I felt old. It was perfectly aware of how stupid it was to feel old, but I couldn’t help it. I was watching “the Real World” at the gym. While I was mesmerized by the amount of hair gel and lack of clothes on the Hollywood cast, I realized that at the young age of twenty-four, I was out of the casting demographic for it and all other MTV reality shows. (Given the maturity level of roommates on recent seasons, I think I was mentally too old for them at age nineteen).
Normally, I subscribe to the Frank Zappa philosophy of aging, which is essentially “Wowie, zowie you’re a whole year older,” but I was also going to a 90s-themed party that night. Ironic party themes had finally reached a decade I was alive for the entirety of. Sure, I remember parts of the 80s, but I was six when they were over. I remember swiping my dad’s Whitesnake and Bon Jovi tapes, and him telling him me I wasn’t allowed to sing with “Once Bitten Twice Shy” or probably any song by Great White. I remember all of the 90s, grunge, flannel, Bob Packwood, Tonya versus Nancy, line dancing, Offspring, OJ trial, Weezer, etc…I listened to Local H and Rage Against the Machine while I ran, attempting to channel inspiration for my costume. I had knee high Doc Martens. I thought about wearing those and adding um to every pause like they did on “My So-Called Life.” I thought about pretending like I was myself at a middle school dance, which would mean being a stubborn little snot refusing to dance to the music because it wasn’t alt or classic rock…
Instead, my roommate called while I was leaving the gym with the suggestion of dressing up as the Spice Girls with three of our friends. I definitely remembered the Spice Girls, and hating them. I remember being in the eighth grade and wondering what unplanned pregnancies had to do with “Girl Power.” But I agreed with the plan. I had no flannel, no poet blouses, or slip dresses, but I had hair I could pull back in pigtails to be “Baby Spice.”
Posh, Ginger, Scary, Sporty and I tried to encapsulate the 90s as best we could, along with Kurt Cobain, who just threw on a flannel and looked a bit emaciated from the night before. The problem with decking ourselves in tube tops, leopard print, booty shorts, cut-off fur jackets and platforms is that we just looked like we were trying to be hookers. The party had “Full House” and “The Secret World of Alex Mac” books and slap bracelets scattered about while we danced with members of Kris-Kross, Aladdin himself and Blossom in a sea of vests and neon windbreakers. This time when I lived in the 90s, I didn’t deny that I knew every word of “Another Night” by The Real McCoy when it played. The Spice Girls and I stayed in character by dancing harder and singing louder than the rest of the forgotten icons. I’m no longer the stubborn little snot who denies the occasional need to rage it to terrible pop music.