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..

Friday, 30 May 2014

Colour And Goth

There's a myth that all Goths are allowed to wear is black, maybe a little white or grey, but strictly a greyscale palette.
Green and purple; definitely two colours here!
This is completely untrue. Goths can wear colours.
I am sure that most experienced Goths know this, but I want to both reassure the younger and newer Goths, and dispel a common misconception.

Yes, black is the primary feature of our aesthetic just look at this blog layout!), but there's plenty of room for adding different colours into the mix. I do primarily wear black, but I personally love using accents of colour. I think all the black as a background means that I have to use stronger colours and designs to come forwards from such a strong but neutral background as black. I can thank Odile Decq, the French architect and designer, talking about her design for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome for making me think about this. Look her up on the internet; she is a fascinating and brilliant designer of multitudinous things from knives to buildings, and by appearances, I would guess a traditional style Goth, too! As such, when I wear colours with my black, it is in strong and bold designs, such as the dramatic eye make-up or the absolutely gorgeous purple and black "marching band" style jacket by Dark Star. I never go for mediocre or dull items - I go  for rich jewel tones and clothes with interesting designs. 

Hopefully the purple in my jacket is visible in this one.
I think contrast is the key to wearing colours with mostly black; to me it is far more striking if someone wears one or two bold colours with a mostly black outfit than if one wears equally dark or muted shades. Of course, layers of deep colours and darkness have their own appeal, too. I tend to wear usually only one colour with my black, usually dictated by my hair or wig colour. Combining two bold colours like in this outfit and make-up is actually quite an uncommon thing for me. I also like to match my accent colour so that I use the same shade throughout, as I feel that this co-ordinates and brings a sense of cohesion to the outfit. 
Grumpy Goth!
Actually, just trying not to smudge my lipstick.

Any colour can be worn with black, and I have no intentions of limiting anybody's fashion choices, but it is more traditionally Gothic to choose from purple (for magic and mystery) or red (for blood and passion). I have, however, seen pretty much every colour paired with black. To me each colour has its own association: blue brings associations of the night sky, neon green of the "radiation glow", emerald green of snakes and dragons, gold of Ancient Egypt, coppers and browns of Steampunk, pastel pink of the "creepy-cute" style, etc. It is rarer for colours to be worn without black, but I have seen some gorgeously Gothic (if not always necessarily Goth) outfits in almost completely red, white and purple - if there's any black at all, it is as an accent, and in some cases silver or white are used as the accent instead. It is not about the black, it is about the sort of aesthetic and associations portrayed. Silver and white on its own can look very ghostly, red on its own is good for portraying styles with links to vampires, carnal passions, and blood (with vampires being a combination of the latter two, in many ways). 

I am indeed wearing glitter with my Goth, too!
There are plenty of ways to combine colours into a Goth wardrobe and Gothic aesthetic. If you are looking for inspiration, just search the internet; there are plenty of beautifully styled Goths who often incorporate colours into their appearance without diminishing their "Gothness". Have fun, add some richness to the dark! 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Green Hair

My hair is green, one of my favourite colours, second after purple. 
It's even brighter in real life.
In fact, it has been since just before the Easter break. It started off quite bright green and has since been toned down to a darker green for work. Right now it is bright green again, but I am part way through the dyeing process and it will be getting a coat of UV turquoise dye (Stargazer) which will mute and cool the colours somewhat. 

It takes bleaching it twice and layering the colours to get them how I like. My fringe has blue tips that I can't bleach out from when I had violet hair, which gives my hair sort of a gradient to blue in places. The colours I usually use are Pine Green by Renbow Crazy Colours, Apple Green by Directions and usually Tropical Green by Stargazer but this time I am using the UV dye because I am going clubbing on Friday and I want hair that will be a bit special under the UV lights (black-lights). 

Terrible lighting and bad flash - webcam photo.
Even with the harsh flash, it should be clear that it's a lot darker.

I have an older photo of my hair the last time it was darker green, to show what it is supposed to be like. It has since been cut again so that it is a bit more practical as it was growing out to be long enough to get in my eyes and be a bother. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Birthday Party!

It was my birthday recently, but I'm not saying how recently, or how old I am.

