This took place way back when the first semester was halfway over.
I was in the library to accompany a friend while she does her research, and give her a hand in case she gets stuck. I let her go about the shelves she needed to look into, while I approached the fiction section to see if there was any Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Stephen King, or Mary Shelley, though I didn't plan to borrow one if I'd see any, I probably only wanted to have that feeling of contentment and satisfaction to have learned if there was any presence of Gothic fiction among the shelves. I bent down to the short, waist-length shelf and saw a couple of Victor Hugo's works, Charlotte's and Emily Bronte's, Mary Shelley's, William Shakespeare's tragedies, and some interestingly morbid titles. I stood up when I was a bit satisfied, and scanned the room in place to look for my friend, when I saw an interesting girl from the other side of the short shelf. Her hair was teased and tied up, resembling that 80's Goth look; she had a big, wooden cross hanging by her school ID, and she wore a good amount of eyeliner both in her upper and lower eyelids. Without much hesitation, I asked her immediately and straightforwardly; I didn't care if she gets freaked out. "Excuse me, are you Goth?"
She was also searching for books in the same shelf when she heard me, and she was really surprised by the sudden question from a stranger. "Wha--?"
"Are you Goth?" I repeated with a polite smile; half-excited, half-pessimistic.
"Go-- what?" She chuckled cutely at her ignorance and the awkwardness.
I paused half-smiling now, and thought for a moment. My hopes went down, because if she really was what I thought she was, she would've heard the word the first time I said it. "Goth, as in G - O - T - H." And if she was, spelling it wouldn't also have been necessary.
"Goth? What's that? Uhh, I.. I - I don't know," she shook her head as she smiled and stammered innocently, her face had an expression that completely says she had only first heard the word just now.
For a split second, I remembered how some Goths deny it when they were asked this question. I remembered what I read online, about how rejecting Goth labels made you even more 'goth'. So I followed it up with questions of reassurance. "Really? You aren't?"
She shrugged and shook her head again as she politely smiled, "I don't know.. I - I don't.. know."
Thus I searched for a good question that would probably give me a good answer; a question that will clarify, a question that will seemingly haul in an answer that creates the verdict. "What music do you listen to?" I asked, smiling as politely as she did.
"Anything that everyone listens to today."