Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

A little while ago, I wrote a piece about the meaning of modern teen-speak expressions like “on fleek” and “goals”. I might have crinkled my eyes a little at how ridiculous and nonsensical these expressions seemed to me.

I may have to take the judgy crinkle face I made back now that I am thinking about some of the expressions we used back in the day. All I can say is that it is a bit of a lottery win that I can even come up with a list, because if you remember the 80’s – you didn’t have as much fun as I did.

However, the point of this informative and somewhat frivolous piece is to help teens understand us geriatrics by teaching them the ways of their parents. Teens: here is a short guide to understanding what your parents mean when they say:

Totally Tubular – this is what you said when something was great or interesting. It was not used to describe toilet paper rolls or sewage pipes.

Gag me with a spoon – girls said this when they didn’t like something. It was most effective when accompanied by open mouth gum chewing and a tornado eye roll. The boys however tried to gag themselves with spoons just to see if they could. This activity spawned the expression Barf Me Out.

Gnarly – boys used this term to describe everything from their sheared off skin from a bike accident to a perfectly executed wheelie on their banana bikes.

Grody to the max – everybody under the age of 20 used this expression. It was used to describe something mildly gross or unpleasant with some additional emphasis. It really wasn’t to the max of anything, it was just fun to say.

Let’s blow this Popsicle stand – when we were just to cool for one place, and we pretended we had somewhere cooler to be. We didn’t. Sometimes it failed and the person who said it walked out alone.

Righteous – I can still picture Sean Penn saying this in a state of pot induced wonderment. If you don’t know who Sean Penn is, use the Google.

Valley girls– This is more of a cultural phenomenon than an expression, and it is really hard to explain. The way Valley Girls spoke swept north america like a wave, with teen girls imitating it. The closest I can come to describing it is imagine if beach Barbie could speak, and then give her an attitude.

Catch You On The Flip~side – The flip side refers to the B side of a record. For a modern explanation, picture saying goodbye to your friend and then flipping over your iphone. Now you are catching them on the flip side. Not really though.

Please be kind and rewind. – This is going to take a bit of explanation. There were these places like a store, but they had these big plastic cases that contained the joy of every weekend. A movie, on VHS tape. Your parents would ensure the return of your rental movie tape with a credit card, and you and your friends could watch Goonies or E.T. from the comfort of you own home. When you returned the tape, your parents got charged if you didn’t rewind it. It was an actual tape, but not the sticky kind.

It was the best of times to be a kid in the 80’s. We smoked, made out behind the football field benches and wore florescent legwarmers. My friends and I talk about the good old days of awesome music, we were all Madonna and Billy Idol in our bathroom hairbrush concerts. We called stuff gnarly and tubular and the possibilities of our futures were endless.

Now that I have teens myself I realize these were halcyon times and kids nowadays are having far less fun than we did. What passes for pop culture now is some dimwit on Youtube called “The cash me outside girl”. What does that even mean?





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