Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day-Crawlers in the Mist -- PART I

Greetings my dear Gothlings!

(Original post date: 12/7/09)
Lately, I’ve been losing myself and immersing myself in the Day-Crawling social scene, not unlike Jane Goodall living amongst the Gorillas for many years studying their bizarre, yet fascinating, behaviours and rituals. I feel as though I should be wearing khakis, sporting a pith helmet, speak in an Australian accent and have my own nature show on Animal Planet! As a social experiment I’ve been spending some time in rather “mainstream” bars and clubs to observe and collect data, all the while still dressed as my usual Gothy self. Let me tell you, it was quite an adventure!

Usually, the first thing that happens when I walk into one of these more “normal” establishment, looking the way I do, is that all eyes turn on me, drinking in the sight of me. I can sense the patrons, men and women alike, thinking to themselves: “Where the fuck did he come from?” I pay no mind to the stares. I understand that I am intruding on their territory. I remain confident, yet vigil, as I walk directly to the bar.

Very quickly I establish a friendly bond with one of the bartenders by tipping them very well as I am accustomed to doing on a regular basis, being that I tend bar myself on occasion. Within the Day-Crawler bar ecosystem the bartender(s) will be your best ally, next to the doorman/bouncer, in affirming a trust with the natives; you seem a bit more accepted. If the bar staff does not warm up to you within the first few visits, you are definitely are in hostile territory and should move along.

Soon after I order my ceremonial glass of white wine with a glass of ice on the side (thank you very much), I take notice that the Day-Crawlers are still leering at me but now have started whispering snide remarks about my appearance to one another. A slight smirk always curls on my lips at this moment. It becomes quite comical how Day-Crawlers think that since I live a different lifestyle from them, that I don’t understand their language and mode of communication. Plus I have impeccable hearing. I hear all of the snarky comments ranging from “Halloween isn’t for X amount of months!” to “Look! Count Dracula just walked in!” and everything in between. I brush these remarks off. I know that they are said as an immediate defensive response to my presence. You see, Day-Crawlers will mock that which is strange or unknown to them with their peers as to show no fear and a dominant position. The interesting thing to note here is that these comments where generally stated by the male Day-Crawlers when I intruded in their territory; however, if I were a female researcher, it would have been the female Day-Crawlers making the catty remarks. This is derived by the threat of sexual competition within a social environment. So, by this time, as I quietly sipped my drink at the watering hole, observing, I still hear the snorts, grunts, and chuckles at my expense from the males. At the same time, I also notice the females giving me quick glances and subtle eye contact. Within the herd of college kids, yuppies, and hipsters I am something definitely strange and alien to them…but I am also very different from the mundane norm they are accustomed to, and that sets me apart. Again, the males perceive me as a threat to there ongoing competition over impressing and eventually mating with the females of the herd. My interest lies solely on my research, and my beverage.

Now, most of you who know me knows that I am never seen without my handcrafted black leather covered notebook…I constantly joke that it is my ‘man-purse.’ After a while in the field I generally have to take notes, so I flip open my notebook and start jotting down some data. This simple action systematically proves to be very intriguing (even startling) to Day-Crawlers! At first glance the natives speculate that my notebook is some sort of satanic bible or a Necronomicon, but my writing words on a blank piece of paper, aided by a single pen, simply mystifies them! The question: “What is he writing in that evil looking book?” is consistently painted on their faces. Am I writing a book? A poem? A shopping list? Plans for Armageddon? Or all of the above? After some time of puzzlement, one of the Day-Crawlers that is clearly more brave than the rest of the herd (interestingly enough, a female, more often than not) will cautiously approach me and delicately ask me the universal question that we Goths tend to roll our eyes at: “Excuse me…can I ask you a question?” (and proper grammar dictates that it should be poised: “Excuse me…MAY I ask you a question?”)

In the back of my mind I am thinking, “Oh great! Here it comes!” but making verbal contact with a Day-Crawler, especially a female of the species, can be tricky and should be handled with great care and expertise. This daring and inquisitive creature has broken away from one of two likely “packs” to ask me this question. She has either emerged from a group of friends huddled together, staring and giggling while witnessing our interaction, or she has broken away from her (potential) mate in order to ask me “the question.” The latter instance is, without a doubt, the more dangerous of the two scenarios. The male will be quick to feel threatened by his female’s impulsive act of approaching me to feed her inquisitive nature. His simple mind will start to worry weather or not she will find me more interesting, and therefore more sexually appealing, than he. Depending on the individual male in this situation, the outcome could play itself out rather smoothly, or go horribly wrong if the male throws a fit of rage and stomps over to retrieve his female. Even more perilous is if said male is accompanied by other males from his pack. I am happy to report that whilst I had many such encounters, I have yet not experienced a physical attack by any Day-Crawlers…again, it’s good to befriend the bar staff early on.