It's irrelevant how old I am; we creatures of the night don't age! :P

Anyway, as there is no such thing as being too old to have fun and because we always want an excuse to be fancy, I had a dark fantasy themed birthday party that ended up leaning to a theme of "vampires". It was not so much a dressing up party as an excuse to wear our fanciest clothes with a little bit of a nod to the theme through accessories and makeup. 

J. giving his approval.
It was a small gathering; there was Shaun who isn't in any of the photos because he took them, Raven (of course) who looking somewhere between an anachronistic gentleman and a vampire (no surprises there!), J. who came as in post-apocalyptic fashion, with deconstructed trousers, goggles and a mask, Suzy_Bugs, who wore a long medieval-inspired dress with spider-web jewellery and a glittery, witchy mini-hat (but is shy about a photograph of herself in a dress being displayed publicly), M. who is usually a sweet Lolita and brought elements of that aesthetic to an outfit with a broken doll theme, K. who came with masquerade mask and claok and Brian who also came in elegant aristocratic finery. 

Coffin cake by Raven
Raven made me a coffin birthday cake, presents and cards were exchanged, copious amounts of biscuits, Gothic cupcakes and crisps were consumed, much chatting was done and a good time was had by all. I didn't want a large party as I am not socially comfortable in a large group, and I am not the sort to go out for a birthday drinking session, so I was very happy with a tea-and-biscuits gathering of good friends in my apartment, and a lot of fancy outfits. I appreciate any excuse for corsetry - not that I need an excuse!

My party wasn't actually held on the day of my birthday as Raven was working that day, and it didn't seem right to organise a party that my partner couldn't attend. On the evening of my actual birthday, Raven took me out for dinner to a nice restaurant, which was very sweet and generous of him. 

We might be a bunch of theoretically grown-up (mostly) Goths who really ought to know better, but we had too much fun being very silly! If you are how old you feel you are, on some occasions I am about 12! And Raven, who is supposed to be older and more sensible than me is the one making bunny-rabbit ears behind my head in the first photograph. It was nice to have an opportunity for everyone to put on their finery, too, as there are not many such opportunities in the local area - I really must get about organising more tea-parties and meet ups!

Raven and I being vampiric.
That corset does wonders for my bust!
Raven put a lot of effort into getting everything ready, especially the food and the coffin cake. His efforts were much appreciated. I had a wonderful time and I hope my guests enjoyed themselves as much as I did.

All photographs were taken by Shaun - many thanks to him for bringing his camera! Small photographs are thumbnails; clicking on them will let you view them in a scrolling gallery. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

What Does Goth Mean To Me

Goth has been my sanctuary, my bridge connecting me to others, and is something I love being a part of. 

I've already written a post about how I define Goth ::here:: - this isn't about that, this is about how Goth has been a positive influence on my life, and why I love being part of the subculture. I'm posting this today as today is World Goth Day which seems like the perfect day for an article like this. One of my friends on FaceBook asked me this question, and I think it's a really good one, but also one I can answer in quite a bit of depth. Be warned: wordiness ahead!

One thing that is probably obvious is that I am hugely passionate about the Goth subculture and the broader Gothic aesthetic. I run this blog, run one group and participate in several online communities, organise tea parties within the local scene, try to attended every event in a four-hour travel radius (and fail when I need to be in three places at once) and am working on a Secret Gothic Plan (or three) that I will only unveil when complete. I dress Goth every day - even my work clothes have a Goth or Gothic edge even if it's very toned down - and everything from my home decor to my work-out music has been touched by the Gothic aesthetic whether musically or visually or whatnot. I'm currently burning some incense called "Vampire's Blood" so my apartment even smells Gothic! :P  Most of my interests are dark, macabre or somehow tie in with the subculture. I am pretty much a "lifestyle" Goth, down to graveyard picnics and structuring holidays around what ruined castles I can visit.

I don't think this makes me a better Goth than someone that only participates in a few online groups, or only listens to Goth music sometimes, or doesn't get to dress Goth most of the time - just one with more opportunities to express myself, and perhaps a slightly more enthusiastic one. 

