How is it that I’ve happily been to dozens of parties that celebrate the result of two people fornicating, yet no one has once thrown me a bash for all the sex I’m having?!
Our calendars are consistently stacked with events dedicated to those procreating or creating a new life together, but what about those of us creating in other ways? Child-free and spouse-free people have already started to take matters into their own hands—registering for home goods for milestone birthdays or throwing themselves parties for career achievements—but what if we normalized invitation-worthy affairs, disconnected from marriage and children? Here’s a look at a long-overdue rebrand of beloved traditional celebrations (i.e. engagement parties, gender reveals, wedding receptions, etc.) into playful, poignant, plausible shindigs everyone can dig.
The Aunt-iversary Party
Everyone under 12 is obsessed with you. You bring the best gifts. You tell the best stories. You roll in ready to toast the 3-year-old’s sippy cup with a canned cocktail, and roll right out after 52 rounds of peek-a-boo. You’re a crucial pillar in any group’s dynamic—always prepared to entertain and protect. (Unless, of course, you’re hungover from the date with the Bumble match who also had a picture captioned “not my baby.”) The aunt-iversary party is a celebration of the cool, fun, wild aunt’s freelance commitment to all their nieces and nephews (honorary or hereditary), and the perfect pregame before your next date.
Party tip: Let your tiniest fans invite their friends, but only the ones with available single dads.
Sure, it’s better to give, but it’s also incredibly satisfying to receive. And look at that—you just received life-changing career news, an award, a degree, a raise, a promotion, an acceptance, a clean bill of health, a book deal, a giant check, or the best “yes” of your life, so it’s time to revel in your ascent to the next level at the coveted reception-reception. Order the champagne fountain, the queso fountain, the regular fountain—any kind of fountain, really—and tell the DJ to turn it up, because we’re celebrating you making moves on and off the dance floor.
Party tip: In the spirit of a classic reception activity, toss a copy of your latest achievement behind you, then watch as friends and family hurl their bodies in all directions to catch it, in hopes of being next.
The (Social Media) Engagement Party
Your latest selfie got 527 likes. Your tweet about happy hour went viral and six enemies from high school messaged you to say, “You’re famous!” A celeb shared your amusing article, emotional essay, tipsy TikTok, or poignant photo. All you can think is: This is what it must feel like when a Kardashian soft-launches a new boyfriend. Offline milestones are pleasing and paramount, but you’re crushing it online, so let’s crush some cocktails to memorialize your mentions. Send out the engagement announcements now!
Party tip: Register for a gift certificate to a relaxing, remote retreat for a brief respite from your retweets.
The Sex Reveal
Oh, boy—another gender reveal? No way, baby. This is a Tinder reveal! While married friends assume you’re having bad luck (because there hasn’t been a boyfriend reveal), you’re actually having a lot of bed luck. At this illuminating and risqué soirée, guests won’t find blue smoke from a monster-truck pipe or pink explosions that might set a small town aflame. You’ll simply be delivering a rousing report about your recent fruitful sexcapades, showcasing some of your brutally attractive, intimately-acquainted right-swipes, and eating cake while astonished attendees applaud your provocative prowess.
Party tip: Maybe don’t invite grandma to this one.
The Therapy Shower
You had a breakthrough, breakdown, or breakup. Your therapist declared you her funniest client. You finally did the challenging action the doc suggested—and it worked! You’ve been feeling yourself and feeling your feelings, and you deserve to feel appreciated and showered by your most trusted companions for the palpable progress. Fun games include: Guess My Co-Pay, Never Have I Ever (Told My Therapist…), Truth or Truth, and Attachment-Style Charades.
Party tip: Since you’ll be spilling some positive mental-health gossip (even though your therapist suggested you stop oversharing), the only reasonable theme is “tea party.”
