As nostalgia for days gone by seems to be reaching a fever pitch with long-awaited movie sequels and franchise reboots popping up with increasing frequency, it can feel like the '90s were just yesterday. But they weren't. I nearly had the wind knocked out of me when I realized Mean Girls was a decade old, so I can barely fathom explaining the slang and fashion of the 1990s to my child one day. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are several things from the '90s your kids won't believe existed.
It's already difficult enough trying to explain exactly how people functioned before Wi-Fi, Google, and smart phones. But when you try explaining the limited technology and entertainment you grew up with, kids think the '90s were a major bummer. After all, you grew up in the decade that brought you such memorable tragedies as dead Tamagotchis and entire fake families who met an untimely fate on the Oregon Trail.
In a way, it's interesting to think that your own parents probably went through the same experience. The same way you probably rolled your eyes at your parents regaling you with tales of rotary phones and soda pop that only cost a nickel, your kid might find it impossible to believe some of the things that existed in the '90s.
"Back in my day, you would call a number, then put in your number, and wait for your friend to call you back on your phone!" Your child will simply not comprehend the seemingly complicated process of using beepers to contact someone.
2. Weird Colored Food & Drink
From Crystal Pepsi to radioactive green Surge to purple ketchup, companies in the '90s were oddly set on churning out oddly colored (or clear) food and drink.
3. Old-School MS Paint
Perhaps professional photographers had access to more high-tech software, but for the majority of kids in the 1990s, MS Paint was as futuristic as you could get. Whether in school or at home (if you actually had a computer), you could spend hours making shapes and filling them in with color.
4. Clothing Catalogs
Since going to the mall with friends required setting up plans in person or calling their house and asking their parents if you could speak with them, sometimes it was easier to just pull out your trusty dELiA*s catalog to do some shopping. Your kid will still ask you why you didn't just go online.
5. Gas In The Double Digits
Unless something miraculous happens, plenty of cars will still use gas and the price will continue to climb. Your child might just think you've Photoshopped that printed photo showing gas was less than a dollar. You'll also blow their minds with the fact that you have a tangible, non-digital picture.
6. Cassette Players & Discmans
The days of patiently waiting for the radio to play your favorite song and hoping you got the timing right to record it on your cassette tape will seem like a dystopian sci-fi scenario to your kid. They won't even be able to comprehend the futility of trying to jog or ride in a car while listening to a CD on your Discman.
7. Landlines & Pay Phones
Do you know anyone, besides an elderly relative, who actually has a landline anymore? Chances are pretty slim that you do. Those numbers plummet as you think about what phones might be like by the time your kid is your age. So it's no surprise that they might not believe making a call depended on your ability to find either a pay phone or a landline.
8. JNCO Jeans
There were definitely some bizarre fashion trends in the '90s. Yet it's hard to imagine JNCO Jeans ever making the same kind of comeback that overalls and choker necklaces have had. Don't take it personally if your kid thinks your middle school class photo was some kind of prank due to your comically wide pant legs.
9. VHS Tapes
Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, anyone with internet access can watch a variety of movies on their computer, home TV, or even their phone. Have fun trying to convince your kid that VHS tapes were a thing and that people would go to this place called Blockbuster to rent movies which required manual rewinding.
10. Dessert Cereal
Not to say that food today is universally healthy, but when you think about the sugary breakfast options of the '90s, things start to look pretty good nowadays. Oreo-O's, Sprinkle Spangles, and Cap'n Crunch Choco Donuts were just a few of the cereals your kid won't believe existed.
11. Clear Everything
Inflatable furniture, clear plastic telephones, and see-through iMacs were all the rage in the '90s. Though I don't quite remember why it was so awesome to be able to see the inner workings of items, I do know that you weren't cool unless you had them. Don't be surprised if the look of disbelief on your kid's face is just as transparent as your sweat-inducing furniture was.