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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Positive experiences and unexpected compliments

This week I received a lovely e-mail from Kassandra, who said, "I have seen the many entries regarding the bullying, incidents, discrimination and attacks of "normal" people to members of the Goth community.  And something happened to me yesterday; something entirely different from this kind of thing.  I was leaving a cafĂ© where I had just a cup of tea, and upon saying goodbye to the waiters, one of them said to me with a smile: "I wonder what has happened in Heaven for angels to be wearing black".  I was wearing a long black lace skirt, a black wool turtleneck (it was cold!), a red and black corset, and a long black coat.  I was very surprised by the lovely and unusual compliment (I obviously thanked him profusely), and then I thought: "Certainly I cannot be the only one that gets compliments from people outside of the community". 

"And I thought it could be nice to write about good moments that Goths may have had with non-Goths, such as this one.  Maybe you could talk about something good that happened to you, or maybe ask feedback from your readers...

"I think that Jillian Venters is right about being polite and gracious; a smile can have a powerful effect on people.  Of all the incidents I have had regarding my attire, I have only been once shouted "Halloween is over!".  The rest have been people talking to me about my pretty outfit, an unusual hat, or where did I get that jewelry? (I am a Victorian/Romantigoth almost in my forties, by the way).""

Kassandra, by the way, also has a blog which you can find here.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl
I thought this was an absolutely wonderful idea for a post; and quite timely, as today I had an experience of my own which made me smile. A regular customer at work teasingly called me 'the lady in black'. A friend and co-worker who was within earshot wasn't aware that I half-knew the chap and immediately sprang to my defense with the retort, "Black or not, she always looks gorgeous!" Perhaps it's a silly thing but I always feel a little bit touched when people who wouldn't choose this lifestyle or manner of dress for themselves stick up for and support those who do. :-)

After reading Kassandra's e-mail I enjoyed thinking over my own positive experiences and I hope you don't mind me sharing a few with you!
  • When walking with friends, a little girl came up to me and shyly told me that she liked my shoes. The shoes in question were a pair of New Rocks decorated with flaming skulls, chains, and spikes!
  • The same boots sparked off the following comment from an old lady in the theatre, "Are those Gothic boots? Good for you! I wish I'd done all that when I was younger!"
  • Recently I was stopped by a lady in the supermarket who wanted to tell me how 'beautiful and striking' my outfit was.
  • I love it when friends and co-workers tell me that they 'look forward' to seeing what I'll be wearing when we see each other.
  • Random photo ops! I know some people find this annoying after a while but the novelty hasn't worn off for me yet - I have had people ask me to step outside at work to take a quick photo ('because you look so fashionable') and been stopped at a train station in London by a photography student who needed a picture of someone 'unusual'. I just wish I had copies of the photos! >.<
So, what about you guys? What have been your favourite compliments, most unexpected positive remarks and other generally uplifting experiences from those outside the alternative community? Do share!

35 comments:

TropigothMama said...

I often have small children tell me they like my purple hair and ask if it is my favorite color :)

kakuidori said...

good things happen quite often, too - when i go for buying food i often see the same people. one old lady came up to me asking why not all younger girls style up every day because whenever shed see me i would be dressed pretty, taking care of my makeup and hair (wheee such warm words <3) but usually it really are the small children or really old women that say these nice things...

Luna Valentine said...

I get a lot more compliments than I do questions or insults. In fact, I can still count those insults on one hand. Most places I go, people will stop me (everyone from teenagers to children to middle-aged women to old men) and tell me how much they love my bright blue hair or how "sharp" a dresser I am or how they think my whole look is incredibly well-thought. Maybe I just live in an area where people are less judgmental (though I doubt that), but I think my attitude and the way I carry myself makes the difference: being confident and owning yourself and your aesthetic is attractive regardless of your style or subculture. If you're nervous or aggressive or apologetic, anything you wear seems like a costume and people will be less receptive to it.

Mira said...

