With Valentine's Day a bitter, empty memory, our hosts have thrown a post-/anti-VD party. The invitations were specific: It's an '80s ("Pre–Hot Topic and Marilyn Manson") Goth Party. There are no dog collars, S&M latex, or painful-looking piercings to be found—just a lot of black lipstick and eye shadow and tons of the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. A woman hands partiers high-school-style folded notes, adding, "Not that it means anything," before slouching away. One reads: "Hey, Valentine! Love is pain! Whatever."

People get tips on how to goth dance: "It's kind of the antihippie dancing. Hippies dance with their arms outstretched and goths are all self-contained and dancing inward." But even with an impressive smoke machine, the Darkness is hard to maintain: People are continually shouting, "No smiling! Never smiling!" A sad schoolgirl bubbles, "I'm the happiest goth in the world!" and someone else explains, "When I hear Joy Division, I just get happy... it makes me wanna dance happily."

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The partiers all look so adorable in their Heathers-era gloom that it's enough to make you regret that Trent Reznor ever came along and depressed the hell out of the scene. Some women decorate Party Crasher with black eyeliner and lipstick, and we start to feel a little bit melancholy. We explain that we've never done goth before. "Well," someone says, "you're not really goth, you're kind of... Gap-goth." We say that being called Gap-anything makes us want to hang ourselves, and she snarks: "No, see, if you hung yourself, you'd be a real goth."

Want The Stranger to be repeatedly confused for a wall-hugging, bad-poetry writer at your house party? E-mail the date, place, time, and party details to partycrasher@thestranger.com.

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