Goth for dummies
It has been almost a year since I discovered and started exploring goth culture. I feel like a celebration is in order, because it certainly turned out to be more than just a fleeting obsession. I have uncovered a side of me that I never knew existed until Fox, bless her heart, came along and shone the black light on me. If it weren’t for her, I would just be plain ol’ me, a stranger to Beborn Beton, studded collars and eyeliners.
Museums and cultural centers are the new cemeteries. They’re just as dead and devoid of life as the average necropolis, and therefore perfect for goths to while away moments in.
People have asked me what it’s like to be goth and my responses have often been attenuated, distilled, over-the-counter descriptions. I find it a tedious task, honestly. It’s like trying to explain what it’s like to be gay, or Mormon, or a bricklayer. Besides, with so many conflicting views on what’s goth and what’s not, it’s difficult to encapsulate what goth culture really is all about. Personally, I believe that goth is what you make it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is going against the fundamental principle upon which the entire movement is based: individualism.
So, if you’re genuinely interested in finding out what it feels like for a goth, the best way is to be goth yourself. It’s easy! All you need is a genuine sense of wonder, open-mindedness, creativity and an appreciation of the duality of existence. And, to help you get started, I’ve come up with seven important tips on becoming a fierce goth.
1. Wear a lot of black.
Black is the colour of choice in the goth community. Most goths generally consider wearing anything bright-coloured as a reprehensible fashion faux pas. Additionally, black is very slimming, and a skinny waif-like countenance is what all goths strive for. It is utter perfection to be stick thin in goth culture.
2. Get the skin and the hair right.
Goths are known to possess preternaturally pale skin. Stay out of direct sunlight and cut iron-rich foods out of your regular diet. If possible, subsist on a diet of salt licks and tap water. This will not only fast-track the drainage of colour from your skin, but also do wonders to your figure. Remember, pale and skinny is to goths as dark and big-assed is to Ben Affleck.
Also, whether you’re male or female, pale or not, wearing make-up is a must. Before going out and being seen by the uncaring world, apply white powder on your face. If your skin is of a naturally dark tone, be very generous with your application. If necessary, do your neck and arms as well to match your face accordingly.
Then, take some black eyeliner and outline the top and bottom of your eyes. If you look anything like Robert Smith (pictured below), then you are doing it right. Now put on some black or dark red lipstick. If black lipstick is unavailable, use black liquid eyeliner instead. If you don’t have that one as well, then you might want to try soaking your lips in grape Kool-Aid for at least an hour. This will at least give your lips a ghostly purple shade.
As for your hair, having it long certainly helps, but by no means is it a pre-requisite. There are things that can be done to make short hair look spooky and stand out. Wear it up, wear it down, spike it up, shave it off, make it into horns… whatever strikes your fancy. There really is no wrong way to make your hair look spooky. Dyeing it jet black is a surefire way to enhance the paleness of your skin.
3. Be pierced and accessorize!
As a goth, you must have at least one body piercing. The unpierced body is considered ugly and is tantamount to blasphemy! All the goths will point at you and laugh if they notice that you don’t have a single man-made hole in your body.
In terms of accessories, most goth beginners start off with skulls. Get anything with skulls on it. Earrings, belt buckles, pencil cases, pillows, whatever you can find. The scarier they look, the better. You want to look scary and edgy.
4. Start hanging out in museums and cultural centers.
Museums and cultural centers are the new cemeteries. They’re just as dead and devoid of life as the average necropolis, and therefore perfect for goths to while away moments in. Cemeteries are still acceptable places to chill at, but in an increasingly cosmopolitan world, museums and cultural centers have the advantage because of their accessibility. People will also think you’re a hell lot smarter than you are when they see you frequenting these joints.
5. Listen to dark and depressing music.
You’ve got to wean yourself off of Kylie and Christina and start getting into Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees or The Sisters of Mercy. And no, “Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head” doesn’t count as goth music just because New Order is sampled on it.
6. Be anti-social.
Stop calling your friends. Disconnect your telephone. Do not respond to e-mails. Make scary faces at babies. Avoid group activities. Immerse yourself in complete isolation. Remember, goths don’t mingle so when someone tries to talk to you in a public setting, look them straight in the eye, say nothing and then turn or walk away. If you are a smoker, blowing smoke in the person’s face is definitely encouraged.
7. Always look sad and whine about everything as much as possible.
As a goth, it is paramount that you appear anguished and just filled with despair at all times. A look of deep angst is what you must aim for. You are angry. The weight of the world is on you. You are carrying the burden of life upon yourself, by yourself. You are alone. No one loves you. ‘My So-Called Life’ got cancelled. Feel the anguish. Show it. Look it. Breathe it. Above all, NEVER smile. Smiles ruin the air of angst and the overall mystique of gothness.
And there you are. Seven key things that you need to know to be goth. Of course, there’s more to being goth than meets the eye. Don’t worry, once you get started, the rest will come naturally. Well? What are you waiting for? Look up a goth bar near you and start gothing!