I’m sitting here, trying to recall my junior high days. What did kids do to show they had a crush on someone? Did we give them a “will you be my girlfriend” note with a “yes” or “no” check box? Or did we write on their hand? Did we give them a slap bracelet? For the life of me, I can’t remember that far back, which is making me a bit sad. It was only ‘95 and that was like what, just a few years ago, right?
Oh wow… I just did the math. Apparently it’s been 24 years. YIKES.
You know what, let’s stop talking about when I was in junior high because it’s obviously not relevant anymore. The big question is: what are kids doing now? Well, I have some inside information I’d like to share with you.
Just one word… scrunchie.
Yes, those colorful hair accessories that VSCO girls love, and were even popular all the way back in ’95, now serve a new purpose. Apparently, if a girls likes a boy in junior high, they give them one of their scrunchies and he wears it on his wrist. This has all come to light recently thanks to North Carolina mom Emily Covington’s viral Facebook “PSA to ALL MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRL MOMS!”
Her post has been shared almost 45,000 times. She was even interviewed by Good Morning America about it, and according to her interview, messages from moms all over the nation have been pouring in, thanking her for figuring out what all this scrunchie business was about.
Turns out she found several scrunchies in her dryer, and like any good parent, she didn’t jump to any conclusions, Google it, or ask other moms. She did the respectable thing and asked her son, and then… get this! He actually let her in on this new trend. And if you have a junior high aged child, you must admit, that’s pretty amazing in and of itself. Parents don’t always get that kind of honesty from their 12-14 year olds. Usually just silent disdain and food requests.
I think it might be good to admit that I have a junior high aged son at the moment. He’s just shy of 13, and I have personally seen zero scrunchies around his wrist. Naturally, there are a few ways I could interpret this. He must be about as popular as I was in junior high or he might just be a loner, a maverick of sorts, who isn’t all that interested in being tied down with a scrunchie. Or perhaps he’s just not ready for this sort of thing, or not interested in girls at all. Or perhaps this trend hasn’t made it all the way out to the Pacific Northwest just yet.
What I do know, however, is that scrunchies are pretty affordable, and were I in junior high today, I probably would have sheepishly bought a few at the store and told people I had an admirer from another school, making me something similar to Kevin in “The Office.”
Naturally, this all raises the question of: so what does a middle school boy do when he likes someone? Covington had the answer to that too (this mother is so in the know). She told GMA, “…if a boy likes a girl, he gives her his hoodie.” Now this idea really shouldn’t shock anyone. I’m still waiting for my high school ex to give back my Unwritten Law hoodie.
Side note: Melissa! If you are reading this, I expect to put that sucker in the mail. No, it won’t fit anymore, but that’s not the point. I know you still have it!
I must admit, however, that this is where I put on the brakes ever so slightly as a father, because scrunchies are a lot more affordable than hoodies. If my son starts giving away all his hoodies to crushes, he’s going to have a pretty long winter, because I’m not going to buy him another. He’s going to need to be selective.
As for what happens when these crushes don’t line up with traditional heteronormative cisgender lines? I suspect it’s the same. Hoodies and scrunchies for the people you like and admire, and it’s my sincere hope that their tokens of affection are received in the same way.
There is also the fact that now that we, as parents, know about this scrunchie and hoodie thing, it’s probably not cool anymore. The exact same thing happened the moment I found out about the world “YOLO.” Poof! It wasn’t cool anymore. Not that it stopped me from using YOLO. I still use it all the time because, YOLO!
Anyway, for as long as it might last, it does feel pretty good to be in the know. I do have a few recommendations on how you should operate with this information. I’d recommend not saying a thing if your child comes home with a few scrunchies on their wrist or sporting a new, but slightly used, hoodie. Just smile, knowingly, and let them live their little middle school lives.