The Literal Bachelorette Party
Why is it that soon-to-be-married people get to have bawdy bashes for being bachelors and bachelorettes when that’s kind of your thing? It’s time for your crew to celebrate you saying, “I do!” to… well, you. Get on board the party bus, fill up your Solo cup, and secure the novelty dick straws, because you’re feeling cocky about unmarried bliss. Being single? In this economy?! Truly a feat that deserves a fête.
Party tip: Update traditional bachelorette signage like LAST FLING BEFORE THE RING and ONE PENIS FOREVER to JUST AN AVERAGE SATURDAY NIGHT and AS MANY PENISES AS YOU WANT.
Image: Lucas Ottone /Stocksy.com
It’s a Friday night in 2011. You’re getting ready for a night out with friends. You’ve thrown on a yellow shift dress from Modcloth, polka dot tights, and a faux collar that eerily resembles a doily straight off your grandma’s kitchen table. On your way out the door, you grab your ukulele—you and your friends are having a coffee shop photoshoot so you can post on a new app everyone’s using called Instagram. You don’t actually know how to play anything, but it doesn’t matter. Instagram only allows pictures anyway.
If this image fills you with nostalgia—congratulations! The aesthetic of your youth is now considered “vintage” (cue the existential crisis) by teens on TikTok, the gatekeepers of all things cool. GenZers have discovered this era of fashion, media, and culture, known as “twee” as of, like, 15 minutes ago, and some of its most prominent fashion elements are making their way onto For You Pages and even fashion runways. Trend experts are forecasting that “twee” is the next fashion era to return from the grave, in all of its cutesy, preppy, lo-fi glory.
After diving deep into the twee hashtag on TikTok (which has 56 million views as of writing this article), it seems people are struggling to put their finger on the pulse of where exactly it came from. The word “twee” is British slang for anything cute or quaint, usually in excess. And although nobody remembers calling it that when it was actually a thing, the images of what it supposedly means are striking a chord. Most videos under the hashtag follow a specific formula: people share throwback photos of themselves in the peak twee era of the late 2000s, usually clad in some kind of loud whimsical pattern, and almost always posing with props like tea cups and typewriters, or standing in front of random brick walls. The videos are usually paired with the song “Why Don’t You Let Me Stay Here,” by She & Him, Zooey Deschanel’s folk duo with M. Ward. The song has been named the “twee” anthem, much like Deschanel herself has become the unofficial poster girl for its aesthetic. Both encompass the essence of what “twee” is about: rompy melodies and all things preppy, pastel, and cutesy.
But there’s a debate on whether it can come back, or even if it should—the last time around, twee peaked at a time when Tumblr was full of fatphobic, pro-ED content, which spilled over into the fashion at the time. Many people are worried that with the resurgence of this trend will come more toxic narratives around body image in the mainstream. As someone who was a chubby teenager at the convergence of Tumblr and twee’s respective peaks, I understand the concern around what the revival of this trend could potentially mean for a world that is even more social media centered than it was ten years ago when it first emerged.
However, I think more than anything, trends aren’t so much about the visuals or the aesthetics of the thing, but more the memories we associate with them. The real power comes when we are able to make our own rules, to learn from the past while still giving ourselves permission to be nostalgic for the things that genuinely brought us joy. When I think of “twee” I don’t necessarily think of the doom scrolling through my Tumblr feed and the grueling workouts I saved to the Pinterest board that were born out of my own self-loathing. I think of the day I bought my first Modcloth A-line dress, and that it was the first time that I felt safe and comfortable in my body, celebrating it for what it was, not what I thought it should be.
Fashion can be a mirror of the ugly cultural implications of the time, but it can also be a vessel for self-acceptance, a way to materialize the version of ourselves that we want to be. The cool thing about the cyclical nature of trends is that it allows us to pull the things we want to take with us, and leave behind the things that we don’t. As far as I’m concerned, the glamorization of thigh gaps and faux collars are not a package deal. As the dialogue around body positivity continues to gain traction, and pressure is subsequently put on the fashion industry to make more decisions that are informed by size inclusion, the trends of the past will have no choice but to morph accordingly. Maybe 2022 will come with Modcloth dresses and faux collars and statement cardigans. But it will mean something entirely different this time around, and then it will be gone again, just as quickly as it came. As fleeting as trends are, can’t they just be seen as memories, as either relics of our past selves or celebrations of how far we’ve come—can’t that be enough?
