Clueless-isms: A 90s Glossary

When Clueless came out in 1995, we were in fourth grade – so eight and nine years old. I don’t think I watched the movie until a couple years later, but even then, I regarded the film as the epitome of coolness. Lit’rally the word ‘coolness’, because that was a word I used in excess back then. It featured pretty people, in a lavish California neighborhood, and high school seemed like the furthest thing from my Catholic school upbringing. In sixth grade, my friends and I even decided to assume roles of Clueless characters (for fun?), with the blonde girl being Cher, the cute kid as Elton, and obviously, I played Summer the Asian chick.

But watching it as a tween is way different than watching it as an adult, mainly because there are a lot of references and lines I glossed over as a kid, that make me think, ‘How is this appropriate for a child??’ now (remember the bong scene? Yeah, you might not because you DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS A BONG.) Not only that, but times have changed in two decades. The pop culture refs made in 1995 aren’t the same ones made in 2015. So whether you’re in or nearing your 30s or new to the Clueless culture, we’ve created a handy glossary to help you understand just what they’re talking about in this iconic film.

Tai: “Wow you guys talk like grown-ups.”

Cher: “Well this is a very good school.”

The 411 {noun}

Definition: The information, details

Context: “Here’s the 411 on Mr. Hall: he’s single, he’s 47, and he earns minor duckets for a thankless job.”

Audi {verb}

Screenshot 2015-07-08 22.47.25

Definition: Leaving, exiting. Not to be confused with ‘Outie’, which is also a thing 90s kids also said.

Context: Cher: “Dee, I’m Audi.” Dionne: “Bye.”

Baldwin {proper noun}

Definition: A handsome man; inspired by the Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen, Billy, etc. in the 90s, when they were at their prime)

Context: “OK, OK, so he is kind of a Baldwin.”

Barneys and Bettys {noun}

Screenshot 2015-07-08 22.51.16

Definition: Derived from The Flintstones, a Betty is a hot girl, while a Barney, is a dumber, less attractive guy.

Context: Wasn’t Cher’s mom a total Betty?

Cake boy {noun}

Definition: A gay man

Context: “Your man Christian is a cake boy… He’s a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde -reading, Streisand-ticket-holding friend of Dorothy. Know what I’m saying?”

Cher and Dionne {proper nouns}

Definition: Cher is named after Cher and Dionne after Dionne Warwick, both pop stars who later used their celebrity to peddle goods on TV informercials.

Context: I can’t not watch Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friends Network infomercial when it’s on at 3am.

Contempo Casuals {proper noun}

Definition: Young female teen retail store with low budget yet fashionable clothing.

Context: Meet me in Contempo Casual, I need to buy a new set of butterfly clips and tank tops.

The Cranberries {proper noun}

Definition: Irish rock band who were super popular in the 1990s

Context: “I can’t find my Cranberries CD I need to go to the quad before somebody steals it.”

Jeepin’ {verb}

Definition: Cheating on yo’ boo; sexin’ in the back of a car

Context: Murray: “Where you been all weekend? What’s up? You been Jeepin’ around behind my back?”

Kato Kaelin {proper noun}

Definition: An actor who was staying at O.J. Simpson’s guest house when his wife Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered at their house in 1994. He was subsequently a witness during O.J.’s infamous trial, and known for his rambling and inconsistent testimonies, and a constant target as a freeloader in the media.

Context: “He’s not your dad, Why don’t you torture a new family?” “Just because my mother marries someone else, it doesn’t mean he’s my father.” “Actually, Kato, that’s exactly what it means.”

Monet {proper noun}

Definition: A person who seems to be attractive from far away until you see them up close.

Context: “It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.”

Noxzema {proper noun}

Definition: A popular skin cleanser popular with teens, known in the 90s for its friend-heavy commercials

Context: “Cher and her friends look like a Noxema commercial with all the fun they’re having in that waterfall rn.”

Pauly Shore {proper noun}

Definition: Pauly Shore was a popular comedian in the 90s, but his movies were critically panned, including films like Encino Man, Son-In-Law and Bio-Dome.

Context: Pauly Shore movies are horrible.

Ren and Stimpy {proper noun}

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Definition: A cult yet controversial cartoon series about a dog and cat that aired on Nickelodeon in the early 90s.

Context:  Josh: “I can’t believe I’m taking advice from someone who watches cartoons.” Cher: “That’s Ren and Stimpy. They’re way existential.”

Tree People {proper noun}/ Marky Mark

Definition: A environmental advocacy group based in Los Angeles/ Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch = Mark Wahlberg’s rap persona in the 90s. Good Vibrations, y’all.

