Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reader Question: Can one stay a babybat?

Dear Mary Rose 
I just read your post on evolving from being a babybat, and I have a question.
Do I have to evolve into a fully fledged goth or can I just stay a babybat? I know that sounds like a silly question. The thing is I have always liked the goth subculture but I don't think I could ever become fully immersed in it. I don't particularly *love* most goth things, and I don't feel like the term goth could ever describe me properly. I have been influenced mainly by my metalhead friends so I like that sort of music, however when I read goth blogs and websites they mention bands that I'm not entirely interested in. And I don't want to be considered a metalhead for personal reasons I have with that subculture. I've also looked into emo and I definitely don't have the personality for it, it's also way too cutesy for me, though I might like few songs associated with it. I read up a lot about goths and I like the general idea of it, the darkness, mysterious, the clothes, expressing one's self, being considerate of others and accepting, being different and quirky and edgy, the supernatural and fantasy. I have a real appreciation for dark alternative subcultures. 
I guess the term babybat makes me feel like I can be in between 'normal' and goth with permission to mix it up with things from other subcultures. I like the idea of being semi-goth (kind of like how some people see Evanescence, goth but not goth. Evanescence is my favourite band so that might give you some idea of why would associate with babybat and not goth.) However, in the future I might discover some goth music that I like but that doesn't mean I will want to be a complete goth after that. 
Also I heard that you are a babybat as a teen only and that you become goth when you are 18/21, and I am 21 now. 
So I was wondering what your opinion is on me wanting to call myself a babybat forever (or untill I decide I no longer need the label)? 
From Tyla :)

Hello Tyla!

First, I'd like to challenge the idea that a babybat has to be of a particular age. Many of the questions that I get from older Goths that are new to the subculture seem to center around the idea that they are "too old" to be a babybat. I'm in the camp of thinking that a babybat is a person new to the subculture, and that it's association with younger people comes because A) many Goths join the subculture when they are young and B) the word "baby." So, yes, I believe it's okay to call yourself a babybat at any age.

But, I am confused by the idea that being a babybat is a step between normal and Goth. If your interests lie outside the Goth subculture, then identifying as a babybat isn't going to bridge that gap, so to speak. It's perfectly okay to like a subculture but not become a part of it (of my 11,000ish followers on Tumblr, I'd hazard that only about half of them are Goths.) As above, I mention that a babybat is new to the subculture, and that means that they are a part of the subculture, and it would follow that they like Goth things (music, aesthetic, literature, etc.) and are active in the community. Perhaps the solution for you would be not to identify as either Goth or babybat but to just hang around Goths and be a part of the community you seem to like.

As for how you identify, I promise the Goth cabal isn't going to come to you in the middle of the night and demand you call yourself Goth, especially when your interests seem much more varied and inspired by metal and alternative rock. Of course, I think it goes without saying that very few Goths become completely "immersed" in the subculture to the point that they don't like anything that is outside of it. Many of us have at least a soft spot for music outside of the traditional line-up, and if/when the time comes for you to decide that you want to identify as a Goth, you shouldn't feel that all of your interests must fall within the Goth category.

But, I would say, some of them must.

It also follows that without an interest in Goth music, many Goths will dismiss your interest in the subculture. Without a doubt, Goth music plays an important part in the Goth community's history and to ignore that in favor of other aspects of it, such as the fashion or literature, is enough to earn you a big "poseur" stamp from some Goths. Longtime readers will know that I've fallen out of favor with demanding that people do or like certain things in order to be a Goth, but I think it's wise to know that other Goths are fiercly protective of the subculture in that regard.

I hope that helps.

Readers, when did you feel that you "graduated" from being called a babybat into being a Goth?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gothic Throw Pillows from Sin in Linen

Readers will know that home decor is a real interest of mine, as I've written about it plenty of times before. Around this time of year I start to use my top-sheet pretty much exclusively, so my bed looks pretty dark and plain. So, when I thought my own room at home could use a bit of sprucing up and the lovely folks over at Sin in Linen offered to send me two throw pillows to review.

The pillows with both wrapped in plastic wrap which protected the pillows when the box got wet on my porch (Maryland thunderstorms, sigh.) So A+ on thoughtful packaging.

The first item they sent me for review was their Skull Throw Pillow, which the pictures don't quite do justice. The pirate-y embroidery is done in silver, so it reflects light quite nicely and brightens up the bed. Recently I had to remove the other skull throw pillow I had been using (which you can see on my bed here) because it had gotten unfortunately lumpy and uncomfortable, and I think this is a great replacement.