Image: Jason Merritt/WireImage
Hey, Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here. Just kidding: I’m actually just a millennial who has continued to allow a series about privileged teens define my personality for the last decade. And by “Upper East Siders,” I’m really just calling out to anyone who spends the majority of their paycheck on student loans and Peloton financing, but still maintains that they’re totally a Serena van der Woodsen. On the off chance that your efforts to make your weekly screen time report slightly less horrifying have finally paid off, you may have missed some major news: Gossip Girl is back. But this time, instead of simply serving designer looks and quotes sprinkled with alliteration, the new Gossip Girl is a reminder of our looming mortality. Yes, there’s still fashion and scheming, but make no mistake: These new kids are coming for millennials’ necks.
Gossip Girl has always been savage, but the game has clearly changed this time around. While Blair Waldorf’s punchlines typically targeted out-of-season Tory Burch flats and Tinsley Mortimer, the newest crop of Constance Billard kids are out to get us. I have never felt a gut punch quite like when Luna La declared in the premiere that Zara should be banned east of Lex. Actually, that’s a lie. I legitimately began Googling crow’s feet treatment when I realized Tavi Gevinson—the iconic influencer who came to fame at like, 12, back in the day when we were tuning into the CW to drool over Nate Archibald—was cast as an Old. And honestly, I’m not yet emotionally equipped to discuss the implications of a Gossip Girl that tolerates headband slander.
Manhattan’s elite went from banging out insults on the keyboard of an LG Chocolate to turning their noses up at REVOLVE partnerships, and even with a decade-long head start, millennials can’t compete. I mean, these kids are 17-year-olds drinking dirty martinis at members-only clubs on school nights while you’re hoping a crippling two-day hangover is enough of a distraction to prevent your coworker from realizing you still owe her a Venmo from after splitting a pitcher of frozen peach margaritas and buffalo cauliflower wings at happy hour.
When the original Gossip Girl finale aired, you likely had a dorm room closet full of peplum tops and a dream that someday in the not-too-distant future, you’d be perusing the Chanel flagship store for an outfit to wear in the Hamptons with your bestie that weekend. You probably never envisioned that when you were finally old enough to see the series rebooted, the closest you ever got to becoming Blair Waldorf was that one time you broke 200 likes on a photo of yourself at Ladurée.
If you watched Gossip Girl 2.0 without realizing this harsh reality, I have some bad news: you are not Julien Calloway simply because you force your significant other to pose for content for your Instagram Story. You may think you’re a cool millennial, but you’re most likely wrong. Here’s a quick test: If, in our lord’s year 2021, you still do not know that hashtags don’t really work if you have a private IG account, you have officially aged out of Constance Billard’s ruling class. You are no better than a group of private school teachers who legitimately thought they could go viral with a single tweet from a Twitter account with no followers. (Yes, even if you guffawed at the quip about Olivia Jade gaining followers when Lori Loughlin went to jail. We all should have had Gossip Girl referencing that scandal on our 2021 bingo cards.)
Fortunately, what does not kill you makes you stronger, and I truly believe that the generation that spent months licking our wounds after learning that side parts aren’t cool needs Gossip Girl now more than ever. We can love the series even though it may not love us back, like squeezing a squirming dog that does not want to be cuddled with. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back when a scene in the new series features a song that’s already been on your Spotify playlist for months. I, too, gained a false sense of confidence when I recognized “A Palé” by Rosalia the second it came through the speakers at the Christopher John Rogers fashion show. We all deserve that much. Just don’t forget to stay nimble: have a plan set in place for when these teens inevitably forge a trend that’s simply unsustainable for anyone over the age of 20. Nobody wants to see you roll up to your 9 to 5 with like, shaved eyebrows.
