Ah, the 90s – a simpler time when no one knew what Covid-19 was, you knew every single word of Wannabe and you were never completely free of body glitter.
But as the world around us today gets crazier and more confusing – anybody else feeling super old with technology these days?! – more than ever I’m yearning for the era when it was actually possible to be uncontactable and the biggest thrill of your week was a brand-new episode of Friends.
So here’s all the stuff I wished was still a thing from the glory days – the wonderful 1990s.
The anticipation of a land line call (and knowing people’s phone numbers)
Phone calls used to be an event, you know – especially if you were calling someone in another part of New Zealand. One of my most vivid memories was waiting until 6pm for the free regional calling to kick in so I could ring my pal who had moved to Invercargill.
And we just somehow knew people’s phone numbers – to this day, my old land line, uncle and aunt’s, nana and granddad and weirdly the number for the movies are etched into my brain. Now, I couldn’t tell you anyone’s digits for the life of me. Also I’m pretty sure kids these days don’t call it digits.
Shock horror, the former magazine editor yearns for the days of magazines. But come on, there was nothing like opening a brand new edition of Crème, Girlfriend or, my personal favourite, Dolly because SEALED SECTION.
It’s where we learnt what tampons were, which famous boybander to crush on, that what our bodies were doing was perfectly normal (well mostly) and of course for the free pad and Impulse samples.
I often wonder what kids these days (Jesus yes I heard myself) do for all of this vital information – the internet? It’s just not the same, and potentially far more dangerous too.
Going to Sounds to buy a CD single
Speaking of anticipation, the journey down to Sounds to buy not even a CD but a SINGLE was simply exquisite. You’d take your time over it by scanning the top 10 wall for what was poppin’, then head over to the gross headphones to listen to your choice to be really sure that spending $5 on a single song was worth it. (This was before we figured out how to use Limewire and infect Mum’s computer with a horrific virus that never. went. away.
But, the days of a CD single taught us decisiveness, it showed us our true music taste, and it added to the hype and theatre of music. Also RIP Sounds.
Knowing where you’re going without your phone’s map
Humans are supposed to possess an innate sense of direction, but tell me – do you always put your maps on in the car even if you actually know where you’re going? If there’s a theme to this list, it’s the fact that technology (although I LOVE IT) has taken over a lot of our primal settings.
Gone are the days of knowing ‘the best back way’ or impressing people with your hard-earned shortcuts.
People actually turning up when they said they would
As someone who HATES to be late – I’d rather be 20 minutes early than one minute over – this really gets my goat. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN COMMUNICATE THE FACT YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD BE.
I long for the days of telling your mate you’ll meet them at the dairy at 4pm for after school fun – and they’d just be there. Let’s bring it back – and while we’re at it lets also revive the good $1 lolly packs too.
Babysitter’s Club books turning up every month thanks to the Scholastic Book Fair
Oh, the thrill of new books turning up in the mail! It was a good day indeed when a package arrived in the mail with the new adventures of Kirsty and the gang. One – mail was always fun, but two it felt like a really grown up thing to receive books.
Speaking of thrills, what a ride it would be to get photos back from a night out at the ice skating rink or under age rave. Going through 100+ photos to find the only one that wasn’t blurry, framed weird or over exposed was a rite of passage, as was making a hokey scrapbook with stickers and the aforementioned glitter.
Not having every transgression or bad outfit moment on social media
The same thought goes through my head every time I have another glass of wine when I’m out on the lash – ‘How many more before I do something embarrassing that ends up on Instagram?’.
Ok so this is mostly a good think – thanks inner booze conscience – but we now live in a world where everything is recorded and posted, unflattering angles, drunken spills and horrific hair choices included.
Imagine going out in the 90s and having NO record of hooking up with the hottie at the end of the bar, red wine spills down white dresses and weird strob-ey dance floor shots with your mouth open.
Appointment viewing – and the absolute art of peeing during an ad break
The idea of only watching one episode per week in our binge-watching culture is ridiculous but remember the days of actual appointment viewing? Don’t get me wrong I love the fact millions of hours of viewing is now at our fingertips, but the old way really did teach us patience and excitement.
And, Gen Zers have never known the struggle, the sacrifice and the absolute art that was timing all of your admin around ad breaks. Making tea? That took two. Peeing? Easy in one. Taking the rubbish out for Mum? Damn, you’d had to hot foot that one.