Of course, I never responded. But every time she saw me in the hallway, she would shoot me that half-playful, half-evil grin and say something along the lines of “hey, curly, how you doing?” I suppose she thought she was freaking me out, but deep down, I loved the attention (god knows, she was the only girl in the sixth grade who ever acknowledged my existence.) So, deep in my prefrontal cortex, that type of female – the one who wears dresses right out of a Bauhaus music video, has earrings shaped like demonic stalactites and whose idea of dolling up means putting on a slightly less faded Slayer tee shirt – became my go-to female ideal. Forget tans, forget the blindingly blonde hair and forget that all too boring “girl next door” look – I was forever enamored by the girls who looked more Morticia Addams than Christina Aguilera.
Throughout high school and college, I more or less homed in on all of the pale girls who wore Invader Zim shirts and hated their parents. In fact, I soon learned that there are indeed five genuses of goth girl, each with her very own idiosyncratic quirks:
THE RICH, SUBURBAN GOTH – Her dad makes $150,000 a year and her mom lets her drop $500 at a time on needless Hot Topics purchases (usually, Hello Kitty-branded lip gloss and anime-inspired belt buckles.) She claims to be a dark, poetic soul, but really, she just likes to wear purple a lot.
THE POOR, ANTI-SOCIAL GOTH – She lives in a trailer park, works part-time at the local grocery store or hole in the wall restaurant (usually on the back end of the house – they don’t want her spider tattoos creeping out the customers) and has tried at least 80 percent of all the drugs known to man. The only thing in her purse are a couple of wadded up dollar bills, the cheapest cigarettes at 7-Eleven and a switchblade. If she doesn’t have at least one violent felony on her record, she will by the time you break up.
Her dream is to get a federal art endowment to make the world’s largest ball of twine sculpture
THE ARTISANAL GOTH – She gets good grades, she’s probably the best actress in the theater department and she spends her weekends reading Dante’s Inferno in the original Italian minder overzicht, because it’s more atmospheric that way. She plans on getting a PH.D. in 18th century Scandinavian basket weaving and producing an off, off, off-Broadway musical about the life and times of Edvard Munch’s next door neighbor.
She has at least three Nightmare Before Christmas posters in her room and the heaviest band she listens to is AFI
THE FASHIONISTA GOTH – She is hyper-concerned about her looks. You absolutely cannot leave the house until she has her winged eyeliner down perfect. She paints her nails every other day and she makes at least one trip to Ulta a week. She doesn’t listen to any goth, metal or punk music and her favorite movie is The Notebook. Indeed, beyond the fact that she likes to wear dark makeup and expensive black clothing, she really doesn’t seem to grasp the deeper nuance of the subculture. By the time she graduates college, she’s usually evolved into a “ health goth ” or abandoned the aesthetics altogether for a new lifestyle that allots for yellow and pink wardrobe choices.
THE UNKEMPT GOTH – The inverse of the fashionista goth. She never wears any makeup … or deodorant, for that matter. Brushing her hair (and teeth) are infrequent occurrences. She seemingly only wants to kiss you right after she sucked down a Camel cigarette or peeled her lips off her dragon-shaped bong. All her jewelry is pewter, she farts in public and she spends at least half of the day playing League of Legends. She’s somewhat similar to the poor, anti-social goth, except sans the penchant for criminality. After all, to do that means you have to get up off the couch every now and then.