09/11/2013 10:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

You Can't Keep a Good Goth Dead

Being an ancient geezer has allowed me two great insights into my own personal character; the first is that, no matter what, I'm a Goth, and the second is, I'm smart enough to know not to dress like one.

That being said, I'm also old enough to know that no matter how many incarnations the word 'Goth' has gone through, there is little one can do to change the fact that Goth is still here, whether you respect it's reality or not.

It exists whether it is thought of as a mass market fashion trend, something belonging exclusively to Tim Burton fans, or some Emo dream where pouty young kids feign sadness and walk around dressed in black -- the truth is, Goth existed way before it was trendy a few years back when you could order your bondage pants online, it was alive and well decades before it became the laughingstock it's been made into as of today, and it will endure way beyond any period of time that will try to own it or manufacture it to suit anyone's fashion needs. Billionth generation Goth -- which is the kind of Goth that most people know about -- has been passé for years.

The word Goth has been destroyed. The word itself is now five steps below 'swag' and maybe ten below 'hipster'.

However, Goth is not a trend -- it's a mindset, and for some, a lifestyle. You can associate it all you like with losers or mental cases or the tragically emotional -- but we, the folks who live this mindset have never really been concerned with what anyone thinks of us. Mainstream took our word and made it into a goofy plaything, the world laughed until they were bored, and guess what? We're still here, ignoring all of it.

Before the sheeple decided Goths were all about being artsy and troubled, how we were merely social wastrels or attention seeking misfits without a cause -- before the downplaying of the Goth mindset became what the mass needed to do in order to claim their latest admission into the "We must all think alike" club, we were there with our sexy black styles and our love for vampires.

Yes, vampires. Before the stupid and wildly successful Edward and Bella movies, we were there, loving Christopher Lee and Lugosi, Vampyra and Udo Kier. And while the younger generations took up the mantle and unfortunately got caught up in the Hot Topic race, we were still there in our all-black, getting married, having children, holding jobs, changing the world -- as human beings tend to do as they progress in life.

Being Goth doesn't mean being an idiot, it just means that we tend to love black clothes, dark ideas, nocturnal events, and yes, the occasional clove cigarette and cup of chai. And of course, so much more.

And before we get too old and too vain to think we still look as good as we once did (as I personally learned the hard way), some of us actually do like to dress up in morbid fashion. Oh well, huh? What can you possibly say to that?

"You're so sick."

Ow, that hurts...because dressing up and wearing black is so radical, so edgy, right? I mean, stand aside, we've got rebels in the midst here. That one there, the one in black -- she's got a lace fan in her grip, watch out!

As an older Goth, I can't apologize for who I am. I am a product of everything I've ever loved and I'm proud to be the older chick with the tasteful black hairdo and the artsy black duds. What can I say? I'm sorry I went to the Stevie Nicks school of witchy women who dress like dark faeries and summon up Goddesses while they sing? I'm sorry for having loved Hammer Films with a passion, being raised on Morticia Addams and Lily Munster? What about the beloved Magenta, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Was she not one of the biggest Goths ever to hit the screen? Hello -- I love her!

Do I walk around the mall dressed as Edward Scissorhands while I'm picking up a slime bowl of Chicken Teriyaki at the Food Court? No way! But -- on Halloween, you can best believe I'm the old chick dressed like a dead bride. Offended? Wait 'til you see my parasol and my drawn on stitched up lips.

The truth is, even though people act as though Goth is dead, we're a necessary part of the social balance. Because we remain true to who we are in spite of so much disapproval, we've been elevated into being these objects of fear and loathing. We're hated for one reason only -- we can't be controlled or ultimately knocked down. No matter what goes on, we still believe in our artistic expression. Goth lives. We only dress dead.

Perhaps Goths cause such resentment simply because we believe in ourselves. Because even if we really do look like fools, in our minds we look freaking quantum when we dress up like Barbara Maitland's shriveled corpse! I think what upsets everyone the most about the perseverance of Goth is that, unlike almost everybody else, we allow everyone of every religion, sexual preference, nationality, shape, size and color into our circle -- so we're not only nice, despite our pouty expressions, we're tolerant of everyone, even those who sneer at us. Oh what a tangled (black) web we weave.

But most of all, we just keep wearing those black clothes and for some reason, the world can't just shut up and accept it.

Well, here's a heads up: we're never going to stop. Like death, Goth is inevitable.

Dori Hartley, 1980