1. The music
Maybe I’m not well informed enough to comment on today’s music industry but I’m sure it was considerably better in the 90s. You would have to have a lady garden of ice (or shocking PMT) not to want to get grinding to Prince’s Cream (‘you got the horn so why don’t you blow it’) or Kiss (‘I just need your body baby, from dusk till dawn’), the mighty Madonna (‘like a virgin, touched for the very first time.’) If the Queen of Pop or the purple loving pocket rocket didn’t float your boat there was the raw angst of those grunge boys – James (‘she only comes when she’s on top,’) Nirvana (‘can you feel my love buzz?’), The Cure (‘‘found myself alone, alone above the raging sea, that stole the only girl I loved and drowned her deep inside of me’) and, of course, Guns ‘n’ Roses (‘shed a tear because I’m missing you. It’s still alright to smile’) I have to admit I love a bit of Ed Sheeran (as ginger crooners go), but I don’t think Gangnam Style or the Biebs can compare with Alex James or Kurt Cobain.
2. Lack of effort required
I recently went on a Hen do and went to the trouble of spray tanning my legs for the first time in years. The results were disastrous. It made me feel for the contestants of Love Island and the trouble and maintenance they must have to go to maintain those gleaming white teeth, dark eyebrows, neat Brazilians and hairless bods. Back in the 90s, we didn’t care about those sorts of things. There was no such thing as a beach body and shaving your pits and putting some Body Shop White Musk on constituted grooming.
3. The joy of the random
If you met a bloke in a pub or club when I was in my teens and early 20s, there was no looking him up on Facebook or swiping right on Tinder. Instead, you frantically asked anyone and everyone if they knew him or one of his friends. He was a complete unknown and if you didn’t want to see him again you probably wouldn’t have to. It was quite exciting because it meant you could romanticise him and imagine that he must be some sort of tortured soul who had, in the words of Foreigner, been ‘waiting for a girl like you.’ Nowadays, I’d probably stalk him for months on Instagram and know the name of his great Auntie and family dog.
4. Walk of shame
There were times when the walk of shame was quite toe curling, especially if it involved bumping into one of your parents’ friends or anyone you knew but, looking back, I have quite fond memories of walking home at first light in five inch platforms and laddered tights after a cracking night, and the excitement of rushing back home to call (on the landline, of course) the girls and tell them every little detail. Nowadays, I’d probably just call an Uber.
5. My pre-baby body
I think this one is fairly self-explanatory. When I look down at the spaniel’s ears that have breastfed three children and the scars of three C-sections, it’s hard not to think wistfully back to when I was a perky size 8-10 and had boobs I could pop a pint of Snakey B on. Nowadays, it’s more a case of finding a suitable harness for my 36DD’s and ‘control’ pants for the mummy tummy. One of the advantages of getting older is that I give less f*cks about such things though.
6. The 90s look
I miss the clothes and grungy androgyny of the 90s when the understated Winona Ryder and Kate Moss ruled. My beloved James t-shirt with the flower on front or Wonder Stuff one, cherry red DM’s, black eyeliner and pale lipstick. Pale and interesting was so much more accessible and easy than the brassy, perma-tanned, homogenous Amy Childs look favoured by today’s teens. I also loved the whole floppy haired boy look.
7. Popping someone’s cherry
Ok, so this only happened once, in Ibiza with a lovely grammar school boy from Bushey Heath (ha!) but being someone’s first is quite a privilege. I went there with four other girls and we had a two-bedroom apartment in San Antonio. All five of us slept in one room and the other one was the designated ‘bags and shags’ room as that’s where we kept our luggage and men too.
8. Holiday romances
I was lucky to have a string of lovely holiday romances in the 90s all though most of them were fairly innocent and mainly involved copious amounts of snogging and Strawberry Daquiris. There was Rupert the Etonian in Corfu (can still remember his address in Oxford – is that creepy?!), Mark the Essex boy in Brittany (who wrote me lovely letters about Schlinder’s List) and an army officer in Majorca whose name escapes me. Good times.
9. Sharing all the details
At some point in a relationship, it becomes unacceptable to discuss the details of what goes on between the sheets (or down by the lake, or on the stairs or the kitchen counter…) But one of the best things about the 90s was that every detail of your sex life, before it became a proper relationship, was fair game. Everything from the sweet nothings they whisphered to you to their love bites was up for discussion. Sometimes you were so busy thinking about what you were going to tell the girls, your mind wasn’t on the job at all.
10. The anticipation
Remember when you really fancied someone, had been fantasising about them for months, then finally got jiggy with them only to find they were, well, underwhelming? Sometimes the anticipation and idea of it was the best part about it. But dreaming about them and role-playing all those scenarios in your head was so much fun.