Before Social Media, There Were Pogs!
Growing up as a kid in a world without social media had it benefits- we learned patience, more privacy, stronger relationships with our friends and family, and… we had Pogs!
The 90’s were great for everything but Nickleback and technology (cuz, like you, I do love social media). But there were so many things that made growing up in the 90’s so much better!
It was a simpler time. We developed a ‘whatever’ attitude and didn’t care so much about what other people thought. I mean we walked around in jeans so huge you could probably fit an entire fashion team in them… which is obviously where they were all hiding in the 90s. If you don’t know the pants I’m talking about, just Google JNCO jeans. I once got the bottom of my mega wide leg jeans caught in a mall escalator. They had to shut the stairs off and rip them out. Fashion wasn’t all bad because the plaid shirt I had tied around my waist sure came in handy that day! And thankfully, there was no social media to document and broadcast my tragedy that day.
Remember Hacky Sacks?
Growing up in the 90s, our accomplishments and #fails often went unnoticed, and we were totally okay with that. Cellphones and social media didn’t ruin, I mean rule, our lives. Cellphones existed, but they were used primarily for business and our parents were in charge of them. If your mom was late to pick you up from an after-school activity, you couldn’t text her. You had to wait patiently, occupying yourself with your hacky sack of imagination. Pretty wild stuff eh! If you wanted to send a message to your friends during class, it was done on paper and passed along the line. Sometimes the teacher would get a hold of it and read it in front of the class.
I may have survived Y2K, but a lot of things died with the 90s. Let’s look back at some of the things that made the 90s All That and a Bag of Chips.
The Last Great Decade?
The Music- It was all grunge rock and ‘dirrrrty’ pop. Madonna undoubtedly paved the path to an erotic pop era in the 80’s, and it was revamped by Britney and Xtina in the 90’s. In grade 9, we had to create a dance routine to a song we liked in front of the class. I chose Aqua’s breakthrough single Barbie Girl. A super inappropriate song and quite possibly the reason why I failed that class. Girl bands were huge. Spice Girls will always be a personal fave. Fun fact: ‘Wannabe’ was the song me and my bridesmaid’s walked out to at my wedding:)
We also had Paula Abdul, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Hansen, Biggie Smalls, and so many more. We heard it first on the radio or MTV (a tv station that actually played music videos). If we liked it, we bought the cassette or CD and listened to it over and over on our ghetto blasters and Walkmans. There were times, out of desperation, where I had to record a song on a blank tape from the radio. Hansen’s freshly released MmmBop was one of those times.
Glitter And Fanny Packs.. Yes Please!
The Fashion– Neon windbreakers, chokers, heart shaped sunglasses, Sketchers, butterfly clips, glitter… so much glitter, baggy overalls (with one hook down of course), fanny packs and more glitter! I would buy pods of loose glitter to sprinkle on myself from head to toe and then spray glitter to seal it. I was a definition of gleamin. Tommy Girl perfume, pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow were also on my go to list.
School– I actually loved school in the 90s. I think Lisa Frank was part of the reason. Here school supplies filled the classrooms with colorful cats and bright unicorns. And, there were Pogs. Don’t even get me started on Pogs. The carboard caps ruled the playground at recess. If you pulled out your gold slammer and were challenged to a Pog match for keepsies, it was about to go down. And, we had teeter-totters. You never see them anymore, probably for the best though. I did get the wind knocked out of me once in sixth grade when a much bigger girl jumped off her end while I was up in the air. I came plummeting down with such force I could hardly breath. Probably would have been a lawsuit today, lol, but back then I was told to walk it off.
Remember Teen Beat?
The Books and Magazines- Literature was huge back then. There was no Tumblr or Reddit for entertainment so we were sometimes bored enough to read actual books and magazines. Teen Beat and Bop were all the love advice and style inspo we needed. And books like The Babysitters Club and RL Stein’s Goosebumps kept us entertained for hours.