Images: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max
Are you still reeling from the revelation that skinny jeans and side parts are no longer cool? Well that’s too damn bad, Jessica, because Gen Z have come up with another way to make fun of millennials, and this time, they’re not coming for one or two sartorial choices, but for our entire aesthetic. Thanks to the rise of the catch-all insult cheugy, declaring millennial lifestyle staples as cringey has gotten easier than ever before. If the emergence of a trendy new term is making you want to, not take a nap, but just rest your eyes for a bit, then I regret to inform you that
you’re old you’ve come to the right place. WTF is cheugy, am I cheugy, is writing an article explaining cheugy, cheugy? The answer to those last two questions is definitively yes, so at least you’re in good (if you loosely apply the meaning of “good”) company.
The term cheugy, which, since I know you’re about to ask, is pronounced chew-ghee (hard G sound), was actually coined in 2013 by a then-high school student to describe people who, as the New York Times put it, “are slightly off-trend”. The term gained popularity on, where else, TikTok, after a video posted on March 30th went viral. For a visual definition of cheugy, think of MLM boss babe energy, millennial #girlboss aesthetic, and anything the cast of Vanderpump Rules would have worn in seasons 1-3. Chevron is cheugy; Gucci belts with the overlapping G’s are cheugy; captioning an Instagram with “thank u, next” is cheugy; I haven’t gotten the official report yet, but I’ve got to imagine statement necklaces are extremely cheugy. (Using an adverb before cheugy may or may not be cheugy.)
To put it more precisely, Urban Dictionary defines cheugy as “another way to describe aesthetics/people/experiences that are basic”; the second most popular definition says it’s something that was “stylish in middle school and high school but no longer in style.” If you aren’t sure, here’s a quick rule of thumb: pretty much everything you hold near and dear is probably being derided at this very moment by college kids and high schoolers via a made-up word that sounds like what Vice would name their next food vertical.
Here’s the thing. While some millennials are already probably mounting their defenses of Starbucks and Live, Laugh, Love signs, let’s just… not. Have we forgotten that we based our entire personalities for multiple years around appropriating the term “basic” within an inch of its life? What, it’s only fine for people to make fun of pumpkin spice lattes, but we’re drawing the line at blanket scarves? Let’s not turn this into the skinny jeans and side part war, which was fun at first, but got completely blown out of proportion once we got to the stage of making musical parodies telling Gen Z to “kindly shut the f*ck up”. (Even worse is that this battle that still rages on to this day despite it now being almost shorts weather.)
I get why the emergence of cheugy feels like a blitz attack on millennials, but there’s a difference. What hit me so hard about the skinny jeans/side part debacle, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, is that I never considered those stylistic choices to be trends, much less up for debate. You parted your hair on the side because that was simply what you did—god forbid you part your hair down the middle and make your face appear rounder! You wore skinny jeans because that was just the style, and because we didn’t want to get caught dead wearing mom jeans. I never questioned these things, and to hear that these elements I took for granted were secret markers of my uncoolness this entire time felt like being told the color black was suddenly cringey. Who even am I?? But this other stuff? Take it! Who cares? Like, I really hope chevron is not a cornerstone of your personality.
It’s one thing to not want to part your hair down the middle (I tried it; doesn’t work for my face shape, but if you can rock it, more power to you), but it’s another thing to live in a fantasy world where no trend in which you participate ever goes out of style. Millennials, I know we grew up as the darlings of the internet and never imagined a time when we would not be the hottest and most in-demand age group for publishers, advertisers, and brands, but it’s literally the circle of life. Did I think I’d be a washed-up old hag before my 30th birthday? Not really, I thought I’d have a bit more time, but c’est la vie! The internet is a fickle place. At least this way I can now lean into my lifestyle of only wearing leggings and doing bath bombs and face masks—which is probably cheugy to do. I might as well embrace it and get a stemless wine glass that has “yes way rosé” screen-printed on it in gold script.
