By Jonathan Hoover
Grunge is a concept that is more then just dirty clothes, ragged hair, and drug abuse. While many other styles overlap with grunge, punk in particular, none have the same mindset as a "grungie". Grunge is more than a look, it is a state of mind.
Followers of grunge tend to wear torn jeans, tee shirts (with their favorite band spray-painted on it) flannels sweaters . Shoes are universal to a grungie. If the shoe fits wear it, so to speak. As long as it is comfortable, it is a good shoe. "Punks" wear torn jeans and the same type of tee shirts as well, but never touch the other clothing. The only exception to this is footwear. Punks do not have the same philosophy as grungies when it comes to footwear, but because of the open view of the grungies, overlapping can hardly be avoided. While "grungies" oppose body piercing (who wants a piece a metal in their face anyway?) punks approve. Its seems like their whole hierarchy is based on piercings....the more you have, the cooler you are.
Both grungies and punks listen to the same type of music. Blare some Nirvana or Hole from a speaker and watch the party liven up. That is not to say that all of their music is universal....very few grungies would ever listen to Rancid or KMFDM. To punks however, Rancid is the heart of it all. Loud, fast music sung by people wearing chains, who have multifaceted hair. When it comes to hair, the two groups rarely see eye to eye. Punks enjoy mutilating their hair...a mohawk, a glob of mousse and some pink haircolor show ones uniqueness. Grungies however, enjoy natural hair. It is not necessary to dye your hair pink. Doing so does not show uniqueness, it shows how much of an ass you are.
This is not to say that Grunge overlaps only with punk. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It just seems that the two styles have much in common, and yet are so different.
Lets take alternative for example. To the clueless, alternative and grunge are two words for the same thing. Far from it. While some overlapping is inevitable, then main characteristics of being a grunge are radically different then those of an alternative follower. Dress, while similar, is not totally compatible. Chains are worn by alternative people, to make them look "cool." That in itself violates Grunge philosophy. A true grungie would not do something to look "cool." Appearance doesn't matter, it is what is inside that counts.
That is just a few examples of the differences between grunge and alternative. Trust me, there are many more, but I will not bore you with them all. I hope it is now understood that grungies are not just a subset of alternative, or any other style for that matter. It is a unique philosophy into itself." from http://www2.yk.psu.edu/~jmj3/grunge5.htm