Welcome to the first “Goth Edition” of CTGML! Loyal reader “Lydia” wondered whether I was interested in her goth stories, and my answer was: of course! In fact, I think it would be fun to do a series of these, focusing on different musical subgenres and the styles that are associated with them: prog, krautrock, Americana, freak-folk, yacht rock, and so on. We could learn about different cultures together. You know what genre I bet has the worst clothes? Hick-hop, that’s what.
Lydia is in her late 30’s and lives in a part of New York that’s not NYC. Two months before this story starts, she had been dumped by her boyfriend of six months. She explains that “he was the first boyfriend subsequent to my divorce, and the dumping was an unpleasant surprise. I hadn’t had any action since then; I wasn’t totally ready to jump into a new relationship, but I was open to possibilities.”
Such was her from of mind when she went out one night to dance with friends at “Release the Bats” (“local, tiny and pathetic, now defunct Goth night”; not its actual name). She was wearing a black leather biker jacket with one-inch band buttons pinned to it, “20-eye Docs and fishnets and the little Tripp skirt with purple plaid trim and a black cami,” and was “eyelinered all to hell and gone.”
Black silk camisole
Black and purple miniskirt
Tall Doc Martins
Why can’t I find a biker jacket online that looks as good as the one Kate Moss is wearing in this photo? All the designer-y ones are too weird and don’t resemble the classic style enough. Anyhow, here is an affordable option.
Black leather motorcycle jacket
Lydia got to the club shortly after doors opened, talked to a few friends, had a couple of drinks, and danced with her friend “Lenora” to songs like “Bizarre Love Triangle.” There were a couple of cute guys there, one of whom caught her eye because he looked at first glance like her friend “DJ Knobgoblin” (not his actual DJ pseudonym). On closer inspection, he turned out to be a guy she’d never met.
She ended up talking to him later, though: Tthe song “Barracuda” came on and Lydia commented “that that was KARAOKE, not dance music. Because it’s such an old song, I guess that was what started the ‘no, how old are you?’ conversation this time.” The DJ Knobgoblin lookalike was hanging around near her and Lenora, and somehow ended up joining in this discussion. As she describes him, he had hair in “the classic Robert Smith mode. Eyeliner. Long black coat with a laced back. Black t-shirt. Vinyl Tripp pants that laced up the sides, rawr. And New Rocks.”
Vinyl pants, not the same ones though
- Lancôme eyeliner
His name was “Edgar.” She was 36 at the time, but “he guessed me at 22, not my vanity prompting, but more grown out of the music discussion… of course he turned the question around on me, and, honestly, with all the eyeliner, he could have been any age, so I said ’27’ which is usually safe.” He was 35, and “said he was flattered.”
As you might expect, “we started chatting. He offered to buy me a drink, and I accepted, although perhaps I shouldn’t have, as that made it my third, and I’m a lightweight.” Aww. “But we were having a good conversation, and I was having a great time. He admitted, as if it were slightly embarrassing, that he was one of those goths with a real job — a vet. Ooh, gainfully employed! When I admitted to a real job, too, he asked what I did, and when he heard baker, he said ‘Marry me!'” She adds that “my job gets that response a LOT.”
Flirting between these two was getting more intense as they found out how much they had in common. They talked about geeky, Star Wars-y stuff, and he revealed that he was divorced, too. “Neither of us does drugs any more” — or so he claimed! — “although the drugs he doesn’t do any more are not the same ones that I don’t do any more.”
She also noted that “he dances WELL. Not just the punch-the-hobbit-dropkick-the-hobbit industrial-boy style, either. Old school gothiness. But understands how to shift from the usual goth ‘no I am not looking at anyone else dance just see me not look *peek*’ to dancing WITH someone.” I feel like I’m in a new world, of aesthetic standards that I didn’t even know existed. This multiculturalism thing is working!
“I forget what we were talking about when he asked if he could kiss me. I do remember thinking ‘you actually need to ask?’ but I said yes, and, mmm. So nice to get the attention. The universe listened and sent me the boy in eyeliner I wanted!”
When it was time go, Lydia wasn’t sober enough to drive yet. They decided they could go for coffee in his car, and he could drive her back to hers later, so they went to a local diner. “I had hot chocolate with whipped cream, because I was pretty sure coffee would make me jittery, and he had cheese fries (although I tried to warn him it’d be nacho goo on them) and a Coke.” A baker and a veterinarian, having cheese fries and cocoa at a diner? I didn’t know that was part of the Goth lifestyle, because they never write songs about that. Nobody writes songs that adorable. Even goddamn Beat Happening would have been like “we can’t do this song, it isn’t edgy enough.”
“I said ‘let me see if I can do this without getting whipped cream on my nose,’ which meant treating it kind of like an ice cream cone, to which he said ‘now you’re just teasing me.’ My response was ‘and it’s not even a cherry stem!’ He admitted to cheating, in earlier times, by hiding a pre-tied cherry stem in his mouth.”” I guess this part’s kind of edgy. “As we were driving back to the club to get my car, I asked if he was driving back home then, or following me, or what? He said ‘are you inviting me?’ I said, ‘I’m inviting you.’ He was pleased.”
“There are few things more fraught with silly than two laced-up goths getting undressed for bed, let me tell you.” After dealing with her boots, she took off her last few things in the bathroom, grabbed a condom, and emerged wearing a paisley satin robe. He was still wearing his vinyl pants and socks. “I cuddled up next to him, and the smooches began in earnest. He had his hand tangled into my hair, pretty strongly. Melt!”
“Wasn’t long before he discovered the nekkid under the bathrobe, and commented on it. My response was ‘and you’re overdressed.'” The rest of the clothes came off. Lydia says that Edgar “had skills” and that his tongue piercing “rocked [her] world.” “When I went for the condom, though, he said no”; He gave her some whole explanation about how he really liked her, and would want to take her on a date before having sex. “More cuddling and kissing, and eventually sleep.”
He left in the morning with a terrible hangover, and promised to call if he wasn’t dead. “I played happy music while I was at work — for my values of happy: the Cure’s “Head on the Door,” Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True,” the Horrorpops, the Raveonettes.” Hmmm, I suppose that’s pretty happy. Like, if you ranked all the music in the world according to how cheerful it was, and you gave a ten to “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” by The Ohio Express, and a zero to “Raping a Slave” by Swans, then Elvis Costello or the Raveonettes would probably get about a six. (One of today’s elecronic DJ “mashup” artists should consider doing a mashup of “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” and “Raping a Slave”; it would probably get a lot of attention.)
In the next couple of days, she exchanged a few texts with him, and ended up hanging out at his place soon after. “We didn’t exactly DATE, although we hung out and fooled around a couple more times in the next month. ” It all came to and end when he stood her up for a party she’d asked him to, and gave a suspicious-sounding excuse. She started asking around about him, “at which point I had the glorious experience of four people telling me separately, ‘Oh, HIM? He’s an asshole,’ and going into detail about the coke habit and some of his past exploits.” He wasn’t even a vet, just a vet tech!
If you’re a less copious drinker than most of my readers, you might find this helpful: “For a while, I had a really good line for declining a third drink. Oh, no, two’s my limit. Know what I did the last time I had three drinks?’ (pause) ‘Edgar.'”
**** Thanks to Emel for coming up with the name “DJ Knobgoblin.” If any real DJs out there want to use this, it’s all yours.