How To Be a Weekend Goth
Mama Jackal loves black clothes, noisy music and is naturally pale, but she also works in an office where long black skirts would get trapped by wheelie chairs and server racks, so she is fully qualified to be a weekend goth - aka Notagoth or Person-In-Black. Here is her personal guide to being a part-time goth in only a few short steps.
The keyword here is pale. Notice that I've said pale not white. White greasepaint is bad for your pores, looks silly and is the devil to get out of black velvet. You can buy a heavy white foundation at your favorite goth store (poseurs such as myself are forced to frequent Hot Topic, it's a union rule) and mix a bit of it with your regular foundation. There is also a light-consistency white foundation produced by Morbid Makeup that makes a person several shades later, but not dead white. This may be enhanced by the addition of pressed white powder. Think "freshly dead" and you're on your way.
The Classic Goth look calls for heavy kohl eyeliner, heavy mascara, no blusher - sometimes a little gray under the cheekbones - and deep red or black lips. Think "freshly dead on a hot date". If you have bags under your eyes, do not apply anything to your lower eyelid. Overemphasize your upper lashes and eyelid. It's an interesting affect and draws observers away from eye-baggies caused by getting up early to watch cartoons.
Alas, not all of us are teenagers any more, nor do we care to maintain the speed habit that enables one to achieve the emaciated look so beloved by some goths. Mama Jackal believes that being too skinny is unhealthy and people are too worried about their bodies anyway. If you want to look thinner, get a corset.
Black, burgundy and purple; velvet, vinyl and chiffon; long, tight and impractical - these are all beloved by goths. I'm not going to get into industrial versus romantic goth argument. It's just too involved for the weekend goth. Observe, and pick what you like.
If you are of the velvet and chiffon school, as Mama Jackal is, draw your inspiration from the 19th Century and a few New Romantic music videos. Loose, flowing and downright impractical is the key, here. Long skirts are appropriate for both men and women and pointy-toed boots are recommended. Mama Jackal likes to layer cut-out velvet or chiffon over a contrasting background for skirts, with a tight corset or vest for contrast.
For the other crowd, short PVC or rubber garments, vinyl shirts (don't forget to douse yourself with cornstarch before donning any non-porous garment) and hardware accessories are the norm. Chains, useful for belts, bracelets and whatnot, may be cheaply bought at your local hardware store. PVC and vinyl garments may be found at your local clubware or goth poseur store, for outrageous prices.
The Maternal Jackal would like to recommend two things at this juncture:
Learn to sew. Gothic clothing is generally overpriced and most of it can be made cheaply and easily.
Visit Black Rose Gothic and their online store. This is a gothic store in the UK, but even allowing for the exchange rate, their prices are quite reasonable.
As a part-time goth, The Maternal Jackal isn't as up on music as she should be. When in a club, vehemently hate every third song that is played. Mutter about how you remember when Nine Inch Nails was just Trent Reznor and a bunch of keyboards in Berlin (and how he got booed off the stage) and you should fit right in. The Maternal Jackal also suggests becoming slavishly dedicated to one nigh-unheard of gothic or industrial band and then sneer at anyone who hasn't heard of them.
Ah, the attitude. Where would goths be without it? Well, they would probably still be crowding into the clubs, but they would be smiling a lot more.
Forget every happy thought you've ever had had in your life.
Don't frown, either. Frowning implies that you are still in the grip of horrible emotions. "Serene superiority" should be your watchword here, although occasional moments of bitter contempt are permitted.
Smoking (always cloves) is popular with goths, but Mama Jackal does not approve of that and will not recommend it. If you don't smoke, take to gesturing with an unlit clove cigarette anyway.
Pick a drink and become horribly pretentious about it. Take to drinking vodka tonics, but only with a specific brand of vodka that you buy directly from a tiny distillery just outside of Vladivostok and tonic that you've made yourself.
Become horribly pretentious in general.
Follow this simple guide and you, too, can be an annoying poseur - and what better way to make fun of a subculture that seems to thrive on sneering at things?
Always smile with your teeth - The Maternal Jackal.