Gothic Council on Being Almost "Normal"

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There's something that happens every holiday season that always causes me to damage my eyes through excessive rolling. The Wife With One F is a tremendous baker, known far and wide for her ability to create fantastic desserts. Obviously, this means she spends a lot of her down time at the end of the year baking for various get-togethers and this necessitates many trips to the baking aisles in grocery and craft stores.

And every freakin' time we go, I catch soccer moms staring at us out of the corner of my eye. It's as if a chick in Bettie Page bangs and tattoos can't be conceived to want to make a cake since it doesn't involve drugs and leather. It's even worse at places like Michael's or, God forbid, Hobby Lobby, where we tend to get followed around the store by employees.

It's 2013. Goth has been around for, like, four decades. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect people to realize that we have perfectly normal hobbies and activities we enjoy that don't involve listening to spooky music or drinking absinthe. What do we do just like you? I gathered the Gothic Council to answer that question.

Joining me this week is the author of Psychonaut, Carmilla Voiez; founder of the Age of Decay festival, Aletha Carr; blogger at Night's Plutonian Shore Drusilla Grey; living historian Morrighanne Burns; Hex of the death rock band Culture Decayed; fashion designer Batty; Niki Marshall with the Braggart Family Side Circus; and Church of Melkarth's Justin Whitney.

Carmilla Voiez: This is a tricky one, to be honest? Does playing on the swings and seesaw in the park with my kids count? I run, it's a great way to get inspiration for writing and I guess my running shoes are mainstream, although I wear a Bauhaus T-shirt.

Alethea Carr: Oh, sure that counts! It's the inherent anachronism of things like you in a swing with your kids while you've got Bauhaus on your shirt that makes all these situations we are in so fascinating to others, I think. I believe, though, that we go through life doing goth damage to everything we touch -- sort of a metaDIY approach to existing...

There then followed ten minutes of high-fiving each other as we decided the phrase "goth damage" was the greatest thing ever typed and made plans to submit it to the next edition of the Encyclopedia Gothica.

Drusilla Grey: I love what you just said, Alethea. And I think we can add to it that just because we may do things unconventionally, it isn't a bad thing.

Here is an example from this weekend: I promised my nearly eight-year-old daughter we'd get her ears pierced for Christmas. But, I refused to go have some minimum-wage teenager with basically a staple gun do it. So, I took her to a tattoo shop and had a professional piercer do it.

Now, my daughter's current BFF was also getting her ears pierced for Christmas. I spoke with the mother (who is the PTA president, [a] nearly perfect Stepford) who agreed with me that the piercing gun wasn't ideal. But she was apparently horrified about taking a child to a tattoo shop for piercing and went instead to Claire's. And once again, the goth mom is considered the freak even though I did the more sanitary and responsible thing.

Alethea Carr: Funny, isn't it, how you can get better results - but because you didn't follow 'the rules', your decision is put in question.

Morrighanne Burns: I also took my daughter to a piercing studio to get her ears done. The idea of Claire's in the shopping center skeeved me out. I'm also the neighborhood bake-and-make mum, which usually surprises people. Most of my other hobbies could be put under the "You do what???" category.

Hex: I like going jogging in groups when I can because it's easier to stay on track that way and no, it's not at night. That's what higher-SPF sunblock is for, ha-ha. Also I practice karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in my spare time, have been doing it for years.

Batty: I am a gym fanatic, not that being fit is particularly ungoth, but it's not common to a see a goth sweating it at the gym. I get less looks now that my hair is blonde but when it was black and I was in there in a Siouxsie shirt I either had people giving me a "what the heck?" look or sometimes they would even say things like. "Hey, I remember that band from the '80s."

Luckily our gym here in Fort Worth is not full of meatheads. So it's a pretty pleasant time. I work out six days a week most weeks, twice a day a lot of the time. I spend part of those workouts in the pool. Another non-goth thing of mine is that I was a competitive swimmer on both my high school and the USA swim league and still love the pool and the water, and will occasion be seen at a beach when I am somewhere near one.

Niki Marshall: I figure skate in my spare time. I competed as a child and coached as a teenager, and it's something that our family does for fun. My little brother was a hockey player and I grew up on the ice. I have been known to don frilly pink outfits and tights...

Justin Whitney: I really like three-piece suits, even ones that aren't black. Also before I got the arthritis in my spine, the lyrics to "Hip to Be Square" was my actual life.

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