I occasionally have to say "It isn't a costume, I just dress like this" when in neo-victorian garb, but one day my Shakespeare professor stopped me and said "I always love to see you because you wear such interesting things!" Made my day.

Mira said...

I remember when I was working on a kindergarten (I had pink hair then) and children just loved that! Girls wanted my hair and asked often was that my real colour and told how beautifull I looked with my hair and lipstick :) My bf's friend has now a 4-year old girl who said couple weeks ago that I look just like Lisbeth Salander (from swedish movie Men who hate women)and I was so happy about that. I also won "best product" -serie on a small company competition with my horror inspired products and one old man who wasn't so into "goth" things came to me after that and told that he believes in me. That was pretty amazing. these are just some examples, people can be very nice :)

zePencil Pirate said...

I find that when I get super-nice compliments it's usually from older people. ^^ Everybody at my church (which is primarily made up of elderly people) always tell me how elegant I look. My equally gothy sister and I were out tromping around one day and some middle-aged guy stopped us and told us how awesome we were. I also get a lot of random "I like your boots" comments. Then of course, I get stopped and asked if I watch NCIS, and then told how much I look like Abby Scuito and how much they love Abby...I look nothing LIKE Abby, but it's not a negative comment, at least. xD

Nightwind said...

All of this just goes to prove what I've always known; Goth women are beautiful!

Phells said...

I agree that compliments come most often from children or older people. Perhaps because children haven't yet realized the importance some people place on ''looking normal'' and others, after a certain age, realize how silly the placed importance is.
Over all, although I get more stares/glares than compliments, I get more compliments than insults. Then again I've also had a group of girls burst out in hysterical screaming and laughter at my boots...wonder what that means...

Jessie Aaker said...

I have a color split hair style (one half being dark brown and the other a deep blonde) and many people compliment me on it. And recently one of my college prof. (a little old lady) complimented me on how "cute" my dress was. The dress in question was black with a skeleton bones on it!

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

Mine is little girls, middle-aged women and elderly women. "Mummy is she a princess?" "Mummy is that Mary Queen of Scots?" (lolwatokay) "Mummy she;s so pretty!" "Oh my god you look awesome! *nudge young teenage daughter* see I told you you could dress like that if you want, screw what your father thinks!" "Oh you're so teeny! *waistline poke!*" (yeah what?) and the elderly women nudging their husbands and saying, "Oh, my mother and grandmother used to dress like that!" and "I remember when my waist was like that!" but old women FEEL UP MY WAIST LINE. YEAH. WHAT?

The compliments fair outweigh the insults. Also does wonders for your ego. My advice is to always carry sweets around to give to little kids on the train. I used to do it all the time.

Orlando said...

... one of them said to me with a smile: "I wonder what has happened in Heaven for angels to be wearing black"

Oh you silver tongued devil you!

Cupcake.on.Crack said...

It was once said I looked like a candycane.... Which wasn't exactly what i was going for but i guess it was sweet and it just stuck with me.

:)

Marmalade Marionette said...

I know this is a bit obvious, but I think that's a good sign that goths are starting to be understood by some "non-goths". As you've mentioned Jillian Venters's advice, politeness is definitely the key.

Amy Asphodel said...

Kitty - if I carried sweets around I would just eat them. I generally have at least one lollipop about my person but it's for my own personal use (oo-er).

suspiria said...

Kids are great. :) My own 3 year old daughter often says 'Mummy you look like a princess'. The driver of a bus I've caught a couple of times has said to me 'It's lovely to see a lady making an effort with her appearance, you look very elegant'. :)

Anonymous said...

My look is quite neutral these days so I don't get a great deal of comments on it in the first place, but I have had some very nice compliments from people.
I sometimes get non-goth girls stopping me in the street to ask what brands of eyeshadow, nail polish and hair dye I use.
Most of the compliments I get are about my hair, which is waist-length, quite a bright red and naturally very wavy. On two occasions I've had people stop me just so they could take photos of my hair.

Jo said...