Next, this Heart Locket throw pillow (currently out of stock) which, again, has a pretty silver embroidery. As a long time lover of skeleton keys and the like, I thought this one was much more Romantigoth than the other pillow (although the description describes it as "kinky" which, in the light of the recent 50 Shades of Grey trailer, I got a good laugh about.)

So, I placed the skull pillow on my bed to accompany the previous one I owned, and the heart locket pillow to my side chair next to my closet.

If you're interested in looking for some new spooky linens, I would definitely recommend Sin in Linen. They were courteous and quick to answer my questions, and shipping was fast. Their throw pillows and Gothic d├ęcor would make a great addition to a spooky room. For my next summertime purchase from them I have my eyes on the batty beach towel.

Have any of you been updating your rooms, recently? What did you add?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7 Dark Videogames to Try

As the summer drags on and I find myself wilting in the sunlight I've been cocooning myself in the basement with the x-box and my laptop playing games. While some of the games I've been playing aren't strictly Goth (she said, eyeing Civilization 5 and Minecraft nervously) I thought some of them were downright spooky. So, here's my list of 7 dark video games Goths might want to try.

Limbo - X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, OnLive, PlayStation Vita, iOS

Limbo is one of my favorite all-time games. After playing it on my friend's 360 I quickly bought it for mine and played through the whole thing in a few hours. Limbo is a platformer with one of the most bleak aesthetics I've ever seen. The entire game is monochromatic black and white and your small child character must escape big insects and set death traps on his quest to find his sister. The gameplay is solid, the atmosphere dark, and I just adore it.

The Darkness - X-Box 360, Playstation 3

Based on the comic of the same name, the original The Darkness game is a first person shooter with an emphasis on psychological horror. You play as Jackie (who internet Game Critic and/or professional troll Yahtzee says "looks for all the world like a cross between Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, and Morticia Addams") who has ancient demonic powers and a selection of nice heavy ordinates with which to destroy your fellow man.  It's sequel, which I haven't played, was less well received, so I'd stick with the original.

American McGee's Alice - Windows, Mac OS, Playstation 3, X-Box 360

Would this list be complete without the videogame that spawned more dark-Alice costumes than possibly any other rendition of the classic tale? American McGee's Alice is a platformer in which Alice, who has been committed to an insane asylum after the death of her family, must explore a twisted and broken Wonderland under the tyrannical rule of the Queen of Hearts. 

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Tiger Handheld, PlayStation Network, PSP

Castlevania, one half of the fabled "Metroidvania" genre of early videogames, is one of the old Playstation games that makes me which I hadn't been an X-Box household after I played it at a friend's house. You play as Alucard, Dracula's son (see what they did there?), and traverse through open levels destroying all of the mythical creatures that are littered between you and where you need to be. Not only in the box art one of my favorites of all time (swoon), it's considered a cult classic and definitely worth a look for anyone who enjoys retro games.

Silent Hill 2 - Playstation 2, X-Box, X-Box 360, Playstation 3, Windows

Silent Hill 2 is a horror game in which the main character, James, goes to the town of Silent Hill in order to find his dead wife who has recently contacted him. This is the game that spawned the sexy zombie nurses and Pyramid Head powerhouse that became endemic to the later Silent Hill games, but which serve atmospheric purpose in this game better than any other. The layers of symbolism and the character arc that James goes through make it one of the better games to come out of the PS2. 

Bioshock - Microsoft Windows, OS X, Cloud (OnLive), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Bioshock, oh, Bioshock. I actually haven't mustered up the energy to finish it because the atmosphere is so good that I'm almost too scared to finish (yes, I am a wimp.) While you play this Steampunk-esque game you traverse through Rapture, a Utopian underground city that has gone completely to shit, to see how everything went totally wrong. On the way you'll find more than a few people trying to kill you, and more than a few creepy little girls either needing to be killed or be saved. Of course, that's not even mentioning the Big Daddies, the creepy dudes in diver suits that I'm trying my best to avoid on my run through. 

