It's World Goth Day today, according to the internet. I'm not sure exactly what that means, I assume it is a celebration of all things Goth. Music, fashion, trends, that chick on that one show, etc. I'm pretty excited about it though, the timing is a bit funny since I heard a song on Pandora Radio that I hadn't heard in years and it took me back to how Goth and cool I used to be. No lie, being a parent makes you a total lame-o. The song is called Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of a War Drum. I can't exactly listen to that with my daughter hanging out in the backseat.
I used to be what I am calling a "pseud-Goth" back in my teen years, late '90's and early 2000's. An admired of the aesthetic, hair, clothes, make-up, but approached it reeeeeeaaaaalllly half-assed. And I assumed my undying love and devotion to all things Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor were enough to bring me into the Goth fold, I just figured no one had to know how I once declared, "I've never heard a Destiny's Child song I didn't like!"
It was a culture that celebrated music, I love music and I used to devote A LOT of time to it. I had a subscription to Spin Magazine (I was, and still am kind of against Rolling Stone since they never a feature a female on the cover without her in some state of undress) I sought out almost every new band they recommended, and I even had cool friends that would make me mix tapes of songs I wouldn't have otherwise heard (not that I don't have cool friends anymore, I just don't have a tape player anymore.) I had black hair, I wore almost exclusively band t-shirts or my dad's clothes (my parents divorced around this time and when I would spend the night at my dad's house I never packed clothes, so I would always end up rooting around in his closet long after he went to work for something to wear to school. What a weirdo!) And I was generous with the eyeliner. But I could ever really get on board with the thought and feeling behind what I thought being "Goth" meant. I was never an outcast (even though I often wore men's clothes) I was generally a happy girl and me and my sister loved to blast some pop and hip-hop music quite loudly in whatever beater she was driving around at the time. I tried to be sad and mopey, but it just didn't fit on me. I loved, and still love, the emotions in Nine Inch Nails's music because I think it's something I've never experienced and the empathy in me rises up and I love it because it's a nice emotion to feel even if it kinda bums you out at the same time, and they kick so much ass live, Best Concert Evah! And I saw them only a few years ago when Reznor was WELL into his forties, I can only imagine what it must have been like to see him fifteen or twenty years ago.
I was pretty good at convincing the normals that I was a real Goth though however because in those days I worked at a gym (a total job for a Goth, right) and one of my fellow tan, blonde male employees walked by me and just yelled "Marilyn Manson!" When I later approached him with a "WTF?" he said, "I'm sorry, it's the first thing I think of when I look at you." Whatever, dude. Since I was such a Reznor purist I took that as an insult. Even when I was out of high school and working my first full-time job as a receptionist at a law firm my co-worker (and now one of my longest friends) Christy used to call me "Goth Rox" and I didn't even have black hair anymore. Maybe there is a part of me that is Goth to it's core. That's aiight. I still look at those kids with affection, and I look at the Goth adults with even more revere.
It's hard to make the transition to a teenager with poor, Hot Topic provided fashion choices to an adult who has to live and function in the real world. There aren't many who can make the leap with grace and be taken seriously. Those in the entertainment industry have it easier especially if they came into the game with that vibe. Robert Smith of The Cure still slap-dashes his lipstick and brushes his hair with a pillow and gets out there and sings those songs like he did twenty-some years ago. Same for Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and even my beloved Trent Reznor. He's more of a muscle man who has an Oscar a neatly clipped hairdo look, but he still for sure gives off a Goth-y vibe. And to a lesser extent, Zak Bagans (I seriously just typed his last name "Baggins" as in Bilbo) from Ghost Adventures. He is an adult with a Goth look. Black hair, black clothes, t-shirts with some of the most decorative crosses I've ever seen this side of the jean pockets of a Real Housewife. But he's also pretty muscle-y...maybe the trick is that you need to either be the artistic wisp you once were in the '80's with strange hair and glasses, or you better hit them gym. Maybe I was ahead of my time, working at a gym in the throes of my Goth phase.
I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Goths of the world. They are my spirit animal, as it were.
Happy World Goth Day, friends! Even if you weren't ever a Goth, you probably know a couple, or knew a couple, or were set up on a date with one, like that one dude that wore a long leather duster jacket and spun in a whimsical circle singing Tori Amos songs (that ones for you, Christy.)