Thursday, 24 March 2011

Weekenders and tourists

The question I have been asked most frequently by both readers of this site and people I meet in everyday life is, "Do you dress like this all the time?"

The short answer is, well, yes I do. Not always in the same style or subset, and yes, I have days when all I can be bothered to do is pull on jeans and a band tee, but Goth fashion is a part of my life 24/7. Yes, even my PJs (I have many pairs of Gothy PJs. In fact, I am typing this whilst wearing a black PJ top with leopard print bottoms, and my black fluffy dressing gown). Obviously the dressier outfits that I am fond of don't lend themselves well to every occasion - when I play badminton at the gym on Mondays, I wear loose black tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt (usually black).

When one has body mods, permanent hair dye, and has spent a lot of time and money amassing a spooky wardrobe, Goth tends not to be something you can wash off when you get back from the party.

For many darklings, Goth is not just a music genre and their personal aesthetic, but something bordering on a lifestyle. Some enjoy finding ways to apply their preferred dark aesthetic to as many areas of their life as possible - for example decorating their desk, office or locker; home decor; their car (many Goths aspire to drive a hearse or PT Cruiser - personally I want a little purple car with black fluffy seat covers and skull'n'crossbone decals in black. I can't drive yet, but I've already bought a 'powered by fairy dust' steering wheel cover...); their garden... some may even buy toiletries with spooky-sounding fragrances like 'night violet' and 'midnight blossom'. 

Source: Tumblr
Of course, even if you are one of these types who likes to involve Goth in as much of their life as they can (and certainly not ALL Goths do; for some, the music and fashion is enough), not everyone is uber-dark and uber-spooky all of the time. Everyone has something a little bit un-Goth about them. For example, my guilty music pleasures include *deep breath* Ashlee Simpson and Katy Perry. There, I said it...

At the other end of the spectrum, we have those known as 'weekenders' and those we call 'tourists'. I have spoken before about scene tourists and their potential to drive a Goth night into the ground (click here if you missed it). A Goth club tourist, basically, is a non-Goth - furthermore, someone who has no interest in Goth music, fashion or culture and would die laughing if you ever suggested they actually 'became' Goth - who frequents Goth nights and other Goth events.

Why would someone with no interest in Goth attend a Goth club? To admire or to mock the attire of the patrons; to experience something 'different' and 'edgy'; to feel as though they are dark and dangerous by attending a club filled with potential kinky devil-worshippers; or, most often, to get laid. Because, as everyone knows, people who like to wear fishnets and PVC must be easy. *rolls eyes*

Opinions amongst Goths regarding scene tourists are greatly varied; their club attendance brings the money in, which is likely to mean more events and club nights. Then again, tripping over Miss All-America and her clones out hunting for sexy Goth guys with tattoos in 'interesting places', wearing pastel-coloured T-shirts and flip-flops (if you can't see through the smoke machine, listen out for that crunching sound when your New Rocks connect with bare toes), every time you turn round doesn't do much for the ambience.

Plus, no Gothy girl or guy greatly enjoys being bothered by the drunken mundie slurring, "Nice costume! Your coffin or mine?" in their ear whilst pawing indelicately at an antique lace sleeve. When the club is the place you go to get away from the people incessantly asking, "So, do you drink blood/sacrifice chickens/worship the devil?" then the last thing you want is those people on the inside.

(If you are a non-Goth who has trawled this far through my ramblings, then fear not - there ARE good reasons why a friendly non-Goth such as yourself might attend a Goth event.
  • Keeping a friend company
  • Taking one's Gothy other half on a night out
  • Because you think you might like to take part in the Goth scene
  • Because you like the music
Any reason involving the words 'handcuffs' or 'vampire chicks' is NOT a good reason. And please, please try to blend in - for the love of God, wear something black.)

How about weekenders? Well, weekenders fall into two categories - the first kind of weekender is basically a scene tourist clad in black. They're not Goth; they don't want to be Goth; they just want to dress up like vampires and try to pull some freaks at the freak club. These kinds are generally NOT welcomed; Goths do not appreciate having their beloved scene used as 'edgy' entertainment by people who think they're kinky weirdos.

