The me-me-me-millennials: lazy, entitled, vain and delusional – sentiments we’ve heard so often it sounds like a broken record (Gen X speak for Spotify without Wi-Fi). Reportedly dwelling in the luxury of our familial mansions, chronicling arm-length memories of our own faces while steadily morphing into Kardashians, we experience emotions so superficial they are fully conveyed by yellow circles with eyes, and our thoughts haven’t exceeded 140 characters in years.
Look past the filtered profile picture and hashtag compulsion, and we millennials have more options available to us than any generation before, and with them, far more challenges. But forget the bad rep, it’s time to celebrate our quirks and conventions. Here, four writers remind us why we should be #hella proud to be millennials...
Dating, sex & modern love by Jo Hoare
1. Dear world, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS ABOUT OUR SEX LIFE, PLEASE. We could be doing it so much our downstairs neighbour’s ceiling is buckling, or so little our own downstairs ceiling (yep, that’s a euphemism) is in hibernation, but here’s the thing: it’s our choice.
2. And as for what type of sex that is, if we’re enjoying ourselves then we couldn’t give a toss (pun intended).
3. No matter how niche our desire, there’s a dating app for it. Beards, uniforms, bacon fans… simply add www in front of our heart’s desire, and we’ll probably get lucky.
4. Uber is our modern-day pumpkin carriage, whether it’s escaping
from a baaad date or saving us from the walk of shame.
5. Marry the boy you met in maths class aged ten, or treat Tinder as a game (the one who dates the most, wins) – we’re the generation with the least pressure to follow one type of ‘happy ending’.
6. And yes, marriage numbers are down, but that’s because we’re sensible enough to realise that maybe 20K could be spent on something better than a fancy dinner for 100 people we normally wouldn’t treat to a round. Love is still around, we just don’t need a huge wedding to prove it.
7. We’re porn savvy. As in, we know to skip past the actress pretending to take orgasmic delight in having her labia stretched like chewing gum, and we’ve learnt to use ‘private browsing’ if our housemate tends to borrow our iPad.
8. And we’re body positive. Knowing that if we don’t care what our bodies look like naked, then nor do those lucky enough to see it.
9. Dismissive doctor fobbing off our contraceptive worries? Boyfriend claiming the ‘Cincinatti bow tie’ is an especially pleasurable sex act? If we don’t know something about sex, we’ll educate ourselves online in seconds.
10. We know it’s good to talk. Or text, WhatsApp, DM, message, email. Constant communication makes it easy to drop a question about anything from spanking to STIs into a casual group chat.
Jo’s new book, So You Think You’re A Millennial: A Guide To The Trials And Tribulations Of Today’s Twenty-Somethings, is out March 7 -
Friends, family & flatmates by Dolly Alderton
11. Everyone, at some point, has considered moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend we probably don’t love just so we can split the cost of a one-bed flat.
12. On Mother’s Day, we all dig out that photo of Mum looking beautiful in her twenties for a retro Insta-post. Cue the comment: “OMG! She could be your twin #babes.”
13. We all follow the same Pinterest boards, so we all have velvet cushions, fake marble and copper home accessories, succulents, cacti, rip-off Beni Ourain Moroccan rugs, monogram mugs and Ikea PAX wardrobes.
14. Never forget the 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Instagram A Funny Screen-Grabbed Conversation With Your Best Friend Unless You Have Asked Her Permission First.
15. We know every pro and con of our flatmates, because we have to live with them until we earn enough to live on our own, which will be the year 2084. Pro: someone to watch The Great British Bake Off with. Con: the phrase, “I’m just letting it soak” about a used baking dish that’s filled with cold water and been sitting on the kitchen counter for SIX days.
16. We know who our Facebook friends are. We’ve settled down from accepting every friend request going: now we’ve muted a lot post-Brexit, or made a ‘Massive Dickheads But Cannot Delete!’ list.
17. Favouriting a friend’s Tweet promoting her new work project is VERY different to retweeting it. And any good mate worth their salt only opts for the latter.
18. We have to explain our job to our parents 100,000 times. “So, you manage social media? Is that a person? And you’re her manager? Is she a nice girl, Social? What an unusual name.”
19. Hey, it’s not OK… to leave someone in WhatsApp double-blue-tick purgatory.
20. We understand the importance of posting an oh-so-caj-doesn’t-she-look-like-a-model-look-at-what-you’re-missing photoshoot with your best friend when you’re on a beach on her bad-break-up-recovery holiday.
