My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Politeness and Goth Part 3: Advice On Being Goth In Public

Having bored everyone at length with the last two posts, I am going to try and keep this one short. Here are 5 recommendations I make to Goths, especially the very young ones, for behaving courteously in public.
  1. Be polite to customer service staff of all sorts, from baristas to the person at the till in the supermarket, and treat merchandise in shops with respect. Be courteous to other patrons of establishments and do not be loud, obnoxious or behave in a way that can put off other patrons. If you behave nicely, it makes it far more likely that those who run these shops, cafes and restaurants, etc. are welcoming to Goth clientele. I've heard of Goths being asked to leave by places who think that they will frighten off other customers, or of them being tailed by security staff, and while this is usually based off nothing but assumption and pre-judgement, it is not at all helpful to act in a way that will actually upset both the staff and patrons. 

    An aside: Having worked several years in retail, I've noticed that most places that are trying to sell you something are fairly happy to have buyers, and as long as you are buying their products, not stealing or breaking anything, and not putting others off from buying their products, or harassing their staff, they are quite happy for you to be there, even if you look 'weird'. Of course, there are some people who are prejudiced, but those who are unwelcoming and hostile to Goths are thankfully the minority.  

  2. If you are gathering in large groups - especially if you are young and therefore somewhere public like the town square or a local park is the only sensible option for larger gatherings - be respectful of those around you; try not to swear loudly or in front of children, take your rubbish away with you, and please don't try and "scare the normal people". Also, be aware that others can find large groups of people inherently intimidating (regardless of whether that group is black-clad and spooky or not), so make sure your group does not dominate a path, or somewhere where people are walking through a lot. If you want to run around and be loud and active, that's perfectly fine, just find an open space like some grassy parkland. If you are in a park, please remember that younger children may want to use swings and play equipment so do not monopolise them. Plenty of parks now have shelters and benches for teenagers and young adults to congregate at, and also larger scale play equipment so that younger children need not have competition for swings, etc.  

  3. Mind your manners - "please", "thank you" and "excuse me" (or their equivalent in your native language) all help create a positive image,  and cost nothing but air and fractions of seconds. Say thank-you to bus drivers, greet people politely, and otherwise be considerate. This is the sort of small thing that we tend to need to make an extra effort to remember in order to help make it clear that we are not dangerous, mean and evil individuals, or all sullen, depressing and gloomy, or snobby and cliquish, or whatever flavour of negative stereotype is currently more pervasive. 

  4. If people ask you sincere questions, especially questions that are oft repeated such as "are you a Goth?" and "is that a costume?" and "what is Goth?" then respond politely. If you have time, then answer briefly, if, for one reason or another, you don't want to answer at that moment, then make a polite apology. Do not respond rudely, do not be overly sarcastic; it is better we educate people and inform them than give them a negative experience with Goth. I have seen this happen in real life and over the internet, and responding politely always works best. If you do have time to respond, try and be brief, accurate and avoid phrasing things in ways that might frighten the asker; remember that most people have a rather opposite reaction to the macabre to ours. 

  5. Be yourself; don't try and act all dark and scary for other Goths (most of us think it's quite pretentious and somewhere between silly and amusing) or to try and project a specific image, and don't try too hard to be exceedingly nice and perky to everyone either, as people are often just as suspicious of obviously forced niceness. 

4 comments:

  1. Good, common-sense advice I'd say.

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    1. I figure that I am probably preaching to the converted here, but I felt it might be worth mentioning these things anyway.

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  2. This is solid advice for baby bats. Teens tend to think goth is so hardcore and vulgar, but it isn't.

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    1. I've met plenty of teens who are well behaved Goths, but I've also met more 'Mall Goth' teens who thought hanging around in the local shopping centre and being vulgar was the epitome of rebellion. If you're truly rebellious, you /don't go to the mall/, it's too mainstream :P

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