5 Bizarre Subcultures Way Crazier Than Anything from Japan
You've got your goths, your punks, your emo kids, your gangbangers, your jocks, your nerds, your proto-Juggalos, and your postmodern bronies: Life is full of bizarre subcultures based on mutual interest, and we've covered a few of them before. But then there are these baffling cliques, which seem to be based on a peyote vision or some terrible mistranslation in the Bible.
Mexico's Pointy-Booted Tribal Dance Culture
Nope, those shoes are not Photoshopped. They're real, they're incredibly popular, and they make the Iron Sheik weep with envy. Known as "botas picudas," these Keebler Elf war-boots are all the rage among some Mexican men. They're the signature look of the tribal subculture, which involves dancing to a mixture of Native American, electronica, and African music for fabulous cash and prizes, which the winners then spend on even crazier-looking boots. It is the Circle of Boots that Elton John was trying to warn us about.
We couldn't find any stories about tribal men botching a triple Lutz and impaling themselves on their own footwear, so apparently you can move in these things. The average pair costs about $30, but they're more if you make them sparkle and glitter like a rhinestone cowboy. Luckily, cardboard and colorful tape are all a poor kid needs to inadvertently kick himself in the junk with flair and panache.
"Now no one will ever laugh at me again!"
This whole weaponized phallic footwear thing started thanks to one man, known as "Cesar of Huizache," who just showed up at a cobbler's shop and requested boots with curly, 3-foot-long toes. Since the customer is always right (even if they're clearly not right in the head), the cobbler made the boots. Cesar then went out dancing with them, and the rest is confusing, imbalanced history.
Nothing's hotter than guys trapped in a Jigsaw torture device while still shaking what mama gave them.
Look, we know "this guy showed up and wanted them and everybody else thought it was great for reasons you cannot comprehend" isn't the best origin story, but sometimes reality is disappointing. If it makes you feel any better, you can pretend the dude had crippling toe gigantism or something.
Quentin Tarantino's dream disease.
The Pony-Loving Hooligan Kids of Dublin
Bronies fetishize cartoons. The Pony Kids of Dublin, Ireland, prefer the real deal.
Friendship is magic(ally delicious).
These are mostly young children and teenagers who have grown up poor and alone. As an escape from such a crap life, they've turned to ponies. Stroll through the right project at the right time, and you'll encounter dozens of tough-looking street urchins flitting about atop their horsies like a dressage convention.
Hi-ho, Douchebag, away!
Of course, as Lisa Simpson will sadly attest, ponies are goddamn expensive. So how the hell could a slew of impoverished kids afford them? Nobody's quite sure. It could be that horse culture is a leftover from the preindustrial revolution, which hit Dublin a bit softer than most places, or they could be rogue horses that escaped from Irish gypsies. Seriously, that is a legitimate possibility. But most likely it's down to boring old supply and demand: If you want to join the Pony Kid Brigade, you can easily pick up a Black Beauty of your own at the Smithfield Horse Market. Twice a year, the market heads gather up ponies and sell them for about the price of a pair of shoes -- no regulation, license, or anything else required.
"I should've taken them up on their offer to become glue."
Seriously, much like motorcycles, knowing how to ride that thing is in no way related to owning one:
Step 1: Get off. Step 2: Stay off.
The Swedish Raggare: '50s-Style Hillbilly Greasers
Swedish raggare subculture loves a few things more than anybody else in the world: leather jackets, vintage hot rods, poodle skirts, pomade, and unintentional racism.
Cellphones, too. Just like Elvis had.
These aren't just a bunch of adorably foreign greasers adopting elements of another culture because it's exotic, it looks cool, and "getting drunk on a hot rod" is a more satisfying hobby than elk wrestling (or whatever it is the Swedes do on the weekends). The raggare didn't "adopt" the greaser thing as a bit of ironic nostalgia -- the '50s never ended for them. They've been doing this for 60 years, and the subculture only grows in popularity with each passing day. A huge part of the scene is the raggare brawls -- organized honor-based mass fistfights that rove from town to town, like a mashup between The Wild One and Street Fighter II.
"You must defeat the Fonz to stand a chance."
And of course, what happenin' smorgasbord of Eurockabilly is complete without a healthy dose of Deep South casual racism:
"The Canadian snowbacks take our jobs! That is how you do it, yes?"
It's not always racist on purpose -- most raggare probably just like the way the symbol looks, or at best only got the general gist of "good old boys who think the man should go fuck himself until he walks funny" from the flag. But that still won't help your jet-lagged confusion any when you stumble off a flight in Stockholm and right into a line of Elvis impersonators doing burnouts in the General Lee, who all, at some unseen cue, start beating the shit out of each other.
Starting with the jackass repping both sides of the Civil War.
The Incredibly Friendly Biker-Type Gangs of Disneyland
Boasting hardcore gang names like the Wonderlanders, the Hidden Mickeys, Walt's Misfits, and the Main Street Elite, the 20+ roving gangs of Disneyland wear denim vests with custom-made patches honoring their favorite characters and rides.
Amazingly, not one shout-out to "Guy Who Killed Bambi's Mom."
If you squint your eyes from a great distance, their images might initially suggest a pack of drunken psychopaths blasting past the admission gates in their Harleys to fuck up Goofy and just plain fuck Snow White, but, of course, the truth is that everybody in Heck's Angels is a complete teddy bear.
Even their mugshots are adorable.
Disney Social Clubs (their preferred nomenclature) eschew motorcycles and switchblades in favor of flying elephants and snow cones. They're very kid-friendly, accepting of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, and extremely respectful of other organizations. It's basically how gangs in Canada work. There aren't even any infringing on a rival's territory, but that's mostly because the whole park is Walt's territory, and -- dead or not -- that guy will seriously cut your face for the slightest offense.
"This was our friend's ... they buried him under the Haunted Mansion."
If you're interested in joining a Disneyland Gang, induction typically involves an intense Sons of Anarchy-style hazing process, consisting of asking nicely, showing up on time, and always letting your conscience be your guide. Who knows? Maybe you'll rise up in the ranks and branch off to form your own group. The Teacup Terrors need to be a thing.
"Daddy, can we form the Dumbo Crow Brigade?"
"Sorry, honey, the Swedish greasers already claimed that one."
The Leather-Clad Cowboy Metalheads of Botswana
Landlocked southern Africa is very hot and very humid -- not exactly black leather weather. So, naturally, that is all the cowboy metalheads of Botswana wear. Well, that, and only the most hardcore of fanny packs.
"It's where I carry the fucks I give. It's empty."
The Botswana metalheads (complete with amazing nicknames like Bone Machine, Apothecary Dethrok, and Venerated Villain) are a small, 1,500-strong subculture devoted to music normally associated with white American kids from the suburbs whose parents totally don't understand them. But they don't just look the part of insane Roadie Warriors; they're pretty damn metal in practice, too. They carry around knives and drink from hollow cow horns. Shake their hands, and they'll shake your entire body.
"I can't keep the guitar in its case because I tricked that out Desperado style."
Of course, many of these Cowboy Terminator Metalheads play their own music, which sounds like ... heavy metal. What were you expecting?
But despite their scene, wardrobe, and general behavior centering entirely on power and aggression, they insist they're not thugs or bullies. They see themselves as role models and do all they can to help both their communities and their "brothers in metal."
They'll even helpfully floss your hard-to-reach back teeth if you ask politely.
Related Reading: Down to get even crazier? Check out these subcultures that are crazy, even for Japan. And have you heard about these lunatics who want to be living anime characters? But hey, the Japanese 'panty-sniffing' craze isn't originally from the island. We brought it to them.