Goth means an awful lot to me for a lot of reasons. I am passionate about my subculture because I am driven to give back to an entity to which I feel indebted for how it has bettered and enriched my existence. 

The subculture has been the first group into which I feel I have been accepted. Within the Goth subculture I have found other people with similar interests to me, and people who are very accepting of differences too. I have found people who genuinely understand me. In Goth I have found a group who rather than being freaked out by my "creepy" interests or laughing at my "outdated" tastes in music, or prejudiced against my "occult" spirituality accept these things and actually think such things are interesting too. Other Goths will have actual conversations about the history and social context of vampire mythology or about how the style of architecture termed as "Gothic" is actually an umbrella for quite a few stylistic variances and centuries of building, or even something like whether Patricia Morrison or Siouxsie Sioux had the cooler hair!

For reasons I would rather not go into on my public blog, I have always had trouble with socialising and being "normal" in many ways, and I have my quirks in terms of personality and in terms of how I think and am, and whereas many mainstream people treat me like I am stupid or insane for my innate eccentricities, within the Goth subculture people have been far more accommodating and accepting of how I am different. Within the Goth subculture I have finally felt like I am no longer an outcast - and as someone who was severely bullied and ostracised by their peers through out their school years, that meant a the whole world to me as a teen when I was first getting into the scene.

Spotting another Goth is a good way of spotting someone I will probably have at least one thing in common with beyond simply being in the same place, and while not all Goths have the same interests or compatible personalities, it has been a good way for me to find like-minded individuals, many of whom have become very good friends indeed. I am also not the best at striking up conversations, least of all with strangers, and it has been a blessing in making it easier for me to actually talk to someone, knowing that they probably won't freak out at how I look and probably has a few things in common with. It can't magically improve my social skills, but it does improve my confidence. 

I have made so many good friends within the subculture - I'm sure most of my best friends I met either at Goth events or through just bumping into someone with a similar dress sense and getting chatting. Many of the friends I made at college and school are folk who were good friends while we were studying together, but we left we have drifted apart. I'm still friends with my Goth friends from England even since crossing the border, and some of my Internet-based friendships are across thousands of miles with people I will probably never be able to afford to meet -in Canada, America and Australia- but we're still good friends. 

I also owe meeting Raven in part to my Goth and Gothic interests - one of the things that brought me and Kate B together was a mutual fondness for the dark, creepy and Gothic (even though we initially met through mutual geekdom) and if I had not become friends with her, she would never have introduced me to Raven, who himself is partly Goth (although mostly a Metalhead and Industrial fan - I'm a firm believer that you can be fan of more than one genre at once, and certainly participate in several related subcultures) and I'm sure that sharing a love of the macabre has strengthened our relationship - we go clubbing together, we watch supernatural and Gothic horror movies together, we borrow each others' black nail polish and half the time I'm wearing either one of his coats or something, and he appreciates being given the darkest roses I can find, or a resin skull to decorate his side table, or whatnot. 

Goth is something I got into as a very troubled teen going through a lot of confusing and painful experiences. It gave me a subculture in which I could find sanctuary and acceptance, and helped me forge an outlook on life that sees the beauty in the darkness, and has helped me to see times of suffering as something to learn from and transform into creative out-put rather than as something to overwhelm me. Since then my circumstances have much improved, and like most people, I have come to know myself better and have resolved things like figuring out my sexuality, knowing what I want to do in life, dealing with the complex issues within my family and accepting a lot of who I am. I no longer have the same worries, the same problems with bullying and boarding school, the same problems at home, the same mental health problems, etc. so I don't need that safe haven as much as I once did, but I am glad that it has always been there for me. 

Within Goth it is more acceptable to acknowledge and express the darker emotions, and the response I got was mostly supportive. Certainly there were those who dismissed me as a histrionic teen full of melodramatic angst, but for the most part people were non-judgemental and prepared to listen. People outside the subculture often say that Goth is depressing, but I think it contributed in improving my mental health and making me a generally happier person. I still struggle with depression, and it is probably something that will recur throughout my life, but I am by no means in as dark and horrible mental place as I was as a teenager and have not had any episodes as dark as that in the years between then and now. 

