Millennials question their identities over new Gen Z insult: 'I hate feeling so out of date'

·4 min read

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Hey, Group Chat,

I’ve been seeing a lot of TikToks about “cheugy” lately and I’m afraid I might …. well, be it. I hate feeling so out of date with my style, especially when I genuinely just love a good Rae Dunn coffee mug (so sue me, ok!). What should I do?

Sincerely, Rae Dunn Woman

Dear Rae Dunn Woman,

Kelsey Weekman, who introduced the word “cheugy” to the world at large, says… As someone who was once in a sorority and so bad at it that I had to copy everyone around me to survive, I have embodied the very depths of basic-ness and lived to tell the tale. The key to cheugy is that it’s more self-aware than “basic” — it’s knowingly adhering to out-of-date trends because that’s what you vibe with.

If you’re into super skinny fonts on mugs and Baby Yoda merch and other little treasures from high school, more power to ya. No shame in it. Everything, including the word “cheugy,” shall be cheugy someday.

Also, I know it’s a hot new word, but you’re probably not as cheugy as you think. You might fall somewhere else on the trendy-to-self-aware spectrum, like “normie” or “offline” or “dadcore.” Arm yourself with these confusing buzzwords to overwhelm anyone who dares call you cheugy in a derogatory way.

Katie Mather, whose style aligns with dadcore, says… Nobody will tell me how to pronounce “cheugy,” but I’m going to dive right in and say you do not need to change a single thing about you — and you can quote me on that and put it on a Rae Dunn welcome mat.

As someone whose dream outfit is a grey turtleneck-sweatshirt-dress-sack hybrid, I don’t understand trends to begin with. So, your concern goes over my head. First of all, we’re all decaying at a rapid rate, so I think you should feel fine drinking out of whatever mug you like.

Second, technically cheugy is very trendy right now, so by being cheugy you are actually being stylish. Problem solved!

Also, before you declare yourself anything, I recommend consulting Kelsey’s alignment chart.

Jenny Kline, who once cried in a bathroom during a sorority event because she was the only one not wearing neon sneakers, says… I’m glad to hear that you’re afraid of your own cheuginess. Lean into that fear and refuse, repeal, reject! “Cheugy” isn’t just a clothing item or a wiggly font; it’s the conformist, ultra-Instagrammy attitude we all had in 2014 — and you must unshackle yourself from its grips.

But, of course, it also is about the clothes, so stop living in the past, and by “the past” I mean those high-waist denim shorts that cut right into the crotch.

Mark Chrysafis, who believes cheugy hits best in the fall, during pumpkin spice season, says… I think cheugy is fascinating because while the concept may seem foreign at first, we all know what it means when we see something that fits the bill. The concept of cheuginess has actually been around for quite a while and has been meme’d on the internet for years, so it’s cool to finally see a word that specifically encapsulates what that vibe entails.

If you realize that you fit the description for cheugy, do not worry! I think that if cheugy things make you happy, you should love them regardless of what people say.

TL;DR… There’s nothing wrong with shamelessly liking what you like … unless what you like is minion memes or Rae Dunn mugs. In that case, have a little shame.

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