Friday, November 14, 2014

*smack* read the FAQ

A long, long time ago, in an Internet far, far way (oh, about 1995), I assembled & maintained a FAQ for a group called It was a little community on a thing known as Usenet, a quirky part of the Internet, back before social networking, before blogs even. It probably still exists, & no, I don't want to go find the sad, sorry remains. Because whatever left is nothing like what it was Back In The Day.

The place wasn't the only thing I'm nostalgic about. It was the FAQ itself. We needed a frequently asked questions file because newbies would pop up all the time asking the same old things -- where can I buy pointy boots? what's the best black eyeliner? how do I take care of velvet? The real heart of the FAQ was the resources section, the mail-order catalogs & precious few stores selling honest-to-darkness gothic clothing & accessories.

Years before Hot Topic, before Chanel's Vamp, before eBay even. Back then, places that sold pointy boots & corsets & pale foundation were rare & unique, so we had to round up every last name & share it with our fellow dark fashionistas. We sent away (by snail mail!) for printed catalogs (yes, on paper!) showing sketches & horribly dark photos of gothic clothes & fetish gear. We had to make a lot of stuff ourselves too. There were also fewer of us back then, so when someone reviewed a store or product, we could trust their opinion because we pretty much all knew each other.

Nowadays, the clothes are the easy part. Have you heard of this thing called Google? Yeah, gothic clothing is but a click away. It's everywhere online, it's in the malls across America. Even if you live in bumf**k  nowhere, you can log onto eBay & find a billion items to fill your closet & have new clothes delivered right to your door.

It's also a hell of a lot more diverse, which actually makes finding stuff easier. We used to mostly be RomantiGoths / AntiquityGoths who wore drippy velvet garb vaguely based on historical styles. MyLittlePony & CyberGoths started to invade, which vastly expanded the possible wardrobe selection. By the time Hot Topic made it big in the U.S., gothwear wasn't limited to black clothes anymore. These days, there's Goth Lolita, Steampunk, emo, & gawd knows what other varieties people call "goth."

The last version of the FAQ kind of lives on -- it's hosted by someone I don't know, with a date of 2009, here: As she notes, broken links abound. But there's still some gems of wisdom. The DIY sections are still pretty awesome, & tips like "how to make really big hair" are timeless.

But kids today, they don't need my old FAQ. They don't ask questions, they just google things. Feh. *waves cane*

What I'm wearing: Black & white stripe knit dress, Nordstrom | Black ruffled bolero sweater, Kohl's | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black patent heels, unknown brand | Gunmetal skull earrings, Walgreens

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