Tuesday, July 01, 2008

When I Was A Chubby Twentysomething Goth

Me at 23 (or so) at Chiller Theatre with
"Carnival Of Souls" star Candace Hilligoss

Favorite colors: purple, black, and black

Note 1: Gothic culture is most probably far more textured and deep than I am making it sound in this post. Please keep in mind that this was my personal interpretation of "Goth" when I was in my mid-20s, not any standard definition.

Note 2: Most real Goths would not consider me a real Goth, partially because I thought Marilyn Manson was real Goth music (a point revealed to me in angry message board debates). Only began to hear real Goth music when I was no longer a Goth; by that point, I had also found ironic satisfaction in Britney Spears music, so I was too far gone.

Note 3: Far too old, perhaps, even at 22 to be a real Goth but simply a poseur? Or was I cool? I think I might have been kind of geeky.

Note 4: Phase was preceded by "Spiritual Hippie Who Buys Buddha T-Shirts From Old Navy And Stoner Necklaces From Hot Topic."

Note 5: Phase followed by "Nondescript Chubby Comic Book Company Assistant Who Eats Lemon-Frosted Pound Cake As A Substitute For Joy."

Favorite Movies As A Chubby Twentysomething Goth:
* The Craft
* The Crow
* Interview With The Vampire (seriously)

Too Hardcore For Delicate Flower Me:
Nightmare On Elm Street (it was mean! and ugly!)

Favorite TV Shows:
* Buffy The Vampire Slayer
* X-Files (only Mulder/Scully shipper episodes!)
* Kindred: The Embraced (obscure!)
* Wolf Lake (more obscure, never really watched it but said I did just to seem hardcore)

Websites I Could Be Found Lurking At:
* Buffy The Vampire Slayer Fan Fiction Sites
* Sites hosting shitty vampire clip art so I could build my own homepage on AOL
* Proto-MySpace type communities with shitty vampire clip art

* Getting dissed by 13-year-olds for Buffy fic I wrote (if you want to talk "continuity hounds"...)
* Drying roses until they turned black
* Endlessly browsing through the two Goth shops I knew but never buying anything (except for that one day I bought a postcard)

Defining Moments Of Disillusionment:
One Goth shop turned into a punk store, and one shop closed down. And then my little sister said: "Goth is dead, Val! God!"

Biggest Regret: Never did the Masquerade RPG

What I Almost Did: Linked to my repository of old Goth fan-fiction that is still online. But I took one look at it and wised up. Sorry.

Final Comments On The Subject:
I had a good time. That's what's important.


  1. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Have you ever noticed that the only real insult that members of a counter-culture can offer to one another is how much of a poser another person is?

    And, if all the members of a counter-culture have to do/like similar things to belong, just how "counter" is it? Doesn't it, then, become just another culture?

    By the way, I was SO much more hardcore.

    I actually played the Masquerade.

    Didn't LARP, though.

  2. First of all, and this is a fat man speaking, you were not chubby. I consider that normal. I consider the way you look now to be thin. Of course, I am weird and unlikely to follow the conventional societal norms. But I think the world would be a better place if women who looked like you did in the picture did not consider themselves chubby.

    That being said, I was also a quasi-goth in my early 20's. I was facinated by the culture, loved the color black for clothing (I still do. It's very slimming.), and liked the music (depending on what you think of as "goth" music. I consider Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Smith to be goth-ish. I might be pushing it a bit with the last one).

    I never went full on goth. I still lived with my parents, and wearing black lipstick and eyeshadow would have freaked them out entirely.

    It was a brief phase, because when grunge came in and my beloved flannels came back into fashion, I finally fit in with the times.

  3. you would have totally been cool goth here in oz.... MM is a debated, but accepted musical choice.

  4. Don't feel bad Val. I was at "Home Depot" yesterday and as I was "pushing the shopping cart" I noticed this late 30 something "Goth gal" and around the corner came her late 30 something "goth guy" boyfriend/husband...

    For some Goths it's a life time commitment!


  5. THAT was chubby? Jesus H. Christ on a stick.

    /insert rant/
    boilerplate ramblings about how women are programmed by society to be rail-thin and discouraged from actually looking healthy by eating a sammich on occasion
    /end rant/

  6. For the bi-weeky game I run I use the new World of Darkness rules.

    I was a big Vampire the Masquerade player, & despite wearing all black still & being a bit doom & gloomy, I've never been gothy, or recovered ex-goth. Recovered grunge kid, yes. Non-recovered geek, yes. Not goth though.

  7. Have to agree with William and Wishlist on this one, Val. You were *not* chubby. You were of average build, and appear to be fairly thin now. Neither of which are wrong. You look attractive both ways.

  8. Oh I remember it was before I knew of the FOXs tendency to cancel shows....

    Good times.

    Oh and I echo Will on the "chubby" thing.

  9. Agree with comments about not being chubby. Also, isn't that jumper mauve? Was that allowed? :)

  10. What?!

    No Nightmare on Elm Street?

    Blasphemy! Number 1 and 3 were great stuff! Heather Langenkamp was Freddy's perfect foil, the films had not yet devolved into self-parody, and the first film has to be seen just for the sparkling debut of Johnny Depp if nothing else.

  11. I think Marilyn Manson gets a pass now that the scene has been overrun by all those GothMo (Goth/Emo) bands like My Chemical Romance, AFI, etc. In comparison, he doesn't seem so poserish now.

    Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) and Gerard Way (MCR) were interviewed a year or so ago on MTV2 about all things Goth. I kept waiting for Murphy to strangle Way everytime the kid opened his mouth. Murphy talked about themes and musical stylings, while Way talked about how cool and creepy it all was.

    I was never a goth but I love a some of the music that is considered so. I'm a huge Cure fan and love the ol' Joy Division.

    BTW, not chubby. For some reason this reminds of that great scene in an issue of Marvel's Alias, where Jessica Jones gets angrier and angrier with each flip of a woman's magazine page.

  12. I have that VtM card game for a while, but the rules seemed impenetrable, even to a Magic the Gathering player like me.

    And the only fan-fiction I ever wrote was based on Homicide: Life on the Street. Which is still the Best Damn Show on Television, and will be at least until I get around to seeing The Wire.

  13. Was never "anything" more than a clueless geek fanboy who knew a lot about various things, but not dedicated enough to turn them into a passion. At that age, I looked like Bill Gates' younger brother. (Or, if you like, that smart-alecky kid on the Encyclopedia Britannica ads.)

    I do own a professional pair of vampire fangs (dunno the style), and I've even created a persona for Halloween which ties tangentially into Harry Potter.

    And since my adolescence preceeded Goth, I found solace in the writings of Harlan Ellison. (and comiserated with Winston Smythe and Bernard Marx.)

  14. Valerie,

    FYI. I showed your picture to my wife, and she doesn't think you're chubby either. You're in a fast growing minority.

  15. "Never did the Masquerade RPG"

    Never too late...

    OK maybe it is

  16. Anonymous8:00 PM

    Thoroughly enjoyed Kindred: The Embraced (was just the other day looking it up on IMDB), played the rpg AND the card game... but never a goth, just a geek.