When you start to feel comfortable in a scene, you start to recognize the roles people take on. Social attention tends to turn us all into caricatures, which is what wrestlers are by default. Maybe it’s all the eye makeup, but I can’t help but see some of those same roles from Goth Night up there in the ring. Maybe it’s because the bar is right down the street from the VFW.
Clothes by Hot Topic, teeth by Spirit Halloween, attitude by Baby Gap. Which sounds like criticism, but we were all her once, and honestly she’s really sweet. The gap between her genuine naïveté and the affectation of cynicism is charming, but if you ever said this out loud she’d ruin you on Twitter.
You get it. He didn’t like Suicide Squad. But his disdain for the way people market to goths these days doesn’t hide where he’s getting all his Crow merch.
This man has opinions about Joy Division and his look is impeccable. He’s almost exactly what you picture when you just think the word “goth,” but if he requests one more goddamn Bauhaus song then you’re going to leave screaming. He claims to have met David Vanian in a bar once, which is probably not true.
He only reads Anne Rice. He doesn’t drink…wine. And he is exhausting. Your friends all seem to like him, so you keep giving him the benefit of the doubt, but every time it just becomes another freshman seminar about Poe.
He’s definitely smiling more than anyone else here, and that’s a surprisingly tight competition. You can’t hear what he’s talking about with the bartender, but you know sure as hell every drink he orders comes back full strength. You sip your colored water and seethe with jealousy. His black plaid is a nod to gothabilly, but he’s probably here every night.
She looked at your neck when you were introduced. She’s still looking at it. Between all her makeup and the colored contact lenses, she’s falling into the uncanny valley and you almost can’t believe this is a human being and not a special effect. You wish she would teach you her ways.
Look, the gas mask is very cool, but the music is loud and you can’t read his lips and. You. Need. The. Toilet. Is any of this getting through? This is all becoming an awful metaphor for gatekeeping in subcultures.
Okay, maybe he’s just short and the paint is making it hard to tell, but you’re left with the lingering sense that you got called “f****r” by a 13-year-old. Maybe the enthusiasm of his dancing makes you feel old. Did you have that much energy when you were younger?
They aren’t dancing, they haven’t ordered drinks, and they aren’t talking to anyone. Actually, they don’t seem to be talking to each other, either. Are they actually miserable, or are they just very committed to the bit? Hard to say, but they haven’t gone more than 20 seconds without touching each other.
She’s everyone’s friend and she couldn’t be more excited to see them all. For that matter, she’s thrilled to see you, and she’s going to introduce you to everyone. You only kind of know her name, but she has already hugged you three times tonight. There was cheek-kissing involved at one point. It was very European.
Her boots weight more than your nephew and they set off every metal detector she passes. All of her favorite songs are in German. At one point, she gives you a good, hard shove and you worry for a second that you spilled her drink, but then she smiles and mimes elbowing you in the face. Oh, good. She thinks you’re on board. You pretend to need the bathroom and back away.
We’re all hopefully past the phase of performative furry hatred that was so popular back in ‘06, but it’s still weird, right? Imagine how hot it must be in all that. You think of everyone trying to keep their sweat from ruining their makeup and notice that whoever’s in all that doesn’t seem able to drink anything through the mask. Hardcore, for a cartoon dog.
He’s wearing leather pants, he knows one Lord Byron poem, and you bet he’s got condoms. He had a good time pinwheeling his arms to that one hardcore song in the first half hour, but since then he’s retired to the corner of the dance floor, where he just…waits. At least his eyeliner is good.
On the one hand, he’s super sketchy. On the other hand, it’s strangely uplifting to see someone in their 50s all inked up and living his life. Must be nice to not have to care anymore.
Evan McDevitt and Rebecca Seidel are married and live in Philadelphia, home to lots of wrestling, both very good and extremely bad. Whenever possible, they watch it at home with their cat and plenty of hot wings.