We’re all cheugy in some way or another. Lasagna might apparently be cheugy. Don’t fight it. It’s fun to be kind of embarrassing! What’s the alternative, constantly changing your entire aesthetic to fit in with what people decades younger than you find trendy? You’ll never win that game. No matter what term you call it, that’s the worst look of all.
Image: Jose Martinez / Unsplash
I may not be the voice of my generation, but it feels like it’s time to speak out on something that’s hitting really close to home. By now, you’re aware that TikTok has been turned into a battlefield for the war between millennials and Gen Z.
Unfortunately, the true victims seem to be everyone’s least favorite middle child: the so-called Cuspers. While everyone has a different time frame for who they consider being on the cusp, I tend to go with people born from 1997-2000. We’re the ones who graduated college right before or during the pandemic and who are losing some of our most formative years and early work experiences to Zoom.
For years, I’ve had all of the benefits of both generations, and the ability to be flexible in my identification. Yes, maybe I did spend most of my English classes in high school taking BuzzFeed quizzes. But I also absolutely rocked the skinny jean/leather boots/side part combo in many of my early Instagram pictures. As a then-16-year-old cusper, it felt like an honor to share some of those formative experiences with my camp counselors and babysitters.
However, the battle between the generations has forced me to pick a side. And, honestly, I think I need to go with Gen Z. Looking in the mirror, it seems like my only choice. My hair: in a claw clip with a middle part. My jeans: wide-legged with black-and-white patchwork (they’re super cute). My top: well, it kinda looks like I went to Target and got a pack of Hanes children’s ribbed tank tops and tried to make them trendy.
At the same time though, I have reached the age where I am a loyal Tretinoin user and put on sunscreen every day (we’ve gotta be preventative). I also absolutely have respect for millennial “culture.” I love that you’ve normalized getting wine drunk most nights and I adore that you’ve made it cool to rewatch the same three sitcoms over and over again. While I wouldn’t advise making Harry Potter into a personality trait, I did rewatch Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets last night and had an incredible time (if you care, I’m obviously a Ravenclaw).
Look, I know my audience, and I know most of you are millennials, and I want to say thank you for everything that you’ve done. Deciding to lean into the Gen Z of it all was a hard choice, and I want to be honest about why I had to make it.
This all started with a few random teenagers pointing out that skinny jeans and side parts simply are no longer in style. It only took a few TikToks for you guys to lose your shit, which is honestly really funny. The ironic part about it is that you all say we’re such a sensitive generation, but who is freaking out over a few TikToks and memes? You guys.
To put it in language you guys understand, this is so not fetch. Or, for the worst of your generation, this is not girlboss behavior. I’m sure the people reading this are too smart for this, but the fact that millennials made full-on TikTok songs as responses to jokes high schoolers made is… well… not it.
@delanielynneAlso, 😂 ##seltzersquad ##whiteclaw ##millennialsoftiktok ##millennial ##whatsgoingon ##genz ##PupPeroniShuffle ##GetReadyWithOldSpice ##ThisorThatSBLV♬ original sound – DelanieLynne
It’s hard to hear, but, as a cusper, I feel like I want to offer some advice. Friends and The Office aren’t even that good, and if you’re going to build your entire personality around a TV show, try something from this decade. For your own health, I am begging you to throw away the Naked eyeshadow palette you got for the holidays in 2014. Also, please stop asking if we even know what things like Myspace are. We obviously do, we were also like 7 when it was a thing.
I literally do not give a fuck how you wear your hair, or your jeans, if you use a crying emoji, or if you quote The Office on social media. I’m not asking for much, just to be able to go on Instagram without seeing a post of one of you at Disney, because even though it’s a pandemic, you just missed it so much. Or to open TikTok, which is my favorite app, without another millennial self-righteously parting her hair to the side and lip-syncing one of your new TikTok war songs.
