6 Totally Unfair Ways Today's Kids Skip The Awkward Phase Entirely
How different would our prepubescent lives have been if we had Snapchat?
Awkwardness is an essential part of growing up—or at least, it was for most millennials. We all suffered together, donning our velcro Jesus sandals in elementary school, our butterfly clips and frosted gloss in middle school and painful braces in high school. Now, we have an entirely new set of uncomfortable problems to deal with.
But, let's take a second to look at how the next generation is growing up. Kids today don't pass through an awkward stage. And I'm bitter, because they have advantages I didn't have. I don't see any of these children growing up with the agony and permanent damage of overly-tweezed eyebrows, because they now have 24/7 access to beauty gurus who show them the eightfold path to impeccable arches. Here are a few other ways in which today's teens have transcended awkwardness entirely.
1. Emo selfies v. filtered selfies
The selfies of yesteryear which, unfortunately, still exist somewhere on the internet for most of us, were SO bad. The ratty emo hair, raccoon-eye makeup and totally unnecessary hand heart were essential to our "style." We were angsty and dark, but still wanted everyone to love us. So we set our MySpace profiles to shit like this, to show off that duality, as we continued to insist that no one understood us.
Every selfie taken by a youngin today can be put through Snapchat's beauty filter, which makes her or him more beautiful than ever before. Are you fucking kidding me?! That is actual bullshit. These kids get to live their entire lives online, and look good doing it.
2. Clueless beauty v. guru guides
The beauty trends of my youth left me scarred forever. I am embarrassed to admit that there are pictures of me with these tragically thin and wormy eyebrows somewhere out in the world. Over-tweezed eyebrows were a "thing" when we were growing up and my tweezer-happy ass went to town on my brows more than once. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE STOP ME?!
Kids today have a million tutorials at their fingertips, and perfectly-groomed brows are just part of everyday life. Looking put together, even when you're young and maybe uncomfortable in your body, has never been easier. Boob contouring? Color correcting? These kids master it all, thanks to YouTube tutorials from seasoned pros like Jackie Aina.
3. Unfortunate heartthrobs v. actual hot dudes
When we were growing up, boy-band heartthrobs were pure of heart and kind of dweeby. They didn't want to ravish you; they just wanted to tell you that God must have spent a little more time on you. Our moms approved of these guys because they actually took virginity pledges. Plus, what could be less threatening to a young girl's hymen than transition lenses and a coif resembling ramen noodles?
Today's boy banders should make dads everywhere want to lock their daughters in their rooms until they're 18. Watching Zayn Malik's Pillow Talk video is a sexual awakening. The former boy bander has transitioned from sweet harmonizing to dating a supermodel and making out with her in music videos and Vogue photoshoots. Unlike Timberlake, Z does not resemble food in any way. Today's teens have such good, er...taste.
4. Courthouse contessa v. mini mogul
Millennials' cultural icons have almost nothing in common with the teen idols of today. We followed the rise and fall of the Head Conductor of the Hot Mess Express, Lindsay Lohan, who provided us with a prime example of how NOT to do in life. She struggled with drug and alcohol problems, flirted with lesbianism, and had more than one court date.
Kids today get to admire Kylie Jenner, who looks like a hot alien even on her worst day. Her app gives them an inside look at her everyday life, so they get to see that she is a real person (albeit one with her own Rolls Royce) who is constantly *realizing things.* She's also a savvy businesswoman who has her own cosmetics line.
5. Primitive technology v. the world on a watch
For millennials, phones and computers were two separate devices. On our phones, we mastered texting in T9. On the desktop computer that lived in our family's "computer room," we composed AIM away messages with really heartwrenching *NSYNC quotes, using lots of alternating upper- and lowercase letters. But we couldn't even get online to write those away messages if our parents were on the land line. #dialupproblems
Kids today live in two worlds: the real world and the world inside their phones. They Snapchat, Instagram, and filter all day, developing their own personal brands at a very early age. They've mastered comedic timing in six-second videos on Vine, and when their homemade middle-school videos go viral, they might end up on Ellen, amassing fame and fortune and a lifetime's supply of white Vans.
And they're doing all this from Apple watches they got for Christmas when they were 8. Let's take a second to think about that. I can't even afford one of those right now, and I'm considered an adult.
6. Fiercely guarding your secrets v. shameless oversharing
When we millennials were kids, we treasured privacy and fiercely guarded our personal space. We poured all our angst and romantic fantasies into diaries hidden in our underwear drawers. They were secured with very weak locks that our brothers could very easily get into. There was nothing more embarrassing than having your secrets screamed throughout the entire house.
The concepts of "privacy" and "secrets" are totally foreign to today's almost-adolescents. Kids share everything from their breakfast burritos to their #ootd on Instagram and Tumblr. On Snapchat, they send boob pics to their crushes and make silly faces for their friends. Their personal lives are now public, and they live in the spotlight of their own self-created celebrity.
The internet has trained today's kids to be self-deprecating and confident. That's something that I only achieved with time and lots of therapy. But the truth is, millennials run the internet, so today's kids are learning from and emulating the example we set. Maybe we've unwittingly helped eliminate the awkward phase because it was so painful for all of us. You're welcome, kids.