Then, there are those who are Goth or would like to be Goth, but are unable or uninclined to indulge their love of dark fashion in everyday life (usually due to work, school or a disapproving family) and so only dress in Gothwear for Goth events, or on weekends (hence name). This type of weekender is usually welcomed, but may be greeted with mild disdain from the occasional ubergoth; Glass from AstroVamps says, "Incorporate your style into everything you do. Even if you work at Ralph's, be sure to get away with as much as you can during the week. I can spot a weekend warrior out at a club with my back turned. Live the life, everyday."

EDIT: Dressing casually during the week is, obviously, sometimes a necessity. Someone who usually dresses in simple Goth fashions (e.g. black jeans, band T-shirts, boots and a blazer or leather jacket) as opposed to petticoats, corsets, miles of bustle and a top hat is not a weekender as not everyone has the kind of lifestyle where they can be All Gothic All The Time. "Incorporating your style into everything you do" does not mean that you need to wear six-inch platforms and a cape 24/7. Dressing in CASUAL Goth or alternative fashion from day-to-day does not make you a weekender, poseur or wannabe.


MissGracie said...

Great post Amy! I went to a small club one time and I do remember seeing some very normal looking people there. But they seemed nice, and I think they knew some of the people there.

I have met a couple of people here that only dress up for events. It gets me a little miffed, I'll admit it. I realize that some people are unable to to dress the way they want 24/7, but they should at least avoid running around in blue jeans and sweatshirts.

Then there are those people that kind of want to dress Goth, but don't really know how to, so they have like one not-so-great 'Goth' outfit that they are really proud of.

Julietslace said...

It really bothers me that some people get picky that I only dress properly gothic at the weekend, but there's no way I'm ruining anymore clothes in art college. I just stick to casual, without sounding cheesy I know I'm still a part of the subculture even if I am just wearing skinny jeans and a band tee.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Miss Gracie - thanks, and I agree totally, especially that last sentence about the one not-so-hot outfit...

@ JulietsLace - I think there's a difference between 'casual Goth' during the week and 'not Goth or alternative at all' during the week; not everyone has the kind of lifestyle where they can be OTT all the time and I think that's a world apart from those who wouldn't dream of wearing black outside of the Goth club.

Anonymous said...

I love this article! It seems like there's always a little group of people or a couple at the club who don't belong there. and I'm not talking about those who are with a goth friend, or looking to join in. I feel like I'm on Sesame Street playing "one of these things is not like the other..." I generally ignore them.
I have a good friend who is just getting into goth and when I first took her to the local goth night I told her that as long as she wore black she would fit in, as she was worried about standing out or looking like a poseur. I think it's nice when people are looking to join in and I hope they feel welcomed.

Pixie said...

I started following your blog recently and I really enjoy it. This was a lovely post.

I am not goth and never have been, but I did have friends pretty devoted to it in high school. I used to hate the stereotypes people had about them. I have always been very colorful in my wardrobe and they never judged me, which made me loathe with people would judge them.

I also went through a period where I dyed my hair black and people assumed I was goth or a suicide girl. Yes, I am pale, but I have a few tattoos and sun makes them fade. I wore very pastel pink (and still do because of then). Black hair isn't what makes someone "goth" and it drives me crazy that people seem to have such little of an understanding about it.

I can only imagine the questions you must get from time to time.

VictorianKitty said...

Excellent post. Thank you for defending the Goth clubs as places where we go to fit in, not to be mocked and laughed at. There's an UBER-popular "Goth" club in Hollywood that used so be SO cool, until it became cool for the frat boy type to come and hit on (or laugh at) the Goth girls. Last time I went, there were more normal people than Goths. And some jerk actually had the nerve to tell me "You did a good job" after I danced to a song. As if I was some kind of performer who was just there to entertain him!

I don't mind at all if curious people want to come check the scene out, even if they have no intention of ever becoming Goth. I don't mind if they want to quietly people-watch (without ogling). But they need to TRY to blend in a bit (wear black) and they need to keep their mouths shut around strangers until they learn how to communicate with people who are "different" from them in a way that will be interpreted as respectful.

And normal guys need to realize that if a Goth girl wanted to be hit on by a normal guy, she wouldn't be at a Goth club!!! :)

Sophistique Noir - Dark, Elegant Fashion

MissSpastic said...

