In this endless dark trudge through existence, there aren't enough rest stops, particularly for those with a taste for the macabre. In your search for cool sites with a gothic flavor, you may get bogged down with all the self-absorbed misery and ominous overtones. Who said one must be somber all the time to enjoy this darker genre? Remember, we're into this because we like it. We relish being different from the mentally costive mainstream, and the remaining ignorance-lolling bulk of the populace can go munch a carotid artery.

Mind you, I haven't lost my last precarious hold on the edge and begun hurtling down into the Perky Pit; I'm just saying that sometimes a silk- or fishnet-clad arm draped melodramatically over the brow, or a lachrymose, deeper-than-thou poem describing that personal abyss no one can possibly understand, or an underlit, intense, Copperfieldesque cat-stare, can just as easily look ridiculous and insipid as impressive.

Yet I love the dark, the morbid, the vampiric, choir-backed music with religious overtones, and making the general public extremely skittish about my intentions and beliefs. I find beauty in cold fingers of fog wisping around aged, crooked tombstones silhouetted against a predawn sky. I'm in constant search for music that will most complement a darkly serious, creative mood, or the music that will most scare the shit out of me if I listen to it when the sun is down (Nothing like a little Coil, Dead Voices on Air, or the soundtrack to "Omen" to make my stomach churn happily). I curl my lip in disgust watching Prime Time media, pandering to a clueless common denominator, relating the latest story about those "odd" and "alternative" lifestyles ("Oh, are you one of those Gothic people?"). I seem to be the Black Sheep of my family; they know my lifestyle is different, but I'm afraid my family has no idea.

You relate to all this, I hope.

So park the hearse, rearrange the dead roses atop the dashboard, and hop out. Stroll about the Gothic Offramp for a while, then visit Sarco's or the Dead Lounge. Things aren't really that damp and depressing (unless you truly get more enjoyment out of it that way; then, as you will), and you may not be really as dark, deep and mysterious as you think, okay?