Goth Is Dead

Dating, for me, comes in a very predictable cycle which can easily be mapped out like, say, photosynthesis or recycling.

Mounting sexual frustration → Hope as biproduct of sexual frustration → Clouded judgment → Internet dating website → Hilarious/miserable first date with a stranger → Sleeping with someone I already know → Disappointment and awkwardness → Vow of chastity → Deleting of profile on Internet dating website → Triumphant smiling → Boredom → Afternoon spent watching music videos by Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nick Cave, et. al. → Mounting sexual frustration → Hope as biproduct of sexual frustration → Clouded judgment, etc.

Now that’s a flow-chart.

Through a few years of partaking in this pathetic rigmarole, I can chalk my lack of success up to three things, as illustrated thusly:

73% – my taste
7% – my age
20% – the website itself

Further explanation of this chart is as follows:

7% – my age
At my age, most people* are married or pumping out their first two children. I know that, in five years, Divorce Season will likely start for my generation, and I’ll have my pick of the litter. But, until then, I’m stuck with individuals who were either too fucked up to find someone in their twenties, or have a serious flaw in their system. I can say this as somebody who, without getting sober, would just be starting to question why I was always alone, as I tripped over the six empty bottles surrounding my leaking, borrowed (read: stolen) air mattress. Fortunately, with a clear head, I can tell you why I am single, and no longer sleeping on the floor. It’s because when everyone was partnering up for the dance I was draining the punch bowl and trying to pickpocket the chaperone.

20% – the website itself
I don’t think I’ve ever been contacted via FastCupid, the amalgamation of Salon.com, Nerve.com, and The Onion personals sections. Considered the “smart person’s” dating site, there’s plenty of pretense, and an equal measure of insecurity. Either that or I’m just really ugly. OkCupid appears to be an STD/STI vending machine and an example of how Darwinism has failed. While I’ve gone on more first dates because of that site than I’m willing to count, all of them – and I do mean all of them – have amounted in hilarious failures, or at very least a sad, sad mismatch of two computer-savvy people, algorithms be damned.

And that final 73%? My taste. This is not an insult to my ex-boyfriend, who is as awesome as I am. This is also not an insult to my ex-domestic-partner-wife-sort-of from when I was in my early, early twenties. She’s…she’s nice. Still. And can handily kick my ass, after taking up boxing and sword fighting after we broke up. (Not kidding.)

But my taste in men and ladies, generally speaking, is where the true crux of my problem lies.

Generally speaking, I like hardass, butch women who go for high-maintenance, super-feminine girls, of which I am not one. Try to put me in conventional-colored lipstick and a dress and you get what looks like a boy in fourth grade being suckered into a stunt that is a direct result of being beaten up by mean-spirited school chums. I coped with not scoring the women I wanted in the same way that many straight men do, I got drunk and slept with girls I wasn’t entirely attracted to. Call it charity work.

Once I got sober and started being an equal-opportunity harlot, I learned that my taste in men, while more multi-faceted, was just as disappointing. In fact, my taste in mates seems to be biologically predestined to phase out my lineage, as the single unifying and establishing characteristic across the gender board is a lack of attraction to yours truly. While the Gina Gershon in Bound doppelgangars and Jenny Shimizus of the world can be accepted as the women I would like to fuck but never will, no matter how much Ecstasy they’ve consumed, the men, for the sake of this post, will be limited to one sub-genre of failure: goth boys. (Yes, tall, unemployed hipsters with bicycles, I like you, too. Even though you don’t like me.)

For the record, I blame my dad. After he left my mom, his first girlfriend was a goth twenty-one years his junior. They would go to The Batcave and tell me all about it during our visitations. It was then that the mold was cast.

Observations on the Male Gothic Subgenera

Ensnaring a goth boy, on paper, should be simple. Unlike hipsters, whose interests can be as varied as Dura-Ace to Campagnolo, or Xanax to Vicodin, goth boys pretty much fall into two camps that are factory-assembled and easy to understand.

The romantic male goth.
Similar to: Morrissey; Trent Reznor prior to any film scores; Robert Smith from The Cure prior to his discovery of donuts and hockey; that girl you had a crush on in chem lab; any of the male characters from Interview with a Vampire, though these men often feel a particular affinity towards Tom Cruise’s vampire Lestat.
Interests: looking down, England, wearing repurposed women’s clothing, sitting in graveyards, reading dead poets, working with computers.
Listening to: Depeche Mode, Icon of Coil, Covenant, The Cure, bands no longer in existence.
Defining characteristics: black eyeliner; lack of smile; 28″ waist; rosary beads; possibly passing a kidney stone, or just that unhappy.

