The term itself comes from ’emotional’, and more specifically, ’emocore’ (emotional hardcore) music. While originally referring to hardcore punk rock; this definition is somewhat hazy as bands such as Jimmy Eat World and Linkin Park have been labeled ’emo’. Indeed, most music out there is ’emotional’. Even that song where the singer apparently enjoys a night consisting of ‘bouncing in da clubs with the bitches and hos and then busting caps into yo ass yo nigga z yo mama’ may somewhat be considered emotional.
However the emo subculture, a recent phenomenon, is easy to describe. We’ve all seen emos around. Some of us may even have an emo friend or family member. They’re the angst-driven teenagers with their dyed-black hair and black glasses. They complain about the lack of understanding and listen to bands who no one’s heard of. Emos are an offshoot of the 1970s punk movement similar in their rejection of conformity (the obvious irony to this is lost on most emos, and punks for that matter) and the seeking of attention. They differ from punks in that emos are generally more interested the issues and problems they face themselves, rather than those of society. Punks once complained about the oppression of lower classes; whereas emos are more interested in writing poetry on suicide.
There are several telltale signs that someone is emo.
No sense of shame. This is the single most important aspect of an emo’s character. Emos will get looks from people as they walk down the streets. Indeed, attention seeking often is the reason one decides to take up the way of the emo.
Self control. Emos never smile. Especially not in public, where people might think they’re (gasp) happy. Times of happiness are often spent alone (which will be most of the time). When these times come, they would let out just a brief smile, take a deep breath, and then sniff some onions in order to get their eyes watery (it’s a nice effect).
Fashion sense. Emos often wear tight fitting fitting jeans and t-shirts. Shorts reveal too much leg which, in turn, may show some character. T-shirts must be one emblazoned with some weird statement like ‘kittens cry when doves fly’. Since an emo cannot show emotion in public, the hair must reflect this. It must follow a trend, but not look as if it is. Therefore, it is dyed all black, and must at least one eye covered by it (to shield from the cruel, cruel world). The key is to remain obscure when really secretly hoping to be noticed by everyone.
Communication. During a conversation, an emo will often quote song lyrics, which may of may not have anything to do with the topic of conversation. Example,
Me: ‘How you doing?’ Emo: ‘I don’t know, life really sucks. Sometimes I wonder if I should slit my wrists. Not like anyone would miss me anyway. Me: ‘Life sucks yeah?’ Emo: ‘Don’t let anyone change, I know life hurts, But you’ll make it there somehow…’
Guitar. Emos always have guitars, regardless of whether or not they know how to play. It must only be an acoustic guitar, as electric ones are too happy sounding. Bass guitars, while low sounding and symbolic of the depths of their souls, are not quite artistic enough.
The journal. An emo’s journal is their lifeblood. It is carried everywhere to write lyrics when the inspiration of how much life sucks strikes. There are a few rules though: all rules of diction, tone, pattern, and style are ignored; and subject matter is limited to three things: how dark the world is, how heart broken they are, and a combination of both. The emergence of weblogs has only encouraged this.
Music. Lastly, an emo’s taste in music is not related to how good the music is, but rather the popularity of the band. An emo will only listen to bands that are unknown. Once they have been discovered, or can afford to use a recording studio, they have ‘sold out’. Emos will also often start bands, whose name is usually three words long and start with a ‘The’. Words like ‘theory’, ‘project’, and some type of ‘Day’ are common.
And no, I am not emo. Can’t you understand that? No one understands. I don’t even know if people read this. Because no one cares. I feel like I’m drowning. Now where did I put that Dashboard Confessional CD…
Have a nice day.