The 90s. Wow. What a decade.
Born in the early 80s, I spent the 90s discovering terrible clothing, even worse make up, making and breaking friends and worrying about that first kiss.
Like most people, my teenage years were a great time for a lot of things, and a horrendous time for others (namely neon hair accessories and footwear choices).
We didn’t have mobile phones, we didn’t all have access to every TV channel in the universe, and we certainly didn’t even have close to the internet.
HOW did we know what jeans TV stars were wearing?
It got me to thinking about other things that my 90s teen has forgotten.
- Make up was horrendous. Blue mascara, kohl pencils, foundation at least 4 shades too orange, pressed powder from Rimmel, sickly pink lipstick called something like ‘Sugarbomb’, clear mascara (still not sure what that was for), and a can of Vanilla Impulse body spray.
- Britpop. The ongoing clash between Blur vs Oasis separated tutor rooms, and your parents would take pleasure in telling you “they won’t be around in 10 years”. Err, yes they will Mum! You don’t know anything.
- Girl power. The Spice Girls made it OK to wear clumpy shoes and butterfly hair clips, and to tell boys where to get off.
- Unusual layering. We copied celebrities exposing their tummies, but instead wore an unnecessary skirt over a pair of perfectly adequate trousers.
- Reeeeeeeally small backpacks. Backpacks could (and should) be as small as possible. After all, we only needed to fit some money and a dewberry lip balm in them.
- Sickly sweet fragrances. Saturday shopping trips weren’t complete without a trip to The Body Shop to get a new dewberry lip balm or vanilla body spray. Yuck.
- Timed chinwags. Calls to friends could only happen after 6pm when it got cheaper, and often could only last 59 minutes until you had to hang up and call back.
- Waiting all week for TV. Friends was actually on only once a week, and every episode was 100% new and unseen. Monday mornings would be spent discussing it in detail and counting down to the next Friday’s episode.
- Encarta. The only way to ‘quickly’ find information out for homework was on a CD-ROM, but it could only be accessed in the library.
- Weekend TV. Live and Kicking was essential Saturday morning TV and you always wondered where this ‘Television Centre’ full of pop stars was. Then on Sunday, Channel 4 owned your eyeballs for Pugwall’s Summer and Saved By The Bell.
- Trash mags. Smash Hits was a magazine that you’d buy to get an insane number of stickers, and learn the words to the new songs you’d be watching on TOTP that week. Sometimes they’d be wrong though and you still get annoyed now when you sing those lyrics.
- Essential TV viewing. Top Of The Pops could NEVER be missed. Or an episode of Eastenders with the epic Mitchell Brothers.
- Mix tapes. Sundays would be spent recording the charts onto cassette to make this week’s mix tape, and it was SO annoying when the DJ spoke over the start of a new song. Almost like they did it on purpose?
- Pointless pets. Everyone wanted a Tamagotchi, until they realised we are not ready for this level of commitment. Oh and that they were a total piece of shit.
- Photos. Pictures of you and your mates mucking about had to be developed, which cost a fortune. They cheapest way to get your photos back was to send them off, but that took aaaages. And then they were rubbish anyway. Gutted!
- Spoogy man. Even now when anyone tells you they are from Newcastle, you ask them if they live in Byker and know ‘Spoogy’.
- Down under. Watching Neighbours and Home and Away twice a day (if you were sick or on school holidays) was totally OK.
- New music. You could sometimes by a single for 99p, but only from Woolies. Virgin would always be at least £2.99. Oh Woolies, RIP.
- Meeting mates. If you arranged to meet a friend and if they didn’t turn up, you just had to wait, or go home.
- Films. Titannic was the bollocks. As was Wayne’s World.
- Sweaters. Owning a Benetton or Sweater Shop jumper meant that you were on top of your fashion game. Enhanced only by teaming with a Benetton drawstring bag.
- No Primark. Well, not technically true – Primarni did arrive mid-teen, but it was totally confusing. In my hometown, it was situated next to M&S and we thought the ‘mark’ meant that it was Marks and Spencer seconds as everything they sold was basic and crap. Instead, terrible fashion would be purchased from Tammy Girl, New Look’s 915 range, and later Bay Trading Co. Jeans could only come from Moto by Topshop.
- Occasional IT. IT was only part of the timetable once per week for one school term a year, during PSE lessons. Unless your Dad was an IT teacher (like mine was at the time) and had a terrible BBC computer at home. Black and green screen anyone?
- Forever Friends. Remember those cute teddies? Pencil tins, friendship necklaces and possibly a Valentine’s gift if you didn’t think boys were totally gross.
These kids don’t know they’ve got it made!
What would your 90s teen add to this list?