The industrial male goth.
Similar to: the members of KMFDM, Trent Reznor prior to sobriety, your German professor, a villian in a Jeunet film, any of the male actors from a steampunk haunted house.
Interests: looking angry, using boots, yelling while flailing, optics, explosions, working with computers.
Listening to: Assemblage 23, Front Line Assembly, Nitzer-Ebb, KMFDM, bands no longer in existence.
Defining characteristics: metal accessories, ability to holler one or two words in German, patience lacing eye-holes, usually a Miata or Civic with a black paint job that’s in remarkably good condition.

One would think that, knowing these established parameters, I would have concocted a foolproof plan over the past twenty years of crushing on these sub-types of a category. But much like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, or, somewhat more appropriately, Wile E. Coyote and his rock-and-anvil laden foiling by the Road Runner, this chase has been going on wholly unsuccessfully since Marilyn Manson was playing sports bars in Florida. (I think he may be back to doing that again now. And he’s another angst-addled artist who has discovered the dangers of donuts.)

Unfortunately for me, I was born with both a solid weird streak and a sense of humor. While the former makes me momentarily interesting to these men, the later launches the sexy train clear off the rails and into the canyon of rejection. I blush, even through white face powder. I giggle relentlessly. I make inappropriate jokes about what the ghost gansters say to their ghost molls (“I got you covered, boo.”) I don’t cry unless I’m cutting onions or suffering from an allergy attack. I don’t brood. When I’m attracted to someone, my m.o. is generally to make them laugh and to stare a lot, since relying on my looks and pocket-size has never worked in my experience.

But even if I were able to sustain the interest of a goth boy for long enough by wowing him with stories about how I interviewed Front Line Assembly, talked on the phone with Ogre, and ate with Nick Cave*…or if I simply taped the dude to a chair, what on earth would we have to talk about? His unsuccessful band? The trouble with trying to wear fishnets on your arms? How it’s difficult to be so overcome inside the dark chasm of human emotion while sustaining a job at Best Buy?

No matter. My attraction to Trent-types isn’t cerebral, so I’ll just stick a roll of duct tape in my purse and make sure to parse goth gatherings that contain folding chairs in dark corners. But, wait, where does one go to get a goth anyway?

Goth Habitat Evaluation with Reference to Mate Selection and Breeding Behavior

Unfortunately, even with the locations scouted and tape close by, there are some inherent pitfalls to this plan. For one thing, my bedtime is, on average, well before the opening hours of any goth or synthpop night that could still be in existence. And while I’d love to delude myself into believing that I would get out of bed in the middle of the night, dress myself in intricate black finery, and then stomp over to whatever sports bar or desperate club is hosting the event, I’m not going to kid myself. You know what makes me moody and withdrawn? Sleep deprivation. Fuck that.

You’re computer-savvy, obviously. You know that the easiest way to procure the obscure – from international spices to vintage tee-shirts – is to look online. What a brilliant idea! I can find my very own prince of gloom through the ‘net! Well…not so fast.

Checking through the forums, the most comprehensive of which was last updated in 2003, all of the local events and community pages redirect to that stock photo of the blond girl with the backpack. Domains no longer maintained. Or, even more depressing, the one site that’s still up is preserved in amber, stuck announcing the “First NYC Goth Picnic is Coming!” in 2002. (The photo of a poorly manicured hand holding what appears to be a Wheat Thin dunked into a container of paddlefish roe completed my crestfallen realization that this subculture is more dead than it had ever desired to be.)

So the apparent failure of the “gothnic” (goth + picnic = gothnic) in my town might lead me to believe, perhaps wisely, that goth is extinct. No, no. Not so fast. While the current state of local affairs might be sad (like goths!) there are certain sites dedicated to those of us who both listen to The Birthday Party and want to find love. [Editor’s Note: WE EXIST.] But, um, unless you have some painkillers on hand, or you’re happily married, don’t click on Goth Passions or Gothic Love Match, which also happens to be affiliated with Bike Love Match, Big Beautiful Lovers, and Horse and Country Lovers. These portals to passion and pain are, in a word, disheartening. Even my bitter and relentless sense of humor can’t buoy my way into filling out a profile. For now I’ll stick to OkCupid, and when that starts too feel too much like a petri dish filled with predators, I’ll take a peek at GothicMatch.com, “the #1 Online Dating Community for Gothic Singles and Friends!”

While all of this might seem wholly obvious and not all that interesting, I will leave you with this timely declaration. It’s New Year’s Eve. Tonight, the ball will drop, drunk people will puke, and, somewhere in the bowels of the East Village, a gothic New Year’s party will be coming to fruition. While it may not happen this evening, and perhaps not even this month, my sole resolution for 2012 is to have a dalliance with a goth boy. Or least two dates.

And you can bet you will hear about every attempt I make, duct tape in hand.

Maynard James Keenan. Yup.
* “People” being those who are, at the baseline, moderately attractive or not nauseating, employed or employable, articulate or not high on heroin.

** In the same restaurant, at the same time. Close enough.