Do you wear cargo shorts or Ugg boots? Are you into Disney anything? Do you post memes like “Live, Laugh, Love” or “Girl Boss”? How about spraying on Axe deodorant?
Sound familiar? Then welcome to Cheugyland!
If you’re 25-40 years old (Millennial) or 24 and younger (Gen Z), Cheugy is a thing. But everyone can play, from Boomers to Gen X and back again.
Cheugy’s a hot topic all over, judging by the media sensation it’s become. I’m glad to add my voice to the growing chorus about Cheugy, pro, con and meh (which is Cheugy).
Part of the beauty of Cheugy — which ranks who and what is and is not tres trendy — is that Cheugy itself has become a trendy term.
Have you ever been Cheugy? By the time you finish reading this blog, you’ll have your answer (Spoiler: Everyone has been a Cheug at one time or another.)
Before it gained universal appeal, Cheugy started out a tongue-in-cheek tag attached to Millennials who Gen Z views as being out of step with the times, by trying too hard to flaunt dated cultural markers in fashion, entertainment, language, and standards of behavior.
Cheugy is like a chameleon. It’s different things to different people.
A SIGN OF RESPECT?
A Gen Z who is calling a Millennial a Cheug might explain that it’s not an insult, but a sign of respect. Maybe it’s even a show of affection — they’re simply helping a wayward soul who needs some youthful guidance to avoid becoming as extinct as a (Cheugy alert!) dodo bird.
Precocious members of Gen Z telling Millennials not to try so hard to be cool is like a confused youngster rushing to help a middle-age person who doesn’t need help cross the street.
Nevertheless, it’s heart-warming to know that our little Gen Z friends remembered that good deed from their days in Cub Scouts or Brownies, which may have been just last week.
One of the contradictions of Cheuginess is that there are plenty of people, like me, who proudly wear their Cheugness as a badge of honor.
I don’t pigeonhole myself in one generation. That would be Cheugy. What I like, what I do, who I hang out can’t be caricatured as typical of a single age group.
That’s why I created the lifestyle and life philosophy known as “Millennial Baby Boomer” (which is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and was introduced to the world with my 2019 ForbesBooks release “Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer.”)
1ST ANNUAL CHEUGY AWARD
In 2018, I formed a Millennial Advisory Board (MAB), which now meets in a monthly salon where we discuss the issues of the day, and share the progress we’re making on our personal journeys.
One of the highlights of the 1st Anniversary MAB salon, held June 15, 2021, was a vote we took to salute the Cheugiest among us — and the winner of the Millennial Advisory Board’s 1st Annual Cheugy Award 2021 is … Brian Tunick, Co-Founder and CEO of Procure.ly, for his unbeatable Cheugy entry of having a Benihana hibachi birthday!
I am proud to be a Cheug with things like leaving voice mails when I call someone — even though it’s become acceptable to simply hang up without leaving a message if the person you’ve called doesn’t answer. My message to everyone is “Leave a message!”
I also could be called a Cheug for my collection of original Supreme T-shirts, first sold in the mid ‘90s, and now considered a collector’s item. There’s also my Cheugy collection of sneakers. And my Fierce cologne from Abercrombie and Fitch, introduced in 2002.
Another chameleon quality of Cheugy is that there is no “one size fits all” definition.
The confusion started with the person credited with coining the word Cheugy. She is a Gen Z Los Angeleno who, for some unexplained reason, felt the need to describe people she unilaterally determined were “unsuccessfully trying to be trendy but were slightly off-trend.” Well, excuse us, but apparently she’s an expert on being “slightly off.”
If someone had paid Cheugy creator Gabby Rasson the favor of saying three little words they may have spared us all this talk about Cheugy. Which three words? “Get a life!”
The legend of Cheugy that’s been passed down through the ages claims that the aptly-named Gabby came up with the word when she was a teenager swanning around the gilded halls of Beverly Hills High School. Not too Cheugy a school to attend!
As a benchmark for what is or is not Cheugy, “slightly off-trend” is about as clear as mud (which, when used as a facial cleanser, definitely is Cheugy).
How did the Beverly Hills 90210 girl genius land on “Cheugy” as her weird word for “slightly off-trend”? She says, “How it sounded fit the meaning.” There’s a word for words like that — onomatopoeia.
My trying to impress you with ten-dollar words like onomatopoeia probably is Cheugy. My calling big, rarely-used terms “ten-dollar words” definitely is Cheugy.
If you swipe through TikTok, the unofficial headquarters of Cheugy decision-makers, you’ll find all sorts of Cheugy people and objects, with no discernible pattern that unifies them.
It’s so crazy that even lasagna — which nobody doesn’t like — has been dismissed as Cheugy. Chewy maybe, but def not Cheugy. There should be a Cheugy Court of Appeals to reverse that decision.
Even hugely popular podcaster Joe Rogan, who in 2020 signed a $100 million deal with Spotify, has been reduced to Cheugy status, a sure sign of the apocalypse. No doubt Joe cries himself to sleep about it every night in his 10,000-square-foot, $14 million home.
Being Cheugy is not always a life sentence. Some things branded as Cheugy today can reverse course to become un-Cheugy later. After all, fashion is cyclical, such as moms jeans, now back in style.
Considered not Cheugy are handmade products like clothes, Levi’s jeans, and not caring what others think of your appearance.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE … CHEUGY
So let’s get this straight … if a Millennial who is called Cheugy shrugs it off as a non-event, or even a compliment, then that means they don’t care what someone thinks of their appearance, and they fulfill that particular definition of not being Cheugy!
I’m glad we cleared that up.
“Instagram is the pinnacle of Cheugy,” claimed one CEO (Cheugy Executive Officer).
If that’s so, then the Instagram @CheugLife account — which was started in 2018 — is uber-Cheugy, especially if, like me, you think, “Shouldn’t we be quickly moving past passing judgment on other people — whether it’s their ethnicity, clothes, behavior, politics?”
After reading so much that’s been written about cheugy, it’s enough to make you upcheug your Lean Cuisine (may or may not be Cheugy, depending on your dietary needs).
It becomes laughable reading articles, like one in Vogue, that try to psychoanalyze the cheugy choo-choo that’s chugging by us at the moment, and that inevitably will depart as another social media phenomenon takes its place. These are the flaky times in which we live.
CHEUGY: THE MOVIE
Cheugy, Vogue tells us, with a straight face, “delineates the aftermath of the aggressive consumerist marketing that Millennials, as a generation, endured.” And I’m proud to say that I endured having to struggle through that mosh pit of a sentence without learning a thing.
Vogue does make a good point, however, in pointing out that, at its core, Cheugy symbolizes generational warfare of sorts. You realize how silly that is, but entertaining at the same time.
Speaking of entertainment, I love going to the movies, and can’t wait for “Cheugy: The Movie.”
Of course, it will have to star Cheugy actors.
How about bringing back Shia LaBeouf, who seems to have gone poof!
And what about Jennifer Lawrence, who five years ago was the highest-paid actress in the world and, at 22, was the second youngest to win an Osar for Best Actress?
JLaw could be back on top again if she follows the old-fashioned Hollywood tradition of adopting a trendy stage name, like Jennifer Cheugy.
So, go do a thing and get your Cheug on!
Listen, why don’t we touch base real soon. I’ll leave you a voicemail. Until then, rest assured that I hope you’re doing well. And when the week’s over, we’ll all shout “Friyay!” because it’s time to “Live, Laugh, Love.” Ugg!