She changed my life in ways she could fathom, although I don't have any idea who that eighth grader was.
It was I was introduced to a particular -- Fashion? Lifestyle? Fetish? -- that's since become my greatest aesthetic quirk. All men have a kind -- a few are into your regular breastaurant waitress mold, others are to the tatted up neo-pin-up template, and many others are all about the artsy-fartsy nerd chic -- and it was here, I assume, that I developed mine: the all-American goth chick.
Now, at the moment, we did not call them "goths." In actuality, we did have an term of both genders, who wore three pounds of eyeliner everyday and wore all donned spiky jewellery. Some called them "the other children," some called them "skaters" (which none of them possessed skateboards, apparently, meant very little) but by and large, the other students called them as either "the freaks" or "the weirdos." The rest of the kids before Columbine -- were terrified. Rumors spread that They did needle drugs and hung out together on the weekends and practiced magic charms. While blaring Marilyn Manson they chainsawed hobos behind Costco to passing. Granted, the worst items they actually did was smoke cigarettes away from the movie theater and perhaps shoplift a couple of malt liquors, but they embraced the paranoia and dread the other pupils fostered for them. In a way, it made them over the junior high totem, which makes them a more effective caste system force than even the preppiest of preps.
And there was something about that I discovered inherently attractive. I found them alluring, while everybody found the women to be terrifying. Others believed their morbid, sadsack dispositions was the turnoff, but I thought it strangely entranced.
She was the first crush of my own adolescence. Even now, I've no hint what her name was, but I won't ever forget seeing her at the bus stop for the first time. Curling her auburn coif out of her eyes -- showing a pair of peppers outlined in what I presumed was an whole bottle of dollar store lashes -- she smiled a sinister smile and asked me, with the playful lunacy of Harley Quinn, "what you staring at, curly?"
I never reacted. But each time she saw me in the hallway, she would take me that half-playful, half-evil smile and say something along the lines of "hello, curled, how you doing?" I guess she thought she was freaking me, but deep down, I adored the focus (god knows, she was the only girl in the sixth grade who ever acknowledged my life.) Forget tans, forget the blindingly blonde hair and forget that all too dull "girl next door" look -- I was eternally enamored by the women who seemed more Morticia Addams compared to Christina Aguilera.
During high school and college, I more or less homed in on each of the pale girls who wore Invader Zim tops and loathed their parents. Really, my very first makeout was having a woman wearing a literal pentagram on her brow and I had been introduced to the joys of carnal pleasure with a young woman whose whole makeup chest was full of nothing but novelty Halloween lipsticks and nail polishes. Throughout these relationship sojourns, I discovered a seldom spoken truth concerning the "goth girl" motif/stereotype. Actually, I soon learned that there are really five genuses of goth woman, each with her Own idiosyncratic quirks:
THE RICH, SUBURBAN GOTH -- Her father makes $150,000 a year and her mother lets her spend $500 at a time on naturally Hot Topics buys (usually, Hello Kitty-branded lip gloss and anime-inspired belt buckles.) Really, she likes to wear a lot, although she claims to be a poetic soul. She's at least three Nightmare Before Christmas posters in her room along with the heaviest ring she listens to is AFI.
THE POOR, ANTI-SOCIAL GOTH -- She lives in a trailer park, works part-time in the local grocery store or hole in the wall restaurant (usually on the rear of the home -- they do not want her spider tattoos creeping out the clients) and has attempted at least 80 percent of all of the drugs known to man. The only thing in her handbag are the cigarettes at 7-Eleven, a few wadded bills and a switchblade. She will break up, if she does not have at least one felony on her record.
THE ARTISANAL GOTH -- She gets good grades, she is most likely the best actress in the theatre department and she spends her evenings studying Dante's Inferno from the original Italian, as it is more atmospheric like that. Her dream is to obtain a art endowment to produce the world's biggest ball of sculpture.
THE FASHIONISTA GOTH -- She's hyper-concerned about her looks. You absolutely can't leave the home till she has her winged eyeliner down. Every day she paints her nails and she makes at least one visit to Ulta. From the time she graduates college, she is usually evolved into a "health goth" or abandoned the aesthetics entirely for a new lifestyle that allots for pink and yellow wardrobe options.
THE UNKEMPT GOTH -- The reverse of this fashionista goth. She apparently just wants to kiss you shortly after she sucked down a Camel cigarette or peeled off her lips her dragon-shaped bong. Her jewelry is pewter, she farts in public and she spends at least half of their afternoon playing League of Legends. She like the poor goth, except sans the penchant for criminality. After all, to do so you must get up off the couch.
Yeah, sometimes you get a mix of three or two of these, but by and large? Each subset has its advantages and disadvantages, its flaws and benefits, something to admire and love and something to detest and hate. And men, I think you owe it yourself to experience all five of those sub-goths before you get your bachelor's degree. Why? Because goth women -- for better or worse -- represent the most varied range of feminine character types. While some are pretentious and -- ironically -- stuck-up some are cool. They will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they will make you think notions that are existential that are profound and they will -- by design, perhaps -- make you want to kill yourself. Even as fleeting, transitory relationships, they offer you something to consider about both the fairer sex and that what you are as an individual. You date nothing but club women or cheerleaders or nerds for a year, and you won't learn any nobler truths. Spend a year dating only goth women, however, and an whole cosmos of previously unrevealed knowledge befalls you. Hell, you may even find one which is just the ideal match, and who knows?
But maybe the biggest motive to date goth women even though you're a young dude? Because, to put it simply, existing at age 25 stops. They're professionals today, and they must terraform themselves to that dull, staid, office drone appearance. Adios blouse with sayonara eggplant eyeshadow and the shoulder pads. The ring comes out, the Doc Martens proceed the Cureshirts and the thrift shop are locked away never to see the light of day. You can always locate a bubbly cheerleader or artsy geek kind when you're 30 and 40. But the red-blooded goth? You have got up until your senior year in school, and that is pretty much your last opportunity to land one your own age.
For those of you have been pursuing a darker kind? Bear in mind, the clock is running out, and the sands of time are falling by a lot. And you don't need to visit your grave not knowing what it is like to make out with a woman wearing lipstick to midnight, do you?