In the first scenario, with the giggling friends, I am reminded of this one time in my habitual Day-Crawling watering hole where I was simply reading the novel ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ , when a female Day-Crawler belonging to an amateur athletic team pack shyly crept up to me and asked: “Excuse me…Can I ask you a question?” Feeling rather snarky, I responded, “you just did…” She did not understand the joke. I didn’t press on it. “Never mind. What would you like to ask me?” Now, keep in mind, whenever a Day-Crawler approaches you and asks this introductory question, you have to be prepared to hear all sorts of moronic inquiries. Following is a sampling list of some questions I have had to endure over the past years of my field research:

“Are you a Vampire?” (always a favorite)

“What branch of Orthodox are you?”

"What do you practice?"

“Do you work in a funeral home? (I wish)

“Are you a magician?” (Presto!)

“Are you an opera singer?”

“What do you write in that book?”

“Is that a bible?”

“Are you in a rock band?”

“Why so Dark?”

“Where do you work where you have to dress up like that?”

“Why are you dressed like that?”

“Are you a Satanist?”

And so on…

But this one particular female asked of me this: “If you don’t mind me asking, but what is it you are reading?” I tried to play a guessing game with her but to no avail. I soon showed her the cover of the novel. She was clearly disappointed that it wasn’t something like ‘How to Suck Blood for Dummies’ or the like. This odd female then proceeded to confess to me that her sports clan had dared/bet her to approach me and make contact in the effort to find out what type of reading material I was intensively focused on. Really? Moreover, to solidify the bet toward her behalf, she pleaded with me to go over to her pack and show them the book as proof of our communication. To further my research on Day-Crawler behavior, and at the expense of being put on display, I complied and walked over to their table and was promptly introduced to the entire pack…and felt as though I was solely there for their amusement. The first female insisted that I join their pack for some beverages, to which I quickly, yet politely, declined, stating that I only came in for a glass of wine and some quiet time to read my book. I excused myself and returned to my habitual far corner of the bar. Moments later, the same female comes back to my side of the bar and, maybe because she felt I was put on the spot, kindly offered to to buy me my next glass of wine. What unusual behavior! She again asks several times more if I would like to join her with the others. I again politely refuse. But, with the gift offering of the next drink comes the automatic assumption of the right to communicate freely with the recipient of said gift gesture…something that is a very widely practiced technique of Day-Crawling males when prowling for potential mates. I was fascinated! Here was a female Day-Crawler, maybe fueled by liquid encouragement, using an aggressive male mating ritual in order to prolong a conversation with me! For the interest of Science I let her continue with the prodding and probing questions. Rather directly she was asking me quite personal and intimate inquiries such as: “What type of girl is your type?” and “Are you available?” The communication session quickly became uncomfortable for me and I was forced to tactfully put an end to it by using the excuse of my wish to continue to read in tranquility. She obliged, but was rather cold toward me as she and her pack finally migrated away from the watering hole. All of this was deliciously fascinating to me! What an experience!

 But back to my field research: As I was saying before, a female Day-Crawler will eventually brave to inquire about my actions and/or appearance. More often than not if I quite frankly answer the question at hand the female’s inquisitive nature will become satisfied and she will simply to her pack/mate to describe the encounter. On certain occasions, not unlike the instance I just mentioned, a female Day-Crawler will press on with a full conversation perhaps motivated by the thrill of pushing the envelope of having further contact with someone who clearly does not fit into their social realm, thus impressing/enraging their pack/mate; by genuinely being interested in my choice of lifestyle (I have actually turned 4 Day-Crawling females and 2 Day-Crawling males onto the Goth Culture in this manner!); or for the third reason…which alarms me the most…that she (or he) is…dare I say it…a…”Fan-pire!!!”  *GASP!!!*

See you in the Dark!
Sir William “hiding in the brush” Welles

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