The TV- Friday nights were spent watching TGIF, which included the original Full House, Step by Step, Boy Meets World and more. Saturday mornings were made for cartoons and cereal (the kind of cereal that came with toys). The 90s were home to some unforgettable anime. I even dressed up as Sailor Moon just a few Halloween’s ago:) (See photo below for the most adorable proof)
I feel like families watched more TV together back then. Maybe because TV was a little more wholesome. My parents and I would watch Touched by an Angel and 7th Heaven. Not Jersey Shore and Desperate Housewives. Also probably because if you missed your show it was gone. You’d have to wait for a rerun. I remember circling my line up in the TV Guide. Do they even make TV Guides anymore?
The (lack of) Technology- I still remember the day we got dial up internet. I was in grade 8, and it was life-changing. It was slow, expensive, and fascinating. It opened up a whole new world. We had limited usage, so my mom kept a log book of how much time we were each allotted because it was very expensive to go over.
MSN and chatrooms!
Remember MSN? And 90s chatrooms? I got the hang of them quickly, and used it to better myself… okay not really. I wasted countless hours in teen chat rooms where I could transform into anyone I wanted. Naturally, I became a tall, blonde, blue-eyed model from LA named Cher. Originality was not one of my strongest suits. I rocked that alter ego until my mom picked up the phone and I would lose my internet connection. In the 90’s, the internet was just a bunch of text. There were no images, and no way to know the truth. The truth was, I was just a short, mousy brown haired nobody from Ontario with a mild case of acne, a cowlick and bangs. No one wants to cyber with that.
Cellphones existed, but they weren’t attached to the hip. My parents had one for emergencies or business. It was an enormous flip phone and my parents would go on about how expensive it was. If I had to make a phone call when I was out, I found a payphone. We survived.
The Movie Stores- There was at least one in every town and on Friday night it was the place to be. I’d grab a bag of free (but usually stale) popcorn from the machine and run into people I knew while browsing the new release section. Today, you don’t even have to leave the house to rent a movie. You can’t even go to a movie store if you wanted to because they don’t exist anymore. I remember when I was young, I wanted to work in a movie store when I grew up. I had no clue that technology would kill the dream. Lucky for you, my dreams changed and I became a saucy writer instead;)
Patience- 90s kids were the last generation before everything became instant. We had to wait for things- dial up internet took 10 minutes to connect, photos took days to develop and we had to sit through commercials. We didn’t care, we didn’t know any better. I think the anticipation made it more exciting.
Do Orbitz still exist?
The food- Orbitz, Crystal pepsi, Dunkaroos, Clearly Canadian, Dippin Dots, Sodalicious, and microwavable Kraft Dinner were some of my faves. We used to be able to go to the corner store and get a whole bag of candy for 50 cents. Also, maybe it’s just me, but food was of better quality back then. Fast food tasted better. Portions were bigger and much cheaper.
The slang- As if! The 90s had awesome lingo, influenced by shows like Clueless and The Simpsons. we said things like ‘Hella good’, ‘Word’, and ‘All that and a bag of chips’.
Innocence- The influence social media has over today’s generation has made it hard to maintain a certain degree of innocence. We’re exposed to too much too soon. I’ve seen 11 year old’s with more contour game than me. They skip the awkward early teen stage I suffered through. The one where I had no idea how to apply my makeup and it showed. I’ve seen photos of myself with blue eyeshadow and red lipstick and the most bushy eyebrows. Social media has created a world in which kids feel the need to compete with each other and over-share their lives, being subject to judgement from everyone.
Private Life’s Were Kept Private
Privacy- Our personal information was just that- personal. It wasn’t sold to advertisers to make money. If a bad picture was taken, it was burned. Not put up on a website to haunt you forever. And, if you were going through a breakup not everyone knew it the moment it happened. Those were the days. Just the other day, my four year old grabbed a cellphone and took a photo of me in the bathroom an nearly accidently shared it to my social media accounts.
I worry for the generations to come and I feel bad for the generations that didn’t get to experience the 90s.
Anyway, I’m outtie!