Once, a boy my age who was walking past me stopped to tell me, "Smile because you're beautiful." I was wearing a black babydoll dress with eyeliner and my sparkly purple bat-wings headband.

On another occasion, I was wearing my Louise Black anatomical skeleton corset, fingerless skeleton gloves, a frilly black skirt, a leather jacket and a skull-and-hearts scarf (I can be seen wearing the scarf in this post http://jowu-timeispoisoned.blogspot.com/2012/02/modeling-digression-laquel-wright.html). I was waiting in front of a coffeeshop for a friend when a banker who graduated from my college parked in front of me, got out of his car, and started chatting with me and asked me for my contact info. He and I ended up going out on a lovely date a month later.

V said...

Aw that waiter's comment was really sweet! I do get the odd comment such as ''I like your boots, hair'' etc.
:)

Mjolnir said...

I also get a large amount of compliments for my bright purple hair. :] That waitress' comment has to be the best I've ever heard~

Phoe said...

Sadly I've had more insults than compliments, although the few good incidents made me smile. The best one happened about a year ago.

Bit of backstory: My mum owns a gift/card/balloon/crafts/everything shop, and does balloon decorations for weddings and events, etc. A local clothes shop in the same street was holding a charity fashion show for a little boy with cancer, and since my mum did all the decorations, we got free invites.

After the fashion show, there was a bit of a party, with drinks, food, and so on. I was wearing a puff-sleeved shirt with spiderweb print all over it, a black mini skirt, black tights with silver spiderwebs all over, my calf-boot docs, purple fingerless gloves and had purple streaks in my hair. A little girl came over and asked me if I was a princess, and proceeded to tell me she liked "MY TIGHTS AND MY SHOES AND MY SKIRT AND MY SHIRT AND MY HAIR AND MY GLOVES!" and that purple was her favourite colour. She also danced next to me for the rest of the night. It was adorable.

xToxicTears said...

Bah I get the random pictures ALL the time, sometimes with permission, sometimes not, and sometimes very large tourist groups seem to think I'm there simply to amuse them, so they can ALL take a picture with me in every combination imaginable.x__x

The other day I was on my way to an interview, so obviously very dressed down, and I still got a little old lady stop me for a good five minutes to tell me how much she loved my style etc etc >O< <3333

Nyteshade said...

Yesterday at a party with some family some young girls came up to me and told me they liked my pants and asked what I did to them and said they looked very cool. I think I will do a post about them Tuesday..

Nina @ Death Books and Tea said...

I was in the library in mismatched stripy socks, and one old lady said quite loudly "I like your socks." That's pretty much the only attention I've ever got.

Bane said...

I spent four years in Washington, DC not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The constant security measures - ID checks, metal detectors, bag searches, etc. - became a normal part of everyday life. Two weeks after moving to Colorado, I went to the science museum in Denver. I was walking from the ticket booth into the museum when a security guard approached me calling, Ma'am!" Immediately, I froze, thinking I had mistakenly walked past a security checkpoint or missed a bag check. The guard said, "I *love* your boots!" That was definitely unexpected (and a sure sign that I wasn't in DC anymore!).

Last week I took my car in for an oil change. One of the technicians came over and said, "Why did you take the bats off?" (I used to have bat decals on my car.) I replied, "They were faded. I have new ones but with all the snow, the car's been too dirty to stick them on." He gave a big sigh of relief and said, "Good! Those bats were awesome!" :D

Anonymous said...

I recently transferred within my company out of the uniform, no-makeup backroom to the floor where I have to dress business casual. First day I showed up in black victorian-esque corpgoth, my supervisor spent a good ten minutes cooing over my outfit and how nice I looked without the polo and khakis.
I work in the children's department and I've had quite a few shyly come tell me they love my "big poofy skirt" or blue bangs.

The HouseCat said...

