Talking back to one’s parents is rude, but it’s also something we’ve all done at one point or another, especially during those angsty adolescent years. Some varieties of sass are truly timeless, but there were certain ways you sassed your parents in the ‘90s that had a distinctly… ’90s flavor (meaning that if veiled insults, sarcasm, and passive aggression had a taste, these would smack of Crystal Pepsi, Dawson’s Creek, and plaid).
The idea of being openly rude or sarcastic to my parents now seems crazy and immature to me, but as a 12-year-old in the mid-‘90s, well, I was probably slightly unhinged (what with all the raging adolescent hormones and all), and I was certainly immature. I didn’t usually get into screaming matches with my mom and dad, but I definitely wasn’t above sarcasm, eye rolls, and a variety of condescending hand signals that seemed way cool at the time (mostly because of Clueless, TBH).
(Er… I would like to take this moment to thank my lovely parents for not selling me to the circus. If I were in your place, I’m pretty sure all of those “Whatever” fingers would have sent me over the edge.).
Read on for 12 of your favorite ways that you sassed your parents in the ‘90s. May you remember this list when it’s your turn to deal with pre-teens:
1. Stephanie Tanner’s “How Rude!” (for when you were feeling self-righteous).
When your parents were at the end of their rope, and you wanted to feel superior, mimicking Stephanie’s signature line was your go-to response.
2. Telling your parents that would never be as awesome as Jason and Maggie Seaver, Phil and Vivian Banks, or any of the guys in Full House.
TV parents are hard to live up to (what with them being fictional and all), and when you were angry at your real parents, you couldn’t help but look longingly at those in shows like Growing Pains , The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air , and Full House.
3. Deploying Ross Gellar’s secret hand bump from Friends.
As Monica describes it, Ross devised the hand bump as “a way of giving the finger without actually having to give it.” Perfect for sassing unsuspecting parents.
4. Talk to the hand!
The ‘90s were chock full of fun hand signals, including the infamous “Talk to the hand because the face ain’t listening” sign. I’m sure you thought you were super cool. Your parents just thought you were annoying.
5. The Big “L.”
The insulting gestures just don’t stop: The “Loser” L was, of course, classic, though maybe not quite as awesome as…
6. “Whatever” fingers.
Is there anything more ‘90s than the iconic “Whatever” hand sign? It was the perfect way to express your adolescent dissatisfaction with your parents behind their backs.
7. Using Internet-lingo that your parents had no hope of understanding.
Nothing could needle your parents quite as much as you telling them “TTFN” and LOLing at their expense.
8. Singing “Parents Just Don’t Understand” constantly.
OK, technically, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff released this song in 1988, but that just meant it was still on the airwaves in the early ‘90s (especially with the popularity of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).
9. Telling your parents that they are just like the McCallisters in Home Alone.
I mean, their hearts were probably in the right place, but they accidentally abandoned their kid twice.
10. Doing something really passive aggressive, like messing with your mom’s VCR settings and making her miss Sisters.
Let’s face it: Sometimes you were the worst.
11. “Psych!”, “As if,” and “NOT!”
The holy trifecta of adolescent sarcasm. You thought you were super scathing with your clever retorts. I’m sure your poor parents just thought you were immature.
12. The Eye Roll.
The Immortal Eye Roll is a timeless symbol of adolescent angst. It was popular in the ‘90s, and it’s popular today. Someday in the distant future, when civilization exists entirely online and every human’s consciousness has been uploaded into computers, 13-year-olds will still figure out how to roll their (computerized) eyes at their parents.
Images: Nickelodeon; Giphy (10)