When I'm Confronted About Lolita

April 13, 2019

It happens every time. You're going along your busy day, and someone manages to catch you in an interrogation conversation. They drill you with questions as you stand in line to get your coffee. God, you just want your coffee.

For a long time, I was always bewildered at actually being approached about my clothes. I was being bold enough wearing these wonderful ridiculous things, wasn't I? I hadn't prepared for this interview. And where was my god damn coffee?

I've gotten pretty good, though, over the last few years, on explaining Lolita fashion to strangers with the least resistance possible. And, granted, this doesn't necessarily mean I believe anyone is entitled to an explanation! If you want to roll your eyes and walk away, that's your prerogative. But in case you actually do want to have a conversation with a wide-eyed stranger about your clothes, this is my basic elevator pitch:

It's a gothic Victorian-inspired fashion focusing on a larger niche subculture of self-empowerment through bold modesty and refinement. I order most of my clothing online from overseas, sometimes custom to my needs, and I take very good care my clothes because it's my daily clothing and I want it to last me a long time. I really love the dark romance of the style, and I have been very involved in it ever since I found it a few years ago on the internet.

This typically covers all the basic questions. Some things I do and do not  do:

I don't use the word Lolita. Ever. They just don't care what it's called. Unless they ask specifically, and they never do, I just omit naming it. Volunteering the word "Lolita" is just trouble in general when someone is not already familiar with the style, anyway, and I really do not have the time in my busy day for a long-winded explanation that it's not related to the book in any way. It's "gothic Victorian inspired fashion."

I volunteer the questions they're actually asking but not articulating.
"It's my daily clothing outside of work that is part of a larger subculture and community." = "I take this shit seriously, Karen, I have a real job, and no it's not a costume."
"I order most of my clothing online, from overseas brands and sellers." = "It's exotic and somewhat expensive and a very small niche, so no you can't get my AATP at Fuego as a novelty gift for your niece's birthday."
"The point is self-empowerment through bold modesty and refinement." = "Please stop lowkey kink-creeping, that is not how I view my fashion and I am so very uninterested in you and your neckbeard, Karl."
"I found it a few years ago on the internet." = "If you want to know more, please just look it up."

I don't drop the J-word. Giving this information doesn't really hurt, but unless they ask where I got it from I just don't mention it's a Japanese fashion. Again, they're usually not all that interested in where it came from, either, at least in that moment. It's "a dark romantic style I fell in love with on the internet."

I hand them my business card. Not my calling card, which I give to other lolitas and potential personal friends. These strangers get my business card for Grimoire Publishing (unless they give serious creeper vibes). It contains the Grimoire Publishing URL as well as my personal blog URL. If they want to know more, they can look me up and learn all about my fashion step-by-step. And I can have my coffee in peace.