Context: Josh: “Actually, I’m going to a tree people meeting. Me might get Marky Mark to plant a celebrity tree.” Cher: “Getting Marky Mark to take time from his busy pants-dropping schedule to plant trees? Josh, why don’t you just hire a gardener?”

Twin Peaks {proper noun}

Definition: The creepy, cult, thriller series from David Lynch based around the mystery of a young woman’s murder in a small town in Washington.

Context: Elton’s being a little creepy by having Tai’s picture hanging up in his locker.

What’s Love Got To Do With It {proper noun}

Definition: The 1993 biopic loosely based on Tina Turner and ex-husband Ike Turner’s turbulent relationship.

Context: Dionne and her boyfriend, Murray are in this dramatic relationship… why do you put up with it? You could do so much better.


Coachella? #Nochella!

The Coachella music festival, the annual gathering of the hippies and wannabe hippies, ends this weekend after another successful year among music fans who enjoy moshing in the desert. In my years living in Los Angeles, I’ve come to know these two weekends in April as a mass exodus out to Indio, with a bombardment of over-filtered photos at the fest on Instagram, and I’m sure you’ve come across that too.

I’ve never been the type to find interest in weekend-long outdoor music festivals, so while I get the appeal, I don’t get the appeal, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’d much rather stay at the comfort of my own home and get updates on what happens there from afar. And apparently this is a trend that’s caught on. I introduce you to: #NoChella.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s possible to have fun without being at Coachella! Just ask all the folks who have opted to create their own fun in the comfort of their own homes. Even celebrities are getting into the #NoChella fun with ragers that include hanging out with friends and drinking and listening to music because that is essentially what people are paying hundreds of dollars for at the actual Coachella.

But for those who have even the slightest twinge of Coachella FOMO, here are just some ways you can celebrate #NoChella without the hassle of actually going to Coachella.

Desert Life

Gather as many of your friends as you can, have them dress like contemporary hippies who are toeing the line of offending Native Americans and cram into a sauna.

Live Music

Attend a concert at your local small venue! Or, if you really need to see Chicano Batman, Lucent Dossier Experience, and Night Terrors of 1927 perform a set (real bands, btw), it’s streaming on YouTube all day.

Celebrity Sightings

Make a list on Twitter with celebrities including but not limited to: Katy Perry, Aaron Paul, Sarah Hyland, Paris Hilton, the Jenners, Gossip Girl alums, Vanessa Hudgens (she won’t be there, but she’ll tweet about it anyways) and follow all their posts. It’ll be like seeing them IRL.

Fashion Judging

Follow the Coachella Style or Coachella Fashion tags on Tumblr or lit’rally any fashion website because they will have all the outfits on fleek or not on fleek.

Drinking and Drugs in Excess

While Coachella isn’t exactly the unlucky festival like Electric Daisy or Ultra in Miami where unfortunate drug and alcohol and overcrowding events have occurred, it still has its fair share of that going on. No one wants to be part of that, so drink responsibly.


This could be us…

but you playin. Us/me instead:

General Hygeine

For those who go all in and do Coachella camping style, they will have to rely on port-a-potties and portable showers (as seen above) for the weekend. Basically, if you want to try this at home, don’t shower and possibly pee out in the woods somewhere.

Hometown Snapshots

I recently came across this blog of photos from our hometown of Rochester, New York.

This one in particular struck me because when I first looked at it, I was surprisingly taken aback, as the photo felt like a ghost of some kind. Maybe it’s the three cars on the street or the wrapped up stop light. But it’s like someone took the living soul out of this building and replaced it with glass and concrete. But I realized that it really had nothing to do with the building, and not really Rochester itself.

It’s the fact that how I remember this building is by my memories from years ago. At one point, both my parents worked at Kodak right down the street from this corner, and as a kid, everything looked so big. So unreachable. So full of life. Everything was new. Or new-ish to me, at least. So much to be explored despite the fact that the edifices themselves had been there for years.

But through the lens of an adult, as someone who hasn’t lived there and driven past this area (or paid attention) in at least eight years, it looks so lifeless. Maybe it’s because now I understand the real life outcomes that can stem from empty buildings. How businesses can go under. How hundreds of people that worked in buildings just like this can become unemployed and how it affected their families. How a once bustling downtown is merely a string of buildings at only half capacity.

Being an adult makes you see things through a different lens, like once rose colored glasses that have since become faded and yet gained more clarity. It takes you out of seeing the painting as a whole, and finally noticing the colors and details of every brushstroke. It makes you realize that something that once was, never will be, even if it’s made anew – for better or worse. And being an adult is realizing that those snapshots were mere moments in time, that we take in and learn from, no matter how vibrant or lifeless it may be.