One of the central themes of much Goth and Gothic art is acknowledging the darkness and facing what lies within it rather than running away. I think that attitude, both to my personal problems and to life itself, has really helped me be a more grounded person. Life has its troubles and strife, but trying very hard to push it all away eventually becomes counter-productive, and problems are best solved by facing them. Reality may often suck, but it is the only reality we have, and to best cope with it and to best see its brilliance as well as what it can inflict on us, we have to appreciate it in its entirety. 

Goth also helped me out of that very dark time by showing me replacements to the thoroughly dysfunctional methods I used to try and keep my inner turmoil at bay. The two most prominent things I can think of are almost teenage angsty Goth stereotypes, but I can honestly say they actually helped. 

I learnt to use my (very badly written) poetry as a vent rather than keep things pent up - it was work I would never share, and certainly had little literary merit, but the act of trying to express myself through words and metaphor helped me to better understand my own emotions and think about whatever problem was at hand in a less anxiety producing way. In writing plenty of bad poems, and reading plenty of good ones, I also slowly learnt to write better poetry and to write poetry for more than just to vent emotions. I was not trying to be as dark as possible, or write genre poems, I was just trying to turn the complex mess of emotions and thoughts in my head into something more concrete and understandable, and it worked. 

Much of the music I listened to was very helpful, too, even if that is a complete cliche and even if my first 'dark' bands and music was not actually Goth, just often thought of as Goth by those who do not know it as a musical genre, like Marilyn Manson, Evanescence and Nightwish. It meant something to me that other people felt their own pains and wrote songs about it, rather than hiding it and pretending to be happy, and while those musicians are often dismissed as the stuff for babybats or just plain not part of the subculture, they're part of my history of becoming Goth, and they are something that really helped me get through some tough times, and inspired me to write my own songs - another creative process that helped untangle the chaos. Since then I fell in love with actual Goth, Post-Punk and Darkwave stuff (and a good bit of French Coldwave) as my regular readers will know. 

I believe that my life would have taken a much more negative path out of my teens if I had not become a Goth, and for that I feel hugely grateful that the subculture exists and that all those good people were within it. Goth has also been a useful umbrella for all the interests that draw me in - I am sure I would still love vampires, historical architecture, macabre artwork and suchlike if the music scene of the late '70s and early '80s had not coalesced into the subculture we know today, but the subculture's existence has given me a framework for those interests, and an easy way of finding those that share them. I have discovered so many things that I have come to love through the subculture, and met so many brilliant, accepting and supportive people. Goth changed my life for the better. Yes, humans are inherently variable and my experience has not been a completely good one, but I feel that the overall contribution has been vastly positive. Some people grow out of the subculture, but over the last decade or more I have grown into it, and long may I continue to be part of it. 

World Goth Day website is ::here:: and all the W.G.D. artwork and graphics were produced by DJ Cruel Britannia and are available to share to promote W.G.D on their website. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Motive Behind The Frills

It all started with a question common to many Goths: "Why are you dressed like that?"
That question got me thinking. My stock reply is "because I like it" which is true, but doesn't really go into why I like it and why I chose that sort of fashion in the first place. Usually, when I get asked "why are you dressed like that?" it is when I am wearing one of the more ostentatious and flamboyant variations of Goth fashion, and that got me thinking about why it is that I dress that way. Of course, this is only my personal reasoning and I am sure other Goths (and Lolitas and New Romantics, etc.) have their own reasoning - this is something I'd really love to hear about, actually, so if you have blogged/written about this, please link me to it in the comments, or if this post inspires you to write about why you have chosen your fashion, please have a go and send me a link to the results! 

The picture below is about a year old, but it pretty aptly describes how I often dress. I feel it is important to mention this is by no means how I always dress, though, as I alternate between opulence and practicality depending on mood and task, and that it is important to reinforce that however I am dressed, I am the same person as the clothes are just a shell; they cannot change who I am. (This sentiment is further explored in ::this:: post from last year.)

