It was almost a week today when I got my first helping of spontaneous abuse based on my appearance, and two thoughts occurred as a result: Firstly a sense of pride that I had gone for so long without getting insulted, other than what my friends said when I returned from Lancaster in a trenchcoat and an Iron Maiden t-shirt, and secondly the realisation that soon would be a good time to write up the third instalment of my ‘Come to the Dark Side’ series. Alas I have neglected to update for a while, due to the fact that I have moved from my previous accommodation into a student house 3 minutes away from the Uni and friends. So hot piss for that, and my thanks to y’all for being so patient with my lazy arse.
So anyway the above scenario went as thus: I’m waiting by a bus-stop (for a bus, obviously), wearing my trademark leather trenchcoat over a black hoodie patterned with skulls, my fingerless studded gloves and skinny jeans. Now, yes, whilst in this guise I seem to fit the stereotypical image for what a goth looks like by those fucknuggets in mainstream media. Anywho, whilst waiting for my bus, a trio of blue-blazered-bastards from the local secondary school, my guess is Year 9, walk past, taking up as much of the pavement as possible and strutting about with the same kind of arrogance that can only be expected from such twats with shit for brains. And it is whilst I am waiting for my bus that one of them decides to say ‘GOTH!’ under the pretence of a coughing fit. Such wit and humour the like of which I’ve not seen since Oscar Fucking Wilde…Ah sarcasm.
Now naturally I couldn’t do much, because my love of smacking idiots with a golf-club in the dick is slightly overshadowed by my love of not going to prison. Once it is legal for me to carry a BREN gun and use live ammunition on the little fuckers then I will be at peace, but until then I must settle for raising my middle finger whilst adjusting my glasses.
But anyway, this is something all goths will at some point have to deal with. Verbal abuse can come in any number of ways, and from anyone. If it occurs outside of family life, the advice from teachers will always be the same: ‘Ignore them and they’ll get bored’. Now, I was mercilessly picked on frequently during my junior academic career, and I can tell you now that ignoring the bullies DOES NOT work. Instead, it encourages them to keep on trying to get to you, and you will find yourself subject to endless amounts of bullying until something snaps, and that will get you into trouble as well. However, this isn’t to say that violence doesn’t work. Trust me, it does work when the bully, who will nine-times-out-of-ten be a complete pussy, comes to the sudden realisation that the person they have been picking on can fight back (a quick smack to the chops was what did it for me, and it was more satisfying than bacon!).
The only alternative is to persist asking the teachers. Eventually, they will realise that the only way to get this persistent child to stop interrupting their schedule of not doing their job properly is to respond to its needs in the hope that it goes away. This all depends on how good a teacher you have is, you will find that for every ‘don’t-give-a-toss’ teacher, there will always be an equal number of teachers who do care.
Back to the violence. You will have to face this at least once. And it is better to be prepared. My advice, enrol in karate or self-defence classes. Practise at home, on furniture/family/pets if it helps. DO NOT CARRY A WEAPON! Under no circumstances should you leave the house with any kind of weapon that could attract the kind of unwanted attention that people seem to associate this culture with without help. And do no start fights or go looking for trouble. The kind of idiots that get their kicks from bullying others have already decided whether you’re a target or not, they do not need any further provocation. And remember, there’s no shame in running. If it comes down to a fight or flight scenario, flight is ALWAYS more advisable. If you’re scared people will call you a coward over it, remember that the idiots throwing punches are the real cowards.
Now for the family. Family members will generally be more accepting of you for deciding to dress this way. They already think you’re weird enough, this isn’t going to come as much as a shock to them. But then again there will be those who don’t see it that way. There are plenty of parents out there who will be against their children turning goth or emo, but this is because all they know about goths comes from reading newspapers or watching the news about this new trend of violent and suicidal pagans who sacrifice each other in foul rituals and other bleh. So what can you do? Well, the most sensible thing to do is to talk to your parents about it. Simply explain the misconceptions of the goth subculture and with any luck they will come round, given time. It will make everything so much easier if you take this route rather than simply appear in the hallway looking like an extra from a Marylyn Manson video. And that’s another thing, do not go so hardcore the first time round. Start simply with darker clothing, then move on to the band t-shirts, the jewellery, the make-up etc. It will make this easier for them to accept. You’ll have much better luck if your parents were punks or goths themselves in the past (obviously), but alas, not all parents will be willing to listen. My only advice following this would be to do it anyway. Be proud of yourself for being an individual, and if your parents can’t allow for self-expression as a child, then they are horrible parents. Simples.
However, with the amount of rejection you’re bound to face, there’s plenty of acceptance. Not everyone’s views of goths are the same, and you will find some decent, understanding people who will not be put off by your taste of clothing. You’ll make longer lasting friendships with kindred spirits, and there’s plenty to be said for expressing yourself if you intend to go into the creative industry. Many goths go on to become writers, artists, photographers, musicians and so on. So don’t become downtrodden over the idiocy of nameless individuals. Just remember that being goth is about being yourself. If you try putting on an act, people will think you’re a poser, which is the last thing anyone wants. Just remember to stay cool, be respectful of other people’s opinions and just be your charming self.
This is not the last in this series of articles. I will come back to cover current and ongoing issues in the gothic community as and when they occur. And looking at some friend’s recent blog posts, a fourth instalment looks pretty likely…
Regards, the Beard.