EVERETT — He had a nice shirt, jeans and charismatic smile. He drove a Vespa scooter.
Not what you might expect from the guy who started the social group Dark Side of Everett for goths, people often associated with gloom and heavy music.
What’s up with that?
Olushola Bolonduro describes the new goth group as “an inclusive space for outcasts, misfits and people who have felt prejudged by society.”
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that goth types are somehow scary or threatening,” Bolonduro said. “They’re just as varied as your typical Joe or Jane.”
The trope of the head-to-toe black ensemble and body piercings is hardly a requirement.
At work he wears scrubs. He’s a cardiovascular tech at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
“I ended up clicking with a lot of people there. When I was hanging out with them I felt like I was a part of something,” he said. “I didn’t see any club or group or go-to thing like in Tacoma or Seattle.”
He put up fliers in downtown Everett and posted on social media.
“Maybe I can bring everyone together,” he said.
The first meeting is next month at an Everett bowling alley. The Tacoma goth group has picnics.
Ten-pin and lunch outings?
That doesn’t sound very goth … whatever goth is.
“It depends on who you ask. And even then a lot of them don’t agree on the exact meaning,” Bolonduro said.
“Some are really into specific goth music, some into the arts, literature, fashion. It’s a mix of a bunch of things, and sometimes there’s a lot of overlap. You have all these people with strange interests but otherwise they’re just normal folks. It’s people who are into spooky stuff.”
Bolonduro had to explain it to his parents, who are from Nigeria, where he said goth isn’t popular. He grew up in Tacoma.
“I enjoyed Halloween a lot more than my family did. I like reading creepy stories and creepy locations,” he said.
The goth culture is about acceptance of those considered different.
“Many are more aware when it comes to social issues,” he said. “It’s not about just dressing creepy or being into music.”
Member Madison Vance said the group’s expansive definition of goth is refreshing.
“Most people when they hear goth they think of all black,” she said.
Vance describes herself as pastel goth and steampunkist. She’s 40, a single mother of a 10-year-old daughter and an IT student at Everett Community College. She makes goth and nerd-centric beaded jewelry for her online business, Storm Rider Designs.
She saw a notice about Dark Side of Everett at a bus stop and checked out the Facebook group.
“I said, ‘Oh, my people!’” Vance said.
The Tacoma Dark Side Facebook group has about 900 members. Everett’s has about 35, so far.
It’s a start.
“There seems to be interest here,” Bolonduro said. “Maybe this isn’t such a crazy thing after all.”
The Dark Side
To join Dark Side of Everett, email DSofEV@gmail.com or go to the Facebook page by that name.