So, I have lots of goth friends, and sometimes I like to dress on the goth side, but most of the time I'm in all pastels and neon colors. Of course, I don't look like a "mundane" at all, I have neon orange hair and I get stared at on the streets frequently for what I'm wearing. I'm just more influenced by Japanese fashion than Western Goth fashion. I love industrial music and get along well with people that go to goth clubs though. Are you saying that if I were to go to a Goth club in what I normally wear (anything ranging from a pastel version of cyber goth, to less-neony raver styles, to fairy kei) that I'd be snarked at unless I slap on a bunch of black clothes? I feel like most of the clothes I wear have the classic Goth silouette, just in different colors. That doesn't seem like a very welcoming atmosphere to me .-.

Emily Lynn G. said...

@MissSpastic If I may;There is certainly A LOT of Goth love for cyber goth(duh:) and kei fashions in the goth community. :) Your outfits sound better then mine! I think miss Amy has done several posts on the fact that you don't need to be completely black clad to go to the clubs. But a *little* black is safer, even if its just would contrast cute anyway!<3

I've always been afraid to go to a Goth club..I wouldn't look as nice. (yes I'm so insecure lol)

daisy.fiend said...

My boyfriend(Non-goth, but likes the music) or one of my "normal" friends will tag along with me to a event. The only truble i'v gotten in when some black clad guy was trying to feel me up. **Shivers**
But it DOES bug me when Non-goths will go to events just to make the people who PAID good money for there cloths, make-up, and tickets feel arkward. But for me it's not really a big deal if a "Normie" will go to a event if there not annoying anyone, and it helps if they AT LEAST try to dress the part.

Kaitlyn said...

Ew, wow I had no idea people went to goth clubs thinking that! Not that I've ever been to one >>. I mean I'm not full on goth,the most goth I usually get anymore is gothic lolita(it's prety rare I wear full on goth anymore :[)! I love your blog btw!

Old Young Goth said...

I haven't really had an encounter or problem with these trourist lot however, to me they simply sound like Baby Bats (Mansonites, NINies whatever flag they come under).
Or just Chavs with a secret Goth Fetish.
Anyone been to the Slimelight in Angle Islington London?
There was once one of those (Chavs who seek out a fun "easy" night with one of those "easy" Goth girlies) who attended one night. The story goes, he tried hitting on a taken girl (repeatedly) and when her partner stepped in and intervened it somehow ended up with the Girly victim chewing his ear (which was no longer attached to his head). However good came from it as now the bouncers are alot more strict on the fashion of those who wish to enter.

Shiken said...

Am I supposed to introduce myself or something? This site uses odd technology. Oh I formerly used the name Old Young Goth, until like five to ten seconds ago.

ultimategothguide said...

@ MissSpastic - sorry. Perhaps what I meant would be better phrased as 'unless you have a decent grasp of alternative fashion, for the love of God at least wear something black'.

@ Shiken/Old Young Goth - um, that ear story is a little... disturbing. Thanks for sharing... :-/

@ Kaitlyn - thank you ^^

@ VictorianKitty and Daisy.Fiend - I agree COMPLETELY.

Laurel (as in the belljar Laurels) said...

I hate PT Cruisers, they look terrible compared to real vintage. I own an MG Y type btw.

Odd question, but I once read the assertion that girls who would look very plain in traditional fashion tend to look stunning as goths because it is all in the "packaging". I would like to hear an opinion on that quote! Also do you think that could apply beyond the goth spectrum. Would I be plain if I ditched vintage? What about the personality beyond the clothes? If you've already covered personality beyond fashion and I am having a blind moment Amy, feel free to point me to the post :) If not than maybe a future post?

Yes, I just commented to snub the goth car choice and talk about packaging. So shoot me :P

ultimategothguide said...

@ Laurel - meh, snub away, I can take it. XP

Interesting thought and one I had not really considered... I will mull it over for a while and see if I can post something sensible on this topic. Thanks much ^^

Laurel said...

@Amy :P

I dug this up a while ago and that sort of contributed to my ponderings on it:!%5D

Probably most striking is kiki kannibal- I would not have given her a second look in her before picture. Yet she is definitely eyecatching in the second (even if you are not a scene fan, I don't think you would deny she gets positive attention that way). I wonder if there are many goths who would be willing to share their before/after photos- especially those that came later to the scene. Not just the mallgoth photos either.

Another aspect of it could be self-confience. We hold ourselves differently, we have pride in how we look and all those make a big difference how the others see us. I occassionally wonder how people like Amelia Arsenic would look in what's hot now. Without their own take on it, exactly as it pops up out of your standard teen magazine.

If you do decide to write on the topic I look forward to reading it! But then I love reading everything you write so no big deal if you decide against :)

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