At the end of the day, I love and respect millennials—you guys truly did pave the way for us. And the fact that I have a Juicy sweatsuit on the way to me serves as a constant reminder of all you have done. Please don’t take this too personally. That said, I’m feeling pretty good about the Gen Z of it all.
With all of that said, maybe it’s time we all go outside (safely, of course) and like, maybe touch a piece of grass.
Written with so much love,
Reagan Anthony, former “cusper,” proud Gen Z
Images: CHAINFOTO24 / Shutterstock
Less than two weeks after my groundbreaking defense of the crying laughing emoji, and the war between millennials and Gen Z rages on. Much to my surprise, it seems nobody really cares that much about the emoji, and rather, everyone—from corporate Twitter accounts to PR execs hawking pants—has zeroed in on the youth’s ridicule of side parts and skinny jeans. Look, I know I said you could have them, Gen Z, but I actually lied. I didn’t spend my entire adolescence agonizing over whether I had an oval or a heart or a round face, just for some kids to tell me that I would have been fine accentuating the roundest part of my face all along. Plus, I’m a 5’2″ adult whose biggest growth spurt was two inches, compared to the typical half-inch-per-year I was growing before. Do you know how long I tried to find jeans that would fit? Do you understand the vindication I felt when they invented jeans that didn’t pool around my ankles? And you want me to go back to drowning in denim—for what? For ~aesthetics~? No.
That said, I of course understand that there are certain fads millennials popularized that did not exactly stand the test of time. I’m not saying we’re infallible geniuses, I’m just saying there are plenty of things to mock us for that would be understandable. Things like:
Making Liking ‘The Office’ A Personality Trait
The show’s pilot brought in over 11 million viewers, and before it got poached by Peacock, was said to be Netflix’s most-watched show. The Office is immensely popular, and somehow every single millennial on Hinge thinks they’re the only person who can recall the origin of “Dwight, you ignorant slut”. And this from the generation that turned liking popular things into an inherent character flaw! Oh, so we draw the line at getting your toiletries from Target, but not at this? Sure, Jan. That makes sense. (And no, I’m not talking about Jan Levinson-Gould.)
We killed fanny packs, and then we brought them back. Millennials giveth, and they taketh away. When I was 9 years old and marching in a parade with my Girl Scout troop (don’t ask) and my mom gave me a fanny pack in which to hold all my belongings (probably all of like, my Tamagotchi and a Band-aid), I wanted to die before I’d slap that thing around my waist. And yet, what was I sporting to every music festival from 2015 and beyond? You’re damn right, a fanny pack. We didn’t even try to rebrand these, we just went from hating them one day to wearing them everywhere the next. And can we talk about the design of the fanny pack? It’s useful, of course, but we are really acting like having an oversized crotch belt is cute. And nobody is stopping us!!
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Once again, the very same glasses I made fun of my mom for wearing in the 90s, I now own. It’s the circle of life, it’s the wheel of fortune. Millennials are out here looking like 1970s creepers, and we’re doing it on purpose. Because we think it looks good. Make fun of that—not the fact that I part my hair on the right side because I’ve been conditioned by women’s magazines into thinking it frames my face better. What about the gigantic metal circles? Those don’t frame my face well at all. In fact, they’re falling off!
Leggings! We’re really going to come for jeans that taper at the ankle but not pants that are made of full-on elastic? (Yes, I’m aware that they are not literally made of elastic, but just go with me.) We have built entire empires on stretching fabric over our butts, and we don’t even pair leggings with long shirts anymore! And can we talk about “control top” leggings for a second? Because these are really shame-worthy. Millennials have been so brainwashed by diet culture that we will willingly stuff ourselves into stretchy torture devices and sit in those all day, because God forbid anyone have a slight lump anywhere on their body. We took leggings from occasional workout bottoms and sleepwear (they were never meant to be full-on pants), then we turned them into pants, and then we removed the comfort. And control tops aren’t subtle, either. We’re walking around with leggings that have a waist trainer at the top. Classy.