Photograph by Raven of Chance Photography
(see link in side bar for his website)

It is an outfit channeling an anachronistic aristocratic aesthetic, with ruffles, petticoats, flock and tulle - white stockings echoing the silk stockings of 18th C. gentlemen and my loose flowing silver wig that is simultaneously a nod to the far more ornate up-do wigs of that same century and the very modern platinum blonde hair-pieces/wigs of Lady GaGa. I have decorative corset lacing, and petticoats on a short skirt, and a cane that only occasionally gets used to prop me vertical. It's a nod to the past, but it is also very modern, and very much a playful mix-up of anachronistic elements, many of which are from very different time periods. It fits the mainstream of no period or culture, not even the British present, and yet sits quite well within the broad category of "Romantic Goth". 

In terms of anachronism, I think my clothes aptly describe me in visual form; on the one hand many of my hobbies and skills (such as playing the piano, singing, embroidery, drawing and speaking French) would be considered suitable "accomplishments" for one of the female characters of a Jane Austen characters, but I also associate myself with a Romantic attitude to life, and am equally inspired by the works of Keats, Wordsworth and Clare as I am by the much later works of the Rosettis, Holman-Hunt, Millais and Morris, and to add to that mix that I am very much a modern woman; a Feminist, a believer that I am equal to my male counterparts and that my role in life is that which I choose, not one to be arbitrarily assigned to me on the basis of my sex, and certainly not demure, let alone submissive, and when it comes to sex and sexuality, I'm relatively liberal even by modern standards. My political views may have their roots in the workers' movements of times past, but they address contemporary issues. I have roots in many times, but belong to none, not even conforming to my own present. 

Certainly I dress to reflect my personality, but there's more to it than anachronism. Many of the clothes I wear are seen by society as decidedly feminine in a modern context (even when frilly shirts, wigs, make-up and even heeled shoes were often associated with men in past times), but a lot of my interests, and even a lot of how I think, is seen as tomboyish, and my practical wardrobe involves a bit of cross-dressing as I buy my combat trousers and boots from the men's section, and many of my more traditional Goth accessories such as spiked bracelets are pretty un-gendered. Fashion is my only traditionally feminine interest, and often my clothes are seen as a stark contrast to my personality. 

My practical wardrobe seems to suit a lot of my personality; I'm often seen  stomping about in New Rocks and army boots, hair cut short, spikes on my wrists, combats (cargo pants, to Americans) with their pockets stuffed full of useful bits and bobs, wooly fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm, and turtleneck jumper to keep the rest warm - things that are practical rather than feminine, snug rather than sexy, and with enough pockets to keep all my possessions safe. Certainly, clothes like that suit my lifestyle; throughout the winter I wear a men's coat, an endless supply of neat "office" trousers, and some silver New Rocks that look like studded Dr. Martens to work and most of the rest  of the time. 

I guess the frills are a partly an escape; there is so little room in my working life and practical life for things that can easily get caught, torn, damaged or simply get in the way, so wearing frills on the occasions when I have time to myself helps delineate that time as my own and gives me an opportunity to indulge in all the sorts of clothes that most of the time would just be a hinderance, and I guess that part of the reason I am SO fancy is that it is a reaction to just how plainly practical I am the rest of the time; some of it is a feeling of making up for lost time by trying to cram as much ostentatious fashion as possible into the tine where I can wear it.

On an aesthetic level, I love things with ornate patterns, interesting textures and lots of attention to detail - this shows in my love of everything from Gothic architecture to the Arts and Crafts movement and William Morris creations - it is unsurprising that if given the opportunity, I will apply that sort of aesthetic to myself. I choose richly textured fabrics like velvet, flocked fabrics, lace and chiffon, and intricate damascene and baroque patterns; I layer and contrast pieces and accessories to build up what is quite a complex arrangement by the time I am finished, but the monochrome colour-scheme of almost all black allows me to have great complexity without it becoming visually busy. 

I also love things that relate to the macabre and various horror archetypes (one of the many reasons why I'm part of the Goth subculture) so, again, it is unsurprising that I choose to apply that to my fashion choices - I consciously draw inspiration from the aesthetic of the evil witches, vampires, dark queens and spooky women of horror and fantasy - I never directly copy, though, as that would not be a representation of me, but a form of cosplay. I am not dressing up, I am just mining the aesthetic and its symbolism. All of the characters that draw me in are complex, dark and powerful, and I think the Gothic has a rich supply of interesting and powerful women, both in Gothic literature and fantasy and in the subculture itself - it's a subculture that draws in a lot of strong women. The Gothic allows for an aesthetic that is feminine yet powerful within the constraints of modern western society. 

