Saturday, April 28, 2012

The dark side

It is a very badly kept secret that I used to be a goth. 


Actually, I am still a goth at heart but now it kind of lays under the surface more, threatening to burst out at a moments notice. Kind of like how recovered alcoholics can have one drink and then relapse, one whiff of a corset can send me back into a black lipstick covered oblivion.

And while a lot of my new friends accept this as, I guess, a quirk in my personality, not many of them have a full understanding of what being a goth actually means. I think this is why when I tried to convince them that it would be the BEST IDEA IN THE WORLD to go to "Ironfest" last weekend (which is a sort of medieval fair with jousting, blacksmiths and other reenactments of awesomeness) they were completely taken aback. 

To me, digging on men who dress up as knights and engage in sword play is completely consistent with my backstory. But they had obviously never seen the connection. So I thought I would help everyone out a bit by explaining what being an ex/secret/psuedo-poser goth (depending on who you ask) means about me, what I am into and, obviously, how it affects my personal style. 

**PLEASE NOTE: this is not intended to be a definitive list of what it means to be a goth - there is no WAY I am stupid enough to open that can of worms! So please, feel free to leave a comment as to what you think it means - but don't tell me I am wrong because this is about me. Ok? Ok.**

1. Yes, I wear a lot of black
Let's get this out of the way early, shall we? And while I do wear other colours too, I would be lying if I tried to suggest that my wardrobe wasn't based around the idea that black is better. I feel uncomfortable if I am not wearing at least one thing that is black - it kind of anchors my whole look. I can appreciate outfits that others wear that are maybe all pastel or bright - I just think that they would look ridiculous on me. 

Also, regardless of what is in fashion, I love wearing fishnet stockings, corsets, black boots of all descriptions, lots of silver necklaces and rings, dark nail polish and heavy eyeliner. But these days, I am a little more subtle with the whole thing so maybe won't wear them all at once (unless I am going to a Marilyn Manson concert in which case I see no point in holding back - see below). 

And also I feel more like me if my skin is pale and my hair is an unnatural colour. 

2. My taste in men can sometimes seem… odd

Certainly, I can appreciate a conventionally aesthetically pleasing man as much as the next gal (Ryan Gosling - hello!) but they are not the type of guy that I would usually go for.

I actually have a theory that almost every man would look hotter if they dyed their hair black and kept their skin paler. Here is some proof:

Christian Slater: normal


Christian Slater: more awesome (in Heathers)


Ewan McGregor: normal

Ewan McGregor: way more awesome (in Moulin Rouge)

Also, it isn't really about the guy being perfect looking - I prefer it if they are a bit quirky or intense looking. Here are a few of my absolute favourite boys that most of my female friends fail to find attractive at all:
Neil Gaiman (author)

Trent Reznor (musician)

Gary Oldman (especially as Dracula, Sirius Black or Sid Vicious)

Russel Brand

All incredibly nommy and, in my opinion, totally brilliant (yes - even Russell).

3. I often find beauty in things that other people think are gross
To me, this is central to the goth scene. Seeing the beauty in the unusual, the freaky, the macabre seems to be common trait in most goths. 

So this is where things like fascinations with skulls, snakes, dead roses, blood, pale skin, spiderwebs, grave yards, taxidermy etc can come from. I personally don't see it as being something that people are just into for the shock factor - these are things that can be fragile, delicate and hauntingly beautiful. 





Of course, they can also just look bloody awful. But they don't have to.

4. Some of my music might scare you but my tastes are pretty diverse
Yes, ok, so I do listen to a lot of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Crystal Castles, Nick Cave, The Cure, The Smiths, David Bowie blah blah blah. 

But I also totally love the Spice Girls (I have all three of their albums), NKOTB and East 17. And if Beyonce or JT come on, you better believe that I am going to dance. 

It would be too big a task to try and list everything I am into just to prove a point that I am not sure needs proving, but the above should give an idea of the scope. 

Basically, when it comes to music, if I am into it, it is awesome. If I am not into it, it is shit. Simple, right?

Also, just because I listen to angry or depressing music doesn't mean I am also angry and/ or depressed all the time. Well - at least not since I was a teenager anyways...

5. Goths and geeks go together like Buffy and Angel (or, later, Buffy and Spike)

This is not to say that all goths are also geeks or vice versa, there just seems to be a fair amount of overlap (to wit, my totally loving medieval fairs, men who can quote Firefly and my use of the phrase "to wit").

I think this connection isn't as obvious to people as I think it would be because there is a perception out there that goths are these big, scary, satan-worshipping people who stomp around in massive black boots and jackets even when it is the middle of summer. Sure, this does describe a lot of them, but that doesn't mean they aren't also massive Dr Who fans who enjoy a good game of chess or World of Warcraft. And the scary looking ones are quite often total kittens when you get to know them. And often incredibly intelligent, funny and well-read. And can probably speak Klingon.

My husband is not a goth and never has been. But he is definitely a geek. Big time.

Some of my geeky pursuits include: Buffy, Firefly - anything by Joss Whedon, Dr Who, playing text-base computer game, Zork, dressing up in medieval dresses whenever the opportunity presents itself, reading and watching anything with vampires in it (sadly this includes Twilight - but that isn't a goth thing - it is an idiot girl thing), pretending I am a ninja, reading Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters for fun, reading the occasional graphic novel - the list goes on and on.

And in my world - these are not things to be ashamed of. In fact, these are the things that make me totally awesome!


Charmaine said...

We love you EM. And next time there is a medieval fair within a 30km radius, we can go.

Siobhan said...

I'm a bona fide geek; no one we get on! Very funny post.

Ashley said...

I wear mostly black too! I have a weird obsession with death and would trade my career in fashion for a job at a funeral home in an instance. I love anything morbid, skull and spike related. Glad to know I am not alone :)

BTW thanks for your lovely comment on my blog!

Ashley from

Emma M said...

Char - I may actually hold you to that so start working on you costume!

Siobhan - love finding out people are closet-geeks. It makes them shoot up in my estimation!

Ashley - thank you so much for dropping by! I have been following your blog for a while and love it! I could tell we had similar tastes.