Dolly is The Sunday Times Style’s dating columnist -
Health & happiness by Alex Edelman
21. What makes us happy? Experiences, not stuff. Millennials value where we’ve been much more than what we own.
22. FOMO is our biggest enemy and greatest motivation. We’ve heard about the fun everyone else is having – or worse, we haven’t heard about it, and they’re All Hanging Out Without Us. Which is why we’ll ditch the Netflix sesh and hustle down to whatever underwater disco our second cousins Won’t Stop Talking About.
23. So many non-millennials tell me having this thing called a ‘work-life balance’ is important for my health. A work-life-what-now? Nope, never heard of it.
24. The reason we’ve spent more time gazing at our phone than any person on earth? It’s the one place we have total control. And if someone takes it from our hands, we will start twitching.
25. We can be lumped into two categories: those who reach a state of euphoria when hearing a Taylor Swift song, and those who think she’s the Antichrist.
26. The pressure of losing touch with mates? Gone. Thanks to the World Wide Web, I know exactly what’s going on. Take my pal Tyler, for example. I hadn’t seen him in 11 years, but I found him on Facebook and we recently rekindled (shut up) things over a drink.
27. We use our friends as therapists. Tyler knows pretty much everything about me already. Real psychiatrists are way too expensive.
28. The biggest shock as we approach our late twenties is watching our metabolisms slow down. At uni, I ate like an Olympic swimmer and burned it off by stressing about exams and girls. Now, I regularly head to a gym that smells like the inside of a sock and pull metal until I’ve alleviated all my muffin guilt.
29. We actually have long attention spans. Everyone I know has stuck with Game Of Thrones since (spoiler) Theon Greyjoy’s penis was gruesomely hacked.
30. We’ll try the weirdest new health products. Bee-pollen smoothie from a Soho juice café? Why not? The idea that we’ve sunk both thought and a few quid into something ostensibly good for us is enough to justify, say, face cream containing the venom of an exotic snake. Feel that tingle? It’s the cobra working its magic.
Alex is an Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning comedian, and writer on The Great Indoors on ITV -
Career & ambition by Rachel Hirons
31. Facilitated by the government’s free-money scheme (OK, ‘Student Loans’), the promise of a long summer off and every teacher’s warning that we needed one to stand out to future employers, we went and got a degree. All of us. Every. Single. One.
32. These degrees, which universities valued around £30,000, transpired to be, in effect, worthless. Unless, of course, you have become a teacher.
33. Everyone you know has become a teacher.
34. Having been assured since birth that ‘we can be anything we want’, we aim to be a CEO. Of exactly what, we don’t know, but due to our unwillingness to settle for standard employment, we’re secure in the totally unrealistic knowledge that we’ll be running our own company before the year is out.
35. Most of our time is spent thinking up ideas for companies we could run before the year is out. A masochistic exercise involving debating the validity of selling art we cannot create on Etsy, calculating the sustainability of flogging everything we own on eBay and seriously considering becoming a teacher.
36. With job competition at an all-time high, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never carried more weight, making networking the irrefutable currency of success. And while we may deserve our reputation as the most antisocial generation, it’s nothing 250 self-styled Vistaprint business cards can’t sort.
37. The end of every month sees the balance on your Costa Coffee membership card surpass that of your actual bank account.
38. Definitive working hours are a thing of the past. Client service during a 10pm bath? Sure. Follow-up emails during a 2am binge of The Walking Dead? Pleasure. 9am meeting? No chance, mate.
39. Undefined office hours puts an equal irrelevance on office space, with many of us now able to work from home (the dream of living in PJs is now a tangible reality), from cafés (no more kitchen-politics stress) or even on a beach. Which is exactly where I’m writing this list.
40. Not that working is an inconvenience to my holiday – we’re the first generation who’d “prefer unemployment to a job we hate”, opting instead to weave professional and personal lives into one enjoyable experience. This, of course, was a luxury largely unafforded to our parents who, by our age, were imprisoned by relentlessly routine jobs, shackled by mortgages and car payments, and parenting at least two children. Makes you wonder where the unfair stereotypes and deep-seated resentments stem from…
Rachel is writer/director of Never Google Heartbreak, due out in cinemas later in the year - @MsRachelHirons