I accept that there's something inherently a bit pretentious in dressing like something from a vampire movie, but it is not a case of pretending to be anyone (or anything) other than who I am. It is very much a reflection of who I am in a more genuine sense than any mundane clothes clothes could ever be because mundane clothes just do not reflect my personality, aesthetic, or connection to the Gothic subculture and my many historical influences. Yes, it sets me apart visually from the mainstream, but as so much of interests and way of viewing the world diverge from the mainstream anyway, at least this way I am visible to those who share at least an aesthetic with me. In some ways, as looking weird means that when people notice that I am eccentric it is accepted as what is expected form someone that looks like me rather than being more jarring and unnerving when it comes from someone that looks relatively normal. 

An interesting question would be "How do you feel when dressed like that?"

When I am clad in my ruffles and lace, I feel confident. My tightly-bound corsets feel like armour in the face of life. I feel powerful, I feel beautiful, I feel like I can take on the world. I feel like I am dressed like a queen or, on the fanciest days, an empress and can carry that feeling of regality with me into the world. It's not a secondary persona, but it is an extra boost when facing a world that can often seem hostile; after all, even the most fearsome warrior maiden does not begrudge good armour.

A lot of newer Goth and newer Lolitas struggle with garnering the confidence to be seen in public in such obviously different clothes, and plenty of bloggers have addressed the issue of gaining that confidence (including myself ::here::). This leads me to believe that the common assumption that Goths (and other visibly alternative folk) dress for attention is in most cases false. We accept that being different means we will get attention, but for many of us this is something we struggle with, not welcome. I personally feel much happier in the company of lots more equally fancy and alternative people than I do standing out from the crowd, even if I feel quite a bit more confident for my attire. If I had to be obviously different in clothes that didn't make me feel like my Romantic Goth attire does, I would be incredibly self-conscious, more than a little embarrassed and probably hide. 

As dressing the way I do is my just my clothes, rather than a costume, I feel pretty natural and comfortable in even very unusual clothes, to the point where I sometimes forget what it must be like coming across me at what seems like random for somebody that is not part of the subculture at all and has very little contact with such eccentric looking people, and so when I get many of the more direct responses I look at it with bemusement - such as when people stare or start asking lots of questions, complimenting me or want my photograph. I keep forgetting to them I look like I just walked out of a play or a convention and I am something of a curiosity. It makes me a bit uncomfortable - I'd often rather be left alone - but I accept that it will happen and try my best to answer questions politely and take compliments gracefully. 

✯♕✯
For those that are interested in what I am wearing in the photograph, this is the outfit rundown:
Mini-hat: offbrand, from a fancy dress shop with cameo glued on by me;
Wig: offbrand from eBay ♛ Ruffled satin blouse: Zanzea ♛ High-waisted skirt: Banned, White stockings: offbrand ♛ Ruffled socks: Claire's ♛ Boots: Rogerson's, Gloves: Claire's ♛ Cane: offbrand, a gift!
I bought the skirt by Banned from Kate's Gothic Clothing. Banned's sizes tend to run small, so their M was more like an S. The cane was a Christmas/Solstice present from Raven. I was wearing ruffled socks because I don't find the boots very comfortable on my calves without thick tights or socks, and those weren't very high denier. 
✯♕✯
Anyone with any comments, or their own discussion of why they wear what they do, I'd really like to hear from you, so please comment below. Thank-you!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Link Exchange with Kate's Gothic Clothing

