Saturday, November 14, 2015

Benefits of Being a Lone Goth

I get a lot of reader mail especially from younger Goths bemoaning the lack of a scene where they live or an avenue to meet other Goths. It used to be something I worried about more, but as I've grown older I've come to be more comfortable in my identity as a lone Goth. Not to give the impression that I don't have friends, but I don't actively seek out other alternative types near me to hang out with over, say, someone who is non-Goth but has other similar interests to mine. Sure, there are some downsides to this, but overall I think there are also some benefits of not being terribly involved in the local scene.

Note: most of these are generalizations and if you have a great group of Goth friends, these might not apply to you.

No Pressure to Perform

Maybe you don't feel like dressing to the nines in your spooky attire one day, and that's perfectly fine. When you're around a community of other Goths, even if you're quite close to them, you can feel the pressure to be Extra Goth all the time to either keep up or compete with them. Lone Goths don't have this problem as much and can feel free to run to the grocery store without needing to tease up their hair or slather their face in makeup unless they really want to.

No Drama

It's certainly not impossible to avoid in-scene drama as a Goth, but where there are other people there are bound to be spats about who is dating whose Ex or who spread some rumor about someone else. Being a lone Goth means avoiding all of that drama from the get-go.

No Elitism

Hand in hand with Drama comes Elitism, his best friend and mentor. Since the beginning of the scene there have been people in local Goth hangouts who judge other people for not living up to their definition of Goth. Luckily, lone Goths don't have to deal with Elitists clucking their tongue at them for being a "poseur" for liking so-and-so's more recent album, or whatever.

No Defending Other Goths

This happened to me in high school when I felt like I had to take responsibility for the hoodlum-like behavior of a number of other alternative types. Being more of a lone Goth in your small town or community means not having other people saddle you with the behavior of people who share your fashion sense and not having to defend the entire Goth in the eyes of the general public. As long as you're well behaved, it's much easier to give the entire subculture a good rep on your own.

Do you consider yourself part of your local Goth scene? If not, what are your favorite and least favorite aspects of being a lone Goth?


  1. ...Steps up on soapbox...

    We have an active private goth club in town that requires membership and a strict dress code that while a bit tongue-in-cheek lists brand names that they band including J. Crew. My fella isn't goth and he does wear some J. Crew pants and maybe some button down shirts for work from time to time. While he's completely willing to throw on some black and even wear eyeliner (he was an actor so it wouldn't be anything new) why should he? My head would explode if his company party or any place he would want me to attend noted that I couldn't wear what I typically wear and/or that I had to look a certain way. I understand that the club is trying to keep their clientele within a certain aesthetic but what about those who doesn't dress that way but appreciate the music and/or the look? So I have made a public I don't care which awesome band makes its way to this club, I will not set foot in the door. I have friends who are members and they always assure me that my fella is welcome how he is but there's always that "within reason" notation that gets to me. It feels counter counter-culture!

    ***steps down***

    I have a few local gothy friends who also avoid the rules and drama... Part of this is age too. We're in our 40s now and I have a 4:30am work wake-up call. I much prefer my goth blogger friends from all over.

    1. Wow, that's lame. I wouldn't go to a club like that either.

    2. That club doesn't sound like much fun at all. My fiance isn't much into goth fashion, but he loves the music and dancing with me. Fortunately our local club is very low key, and has never even considered a dress code.

    3. We both love to dance... I wish our club was more like your club.

  2. I have a small group of goth friends from my local club, and we don't really run into many problems associated with the scene. I think this comes from a combination of most people being a bit older (mid 30s and older), and the fact that none of them take the scene too seriously. Some of them will travel an hour from Philly just to go to our club night, because they feel more welcome with us than somewhere with a bigger scene.

  3. We have an alternative club which opened it's doors over the last few years to non-alternative types. As soon as they did this they started playing dubstep and dance along with the rock, metal, and industrial it usually plays, which attracted a different crowd. Now all that seems to happen there is that non-alternatives get tanked up and go to this club to basically hurl abuse at alternatives. And then someone got stabbed. Still, they keep the doors open to non-alternatives because they bring in the money.
    I think the club you mentioned, Goth Gardener, is kind a lame for being so strict, but I can understand why some clubs choose to have some form of a dress code.

    1. Electric Hare, you're right. Very good point. When I was in my teens our alternative club decided to have different music nights and as quickly as you can imagine my brother (ha ha) and his friends showed up and ruined everything. The club changed to a teen club and that was that. The whole thing ended. So I completely agree with you and with the local club (even though I think they're doing exactly what others have done to the alternative folks-e.g. pre-judging, making assumptions, etc), if they don't set rules and boundaries (after all it is a private club with members and an actual *goth card*!) the mission of the club will fail. So although it makes me fussy, they've been around for nearly a decade and they're doing something right to keep the folks they want to come to the club happy. I have to respect that.

      See, that's why the comment section is so important for blogging. It's also a nice way so write, "stop being a fuss, GG!" :D

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