This post covers some of the ins-and-outs (oo-er, Matron) of Gothy relationships; mostly useful, perhaps, from a non-Goth's perspective. I'm going to cover some of my least favourite rumours about Goths and dating; some tips for those of you who would like to know how to go about wooing a Goth (what a great word, 'woo'...), and a few helpful links and videos (I'm THAT good to you). Handy disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this page does talk about sex, albeit in a relatively vague and polite manner, and so may not be suitable for much younger readers. Or my parents (hi Mum, Dad *waves*).
Goths don't date.
Yes, they do. If they want to. Just like anyone else. Newsflash: Goths are people. Ergo, they behave like people. Really.
Goths only date other Goths.
Fair enough, there are some Goths who don't choose to date outside the scene. This can be for myriad reasons - they may not feel 'understood' by non-subcultural types; they may feel they have little in common with non-Goths; they may enjoy dressing up in dashing black attire and hitting the spooky clubs with their significant other.
But around 80% of Goths (according, that it, to a poll I saw online - perhaps not, therefore, the MOST accurate of statistics, but sounds close enough judging from personal experience, people I've talked to and what I've seen 'in the scene') are not hugely bothered by whether their significant other is Goth or not. Many, many Goths are in happy relationships with non-Goths. I had a six-year relationship with a lovely chap who was definitely not Goth at all.
All Goths are up for it.
Some are, some aren't. If you wander into a Goth club and start sleazing over and groping random people, you will most likely get kicked out, just as you would in any other club if your behaviour was inappropriate. I'm sure you are perfectly able to tell when someone is not interested in your advances and know how to behave accordingly, i.e. back off, buster.
Don't assume that any Goth is easy, and please bear the following statement firmly in mind when visiting a Goth club, concert or festival, no matter how pretty or revealing the clothing: "The Goth is not for touching."
All Goths are kinky
I'm pretty sure you will have already learned that what is true for one person may not be true for another. Yes, this applies to Goths as well.
Because of the crossover between the Goth scene and the BDSM scene, many people assume that Goths are up for anything. This is a bit like suggesting that everyone who owns a pair of Ugg boots prefers the same sexual position. Belonging to the subculture does not mean favouring the same sexual preferences - everyone is different.
Many Goths dress in fetish or BDSM-inspired styles for a night out at the club (for example: PVC dresses, spiked collars, wrist shackles, 'dominatrix' boots, stockings and suspenders). Because a Goth club is primarily a place to dance, listen to music, see and be seen, rather than to hook up (unless it's a speed-dating night, OBVIOUSLY), this is considered a fashion statement rather than an advertisement of one's preferences, and therefore not an indicator that the person wishes to be touched or engage in certain activities. Because of the lack of discrimination and judgement in the Goth subculture, both men and women feel able to wear whatever they like without assumptions being made about them.
Of course, at a fetish night or in the bedroom, these clothes may mean something different, but that's a whole other story and not one I particularly intend to cover in a blog post. Basically, just because someone is wearing a spiky collar and skintight PVC to a Goth club does not mean she's into S&M.
NOTE: as pointed out by a commentor, just because a club is primarily a place to dance rather than to hook up DOES NOT MEAN that hooking up doesn't happen. Occasionally in public. However, I feel that this is something true for all boozy nightclubs and not just the ones with the fog machines. Goths just seem to drink more cider and thereby suffer worse hangovers (my tip - toffee apple cider, the ultimate perkygoth drink).
Goths drink each other's blood during sex
Because of the links between Goth and the 'vampyre' subculture/lifestyle (more coming soon on this), it is often assumed that Goths indulge in blood play (cutting each other or drinking each other's blood during sex). (Note: this is the age of AIDS, kids. Blood-drinking = not your best idea.) Because of Goth's open-mindedness (yes, that again), there is a general consensus that 'what takes place between consenting adults stays between said adults', but since most Goths (and most vampyres, come to that...) a) do not believe they are vampires, b) do not have any particular affinity for blood (I have a tendency to faint if someone gets a nosebleed in my general vicinity), and c) do not like the idea of or take part in cutting themselves or other people, I would draw the conclusion that this is very unlikely in 99% of cases.
Yes, I really like brackets.
Lately, I have also seen many articles on WikiHow with titles such as "How to get a Goth guy to like you (even if you're not Gothic)" and "How to win the heart of a Goth girl". I would guess (or should that be 'hope'?) that many of these are written tongue-in-cheek or from personal experience, making them about an even mix of amusing and sweet. However, I would like to point out that 'winning the heart' of your 'dark love' is really not all that different than wooing a 'normal' girl or guy. A big bouquet and a box of chocolates is still an acceptable gift (although the flowers don't necessarily have to be alive). Asking someone out for coffee or to the cinema is still perfectly reasonable. It doesn't have to be all graveyard picnics and bouquets of carnivorous plants (although many Goths would appreciate either of the above).
Some tips from these articles that I did like were the following:
"Know what Goth is. Try to read up a bit on what goth is, using good sources. Wikipedia is always a good place to start, but it might help to look at some sites that were made for Goths as well. Explore the scene and see if you can find something more that you like about it than the pretty women." I certainly don't think that you should 'become Goth' to attract a mate, but if you're assuming that your beloved is into devil worship and blood sacrifice, you'll probably get off on the wrong foot.
"Learn about her interests and hobbies. Just because she is goth does not in any way limit her to only do goth stuff. You might find that you have a lot more in common than you first thought!" This is very true. Goths don't only do things that make them seem oh-so-spooky and full of darkness. For example, I play badminton with my Dad. Every Monday. (But yes, my sportswear is all black...) Also, I have read The Devil Wears Prada at least three times.
"Treat her like you would any other girl, you'll find that she's probably not very different."
To sum up, approach a Goth the same way you would any other possible romantic interest. However, it can be nice to give a gentle nod to your beloved's subcultural inclinations - it shows that you're not worried or made uncomfortable by the fact your loved one is Goth and reassures them that they would not be expected to 'change' to have a possible relationship with you. (Teenage Gothlings often worry they will not be attractive to 'normal' members of the opposite sex - or the same sex, whichever floats your pirate ship - because of their dark attire. Older Goths feel that they will be expected to 'hurry up and grow out of it'. Showing that you respect them as they are is likely to earn you many, many brownie points.)
So whilst you don't need to impress your loved one by reciting poetry by candlelight, taking her to the funeral home or sending her bunches of dead roses, and you definitely should not change yourself (put down that black hair dye, right now...), some of your gifts or dates could be a little more spooky.
A gothic necklace (NOT Halloween jewellery, it can be tacky and is likely to fall apart)
A heart-shaped box filled with Halloween sweets
A bunch of deep red roses
A book of dark poetry
A mix CD of dark/Goth music
A handmade bracelet
...use your imagination.
Cemetery picnics. Cliche, but sweet.
A concert - make sure it is a band that you BOTH enjoy.
The cinema (works for everyone).
If your town has a small, little-known, out-of-the-way coffee shop (every town seems to have one of these, I think it's a rule), go there. Double points if it doubles as an art gallery or bookstore.
Some links you might also find useful are the following (hint: some of these links are NOT serious articles):
Gothic chat-up lines
How to attract Goth chicks
Of Goths dating non-Goths
More on Goths/non-Goths
How to attract a Goth girl (a video by eHow Education)
Listening to: Join Me in Death - HIM