Our Obsession With Kitchen Appliances
If the air fryer or Instant Pot had never been invented, would any of us have personalities? Probably not, if a quick scroll through millennial Twitter is any indication (and I absolutely include myself in this). Actually, you know what, I bet Gen Z does make fun of us for this. But just wait until you get the little suction cup that separates your yolk from the egg whites—it will truly change your life.
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Maybe the reason Gen Z seems to have no issue with curtain bangs is because they are designed to be worn with a middle part. Touché, kids. Touché. Mostly what I find most mockable about curtain bangs is the fact that they’re… not really anything. They’re just bangs, that you part? Ok, I guess. They’re that awkward growing-out-your-bangs stage, but on purpose? Well f*ck me for thinking the whole point of bangs is for them to cover your forehead.
Mostly what I admire most about Gen Z’s criticisms is that they have all this low-hanging fruit at their disposal, and they instead go for the unexpected. It’s never the bad trend they ridicule; it’s the wardrobe staple that we thought was inoffensive, impossible to dislike. It just goes to show that nothing we hold sacred is safe, and we will never be cool in the eyes of the youth, so we should stop trying.
Images: Joshua Rondeau / Unsplash; hilaryduff, warbyparker / Instagram
Making fun of the generation above you is part of the natural order of aging. We make fun of our parents for not knowing how to reboot the WiFi router, our parents probably made fun of their parents for being afraid of rock ’n roll, such is the circle of life (minus Gen X, which appears to get away relatively unscathed due to an intense dose of middle child syndrome). This is all to say that I’m not surprised that Gen-Z are clowning the generations above them, but I am a little surprised that they’re coming for millennials and not their own parents who, I just learned today and am now spiraling because of the revelation, are largely Gen X. What did we ever do to you? *Thinks back to all the times we called Gen-Z children, dismissed them as being 12 years old, etc.* It’s a mystery.
The thing is, there are many things that would make millennials an easy target for a good roasting — from the low-hanging fruit of mashing avocado and putting it on toast and treating it like culinary innovation for years to the obsession with a particular pastel shade of pink (what even was that, anyway?) to the fact that we made fun of our parents for wearing oversized round glasses only to, decades later, sport the same oversized John Lennon-inspired rims. I’ve got to hand it to the youth, though, because they continue to think outside the box. They don’t go for the obvious; instead, they mock millennials for things like sporting a side part, wearing skinny jeans, and the most egregious, using the crying laughing emoji. And that, friends, is where I draw the line.
I can admit that skinny jeans are not the look for everyone and we took our obsession with it a bit too far. Likewise, I’ll give you that I had some truly heinous exaggerated side part years (mostly in college, but I’ve burned all the evidence.). But you will have to pry the crying laughing emoji from my cold, dead hands, and I will tell you why even though I’m sure nobody asked.
Now I know what you’re going to be asking first because it was my immediate thought, too: if Gen-Z doesn’t use the crying laughing emoji, how to they indicate laughter? Apparently, they use the skull emoji.
There are a few things wrong with this.
Now, I do feel bad being harsh on Gen-Z because they are simply ignorant. They do not remember the time when we millennials had to figure out ways to differentiate between various amounts of laughter. They were simply not alive (or at least, they were nonverbal) for the agonizing days of deciding whether something was simply funny (lol), very funny (rofl), outright hilarious (lmao), or literally-falling-on-the-floor hilarious (roflmao). Certainly, there are situations in which something is so funny you’re (figuratively) literally dead, necessitating the skull emoji, but there are levels to this sh*t. Personally, I like to progress from the crying laughing emoji to the slanted crying laughing emoji to the skull, and if a joke is really good, to the coffin or the urn. Everything cannot be skull emoji because everything is not skull-emoji funny. To ascribe every joke to this level of humor is simply an impossible standard, one that waters down the very genius of using the skull emoji in this context in the first place.
