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I’m cheugy and I know it… (But do I care?)

By August 21, 2021August 27th, 2021No Comments

Comedian Emma Doran on TikTok’s assessment of her as an older millennial…

Part your hair slightly off-centre and love your skinny jeans? Yes? Well, I have to inform you, I’m sorry but you’re Cheugy. A term I was, without warning, introduced to on TikTok (yes, I’m on TikTok, I know- that’s a whole other story) Cheugy is a term coined by Gen X to describe older millenniums that wear or enjoy things that are slightly outdated. Not old enough to be vintage but just old enough to be… well, Cheugy.


Within a couple of days of my new found knowledge I caughtmyself trying to adopt a middle parting in my hair. A style I haven’t ‘rocked’ since 4th class. I immediately felt different. I noticed lost collagen returning to my face. My body started to LOOK more youthful. I was getting asked for ID all the time, it was crazy.

Okay, okay. Nothing actually happened, and literally no one noticed. Even with a face mask on and as a five foot two (on a good day) woman, no one was asking me to verify my age.

I was aware that I was no longer young. The days of strange men telling me to ‘smile’ or asking where I’m going all on my own were behind me. I knew it, my arse knew it.

I no longer had my finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture. I was now somewhere in the background making sandwiches for later. Picking up bits of information along the way like crumbs from the chopping board. Hearing myself borrow quotes from my mother’s back catalogue like ‘I couldn’t wear those shoes, they’ve no support’ or ‘what’s with all crop tops?’

It’s fine, I knew it would happen.

But from a few silly, yet entertaining (download the app, honestly) videos on TikTok there I was ready to jump. Jump on whatever the next message about ‘Hey you? Yeah you! Who is clearly the age you are (37)? We can tell you are and it’s a bloody disgrace. SORT IT OUT!’ I realised I had reached or perhaps reverted back to the point that I didn’t even need a global ad campaign to convince me I needed to change my appearance. Twenty-year-old Bella from Chicago had the power to enter my thoughts around self-image.

From the time I first tweezed my eyebrows to within an inch of their life and all the years after spent growing them back, I was an active, and willing, participant in the quest of appealing to the male gaze. Finally then in my early 30s I felt I was beginning to be kinder to myself and my body’s outward appearance. Without planning, I was changing course. There I was having a nice little journey, feeling comfortable and content when I saw the glaring sign in front of me. ‘AGEING’.

I had no idea how to turn around and avoid this dirty little town I had heard so much about. The Las Vegas of consumerism. You still blow all your money, it’s just a hell of a lot less craic. Instead of driving on and letting Google Maps do its job, there I was pulled over at the side of the road asking Bella if she could put me in the direction of youth.

With the new unexpected confidence of a middle parting next thing I knew I was making a purchase. A pair of Levi 501s. There I was essentially re-buying the jeans I had cut the legs of 22 years previously and thrown in the bin 10 years after that. They were baggy and full of room. But I didn’t have a box of John Player blue to hide from my mam anymore. I wasn’t sure what to do with all the space I’d gladly said goodbye to so many years ago.

After researching the term Cheugy further I discovered the interior of my house, all my footwear and even my name was très basic, which even for a Cheugy 30-something-year-old woman, that’s pretty ick, or something… sorry I’m losing track of all the trending words. They’re coming thick and fast with each scroll, I increasingly find.

But what Bella doesn’t realise is my generation experienced an 80s childhood, arrived late to the boom that had gone busted by the time we were out in the world working, only then to pay rent on a house that would cost a quarter of the price to repay to the bank if you owned it.

Bella! We’re tired. If we want to dabble in a bit of new, old new and keep the skinny jeans so be it. We deserve a little compassion. Growing up we didn’t have access to YouTube tutorials on… I was going to say makeup, but tutorials on anything is the truth. Laura’s older sister was the source of most information back in the day and she didn’t even know how to French kiss and breathe through her nose at the same time until she was 17, we all later found out.

Anyway Bella doesn’t care whether you’re Cheugy or not, to be fair. She’s earning a mint through brand endorsements, paid sponsorships and the TikTok creator fund, all for being beautiful and fierce handy on her phone. Unless all that extra space in my new 501s was full of magic, I’m Cheugy and only getting… Cheugier (?) by the day.



Image via Unsplash