You’ve seen them: pale-faces, black lippy and eyeliner, keychains, torn fishnets, velvet jackets and gold buckles. They’ll be hanging out at your local bus station, or monopolising a bench at the park, and their musical taste is eclectic, to say the least – albeit with a common leitmotif – running the gamut from Gregorian chant, through Sisters of Mercy and The Damned, to My Dying Bride and VnV Nation.
They are the goths, and there’s something about them that I find really appealing. Some aspects of the gothic look, I grant you, are less than than inspiring when taken in isolation, but the sum total of the various intricate parts can be, overall, quite stunning. In the main, these are people who probably take more time and expend more effort to achieve their everyday look than most of us would do for a dressy night out. I sometimes think that I was born at the wrong time – give me frock coats and tops hats, crinolines and corsets over modern clothing any day: They may have been awkward to wear and maintain, but it’s a look that I find terribly inspiring. However, much as I love it, you’re not very likely to ever find me wearing it, even as a ‘grown-up’ I don’t have the courage or sufficient conviction to sport a look like that so ably demonstrated by our teenage dropouts, and I’d feel foolish even attempting it.
That is, in real life… SL too, has a thriving gothic following and unlike their RL counterparts, virtual goths don’t need to spend their time inhabiting bus stations and sunny parks, not when there are so many dedicated locations for them to spend their time and a wealth of accessories, fixtures and fittings on the MarketPlace and inworld to stamp out their own personal gothic statement. And, indeed, SL also gives me the opportunity to indulge myself in a subculture that I simply don’t have the wherewithall for in the real world.
Whilst it’s true that most of the time you’d hardly describe me as anything like gothic, I do have an extensive and deliciously subversive goth wardrobe, and should I ever want to embrace the lifestyle inworld in a more comprehensive way, there are plenty of related items scattered throughout my inv. that would make for a cosy castle or graveyard haunt! Ever so often I’ll indulge this side of my inworld persona – not that I’m at all a goth in character, I just love the paraphernalia surrounding the lifestyle – and you’ll see me flouncing around in black, and generally having a grand old gothic time of it. You’ll also find me spending a fair bit of my time hanging around stores that hawk the gothic look, drooling over dresses and outfits and trying to persuade myself that ‘it’s far too expensive….’ (Sometimes it works!).
It’s not just the goth vibe that I find myself succumbing too, I’m equally partial to its relatives: cybergoth and steampunk. Cybergoth is one of those things that just shouldn’t work – a fusion of gothic, neon futurism and industrial – yet, it does, and brilliantly too. As for steampunk, who wouldn’t be enamoured by the opportunity to explore SL in a mechano-clockwork airship, decked out like a character from a Jules Verne story?
Once again, these are things I could do in RL, if I had the time, the money and – more to the point – the guts to give it a go. If anything, I’d probably try it and find myself acutely embarrassed and permanently traumatised by the whole thing – I’m such a lightweight! At least in SL, people expect me to be different, and there are plenty more of us out there being wildly different to make it all perfectly normal and natural to do so.
So if you do happen to run into me inworld, and I’m looking like Wednesday Addams, don’t be concerned: It’s just a phase I’m going through, and I’ll be back to normal tomorrow!
A masque of this to fashion:
Build thyself a mirror in which
Seer blest, thou best philosopher!”
Solely wanton images of thy desire appear!
Theatre of Tragedy – And When He Falleth