One thing that I really like about my friends is they leave me messages like this: "Hey, it's Mark. I'm calling because at the margarita party on Sunday, you gave me $20 and said you wanted a ticket to come to the Smack! Fetish Ball with Tim and me. You were pretty wasted, so I thought I'd give you one chance to back out before I buy them."
So naturally, on Friday I found myself preparing for my first Goth event in the NYC. Oh sure, I had been to basements on the West Coast, and watched spindly boys and large-breasted girls plant their feet and struggle with imaginary sweaters while Negativeland howled on in the background – but this is New York City. People here are free to be freaks as much as they want in broad daylight - let alone in a huge warehouse club by the Hudson River at three in the morning.
I even went to the trouble of securing a date for this affair. I had picked out a co-worker of mine, clearly the other lone freak swimming amongst the sharky waters of my new job in corporate America. At least once a day, I would cross paths with Lucas, and when our eyes met I could see the same question reflected there, "How did we get here?"
So I took a chance on the NIN poster tacked to his bulletin board, and asked him to the Goth Ball, and he surprised both of us by saying he would go. Never one to miss a chance to have a co-worker stare at my breasts, I, for one, was looking forward to seeing Lucas by night. But because I am wise to the delicate, broken spirits that creatures of the night can be, I was none too surprised when Lucas called in sick on me. I did, however, score my interview with this self-defined "recovering Goth" co-worker by cashing in on his guilt over standing me up. I thought I'd run a few questions by him that always spring to my mind whenever I see an errant Chylde of the Night.
Trixie Bedlam: are you there?
Lucas Moody: yes
Trixie Bedlam: how are you so thin?
Lucas Moody: scuse me?
Trixie Bedlam: how are you so thin? how do you maintain your waifish figure? does it have something to do with drinking the blood of unbaptized babies?
Lucas Moody: i wish i was waifish
Trixie Bedlam: you are. you're like a sad little shadow. what's your secret?
Lucas Moody: a healthy intake of alcohol
Trixie Bedlam: good tip. Do you long for death's sweet release?
Lucas Moody: i do...unfortunately the reaper enjoys throwin a few back with me too much. he won't take me. says i'm too fun
Trixie Bedlam: so, you long for that, like, a lot? or just every so often? daily? semi-daily?
Lucas Moody: its cyclical
Trixie Bedlam: that time of the month?
Lucas Moody: something like that
Trixie Bedlam: Moving on... why do you want to change your name?
Lucas Moody: so i can tattoo it on my body
Trixie Bedlam: but what's wrong with the name you have? couldn't you tattoo it on your body anyway?
Lucas Moody: nah- that's gay
Trixie Bedlam: you could tell them it's your boyfriend's name
Lucas Moody: everyone knows that i am unloveable -who's gonna date me?
Trixie Bedlam: aw, so sad...I'm just interested in why the name change. Do you hate your name? too boring? Does changing your name express yourself better?
Lucas Moody: i figure that when i move - it would be nice to have a new name
Trixie Bedlam: move where? Nevermind. Who cares? OK, True or false: I believe in vampires.
Lucas Moody: true
Trixie Bedlam: good. last question: whay can't you just be HAPPY?
Lucas Moody: i don't smile anymore. too many smiling faces lie
Trixie Bedlam: so your existence is a testament to the dark truth?
Lucas Moody: i would have to answer yes
Well, he doesn't sound like much of a fun date anyway. I had no worries about attending the ball solo – I had two foxy gay boys to escort me there, where I would doubtlessly be embraced by some bad idea or another. As it turned out, I ended up spending most of the night wandering around with an adorable dyke named Jen, who I met in line. Jen had none of the trademark aloof superiority that defines the typical Goth, so naturally I loved her instantly. She spent the rest of the night trying to determine my sexual orientation (I didn't have the heart to tell her that I've spent a lifetime trying to pin that down, to no avail), and I spent the rest of the night feeling internally superior to everyone I saw.
All around, I could see the Art of Goth being practiced with skill and deliberation. There was flawless makeup. There was corsetry to an unbelievable extent. Jen and I were clearly the only ones who had eaten anything in the last 48 hours. Death's sweet release was certainly being longed for, all around me. My feelings of smug superiority were nothing compared to the attitude wafting off of beautiful she-males, hung by their piercings.
Eventually, I got tired of being smug. I've never been one for picking on people, and it's not much fun to kick a Goth when they're down – especially since you know they'll probably just whimper and ask for more pain. Fuck it, I thought, I don't need to be mean-spirited about this. These people may have different priorities, and different attitudes, but that does not make me better than they are. And doesn't the tolerance and freedom I grant them to be the miserable, corset-wearing freaks that they are come back to me in their acceptance of my differences? With these thoughts of unity and approval brimming in my heart, I let Jen lead me to the edge of the small stage on the dance floor, where various fashion shows and performance pieces had been going on throughout the night. Currently there were three girls who had just gotten up there, and were preparing to put on their show.
There they are, these three very hot Goth girls. Two of them are wearing white lab coats with little more than panties and pasties underneath. The third is wearing what looks like pink bridesmaid's dress from about 1987. These girls begin their act, clearly devoting all due seriousness to this monumental and important work of performance art. Amidst various dance moves that would make a pole dancer blush, the two "doctors" cut the patient out of her dress to reveal her own set of black panties. They then began to pour pink liquid latex all over her (which is actually standard medical procedure in cases of critical hotness). At this point the DJ, who was clearly not a Goth, decides to throw on a different song, to underscore the moment.
"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and their life is better than yours..."
Within a few seconds it became clear that "The Milkshake Song" is not the music of choice for hot Goth girl performance pieces. The two doctors on duty looked ridiculously put-out, to say nothing of the girl who was now covered in pink latex and forced to bust her moves to music she obviously did not consider to be on par with the artistic level of her abilities. Personally, I was thrilled, not only by the music choice, but by the girls' overt and horrified reaction to it. I was grinning from ear to ear over the total lack of enthusiasm for what, in my estimation, was one of the top songs you could possibly put on at a topless pink latex moment.
More than the performers, I was blown away by how unenthused the audience was. I know that being a Goth is more about staring than dancing, and more about suffering from the tragic, sometimes beautiful universe than enjoying it; but if there were ever a time to let loose and have a good time, it's the time when there are three slutty girls cavorting around covered in pink liquid latex while "The Milkshake Song" plays. Looking around, I realized that my lesbian love and I were not only the lone dancers in the crowd, but the only ones who looked like we were having any fun at all. And judging from some of the looks we were getting from the bloodless throng, the fact that we were having fun was somehow at least as offensive as the song itself...
It was at this point that I could finally grasp the real reason that I am better than Goths. They may be stoic, and by turns, beautiful and disturbing. They may wander the twilight realm hand-in-hand with sexy vampire boys in long black trench coats. But not a single one among them can drop the façade long enough to enjoy the beauty of a moment like three girls, latex-covered and appalled by "The Milkshake Song". And since I can, then my milkshake really is better than theirs.
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