Seventeen-year-old Chris Mixon-Match stands outside the sold-out all-ages show, listening to Underoath on his iPod and repeatedly brushing his dyed-black bangs out of his linered-black eyes. It's chilly out, but his extra-extra-large Avenged Sevenfold hoodie keeps him warm. He alternately chastises himself for not buying a ticket in advance and excuses himself for underestimating the crowd; he's still new to the Christian Goth-core scene, new enough that his family hasn't yet questioned him about the midnight clothes and makeup, figuring it for another quick phase.
Torn between heading for the coffee shop down the street, and waiting for the show to let out, Chris shuffles his weight from Doc Marten to Doc Marten. He might see someone he knows, or wants to know. Then again, most of his new friends recognize him only by his screen name, nailzxhcx87. (His father chides him about the tough sound of "nailz," not knowing it's a crucifixion reference.) He distracts himself from this fact by remembering he hasn't started his Christmas shopping. Not that it matters. His family is so predictable, they might as well be stereotypical characters in some contemporary family-themed cartoon; he'll just look for ads containing models dressed like them, and buy the products the ads are pimping. And they'll love it.
"Not like me," he thinks, leaning, settling his back against a poster for an upcoming show that features four guys dressed exactly as he is. "I'll bet nobody has the slightest idea what I'd like for Christmas. How could they? Nobody knows me, knows how I feel.
"Hey," Chris thinks to himself as he adjourns to the coffee shop, "maybe I should write a song about that."
What Chris is hoping for but doesn't expect anyone will get him:
"Scary on the outside, nice on the inside" T-shirt
The shirt's red, the lettering's black, and the message pretty much nails him. Plus, girls might think it's cute.
$19, Hot Topic, Tyrone Square Mall, St. Petersburg.
Looking for God in Harry Potter
The kid (OK, the even younger kid) in Chris loves Harry Potter, and this recent Christian analysis by John Granger doesn't damn the series outright, but rather explores the Christian themes and parallels it finds in Harry's adventures. Plus, girls might think it's cute.
$13.59, Barnes & Noble.
Scream Trilogy DVD box set
Like any kid who abhors real violence, Chris is in love with the fake stuff, and Scream has the added attraction of being the generation-defining horror flick he was too young to see legitimately.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines PC/online game for Windows
A videogame where you get to be a vampire. It is utterly impossible to go wrong here.
$49.99, Best Buy.
"Smolder" Eye Coal
The perfect eye makeup for young Goths of either gender — hip, soft, smudgy and very, very black. Plus, girls might well, you know.
$13, MAC Cosmetics, various Bay area locations.
Homemade "Season Pass" booklet of coupons for punk shows
As a youngster, Chris often gave his parents coupons for stuff like "One Room Cleaning Without Argument" and "One Whole Day of Chores." Since punk-rock clubs rarely offer season-ticket programs, what he'd really like is a booklet of five or so coupons he can trade to his parents, one at a time, for money for a ticket to the live show of his choice. He thinks it's a bit cutesy, but he'll endure a little cutesiness in the name of guaranteed show entry.