The Revenge of the 90s

By Betsy Bradford

Remember 1999? I do. I was a senior in high school. The Matrix had just hit movie theaters, people were stockpiling money and ammo for Y2K, and George Lucas murdered Star Wars. It was a crazy year, so when the clock rolled over on December 31, the we bid a grateful farewell to the 20th century and slipped into the new millennium.

Even though the world didn't end with the millennium, it didn't take me long to realize that something had gone horribly wrong. I think we've all accepted by now that the future wouldn't be filled with flying cars, but shouldn't it look more like, well, the future? I remember walking into stores and seeing Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony on the shelves. Women were shellacking their hair, donning stretch pants, and putting belts around oversize sweaters. If this was the year 2000, why did it look like 1986?

Then I thought back. Hadn't there also been a few minutes in the 90s when people were rediscovering disco and bell bottoms? I began to suspect that styles operate on a 20 year cycle. By then, enough time had passed that we'd forget why we dropped the styles in the first place. Those who'd lived through the decade the first time could steep themselves in nostalgia while the new generation tried to make it their own.

I am growing quite tired of leggings and ready for a nineties revival, so I'm relieved to see it beginning. Girls are beginning to replace their Ugg boots with better looking cowboy boots. If we're really lucky, sooner or later, they'll stop tucking their pants into their shoes entirely, but I digress. Just last week, I saw a college kid wearing a sweatshirt on his arms. Just his arms. I remember kids doing that when I was in high school. It was stupid then, and it still is. Even so, I view this as a sign of better things to come.

The nineties revival isn't limited to clothing. Anyone else notice how the latest Maroon 5 album sounds like it came right out of the 90s? I mean, the biggest song from the album is called Payphone. When was the last time you saw a payphone?

Political correctness is also making a comeback. It isn't as stupid as it was in the 90s; I haven't once heard someone say "herstory." Still, when did "she" become the new gender-neutral pronoun? Personally, I find this annoying. As a woman, I don't think this form of over-correction is helping anything, but again, I digress.

And, perhaps the biggest link to the 90s, we're all expecting the end of the world. Based on a mistaken reading of the Mayan calendar, whack jobs are once again stockpiling supplies in the event of zombie stampedes on December 21.

Bottom line, I'm pretty sure we're just a few scrunchies and a Hanson album away from descending right back to 1995. And I'm fine with that. I may have a few shirts from high school still lurking somewhere in the back of my closet. Given time, maybe they'll actually be hip again. I can go around with my slap bracelets, telling kids to "talk to the hand!", knowing I'm all that and a bag of chips.