any longer and I no longer wanted to feel like a piece of garbage just because I look different and have different interests. I began to incorporate more of my beloved dark colors into my wardrobe and I compromised by wearing more grey than black. I also began to dress more professionally than my co-workers and the rude comments stopped. I also began to work more with the public, and my co-workers began to speak to me more in a friendly manner. I hope I don’t sound like I am rambling on and on, but the point is that you have to be yourself no matter what comments or disrespectful treatment you receive. If you receive an insult, you should ignore it and carry on with your life. People who insult you are either threatened by you in some way, or they are simply unhappy and they need someone to join them in their misery. It also helps them to climb the social ladder if they have someone to step on. People who insult you based on your appearance are also ignorant and are not worth any single second of your time. You’ll do so much better and you will feel better if you stick to your guns and continue being yourself.

  27. Cambria says:

    I’ve never been goth myself, but I have had 2 things: friends who were, and empathy. I am sorry for the insensitive, mean, hurtful things people say to others based on appearance. I’ve seen people be judgmental of goths especially, and it saddens me because it’s fear-based prejudice because they can’t comprehend that people like to dress and be different. It’s stupid and ignorant. Even though I’ve not dressed goth much because it isn’t me, I’ve always thought it was beautiful and interesting, and I just can’t pull it off. I wanted to, but it looks awkward on me because it probably isn’t entirely me. I can’t imagine the bullying you guys have had to put up with. It disgusts me, angers me, and appalls me. And in my experience, my goth friends were always the nicest, politest people I ever met. They were soft-spoken, poetic, beautiful, sincere, and sensitive, and unfortunately thought less of themselves than they deserved. Hold your head up high and brush off the ignorance people spew at you – that vitriol is just short of vomit, and you don’t deserve it. You have a lot more class than most people I know to face what you do with a level head and a strong heart.

  28. Dear Lady, I will now be waiting eagerly for the next time I can use the “why are you wearing that costume” comeback! That is sheer brilliance!

  29. Mari says:

    I wouldnt say that its bullying(as bullying is a repeated behaviour), but its definately mean. Unfortunately you will pass assholes on your way, for whatever reason. I would deal with it the same way you do. Either not responding or responding wisely. I E not get visibly upset. Cause than they will loose and you win.

  30. Val says:

    I am in high school, and I dress a bit more casually as it is more convenient for me. However, I still wear all black, add some eccentric accessories, and occasionally go all out some days. I do my makeup in a dark way, with many cool tones and blacks. My boyfriend is not goth, and so people are often surprised that we are dating as he dresses normally and more geeky. This guy used to come up to us and ask him if he found me more attractive with or without makeup, why I dressed like that(in a rather negative tone), why I´m wearing¨that goth lipstick¨(it was a more natural cool lipstick called Sanctuary from Kat Von D), but the most annoying was,¨How can you be attracted to her?¨ He would just respond with things like how could I not, and it never really got to me since my boyfriend loves my style and I do not care what some other guy thinks.

  31. deadghoul says:

    i usually just ignore it. i have alot of rude comebacks that i could say but i never say them. people are really rude sometimes but being rude back is pointless. just let it go and br glad your not them.

  32. Katherine says:

    I’ve had a lot of people get mad at me every time I comment something under a post they call me a “ wannabe goth” or tell me to K*ll myself and ask me if I cut and stuff like that and it really makes me angry to the point I say threatening comments but sometimes I can’t help it cuz my anger takes over me and I hate when people say that cuz there are people who have killed them selves and have cut before cuz they couldn’t cope with their situation and they say it as a joke and i told them “ it’s not funny don’t make comments like that” and they’d send me laughing emojis and say it’s funny I got tired of it but eventually reported and blocked and hopefully Instagram removed their account people at middle school have gave me offensive nicknames as a goth and would mistake me for emo my teachers hated me for no reason

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