I used to get lots of compliments for being a romantic goth in Oxfordshire, England, which is a really posh place - I worked in Henley-on-Thames and hung around a lot in Oxford and Wallingford. I did get insults from a few catty yuppies, but the older generation were fabulous. I got several old ladies telling me they wished that they had dressed like me when they were my age, we went into an antique shop - best place for genuine fancy silver jewellery, canes, parasols, etc. - my partner and I were in moderate Victoriana/anachronism (he was wearing a white shirt with a lace jabot, a black waistcoat with fancy silver buttons, neat trousers and boots and I was wearing a floor-length purple velvet skirt with a bodice and a black jacket that had corset-like lacing at the back with purple ribbon and black velvet collar and cuffs and extra fancy buttons, and did my hair in a bun with a purple and black hair-flower) and the lady in the antique shop said we were "very elegant" and was waxing lyrical about how fashion these days isn't what it used to be. There was a lady at the tea-house we used to frequent that was initially scared of us, especially because my backpack was coffin shaped, but then came to rather like us once she found out we weren't like the stereotypes, and actually complemented our frills one day. I get lots of compliments and questions about my braided hair wig and also my goggles. I had a religious type complement my cane (I actually needed it for walking purposes at that point having really hurt my foot) before the conversion spiel.

On a vaguely related note, I was wearing full Gothic Lolita once to go shopping in the town market, and I went to buy some really, really good apple juice pressed at a small-holding (drinkable gold, in my opinion) and the guy who ran the smallholding was a rather fervent Christian who asked me "you wear a lot of black, but is your soul white and pure?" and I did a double take and did my best to talk to him really politely and he got really surprised and said "you're very educated and well spoken for a goth"... I think I melted his brains by not sticking to stereotype. I have no idea what would have happened had he met me when I was still Catholic, I'm not sure the discovery of the existence of Christian Goths could leave him without a thoroughly confused brain. I will say that I've had more positive Christians than negative ones, and I used to be a welcome member of the choir while a babybat goth!

The HouseCat said...

Oh, one funny story: I was in the council offices, and they have high security because I think they get a lot of angry people complaining abusively or something, but anyway, I was sitting quietly, reading a pamphlet while on a waiting chair, and this REALLY BIG security guard comes over to me, and he's really stern looking and I'm over 6"3 in my platform boots and he was a lot taller than me with just regular security guard boots on... Anyway, I was wondering what I was in trouble for and getting a bit scared, when he cracked a big smile, asked me how long it took to do all those buckles each morning (not long now I'm practiced at it) and then told me that he used to be a punk rocker. He now gets a grin and a wave from me each time I go to the council offices.

The Cemetery Dreamer said...

I seem to get equal numbers of compliments/insults/confused stares these days.

I wear my top hat almost all the time (except when it's really cold and I have to wear a wooly hat!) and I often get people saying 'nice hat' etc (of course I also get magician/circus comments too). I even had one guy ask me for advice on buying a topper for his friend's stag weekend at the bus top last week!

I find little old ladies tend to compliment me as well, I think they are just happy to see someone dressed modestly (in terms of skin coverage!)and elegantly.

I also had a lady in the charity shop last month say how great I looked and how she wished she had the confidence to dress like that. I told her just to go for it if it would make her happy!

All of it helps make up for the insults and the less complimentary attention (drunken men who think goth girls are easy etc)!

VelvetBat said...

I get a lot of positive reactions from non-goths actually! :D

Older ladies usually love me in lolita, saying that it reminds them of their old days.

I also had a lot of middle age people telling me about my platform boots that they really liked seeing me wearing them since it reminded them of their KISS and AC/DC times. :p

And I also had a couple of hip-hop looking guys riding in a car recently who pulled over and asking me if I would dress like this every day (I dressed a more goth gyaru look that day) and they said it was awesome and that they really liked people who had their own style and rock it.
Which really surprised me, because at first I thought they would say negative stuff when they pulled over. :p

And in general I have a lot of people telling me that they admire me for not being afraid to look different and dress the way I want to.

Goth Pocket said...