On top of that, the fact that using this emoji for its intended purpose is scorn-worthy kind of makes me want to, to borrow their own phrase, yeet myself into the sun. Oh, what, it’s too predictable? Too literal? Would it be ok if we used the crying laughing emoji ironically? Because I do that sometimes, like when I openly and honestly express my feelings and then need to add a little something at the end so that nobody takes me too seriously. Is that ok??
The crying laughing emoji exists for a reason, and I will not be made to feel ashamed, and I welcome my eventual roasting on TikTok.
And by the way, anyone with a widows peak cannot rock a middle part, and I’m too short to wear any cut of jean other than skinny jeans.
I’m almost 30, so I’m basically a wedding attendee expert at this point. With attending so many weddings (seriously, why is my life becoming more and more like Noah’s Ark with everyone pairing up?!), and being part of the bridal party in a few of them, I’ve often looked to The Knot for guidance. They know everything about weddings and wedding etiquette. It’s nice to have some reference for what is considered an acceptable wedding gift when you already had to buy a $300 tulle dress you’ll never wear again. Being the expert on weddings, The Knot has their 2019 Real Weddings Study ready to tell us how generations are changing their wedding habits, and it actually seems to be more for good than evil. According to The Knot, couples care more about “inclusivity, sustainability, community and purpose-driven details” than ever before. Here are just a few things changing in our generation’s wedding planning:
Weddings are now “fusing a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds”, because 51% of couples are marrying someone of a different background, according to The Knot. This means couples are doing much more diverse ceremonies that aren’t necessarily religious, or combining two religious ceremonies to reflect both partners’ beliefs. I think this is really cool that couples are taking charge of what’s important to them. I’ve even been to a wedding where they did a medieval sword ceremony instead of a religious one, and it was awesome. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t feel like you have to stick to tradition if it doesn’t fit in with your values (or you like, just don’t want to).
As a society, most of us care about the environment and are trying to go green everywhere we can. From sustainable fashion to travel to those damn paper straws, millennials and Gen-Z are big on not f*cking up the planet, and The Knot says, “weddings are no exception”. According to their 2019 Real Wedding Study, one-quarter of couples now source locally and repurpose wedding details instead of just throwing their decor out after one use. 14% even do eco-friendly alternatives, like chalkboard seating charts, bamboo place settings, and digital RSVPs. Couples are also spending less on their weddings and considering budget to be important. On average, couples are now covering half of their wedding costs, so they are more aware of budget now that we don’t just charge everything to Bank Of Daddy.
Standing Up For Themselves
Couples are finally ignoring what their families want and are doing what they actually want to do for their weddings. I’m sure it helps that they’re footing their own bills now, which means they can’t be bullied into inviting their dad’s fourth cousins they’ve never even met. The Knot says this includes, “making intentional vendor choices, like choosing a venue with meaning (think, an art gallery that supports female artists or town hall that has made strides for the LGBTQ+ community) or making a statement about gender equality by walking down the aisle together.” Couples now even donate decor or have a charity donation as their registry! You love to see it.
Couples now are saying f*ck gender roles and are having their bridal parties include all their best friends—regardless of gender. I have seen this in so many weddings recently, and I LOVE IT. Why do we segregate our friends based on their genitals anyway? The Knot says, “nearly 4 in 10 couples (37%) embrace coed wedding parties”, with groomswomen and bridesmen! I mean really, why was gender ever a consideration for who gets to stand up there with you on your wedding day? It should just be about standing up at the altar with the people you care about.
Wedding traditions may be changing, but it’s definitely for the better. These stats from The Knot just show that you can do whatever the f*ck you want on your big day and everyone else can shove it. See more findings from the Real Weddings Study at The Knot.
Images: @alvarocvg / Unsplash, Kumar Saurabh / Pexels, @clemono2 / Unsplash, Michael Morse / Pexels; irbis pictures / Shutterstock.com