My side-bar has a new addition - a link to ::Kate's Gothic Clothing::. I was approached to take part in a link exchange, and decided to take part. I actually shop online at Kate's, and I have had a pretty positive  experience with them. They are an online Gothic supermarket stocking the main brands of clothes, accessories and hair-products. Their prices are on the whole pretty competitive, they often run good offers and they have a very wide variety of stock. I can genuinely recommend them. I've had no problems with orders, no mix-ups and pretty prompt delivery. I'm not the sort to recommend or link to anyone I haven't tried and tested myself. As this is a link exchange I do benefit in terms of traffic, but as this site is totally non-commercial in that I don't make any money from advertisements, nor do I get affiliate money from Kate's Gothic Clothing or any other site, I am not in anyway benefiting in terms of money from this exchange, and I'm not getting any vouchers, free items, or discount either. I'm recommending them because I've shopped there and found them to be reliable and trust-worthy and a good place to order a variety of things at once without having to pay for shipping from a variety of suppliers. They're based in the UK, but they ship internationally. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

"Is that your REAL hair?"

Probably. 
Probably not.  How do you define real?

This is a question that I'm pretty sure that most people with hair out of the ordinary get this question at least once. From what I hear, people with natural hair different from the majority around them get this problem too. I get it quite a bit, partly because I do actually wear wigs quite a bit, and because I currently have emerald green hair. 

I have worn my hair as my natural hair, un-dyed and only marginally styled. Sometimes I have dyed and heavily styled real hair. Sometimes I have hair-extensions, so some of my hair is my own hair and some of it is synthetic or someone else's. Sometimes - quite often, actually - I wear a wig. I can totally understand the curiosity behind this, because often my hair is rather elaborate, unnaturally or unusually coloured or styled, and tell-tale signs like the hair-line and crown and such can be disguised by whatever ornaments and head-dresses I might have in my hair.

I personally feel that "Is that your REAL hair" is usually an appropriate question to ask if you are approaching out of genuine curiosity, not a mentality of "let us examine the freak-show"; the latter is something I find to be hugely judgemental and very rude. I know some people find these sorts of questions a bit rude in that they feel that it is not any of the asker's business, especially (but not only) those who want their unnatural hair to pass as natural hair. Personally, I quite like displaying the artifice of my outfits and styling because I'm proud of the skill and creativity that I have put it into it. 

If I am wearing a wig, and say so, please don't be offended if you ask to see my real hair and decline. I might be wearing a wig because I'm having a bad hair day, I might think my real hair does not match my outfit, or I might just not want to go through the fuss of putting my wig back on because taking it on and off properly means taking off my hair-ornaments, wig, wig-cap and and unpinning my real hair, and putting it back on means re-doing all of that and quite probably re-styling the wig and ornaments. While I understand the curiosity, I feel that it is perfectly within my rights to just not want to show it.

Please do not touch my hair, or anyone else's without asking - this so very rude! I cannot see why anyone would find it appropriate to touch a stranger without asking. Quite a few people will probably say that you can't touch their hair, but some of us are OK with it. I will let friends and acquaintances touch or poke my clothes, textured nails or hair, but even then I am not very keen on people that aren't Raven, my sister, or my hair-dresser/manicurist touching me. Some of the more extroverted people may well allow you to touch their hair.

Someone has actually cut off a thick lock of my silver wig while I was on a bus. I was very angry indeed about this, as they just damaged my property. First of all, good quality wigs with nice soft fibres - either human or quality synthetic fibres - are rather expensive. Secondly, it was a substantial enough amount to show the wig-cap underneath, and I have had to sew in more wefts of hair to try and patch the gap - which has cost my money for the replacement hair and time spent sewing. Most of all, though, SOMEONE HAD SCISSORS OR A SHARP IMPLEMENT NEAR MY HEAD ON MOVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, but I didn't even know about it until I got home and took off my wig and saw the damage. 

Questions such as "how do you get your hair like that!" or "what kind of dyes do you use" are perfectly acceptable questions, as they are for the most part genuine interest (and the person asking might be wanting to do their hair like that themselves) and as such, if I have the time, and am not hugely in a hurry, I will usually explain.

For the most part, while I do sometimes feel that I am not there to satisfy someone's idle curiosity, at least I am interesting enough to spark it, and while I do not revel in the attention that I get, and often do wish that I didn't garner quite so much of it, I accept that as someone out of the ordinary, people will notice and will ask questions. Human curiosity is a good thing, and answering questions (carefully) helps foster understanding - I would much rather field the questions of the idly curious than the insults of the idly judgemental.