Sometimes I'm stopped in the store and told that I look good in my outfits ^_^ and it makes me feel so good. Lol and my dentist looked me up and down and said, "well look at you! Wearing all black! You go girl!" :) Compliments are great when you don't expect them.

SugarRat said...

I love having comments from people on my outfits, styles and make-up. It just so makes your day better! I smile if and when people stare and in Finland people usually look away as being too shy or something but sometimes I get such a happy comments that it makes me want to style myself pretty everyday. To see those amazed faces perhaps even comments, and know that maybe I've just made my day by looking pretty today?

On this past Valentine's day I was wearing hot pink/black lace/gray dress combination which is one of my favorite outfits during this time of year when everything is so gloomy. My swedish teacher, who I consider as a nice person and all but swedish is not one of my favorite things to study... but as Finns we have to. She saw me in hallway and stopped me and blurted out all kind of compliments in swedish and at the very end she said "May I hug you because you are such a day maker here at school with your unique sense of style! You sparkle smiles on many of my days!" And then she did give me a hug and left me very confused on the hallways but very happy!

Another time I was in a train with my boyfriend going home from a happening wearing long black/white striped dress with ruffles and bows , a black corset and a lovely little tophat with pearls. Across the aisle there was a little girl with her mom and she kept staring at me with huge green eyes, I smiled to her few times and thought what a lovely creature she is. She pulled her mom's sleeve and said to her "Mom I think I'm just seeing a real princess sitting in this train she has stars in her hair and the prettier dresses than my barbies have" Mom looked at me quickly smiled and told her that maybe I am a princess who knows and the little girl continued to tell all kinds of things of me as a princess that I must live with a prince next to me in a castle and own a lot of shiny stars so I can make other girls princesses too! It was sosososo cute! She was so sure and convinced that I'm a princess so before we left the train, I gave her a necklace I had bought earlier that day with little pink pearl hearts on it.And told her to grow up as a good little princess of her own. Her mother was really surprised, amazed and thanked me of my kind words but that was the least I could have done for her little girl. She was amazing and I will always remember those words when I wear that outfit. I am a real Finnish princess :)

A lot of older women always start to compliment my style as well wishing they would be a bit younger and have the courage to dress like me and I always tell them It's never too late to try something new and fun which leads into a lot of tips about it... dunno if the ladies ever take the tips and really try but sure it would be cool to know that I've inspired someone to try something new.

InfiltratorN7 said...

Most positive comments I get are from elderly women wanting to feel my hair while children give me curious stares. I once had a young woman about my age saying how she wishes she was brave enough to explore different types of music like goth and try different styles and admire people who do. I find when I talk to people about music tastes and they say they like a bit of every genre and you probe them further you often find it is more a case of whatever’s on the radio and as a result limited to whatever’s mainstream. I get the impression some people really just aren’t aware that there’s more out there beyond the top 40 on the radio and classical music. At least where I live there aren’t any radio stations which play metal let alone anything more underground like goth or industrial. I also find when I play goth music and people don’t know what it is assume it’s 80s music, New Romantic or New Wave and are surprised when I tell them it’s a new goth band. I’m sure if more people were exposed to goth music they’d find they actually like it. Without that exposure many seem to assume goth all sounds like Cradle of Filth or Marilyn Manson. :-/

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE that waiter's comment and the green-eyed girl future princess. <3

I used to carry hair pins with bows I make myself and I gave a few to some little girls on the bus who liked my jewelry. I mostly get compliments on my rings, earrings and brooches. I don't wear much makeup or flamboyant clothes so I guess my accessories get noticed more. Which I love since I usually make most of them.

Anonymous said...

when on holiday in Spain , I herd a little boy (another tourist , whod been staring at me say to his dad "I want to be a vampire when I grow up ." It was so cute.

Willow Ninghtingale said...

I can't remember when it was, but while I was shopping with a friend in town, some photography student asked if he could take our photo as our hoodies were interesting ( He was doing a project on people in hoodies; lots of different styles and whatnot)

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