DARE TO ASK: Goth boy's parents in the dark?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
My mom said I could wear Gothic clothes as long I don't do devil worship.
Then her mood went bad about it. And my dad is totally against it. I thought I
had found something I liked. Any advice?
River, 12, male, Heath, Ohio
My boyfriend is Goth and is hard-working, hardly drinks and doesn't worship
the devil. Ask your parents to let you dress how you want a few months. If your
grades and attitude keep improving, you keep doing it. If they slip, you stop.
Michele, 31, New Orleans
Tell your mom to take pictures of you so when you have matured she can show
you how utterly stupid you looked as a child.
Therocdoc, Aurora, Colo.
My granddaughter went Goth and found there was nothing but pressure from all
around. It meant nothing but a lot of clothes she'd throw away soon anyhow. Are
you the type of person who must be leered at by strangers to have people notice
I'm a Jehovah's Witness but wear Goth. My dad doesn't like it. He makes me go
to the Kingdom Hall. But when I am at school I am Gothic. I have worshipped the
devil before, but then I pray to Jehovah about what I did. You can wear black,
just not at church.
Olivia, 12, St. Louis
All Goths want to do is be depressed, pale, uninspired and stoned. Pick a
scene where people actually want to do something and not just play dress-up.
Sker, Tulsa, Okla.
My daughter is heavily into the punk scene. But at 17 she has a lot of
freedom, and she got there by earning my trust: good grades, no alcohol or
drugs, calling when I tell her to and being home when she's agreed to be.
Randy, 46, Philadelphia
Goth began as a musical subculture during the post-Punk era of the late '70s,
with bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Some call
the culture introspective and brooding, others reflective and laid-back, says
Patrick Rodgers, a major Goth promoter and owner of Dancing Ferret Records.
"Any club bouncer will tell you the nights they enjoy working most are Goth
night. Goths don't get into fights. It attracts for the most part quiet,
creative people who feel they are not accepted socially in the wider group."
They're not heavily into drugs or the occult, either, he added.
"Journalists don't talk to the woman in her early 30s who's a doctor and
Catholic but comes to the Goth club on weekends. That's not as scandalous as the
16-year-old who says he's a Satanist."
This boy's parents are likely concerned how others will perceive them -- that
their neighbors will assume they failed as parents, Rodgers said.
"He has to explain why he's interested in Goth. Is he into the fashion? Does
he just want to assert himself? Or is he depressed? Finding that out could open
Besides, Goths can become tight with each other, Rodgers noted, forming a
support network that's handy when more typical adolescent woes like money or
school problems arise.
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.