It isn't about your age, the length of your hair, personal hygiene habits (or lack thereof), or the number of black T-shirts in your closet or CD's in your collection.
It's all about your attitude, and your love for the music.
...and when I say attitude, that doesn't necessarily mean disrespect for others, violence (although for the right kind of pits, the bigger, the better
), vulgar language or any other ugly, unkind or even sociopathic behavior. It doesn't mean acting like nobody else in the world matters except you. It doesn't mean trying to hurt people in pits, either with your words or with your bodies.
I am 38 years old, and my haircut is your basic "bald fade" (i.e., short on the top and almost down to the skin on the sides & back). I have zero piercings (although I used to have one that you couldn't see during normal daylight hours
), no tattoos, and I wear cargo shorts, New Balance cross-training shoes (sometimes work boots, but not often), a metal T-shirt and maybe a bandanna on my head at shows. That's it. Most younger folks tend to look at me like I'm probably a "poser", but little do they know that it's my generation of metalheads who invented that word.
We walked around town with our ghettoblasters jamming Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Accept in the early days, and then later, Slayer, Metallica and Destruction. We went to shows featuring national acts at small venues for five bucks. We traded bootleg cassette tapes of our favorite bands, because there was no file sharing (or even an Internet to speak of). We moshed hard, and stage-dived often, but if someone hit the ground, he (or she) was pulled up by a half-dozen hands before he (or she) even knew what happened. Every time. People got hurt in pits occasionally, but it was almost always accidental. When it wasn't, the offending party was usually issued some swift pit-justice by the witnesses or kicked out of the show (sometimes both).
I've been at this lifestyle for a very long time, and I am and always will be metal to the core, but you would never know it by looking at me in my everyday environment, and you might even doubt it at first if you saw me at a show.
...but it's in my blood, and in my attitude. At the end of the day, that's the only place it really matters.