Well, darklings, this is a post I never really thought I'd feel the need to write, but after a frankly concerning conversation with a young Gothy-type of my acquaintance I thought perhaps I should. Please note that I have no doubt that the vast majority of you are very much aware of the basics of hygiene! But. Let's face it, there's already a huge amount of stereotyping regarding teens (especially males, sorry boys) and soap avoidance, and unfortunately this stereotype as applied to young Gothlings is rife amongst those with little understanding of dark culture.
In fact, there's even a special derogatory term used, in the UK at least, for black-clad types:
sweaty; often used by the tracksuit-clad yob classes to refer to Goths, punks, metal/rock fans or indeed members of any subculture fond of black clothing in summer, particularly the long-haired males. Intended to imply that said spooky person has not washed; possibly originated due to a combination of black clothing and hot weather causing some poor Gothling to go all melty around the edges.
Personally, I strongly feel that there is absolutely no reason to help propagate this stereotype by violating the basics of simple cleanliness and good hygiene. Deodorant is cheap and baths are not just for special occasions.
Cleanliness is the foundation for all good grooming.
- Washing! Twice a day please; if you don't have time to take a bath or shower use a sink, a washcloth and most importantly some soap. (Gothy soap, over yonder!) At the very least wash your armpits, bits (you know which bits), neck, hands, feet and face. Don't use harsh soap on your face, though - get a specially formulated facial cleanser.
- If you don't always have time to wash your hair, invest in some dry shampoo so you don't go out looking all greasy. Or pull it back off your face into a ponytail or bun; greasy hair will make your face greasy which feels absolutely disgusting. Spare yourself.
- Deodorant and antiperspirant. Available in sprays, sticks and many other varieties; organic and chemical-free varieties can also be found. Apply after washing daily and re-apply as necessary throughout the day, especially in summer. Please be sure to dab any white marks off your clothes with a damp cloth.
- Brushing your teeth is also pretty much a necessity. Even if you don't think your breath smells, the people around you DO. Trust me. (They also can see your furry teeth. Eeeeuuurgh.) Again, twice a day, morning and night. (You may also find it useful to carry some breath spray or mints for after meals, especially if like me you are partial to spicy foods and garlic!)
- There is very little more gross than dirty fingernails. Yes, black nail polish hides the sin but you don't know WHAT could be caked under those nasties. Would you want to be handed food by somebody with grimy hands? Exactly. Wash your hands with soap regularly; use a nail brush at the first sign of dirt.
- Care for your hair properly; dirty hair can smell and both feels and looks unpleasant. Wash your hair with shampoo every other day (some people do choose not to wash their hair with shampoo, but you should at least give it a good rinse with water to avoid product build-up and keep your scalp healthy). If you have dreadlocks, use a good dread soap regularly to avoid smells.
- Underwear and socks need changing MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. (You can tell from my distressed all-caps that I'm serious here.) If you don't have enough underwear, BUY SOME NEW. Go to the supermarket, it is not expensive. Also, if it gets grimy, goes grey, has holes in, or otherwise starts to look the worse for wear, BIN IT.