We are so fragile as kids — ridiculously self-conscious, horribly unsure of ourselves, and desperate to fit in. For that reason, we had countless awkward experiences with our parents in the '90s, simply because any experience was bound to become awkward at that point in our lives. I feel like we often looked at our parents in the same way they looked at us: They needed to be kept in line. I can remember giving my mom specific directions regarding things she could and could not say to my friends and teachers, because I knew I would die of embarrassment. Looking back on it now, of course, I had it pretty easy; I don't think I'd be able to raise a kid these days without locking them in their room forever and ever. I'd be terrified of what they'd do if I let them out. (Side note: I have no plans of reproducing.)
There were certain moments that many of us dreaded, because we knew the chances of things turning awkward with our parents would grow exponentially. Whether it had to do with our journey into adulthood, exploring the world of dating and relationships, or being there for some of our most exciting moments, our parents just couldn't resist making things weird.
1. When They Dropped You Off For A Date
Nothing sent the butterflies in your stomach into more of a frenzy than getting all dressed up for a big night out and fantasizing about tongue-kissing your crush. You'd swipe on your sassiest flavor of LipSmackers, cake on an extra layer of body glitter... and then climb into the back seat of your mom's minivan so she could drop you off at the mall in front of your date. Yikes.
2. Shopping For Bras
It seemed that no matter how humiliated you obviously were, your parent/shopping co-pilot would be the loudest person in the store whenever you had to go bra shopping. You were young and self-conscious and all, "Mooooom, staaaaahp," because you didn't want people to know you had boobs. And every single time, they'd make a huge scene, yelling across the store, "Honey, how about this one?? Do you want polka dots or stripes? This one has too much padding. Nope. Nuh-uh."
3. Chaperoning Your Middle School Dance
Everybody was terrified of your parents, and you always had to slow dance alone because the look of imminent death on their faces were enough to scare everyone away.
4. Parent-Teacher Conferences
Nothing in your adolescence made you sweat quite like that one day of the year when your parents and teachers would get together and talk about you while you weren't present. There were typically two possible outcomes: Either your teachers would praise you and your parents would thank them because, hell, they're the ones who raised you; or your teachers would softly break it to them that you had potential but just didn't apply yourself, and your parents would confirm your lackadaisical mentality with stories of how you refuse to change the empty toilet paper roll at home.
5. The Year Of The Crimson Wave
There was usually an element of pride when you finally got your period. Your parents would give you the "Megan, you're growing up" speech, and then they'd take you shopping for tampons. I even had books about getting your period — what it looks like, what it smells like, how it's basically going to ruin your life... Your first Shark Week was an unnecessarily big occasion.
6. Taking Pictures For The School Dance
As kids of the '90s, we had one tiny request for our parents: Don't let anybody know you're even here. Thus, the cloud of doom that hovered above us was palpable during the posed, pre-dance photos, when the clicking sounds of your parents' disposable camera echoed in the wind, and they kept shouting, "OK, just one more! No, put your arm there. OK, turn to the side. Now, everyone smile! Megan, you're not smiling. I said smile. That's not your real smile. Come on. Give me a real smile."
7. The Cheering Section Just Got A Little Louder
Our sweet parents loved us so much. They were so supportive, our biggest cheerleaders... And it made us want to stick our heads in our Easy Bake Ovens and turn them on high. At every cheerleading competition, spelling bee, softball game, your parents brought the noisemakers, the giant foam fingers, the tent, the coolers, everything. They were those parents, screaming until their voices finally cracked. You pretended you didn't know them.