The dark side of World Goth Day
May 22nd, 2012
03:13 PM ET

The dark side of World Goth Day

Dim the lights, slather on your eyeliner and get ready to sway in place to the strains of the Sisters of Mercy: May 22 is World Goth Day.

Every day is Halloween to devotees of Gothic music, art, fashion and lifestyle, but this spring celebration is a chance to shed some light on an often-misunderstood subculture. Ask a dozen self-described Goths what the word means, and you'll get 12 different takes, but generally the underpinnings of the aesthetic could be described as "dark." It's life scored in a minor key but not necessarily as morbid or death-obsessed as it's often made out to be.

For every faux fang-wearing, coffin-sleeping, blood-obsessed princess of the night or neon-dreadlocked Cybergoth, there's a pink ruffle-bedecked Gothic Lolita or a 40-something administrative assistant at his desk wearing a Polo shirt and listening to a Cure/Bauhaus/Siouxsie and the Banshees mix on Spotify. What unites them is an appreciation of another kind of beauty - and it's often met with some hostility.