What came first, the music or the misery? asks Grace Duffy

First things first: you are not an emo. You are a ‘scene child’ (or across the Atlantic, scene kid). Emo is a byword for a genre that doesn’t exist. Don’t wander into the Central Bank namedropping the e-word. Funnily enough, posers have a keen sense of smell when it comes to other posers.

The music is the key part. You must leave all idle preconceptions aside. My Chemical Romance are not cool. Scenesters value street cred, and liking My Chem doesn’t get you street cred with anyone (except me). Your band tees shall be isolated to actual scene bands, as in slightly plasticine, all-American ‘you would’ types with tattoos in PC places and completely vacuous guitar versions of High School Musical songs. With this in mind, All Time Low, Paramore, and Hawthorne Heights are acceptable. The more neon the embossed, indecipherable shapes on the t-shirt, the better.

By the way, Converse are so last century – the thinking man’s scenester values Vans these days. Vans sponsor the Warped Tour. Like, duh.

It goes without saying that eyeliner is your friend. Write random lyrics from your favourite songs along your arms and on your face with a Sharpie marker for added definition. Your hair should be cut into the most bizarre asymmetrical beehive you can fashion this side of the 80s. Black hair is always appropriate, though neon has flourished amongst the chillenz of late. Bright pink has been slightly overdone, though blue and purple represent equally fun-loving options.

In terms of clothing, there are two main options. Highly sexualised types – usually the ones with pink hair – will add a bow, tutu, and fishnet tights to their band tee. The gruffer types – usually the ones with black hair – will rock the ever popular jeans and hoodie look.

Now, your social networking. You must have a Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, Facebook, and Bebo. Never mind if you only use one. All are pivotal. You need to make as many friends as possible – oh yes, by the way, solitude is not fashionable. When was the last time you saw a scenester with fewer than twelve people around them? Exactly. You will also need to learn to fangirl. Get ridiculously overexcited whenever a band posts a new picture of themselves being “candid” and “ironic”, dub them the greatest musical mind who ever walked the earth and bring them banners when they play shows here. Queue from dawn and scream frequently, before embracing the power of the crowd surge once you get inside. Fainting is for losers. Last one standing gets the setlist, after all.