The Metalhead

January 5, 2018


He wipes at his nose and makes a start as the white paint on his face rubs off on his fingers. It looks really cool next to the fake blood, so you're not quite sure why he's upset.


"Man I worked all morning on this!"


"All morning?"


"We can't all get the perfect paint on the first try."


You grin, reaching into your purse. Metalheads were so nice. You told your mother that when you tried to extend an invitation to the festival. Not that you came here to pick up anyone, but it's nice to be able to relax in a crowd full of strangers.


"I can reapply it for you." You offer, taking out a palette of white makeup and a heavy brush.


As he leans forward, you take in the the wild cut of his hair and feel a spike of jealously. You worked all morning trying to get the same long choppy look as some of the veterans you saw at the last festival to no avail..


"You look like you washed your hair in cigarette smoke," You grin.


He audibly gasps and your smile starts to hurt your face, "You're here for their show?"


"Yeah, I know a lot of people think they're more rock than metal but I really like their lyrics," you admit.


"I think you're pretty metal," He nudges you with his fist. 


The metal from his silver rings send a shock of cold up your arm, and you can't help but think of standing together in the mosh pit, fingers intertwined as the collective body heat from the writhing crowd makes it feel like you're melting. Two people, enjoying the screeching of the "musically damned". You try to bat the thoughts of your mother's nagging. She still thinks that "Fires of the Falsetto" was still a weird cult thing. Listening to music at home was impossible unless you felt like turning it up loud enough to drown out her frantic pacing.


You wish is could always be as casual as this. When was the last time you had a casual conversation about your favorite music with someone? Most people weren't as freaked out about it as your mother, but you could tell by the way they cringed that they didn't quite get it. Hanging out with "elites" was hard too. No fusion metal. You couldn't say liked pop. They were always polite, but you could see them disassociating. Online you'd have full blown conversations with metalheads who were a bit more open and told you it was only a matter of time before you ran into others like them.


Don't ruin this. You chide yourself. 


"I think you're pretty metal too," You point to one of the stands lining the street, "Want to get a drink before the show starts. There's this really corny place that's serving "blood wine" in these skull cups."


"Want to take a picture first?" He offers shyly, gesturing with his phone.


Hell yeah. You think, leaning into it. Maybe later you could get his number. You might not be able to always to look metal, but you'd rant about it over the phone until the day you died.

When's the last time you saw someone in full metalhead garb out in public? There was probably some sort of convention in town. People aren't as conservative as they used to be, but they'll still give you a once over if you show up at the supermarket in full white faced, black eyed makeup. It can be a little much for day to day transactions. Paying for enough makeup to reapply it each day can be a little costly too.


That doesn't mean you don't miss it. Metal music is the embodiment of aggression and all the dark things no one likes to talk about. It's incredibly freeing, and in times where you feel alone, it's nice to remember there's a giant collective of people who have thought the same thoughts and felt the same things.


Carrying this feeling of inclusion through your clothes if you're willing to turn down the the elaborate dressings you usually don at festivals down a few degrees. Keep the torn jeans and boots. Leather and jean jackets can make the casual transition too. T-shirts with logos are limited. Prioritize the imagery over the band names. Offset the dark visuals with bright accessories embodying the brightly colored instruments of the 1970s and 1980s metal musicians performed with. This will offset how you're going to do your makeup, and will add some visual irony if the shirts you choose portray any obscenities or vulgarity.


Makeup can be even more important that clothes when it comes to Metal Mod. When people think of metal music, pale faces and dramatic black eyeliner is usually the first thing they think of. Without the context of a metal concert, metal clothing can be easily mistaken for rock or other alternatively influenced clothing.


Instead of caking your face in white paint every day though, get your face matched for some foundation. Remember the number of your perfect shade then go three shades lighter, applying it everywhere above your jawline. If you ask a professional makeup artist how to apply makeup, they'll usually tell you to blend it down to your neck so it looks natural. By stopping at your jawline, you make a perfect circle of paleness, like a mask. If your foundation looks more ashy than pale, then you might want go another couple of shades lighter. You don't want it to be so light that you look like you're getting ready for Halloween, but you can't be so tentative that you end up looking like you goofed at the makeup counter.


Almost as important as the foundation, you want to learn ow to do dramatic smoky eyes. Not so much the elegant kind you see at galas, but the messy kind you see after a night of partying.  Black lipstick is a plus, but dramatic dark eye makeup is key to Metal Mod. 


Turn your neck into a coat rack for necklaces. Keeping a complimentary color palette in mind, you want to have so many accessories that you sort of jingle when you walk. Wearing a vest when you go all out draws attention to any jewelry choices you make, and donning one with a jacket makes you look extra metal. 


Create a binder just for you hair. It has to be, number one, hella long. Some affordable oils that promote hair growth are olive oil and sandalwood. Use a comb and volumizer to get that crazy teased look. If all else fails, headband to some of your favorite tunes and take an hour long nap. 



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