When asked to describe my teenage years, the examples I most often give are Ally Sheedy in "The Breakfast Club" and teenage Darlene in "Roseanne". I was quiet, wore dark colors, and kept to myself. I once had someone describe me as "pre-goth" and it made me laugh.
Goth is black lipstick and dyed-black hair, heavy black eye-liner and nail polish, a perpetual scowl, cynicism and anger. I wasn't angry, I was just a loner, an outcast. I wasn't goth. I wasn't one of those kids with black hair and blond roots, with peel-off wrist scars and red contacts. But now I wonder...
Goth has become emo, and I'm afraid I'm too old to know the difference. If it can change like that so much, and self-proclaimed goths can react to being called emo the same way I react to being called goth, then what came before? What was in the early nineties? Is there really much difference between Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper? Same shades of make-up, same black and blood imagery. What about Korn and Megadeth? I try to envision myself at sixteen and to look at myself the way a stranger might have. Ripped jeans, black shoes and shirt, black coat, long hair in my face, notebook under one arm and a perpetual cigarette clamped between my fingers. Was I just a depressed kid, or was I goth? I was blond and I never wore make-up or nail polish but then, that goth scene hadn't really started yet. Maybe the Darlenes and Ally-Sheedy-Breakfast-Clubbers and I were goth, for the time. I thought I didn't fit a mold, somewhere between head-banger and grunge. But maybe I just had to wait a few years (okay, fifteen) to see my label.
It's kind of funny. Imagine if all of those dark and moody dyed-black girls out there knew that sometimes, goths become housewives and drive minivans and marry high school jocks. I know I wouldn't have believed it. But then, Tom wouldn't have believed he'd grow up to marry a goth either. The joke's on us, I suppose.