Are We Yuppies? Are People Still Using That Word?: A Friday Chat

Nicole: Hi! Happy Friday! I was going to make another cat pun, but I don’t think I have one for “happy” or “Friday.”

Ester: Please forbear. I have a head cold and a hopelessly messy house and I’m not sure how many cat puns I can stand.

Nicole: I’d ask you if you caught my cold from a week ago, but I know that you can’t transmit viruses through the internet!

Ester: Hipchat-Transmitted Infections. HTIs. The newest thing. Are you feeling better?

Nicole: Oh yeah, I am feeling great. Both on the “not having a cold anymore” front and the “not being anxious about my upcoming move” front. I have a list, I have boxes, I am checking everything off, I am in full Happy Nicole Mode.

I wanted to thank all of our commenters who offered me furniture, by the way. Can I do that here? It feels like I am breaking the fourth wall on our chat.

Ester: Nah, it’s fine! (Or I think it’s fine.) Also, though your hair looks totally fine, maybe one of our commenters will offer to come to your place and even it out for you. 🙂 In college, I had a friend who cut everyone’s hair for free. It was a thing back then. So much a thing that when someone asked me to give her a buzz cut I said sure despite having never handled a razor before and she didn’t seem too upset when I messed everything up. Part of the college experience!

Nicole: I have also never given anyone a buzz cut before, but don’t you just put the guard on and run the razor over the entire head? The guard keeps you from cutting the hair too short, right?

Ester: Look. I did my best. I put the thingy on a setting and I used it. I too did not think it would be rocket science: I mean, Deb did her own shaved head in Empire Records and it looked great!

But I’ll tell you what, I emerged from that bruising encounter with a new respect for barbers.

Nicole: Oh, I have so much respect for people who know how to cut hair and make it look amazing. I also used to cut my own hair in college and grad school, but I never wanted to cut anyone else’s. Are kids these days still using the free haircut economy, or has someone decided to disrupt it? All it would take would be one student who made an app that listed all of the formerly free haircutters, and took a cut out of each of their cuts.

Ester: Yeah, I wonder! I continued paying for some version of under-the-table hairdressing for a while in New York, since my hair is too unruly to attempt to cut myself and proper do’s will really cost you. I did the hair model thing. I went to the apartments of friends-of-friends. And I do know people who still do that, who visit stylists at home where those stylists can charge less than they would at the salon.

But at this point in my life I would no longer let a friend cut my hair. Perhaps that means I’ve become a yuppie.

Nicole: I believe the new word for “yuppie” is “Millennial.”

Ester: FAIR. Do you chafe at either identity? Even now, with your new phone and your soon-to-be new one-bedroom apartment in a hip city?

Nicole: I have been described as “a voice of Millennials,” which I think is hilarious. I am just a slightly uptight lady in her mid-30s who wears solid-color Old Navy clothes and eats soup out of a box. I watch cartoons and period dramas and I read a lot of fiction by women. I rarely think of myself as either yuppie, or as anything related to “on trend.” I do know what the words “on trend” mean, so that’s a start.

Ester: Oh god, let’s not start with slang. I hear the word “fleek” and I shrivel up like a salted slug. And yet I too have been paid to be a voice of Millennials. The world is a funny place.

Nicole: This is just what the Millennials are doing, now. They’re growing up. Except, because the word originated to mean “young people,” you also get these stories that lump in 18-year-olds and new college grads as Millennials too. Nobody thinks too carefully about what they’re saying.

Anyway. I feel like I am rehashing an argument that has been on the internet for way too long, and I know that at least one of our readers has the plugin that changes every reference of “Millennial” to “Snake People.”

Ester: If only we could monetize the use of the word Millennial somehow. God knows we use it enough. Then we wouldn’t need ads or endless discussion about ad-blockers. (The ads have gotten much better guys, I promise! No more auto-play! We hated it too and it’s been banished.)

Nicole: But Peace peaced out!

Ester: Yes! Isn’t it funny what public scorn can do? “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens of Twitter can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Nicole: I mean, I feel like there are two big issues here: 1) everything has a sponsor. Like seriously everything. A friend linked me to a NewsRadio clip where one of the journalists was complaining about having to be sponsored by advertisers, because it compromised journalism to have to run it next to an ad, and her boss just goes off on “Every single thing has a sponsor or an advertiser behind it paying them money. That is how we get the money to run.”

And then 2) some/many internet ads are terrible.

Ester: They are. I have an AdBlocker myself. But I also try to use it consciously: I whitelist the sites that I would rather not do without. I even pay extra to support some sites. I’m a SlatePlus member, for example, and a subscriber to the Times.

Print is dead. It is a very real and depressing phenomenon. If these few corners of the Internet are more or less what’s left, and even those are in danger, I think all of us who care about news and commentary have a responsibility to try to help sustain them.

Nicole: I’d love to see an animated New Yorker cover where it’s a person taking The New Yorker out of the mailbox and dumping it straight into the recycle bin. I got my print subscription specifically so I could get access to the online version, and that is pretty much what happens to the print copy.

Ester: Gah sacrilege!! I used to adore my print copies when I got them. This is my first year without a New Yorker subscription. I can’t believe you get it and throw it away. In my head you are now Marie Antoinette.

Nicole: First of all, I recycle it. But yeah, I feel the same way every week. I’m like, “This isn’t right.” I feel extra bad because my subscription was a gift.

Ester: Don’t you know anyone locally who would love a copy? Even when I was done with mine, I used to leave my copy tenderly on a subway bench or another public spot (with my address torn off) so that someone else could hopefully make use of it.

Nicole: My Washington, DC, apartment building had a place where people could leave their old magazines for other tenants to read. This place doesn’t. Maybe my new place will?

Ester: I hope so. But now you’ll also have more space for a coffee table and you can fan out your issues attractively thereon and feel like a real grown up.

Nicole: Ha ha ha ha ha ha my coffee table is going to be empty except for two coasters. One of those coasters will contain my cup of coffee. The other will be for a guest. I will have a box of additional coasters in the cupboard if necessary. I cannot imagine an entire fan of magazines on my coffee table; I’d stack those up so fast.

Ester: This is yuppie life, ND. Get used to it. Also should I send you these cat butt coasters as a housewarming present?

Nicole: YES. I’ll PM you my address later.

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