April 6, 2023 at 4:02 am

Remember Some Awful Things About The 80s, 90s, And Aughts? These People Do Too.

by Trisha Leigh

Every generation has a tendency to romanticize the period when they grew up. In our memories, everything was better then, even if that’s objectively not always the case.

Here are 15 instances where I think we can all agree that Millennials have conveniently forgotten just how awful those years could be.

15. We were very patient.

For electronics: load times. Your Windows 95 PC taking 10 minutes to boot. CDs getting ruined in the sun or getting scratched.

14. They just disappeared.

If you lost someone’s phone number as a kid, good luck reconnecting with them.

So many classmates moved and I never heard from them again, until Facebook came along…

13. Just acceptable.

I used to see kids engaging in horseplay in cars, obviously unbuckled. Also, I come from a family of 6 and we had a car with 5 seats. The baby would just sit on a parent’s lap in the front passenger seat and this was just acceptable for some reason in the 80s.

I also remember riding in cars and having to sit in the passenger side footwell if the number of passengers exceeded the seats and I was the smallest.

12. A rough ten minutes.

Call me after 7pm when I have free minutes and I’ll tell you.

I remember looking at my phone, waiting for the time to say 7 so I could call the cute girl. Then, when it turned 7, I’d wait an agonizing 10 more minutes so I didn’t look desperate.

11. Satanic panic.

Evangelical pop culture paranoia (Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon, Harry Potter, etc)

the satanic panic, I remember it well. My mother and aunts where convinced there were ‘devil worshippers’ sacrificing children and animals up the mountain near where we lived. Threw out my Marilyn Manson tapes as well.

10. Was this really terrible, though?

That awkward 60 seconds when you’re waiting for your friend to come to the phone and you have to make polite conversation with their parent who answered the phone.

9. Actually awful.

A ton of serial killers were active in the 80’s

Eastern Europe did not have a good 90’s.

The Romanian orphanage crisis because they outlawed birth control and punished those who didn’t get pregnant caused huge numbers of unwanted babies. The information we have about the importance of interacting with babies came from that time.

8. Parents always have it rough.

25¢/minute long distance phone calls.

And since we are including the 2000s, remember when it was common to pay per text message?

My parents lost theirs minds when my sister sent 1000 texts in a month.

7. Tough on crime.

Crime just in general was way higher, at least in the US. We just think the world is more dangerous now, but it’s a false perception. The only things that seem to have climbed IIRC are domestic violence and sexual assault, but it’s pretty widely accepted that that’s an issue of those actually being taken seriously now (or more seriously, anyway…we’ve still got a ways to go). Back in the ’80s a lot of agencies were still ignoring those kinds of calls as a personal matter so official crime stats were low, but self-report studies were showing consistent or higher levels.

It was early 2000s when we really started seeing consistent and significant decline, IIRC.

6. Massive CD collections.

It was in the 00s once CD burners became commonplace – you’d swap with your friends and make copies.

I spent a small fortune on spindles of 50 blank CD-Rs, but it was a fraction of what actually buying those albums would have cost.

5. Complete devastation.

The complete devastation caused by HIV/AIDS back in the 80s and early 90s and the state of fear so many people lived with back then.

Before we knew much about it, people were absolutely terrified, my aunt was washing her dishes with bleach after having guests because she was convinced you could get it from a cup or spoon used by an infected person. There was a period of time where people just didn’t know how infectious it was.

My cousin died of AIDS and it was hushed up pretty quickly. She was a straight woman who got it through sex with an infected partner she met at a bar. It was terrifying, people were afraid of her while she was sick.

I’m grateful we have treatment and knowledge now, but goddamn we went through some traumatic shit back then and nobody talks about it now.

4. The Sun-in!

QT tanning lotion, Sun-In for your hair and frosted lipstick were the go-to look in the early 80’s.

3. A lost genocide.

I feel like the Rawanda genocide just doesn’t hold any historical value for the world body.

I’m in my mid thirties and most people my age don’t even know about it. That blows my mind. They may have heard of it, but have no clue the magnitude of it.

2. Smoking everywhere.

When you walked into a restaurant, the first thing the hostess would ask you is “smoking or non-smoking?”

I never smoked a cigarette but the next morning after a night out my clothes all smelled of cigarettes.

1. Acid rain.

In the 80s: Acid rain – well before Chernobyl even. And there were a LOT of bombings by terrorists in Europe, like IRA, RAF, ETA, ALF.

You don’t hear about acid rain anymore because it’s one of the major success stories of the environmental movement. Emissions reduction through regulation largely resolved the issue years ago, at least in the Western world.

Yeah, definitely awkward and awful.

But I’d say we could find awkward and awful things that people would like to forget during every decade.

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