Goth Like Me:
The Adventures Of A
Queer Crypto-Goth In the Shadowy Underworld Of the Kids In Black
By Gavin Danker
When I first
went to the club Helter Skelter a few years back, I never intended to become the Godfather of Goth, the Artful Dodger of the
Damned, the guy to know for Vampiric cool. But for many people, I guess that's what I became.
stereotypical Goth kid is in their early twenties, a long-haired androgyny in black lipstick and a semi-constant cloud of
gloom. I'm a guy in my mid-thirties with a short buzzcut whom lipstick of any color makes look like one of the Dueling Bankheads.
And yes, my Prozac is working just fine, thank you.
Frankly, I just like the decadent horror aspect of the scene.
And knowing that many Goths profess to be either gay or bi, I've got a pretty good chance of getting laid.
said, I'm not a total poseur. I really do have a huge vampire library including the works of Anne "Girl, enough already" Rice
and that other New Orleans writer of gay-boy horror/love stories, Poppy Z. Brite. I've appreciated Vampire-cool since mom
made me a Bela Lugosi cape at age nine and the kids at school called me "Fang" because I liked to bite. (When they weren't
calling me something one letter different, of course.) I like the rattle-your-chains-and-moan sound of Sisters of Mercy et
al as much as the next groovy ghoulie. And with my ten year old special effects fang making business (um, yes) and a talent
for dressing really well, I figure I've earned my place at the haunted house.
Now. most of us are natural-born actors.
Gay men learn at an early age to become what is expected. I sure did. And in the world of the shambling undead, which I think
is a hoot, I'm really good. I found that soon I was organizing midnight cemetery picnics and getting interviewed for "Gothic
Underground Expose!" type news stories. I started and, for a time ran, the infamous "Bar Sinister" vampire nightclub in Hollywood
(before it became a tired fetish bar). I was also making friends with a lot of really sweet, smart, talented people, with
really dark senses of humor. That, even more than a common interest in Bauhaus, seems to be shared by all the Goths I know.
They're like one big walking dead baby joke. How horrible! (Tee Hee)
An illustration: One night at my club one of
my bartenders, the messy-angelic Red Jen pulled me aside and told me the producer of a TV news show was there. He'd asked
her in an off-handed way if anything, you know, unusual ever happened there.
"Like what?" asked Jen, all innocence.
I'd like to imagine her batting her
eyelashes and smiling sweetly with her pretty, sharp fangs.
" Like, um,
sexual stuff. Bondage, bloodletting maybe?" Jen allowed as there might be some weirdo around , but she hadn't seen anything
After she pointed him out and we giggled like a couple of
schoolgirls, I kissed her and ran up to the VIP room. I could hear someone ringing the dinner bell. Fresh Sucker was on the
menu. My favorite.
Moments later, my lovely assistant Deborah, naturally rather anemic looking to begin with, was
lurching down the stairs in a daze, fresh blood dripping down her slender neck. Dizzily, she swooned into the arms of my other
lovely assistant, Sean. She did this in front of our producer pal, of course. Hissing loudly something about being more discreet,
Sean hustled her out the door.
This was my cue to stroll down after her, dabbing my mouth with a napkin. I joined the concerned-looking
TV guy at the bar.
"She alright?" he said, nodding towards the door..
What, Deborah? I think she may have
had a little too much." I smiled through long, sharp wolf teeth. He bolted for the door.
The incident was reported
on his Gothic scene expose by someone who's identity was masked by computer. I think it was actually the producer himself.
Presumably he couldn't find another bona fide witness who wasn't laughing their ass off. Thus legends are born, reputations
And on and on.
So, although my notion of wild sexual abandon amongst the girly boys was all too soon
dispelled, I earned the genuine affection of another outcast "family".
One of the great joys of the Goth world are
the ideas the "mundanes" have about them. Just by telling the truth it's assumed they're covering up some nefarious secret.
The phrase "No, of course I don't serve the Dark Masters of Set" followed by a knowing smile is enough to bring Jerry Falwell
to apoplectic fits and calls for a crusade.
This of course makes Goths extremely happy. As with any outsider subculture,
the very idea of being outré brings with it a certain glamour as well as a feeling of camaraderie.
One of the things
that surprised me about my new family" was the amount of acceptance I was given, even though I don't fit the Goth mold. I'm
a gay dude who hates circuit party music. I'm a Goth who likes volleyball at the beach. What the hell am I? I know we shouldn't
pigeon-hole each other, and I know there is no real Goth "type". That it's as much a social construct as the idea of a gay
"type" But sometimes we feel a real need to pigeon-hole ourselves. We all need a gang to belong to.
Which, I think,
brings me to my point. Some gay men dress in bad drag and wear wigs the size of Volkswagens. Goths wear silent movie star
makeup and hang silver bat embryos around their necks. We all come from the Island Of Misfit Toys, we've all been hurt, and
we all need to give a rousing "Fuck You!" to the world once in a while. We use camp, they use horror. Save aesthetics, what's
the difference, really?
So as someone with one high-heeled cloven hoof planted in either world, let me say that at
least in my experience, most Goths would rather spend time in Tim Burton's Halloween Town than with the Manson family. Actually
they're pretty warm and fuzzy in a cold and spooky kind of way. Think the Munsters with music by The Cure. I'll be the one
in the Marilyn drag.
Is both a prolific writer and artist. Not to mention a good friend & person.
He can be seen in many films too many to mention off the top of my head at the moment, but got the nickname in the Goth scene
as The Artful Dodger of the Undead. I leave it to you to figure out why. We hope that life is good to him as he is good to
life, and cant wait to see what else he writes for us in the future. If you are reading this, Gavin, WE love you.