Dark Souls - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Do you feel that normal video games don't challenge you enough? Do you breeze through all of the challenges you're faced with in the Elder Scrolls, or does the aesthetic of the Fable series leave something to be desired? Dark Souls is one of the most merciless games I've ever played, but one of the most amazingly atmospheric. Like in Bioshock, you're left to explore a ruined world and discover its secrets as you traverse from one end to a staggeringly large map to another. However, the scenery can't be beat for someone like me who can't get enough ruined castles and cathedrals. If you're new to video games or get frustrated easily, maybe give this one a pass, but for everyone else I definitely recommend it.

What are your favorite video games, Goth or not?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Welcome to Night Vale Style Inspiration

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale. 

If aren't aware of Welcome to Night Vale, I want to know what internet rock you've been hiding under. The podcast's huge following seems to have permeated pretty much every corner of the internet and it is much beloved for its creepy, ethereal and funny tones.

But, if you're just now joining us, Welcome to Night Vale is a free podcast by Commonplace Books done in the style of a community radio station for the imaginary desert town of Night Vale. However, Night Vale is not what it seems. The radio host Cecil Baldwin gives his listeners updates on the town which range from average to extraordinary and include a cast of characters ranging from Old Woman Josie (out near the car lot) to angels, hooded figures, a mysterious floating cat, and Steve Carlsburg (ugh.) And, of course, a sexy new scientist in town Carlos, who is just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.

And, since WTNV celebrated its 50th episode yesterday (not including A/B episodes, etc.), I thought I would post some style inspiration based on it (although I tried to avoid the sweater vest head-cannon that many people have for Cecil) , because why?)

Color Schemes

Welcome to Night Vale's logo is a purple illustration of an eye hovering over a desert town, so purple is going to feature heavily in most outfits inspired by the show. If you have anything glow-in-the-dark now would be the time to bust that out, too.

Pins and Stuff



Some motifs associated with the WTNV mythos would be clouds (glowing preferred), eyeballs, stars, runes, moons, spiders, galaxies, drips, and other such creepy and extra-terrestrial things.


Creepy Cute

The creepy cute aesthetic that has been recently popular will make a great addition to any Welcome to Night Vale-inspired outfit as it mirrors WTNV's love of mixing unlike elements for comedic and unsettling effect. Etsy is full of "creepy cute" items of jewelry and clothing, and it's a good change up if you (somehow) are tired of wearing all black.


Creepy Creepy

While some moments in Night Vale are on the silly side, some of them can be downright existentially horrifying so here's another look that edges on the Nightmare Punk side of Goth fashion. Simple, striking, and ethereal.


Official Merch

Of course, if you're looking for brand merchandise, it's all available online at TopatoCo. Personally I have my eye on this flask, but for this look I went with a t-shirt.

Goodnight, Goodnight

Do you guys listen to Welcome to Night Vale?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Babybat Starter Pack - Music

Yesterday on Tumblr someone asked me what advice I would give to Babybats. While I answered with the usual advice, such as encouraging thrifting and smart Halloween shopping, I thought today I would expand on that by making a Youtube playlist devoted to some of my personal favorite spooky songs. Enjoy!

What songs would you advise a babybat to listen to?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Picnic Meet-Up Recipes for Goths

In 2012 I made a list of ten unusual Goth meet-up ideas because I figured that Goths could do with some more non-club social opportunities. Still, with it now being summer it is definitely picnic weather, so I decided to compile some recipes to share should any of you be hosting a picnic with other spooky types.

First some suggestions for a picnic meet-up:

  • Survey the visitors to find out if anyone has allergies or dietary restrictions. If you are still bringing something that someone can't eat, make sure you bring a card with the ingredients on it so that everyone can judge for themselves.
  • If your group has under 21's or people who do not drink alcohol, I would recommend not bringing any alcohol at all. Or, at least, have some good non-alcoholic options for everyone else. (And be aware of policies in your area regarding alcohol in public spaces.)
  • Feel free to take your foods in pretty Goth containers, like these Halloween tupperware containers or black cat bento boxes


Lavender lemonade, my recipe!
Virgin Fruit Sangria
Pomegranate Iced Tea
Strawberry Lime Agua Fresca
Black Magic Cocktail
Iced Mint Green Tea

Picnic Foods:

Garlic Hummus
Falafel Salad
Raw Zucchini Salad with Avocado and Edamame
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, preferably on baguette with goat cheese
Chicken and apple salad
Green Tomatillo Salsa, on chips
Strawberry Almond Shrimp Salad


Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yogurt Ice Pops with Berries
Mini Fruit Tart Cheesecakes
Raspberry Chocolate Ice Pops

What would you bring to a picnic meet up?