The squads of the '90s were legendary. You might not know about them, unless you've seen the evidence in their now faded disposable camera photos on a #tbt, but they were epic. They rolled deep and wide. They were hardcore celebrity fanatics. They were merciless gamers. They were three-way calling extraordinaries. They were Chicken Soup for the Soul preachers. They were wicked roller skaters, Moon Shoe bouncers, Skip-It hoppers, Devil Stick tossers. You name it, they played it and they aced it.
They aced suburban street-style too, with backwards hats, stick-on earrings, sparkly retainers, Sambas, and hoodies around their waists. With quarters in their pockets, crunchy gel in their hair, a pink Starburst stuck to the roof of their mouth and a cloud of cucumber vanilla body spray, they made their presence known. But like any golden group, there were issues.
'90s squads had troubles just like today's Millennial squads. Millennial squads struggle with boring technological qualms like unjust tagging, mindless cropping, unopened outfit coordination emails and fear of DUFF-labeling. But it was the '90s squads who had real challenges. And because they grew up undocumented, on Airplane Mode, no one knows their struggles. They were never given the 60 Minutes they deserved. No Lifetime movie. No serial podcast.
But their struggles won't go unnoticed any longer. Here are seven problems '90s squads had:
Someone had to marry Chris Kirkpatrick
In a squad five-deep, marital pairing with boybands was a given. The leaders of the squad could duel it out over Justin and JC. The median squad mate would graciously accept Lance or Joey. But Chris was left for last. And if your squad didn't have a strong hierarchy, you'd have to battle your own team for anyone but Chris. The fight for a lead singer could get ugly.
You had to pick Mary-Kate OR Ashley
In a duo squad, there could only be one Mary-Kate and one Ashley. You can't have them both. In the early years, you could barely tell them apart. Once they started to grow up, Mary-Kate became much more alternative and if you and your best friend felt like she was your spirit twin, you'd have to duke it out, proving your alternative-ness.
Someone had to take the picture
Back in the '90s, there were no selfie-sticks or timer apps. When your squad wanted to snap a pic and no one else was around, one of your teammates would have to take the picture themselves. And when you're a hardcore squad-for-life kinda girl, you don't want to be missing from a single frame. But the picture isn't gonna take itself.
To send a note was to risk your (social) life
Without cell phones, there were no text messages. When you wanted to communicate with your squad during school hours, you had to write a note with pen and paper, fold it up and pass it off in the halls. If you got caught writing or reading a note in class, however, you were at risk of being publicly humiliated. Teachers had the right to read your note out loud to the class ... letting everyone know how much you think Paul F. looks like Devon Sawa and how you clogged the toilet in the girl's locker room.
Can you hear me now?
Because there were no cellphones, when squads were separated in public, they were basically MIA. There was no way to get in touch with each other. Short of shouting, you were SOL.
The rental does not exist
That's right — OUT. There were only a limited amount of copies of each film. You could drive all the way to Blockbuster only to find that there's no blue and white labeled VHS behind that display copy. You'd have failed your squad and ruined movie night.
The internet was not always accessible
If you had dial-up, the phone line had to be open in order for you to sign online. So if you and your squad had an AOL chatroom date to dish at 8 P.M., but your mother was on the phone with your grandmother talking about the weather in Florida for an hour, you're the squad man out. Everyone's talking without you.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy (8)