5 Pop Cultural Trends I Just Said “No!” To
The other day Anna G. and I were talking ’bout thangs, like we do, over the computer-box and she said to me “Hey Ashley, remember this?
Well of course I did. I hadn’t thought of it in forever. It reminded me immediately of it’s presence in that episode of My So-Called Life where Angela’s mom and sister do the mother-daughter fashion show, and Angela herself struggles to come to terms with her pimple. Also it was in the JTT-Farrah Fawcett vehicle Man of the House which I once saw in theaters.
It also reminded me of another regrettable decision of mine- the irreversible choice I made to purchase a Pure Moods CD. For those too lazy or carpal tunnel-ridden to click on the link, Pure Moods was a collection of songs that had crossed the New Age threshold to become bona fide “pop” “hits”. Chief among these were Engima’s “Return to Innocence”. While it’s hard to believe that a fifteen year old could, in fact be that lame, I was one for breaking barriers. I wholly subscribed to the mid-90s obsession with gentle New Age music, healing teas and Donna Karan-prescribed minimalism. I was shamed out of it only when my Pure Moods CD was discovered by my freshman year college roommate, inciting a barrage of mocking abuse from my friends.
Since then I have become a very deliberate selector of the cultural trends in which I take part. Some trends, like red lipstick, Mariah Carey, and seasonal vegetables I have embraced wholeheartedly. Others, like line dancing, never stood a chance.
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The place: A hallway in a school in Englewood, New Jersey. The day: the day of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, which I don’t feel like looking up right now. The mood: somber. My friends are all sobbing and wearing flannel and sitting on the ground looking like somebody died.
Ashley: What happened? Did someone die?
Some Kid: (devastated) Kurt Cobain fuckin’ killed himself.
My friends all got to sit out gym class because they were so depressed. I tried to fake it but it was obvious that I didn’t care; I was far too busy listening to this kind of shit. Grunge to me, at that age was about greasy hair, bad clothing that made you look like you slept in a van down by the river (as was the parlance of our time) and white boys whining about stuff I just didn’t understand.
Singles was good, though!
As a sixteen year old, piercing was pretty fucking edgy, or about as edgy as I was willing to get. But I, as usual, half-assed the piercing trend and I can’t say I’m all that sorry. My friends got belly rings, nose rings, eyebrow rings and that one slutty friend we all had pierced one or both of her nipples. Remember that? I opted for a chaste and lame cartilage piercing in the upper curly part of my ear. Unfortunately the piercing “expert” at the beachside parlor where I decided on this atrocity fucked the whole thing up and only the earring back was visible, on top of my ear. I got rid of it after a week. Was it lame? yes. But way less lame than a jeweled bellybutton. Right, Britney?
Partially fueled by the movie Swingers and partially fueled by a deep-seated need in the American collective consciousness to put on ankle socks and dance like an asshole, we as a society, embarked on a few years-long fascination with swing music and it’s dance. In what was a veritable Zoot Suit Riot, Bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and the execrably named Cherry Poppin’ Daddies sold zillions of albums as Americans all over the place struggled to maintain the pretense that they knew something about making cocktails.
Girly Cowboy Hats and Bandanna Tops
Short of tearing open the crotch of your pants and pointing at a guy and then pointing at your bare vagina, is there anything that more definitively screams “I AM UP FOR FUCKING!” more than a girly cowboy hat? No. There is not. I mean, right? This terrible, terrible trend launched a thousand STDs in the 90s and early 2000s. It’s equally offensive partner in crime, the bandana top showed up around the same time and in many regrettable instances on the same person. [Editor’s Note: Is that Topanga????!]
Fun aside: the first picture that came up when i Google Image-Searched “Slutty cowboy hat?” This one.