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The Eleven Coolest Things About The 90's

Updated on December 30, 2014

Maybe you remember the 90's. Either you do or you don't, but it doesn't matter which because I'm going to provide you with some information about them, really good information. Join me now as I take a look back at what made this decade.

Backwards Hat Combinations

In the 90's it wasn't uncommon to see a tasteful backwards cap paired with a plaid long sleeve button up casual dress up compromise shirt, or even with a business shirt with the sleeves rolled up. This would be perfected by the cap wearer removing their cap to reveal a completely gelled head of hair, parted exactly down the middle.

Wallet Chains

Everyone had a wallet chain. It wasn't called a wallet chain though, just a "chain". It was like everybody was afraid of getting robbed, but also you knew that no one was going to rob them because you could tell they all had money, because they all had chains. This contributed to the theory of people in the 90's being wusses, because people assumed they couldn't keep their wallets by clamping their fingers onto them really hard.

Berets

Today, no one wears berets. In the 90's, wearing berets was just ending and the people who did wear them were being critically decisive about it. There was no middle ground on a beret moment, but you didn't get to find out when it was ok. It would just happen. I could only get a picture of a girl wearing a beret, but dudes did it too, and I do mean fat dudes okay? This was even past Prince's "Raspberry Beret", into an entirely new conceptual zone regarding the significance of why a person might be wearing a beret. This was around the time wearing a lot of layers was really catching on and that has sort of lasted up to the present, but at the time a lot of people would top all that off with a beret, and you didn't know if they wanted to be saying they were dressing like a painter or a militant, but it was funny if their attitude seemed to say without them consciously trying to say this: "both of those things simultaneously".

Styrofoam Sports - Nerf, Koosh, etc

In the 90's, when you came of age athletically, they never got tired of handing you this stuff. The kids in the movies were all actually playing baseball and football, but there was this separate subculture of real life sports where you wanted to be like the kid on the super soaker box who was doing stuff with his eyes bugging out and his mouth wide open. With regular sports equipment we just didn't know if it was going to be like that.

Arcade Games

Now arcades seem like a waste of time because people recognize and value the usefulness of miniaturization as a technical achievement, and being able to enjoy high end software almost anywhere is part of it's allure, which is why there aren't as many arcades open. In the 90's they seemed like a great idea because pretty much almost nothing was better than super nintendo, and the way you'd experience better graphics was by having those same graphics displayed for you very large on an arcade screen. Actually, most of those screens were about the size of your tv at home, so you were literally paying for looking at the buttons and knobs and the picture on the side of the machine, but that was better somehow so people got really excited about those things.

Unjustified Sense Of Grimness

All throughout the 90's, people were pretty much living the reality of having won the world wars mid century and gone about 50 years without much hardship and with a constantly improving state of technology. What it looked like things were or were about to be apparently didn't matter to anyone though because a major thing of the 90's was being really mopey about everything. Literature starring self righteous murderers increased by something like I'm guessing 700%, and everyone talked in these really glum voices and didn't smile. I'm not kidding, this just biologically happened. I don't know if it was sarin gas or what. I literally couldn't smile all throughout the 90's, and my favorite band had this song titled "I Can't Smile", so I knew it was was widespread.

Tons of Vans Shoes, No One Had A Skateboard

I didn't even know Vans were the athletic shoes for people who skateboarded until the 2000s, even though they've been around since the 70's. The first time I saw them was in the 90's, and based on the conventional context they were presented in I assumed they were for listening to music or something. This doesn't seem very interesting at first because you see people wearing athletic shoes not playing sports all the time, but in the 90's I saw every sport except for skateboarding occur in real life, yet during no other time period, including time later spent at real skate parks, have I seen more Vans worn.

Rock Music Was Not Called Rock Music

Rock has been around for about a hundred years, its' 3-5 minute format a by-product of the introduction of radio. Today, we know rock as rock. That briefly stopped in the 90's when the then furthest-flung-temporally permutation of rock was being called grunge. This wasn't the only time people ever got excited about music because it was named after a form of dirt, though it was the first time they ever called a recognizable form of music something less complimentary to such widespread approval. They were also selling people the idea of "slacker"-ness around this time, so what this added up to was you'd get home and you'd have been being a slacker for a while, and your living area would be a dirty wreck, and you'd turn on the radio and it would go "WELCOME TO YOUR HOME FOR GRUNGE", and for some reason that was how life could be perfect for a person, was by it being roughly like that. Also it didn't matter what it was, all rock made after 1990 was then grunge. If you listen to Nirvana now on a rock station, you can hear that it is rock, and you can ask yourself how it in any way is the adjective "grunge" and not be able to answer that question. You think I'd think Rock and Roll doesn't make sense either but I'm aware that it denotes moving to the rhythm. Music might be grunge if you like it so much that you sit listening to it while making a face like this:

for so long that large deposits of grunge built up on your body, but that still wouldn't be anything like the rocking motion, so I don't know.

Abstract Art Everywhere

It's not so weird to see people have put some kind of quazy shapes here or there during any era, but the 90's were in a way that sticks out now like if Van Gogh and Picasso were making art for totalitarian regimes to cover everything with. Everything was bugeyed, intentionally overbalanced, asymmetrical and painted in a slightly original color hue. I think the idea was to make the ultimate, like a very expensive presentation, seem within the reach of any intellect by covering it with simplistic representations. It wasn't really that though because it was on clothes too, it was something in people's brains going "so bright and shiny! i love this!" There were these sweaters that were just big colored squares knitted together like a quilt. Do you see what I'm talking about?

When People Would Have Neon Lights At Their House

You sometimes see people with bar signs at their house. That's not this, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about something you'd usually only see on tv and that you'd rarely see in real life but if you did it blew your mind because it was the experience of having projected at you whatever in blazes it was this was supposed to represent socioceconomically, and that thing was neon lights encased in glass bricks. This was kind of like having a produce sink or a square of wheatgrass only these didn't really do anything, the light they gave off wouldn't light a room and it wasn't scientifically proven to cure depression or anything. They simply gave off the general look of saying "I like exercising on a treadmill and juicing and ferns or whatever", what connected the actual item to meaning that was and is not known but it's what occurred.

Extreme Sports

Today extreme sports have been pared down to people completing stunt courses. The word doesn't have a very strong specific meaning and never really has, it just covers a small range of sports that people are aware of and people are okay with that. In the 90's we got stupid with it. Extreme sports started with trick skating which there's kind of no extreme version of because the dangerous one we know of is the only one that exists, and then people started trying to think of ways to make other sports more like that. You think extreme biking is jumping hills and flipping the bike around, but no, that would make sense, so in the 90's it was two people riding at each other on bikes with their fists poking out like jousting lances. I'm not making this up, it was in a magazine, I don't know how long it lasted. There was other extreme stuff too, it was all bound in the omnipresent undercurrent of screaming, making faces and contorting weirdly that I know I thought would last forever.

Basically the difference between the 90's and the new millennium was the new millennium was at first subtly then more noticeably no longer people acting like they knew what the new millennium was going to be like, everything in the 90's grew from the mentality of having seen everything but having no idea of how bad or great things were going to get, but (what we now see as ironically) not thinking things could get any more so one way or the other, and also having then a keen interest in irony and jadedness determined by the then-present circumstances. The 90's were in summary art trying not to look like a fool by bracing as hard as possible for an invisible unforeseen blow and in the long view failing, which is what makes the 90's so funny and pathetic now just like all our stupid lives.

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    • indianreel profile image

      HK 2 years ago from London

      Wow. What a peep view into 90s. Enjoyed.