“Posers”, for lack of a better word, are why we as a music listening species cannot have nice things. Now don’t get me wrong, I could give less than half of a fuck whether or not someone is a “trve” or fake metalhead, real or fashion punx, real HxC vs. scene. I’m taking the same stance I do with religion; as long as you’re cool, I don’t care what you identify as. Though sometimes it can be a bit ridiculous when someone goes all out with the aesthetic and extremes of the mindset just because they feel they have to, causing civil wars in the subculture and making everyone who’s in it because that’s their true identity and taste look all the worse for it. So here I come to bitch about why some people suck because they try too hard to fit in just because it would make the church mad. These are their stories.
Basic How-To: Trenchcoats, sour demeanor, fishnets, enormous boots, and smeared black make-up. Pretending to be a vampire is a big plus, and listen to a lot of My Chemical Romance, Nightwish, and Korn for cred.
Why Trying Too Hard Fucks You Over: You end up looking silly, and claiming you’re depressed when all you’ve done is listen to Evanescence’s Fallen on repeat while staring at a picture of Marilyn Manson gleefully. This is not goth. This is just gross! I’m not an authority on what separates real Goths from Mall Goths definitively, but I do know that real Goths hang their heads in shame being associated with kids that visit Hot Topic bi-weekly to restock on I-Need-To-Look-Suicidal-But-Sexy supplies. And I’m fairly certain that real Goths find more value in Post-Punk, Industrial (Combichrist, not Merlin Munson), and possibly even a little Rockabilly/Psychobilly. Not all Goths go around proclaiming their love/status of being Antichrist, as that’s just moronic in any subculture. And the whole pink stripes thing, the fuck is that all about? That’s not “dark”, that’s just Hello Kitty after she saw Avril Lavigne in Rolling Stone.
Basic How-To: While adhering to the flawless formula of glasses, striped/plaid/wacky shirts, and beanies, don’t be afraid to follow (or start) a ridiculous fashion trend to rival that of the most jaded Vice Magazine readers. If that doesn’t work, just try to look plain or “nerdy”, but with an air of superiority. Bonus points if you come off as a “hipster”.
Why Trying Too Hard Fucks You Over: Trying to be indie? Why not try to be a keyboard if you want to be pushed by random people to do their bidding, slut. Being “Indie” means you have to feign hatred for whatever’s too popular —the only exceptions being Muse and Radiohead— and embracing the esoteric (provided it’s not TOO obscure, otherwise what’s the fun of sharing your latest Dronejazz finds?). It’s a Catch 22 where your friends will hate you for liking too much current and standard music and style, and they’ll hate you for being way more “Indie” than them. You can’t win, and you’ll have shitty (but remember, not mainstream!) noise rattling around your head for your pains. With too many people trying to be “Indie”, you end up with a crowded underground of smelly people who have decided that bathing is so 2007 and/or not eco-friendly. Eventually these bands spill into the public spotlight to disastrous effect, and thus we have Kings Of Leon raping our ears to this very day.
Basic How-To: Black clothing is a must. Worship the Big 4 even though you only know the hits, like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and any Metal that’s soft enough for radio play. And Slipknot. NORSK ARYSK BLACK METAL.
Why Trying Too Hard Fucks You Over: Following instructions on how to be a Metalhead and then deciding “Yeah, I kinda wanna be one” is a more rookie mistake than shooting anyone who wears blue just because you’re a Blood. It gets one nowhere, and will impede progress towards legitimacy, especially when 14 year olds (like myself at the time) claimed to be Metalheads when their main listening diets included mostly Deathcore, Nu-Metal, Iron Maiden, and the Big 4. This breed has no name yet, but it’s basically a glorified Rocker with leanings towards the more extreme stuff. And the fact that they raise their horns obediently when a band comes on stage or they see someone with a Metal band shirt on doesn’t make them as cool as they wish to be. Believe it or not, no one is truly prepared to be complemented by a stranger unless they’re narcissistic enough to practice in front of a mirror. I should know, I’ve both experienced and inflicted this treatment, and I would like to stop this damaging cycle. Not to say all neophytes to the discipline of steel are all lame and don’t deserve to see sunlight, but honestly, when a 15 year old kid who knows every member of Slipknot’s name and yet doesn’t want to recognize why D.R.I. is an important part of the history of the genre they claim to be flagbearers of, bitch we gotta problem.
Basic How-To: Must be SxE (or not, depending on the sect), totally hetero and xTUFFx, and Vans slip-ons or bust. Gauges? Only mandatory, bro.
When Trying Too Hard Fucks You Over: You become a glorified scene kid. Despite being oh so xTUFFx, you have to keep your secret torrid love affair with Christcore and auto-tune-laden boy-bands with growls under wraps. Hardcore is in no way about compensating for what one lacks, but about being proud of yourself, true friends, family, and everyone and everything that matters in life. Of course, some kids would like to have you know that breaking Edge or not being a faggot is what Hardcore is all about. Antithetical to the whole notion that Hardcore is about respecting your fellow human regardless of creed or their own personal lifestyle as long as no one is harmed, but sure, why not be an asshole? And if someone asks you if you like Black Flag, Gorilla Biscuits, Bad Brains, Descendents, or Minor Threat and you don’t even so much as know of at least one of those bands, you are to have all body mods forcibly removed.
Basic How-To: Spikes, Gotta Have Blue Hair, A Vest With Any Band That Has At One Point Said The US Sucks Or Used Anarchy Symbols, mustn’t listen to the Misfits, even though you brandish their logo daily.
Why Trying Too Hard Fucks You Over: Ah yes, the reason why I can scarcely bring myself to wear my Misfits shirt out in public anymore. Lemme get one thing straight; if you set out to “be” a punk just because you saw Green Day smash a couple of things in a music video, you’re not one. Being Punk is not something one makes a conscious decision overnight to be after buying as much cheap hair dye as they can and deciding The Casualties are the kings of anti-establishment, it’s more a mindset than anything. Hitting up some shite store in the mall should be the first sign that your misaimed affection towards saying “fuck you” to the police should be a huge red flag of what you’re doing wrong. Especially if you have no damn reason to be mad in the first place. and the vests. Oh god, the vests. If you’re not a real punk, you will be found out in an instant if you’re waving Rancid and Dropkick Murphys in someone’s face like a baby giving an accidental middle finger. It’s cute and all for a while, but you must stop before someone hurts you somewhere down the line. A grown-ass man that doesn’t realize that liberty spikes and huge broomstick mohawks aren’t what makes one a punk are sad specimens.
Railing against the establishment is hard, especially when such establishments were originally splintered off the large establishment to be anti-establishment, thus creating a whole new series of establishments with which they side with the larger parent establishment and vainly make a point about how it sucks. In short: Stop fucking up your subculture, dammit. If you’re a “normie” who doesn’t really fit into any of these, that’s fine too, just please stay out of Hot Topic. I made my mistakes so you don’t have to. Maybe I’m just grumpy because I spent 17 years of my life being lame, but I’m off to browse the HT clearance and see if they have anything that I’d be willing to wear. I’m feeling lucky, punks.