The Person Who Came Up With ‘Xennials’ Has The Definitive Quiz To Help You Figure Out If You Are One
Let’s ford this generational river together.
Let’s ford this generational river together.
Back in 2014, Sarah Stankorb joined Jed Oelbaum to weigh the perks and downsides of generational identity for GOOD, inspired by a delightful little portmanteau Stankorb stumbled upon while trying to pinpoint the forgotten middle children between Generation X and Millennials: Xennials. (According to Stankorb, that’s pronounced ZEN-ee-uh-ls, by the way.)
Since that article was published, the internet has only intensified its obsession with shared cultural touchpoints among age groups — this week more than ever. Last Thursday, an Australian site called MamaMia featured a conversation with a kindly Xennial sociology professor named Dan Woodman, who in addition to offering his expertise, expressed a rather charming fondness for landlines.
Woodman was asked by the reporter for his opinion on Xennials in the interview and says he gave a more nuanced answer than what was reported. He has also gone out of his way not to take credit for the term since.
To reiterate, Xennials not my term. Around a while online, earliest ref I've found: by @sarahstankorb & @jedoelbaum https://t.co/SsK8zpH35l— Dan Woodman (@Dan Woodman)1498604200.0
However, that story kicked off what appears to be an unstoppable series of takes on this “new” microgeneration, popping up across the internet in Mental Floss, Mashable, MSN, Bustle, Maxim, The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, DidYouKnowFacts.com, The Inverse, Uproxx, Hot 100.5, SammichesPsychMeds.com, and surely anywhere else 30-somethings go to hang out online.
We’re not exactly sociologists here, but if you were born in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, as we were, you probably see yourself as a bit of a generational misfit. Grunge passed us by, and we’re not despondent enough to claim Gen X. But Millennial idealism mostly escapes us, too (as does the appeal of Snapchat).
Yet as Stankorb argued in 2014, there’s a lot more to us than what we’re not. “Being at that cusp has offered better (if not always excellent) fortune to Xennials than what’s experienced by the generations on either side of our birth years ... We lucked out on history’s unwind.”
Call us the Oregon Trail Generation, Generation Catalono, the Lucky Ones, or yes, Xennial, we yearn to belong with others (at least those who share our niche interests). No matter how ridiculous it may feel to cordon ourselves off into ever-tinier microsegments of the population, labels are comforting. They let us know where we stand, legitimize our quirks, allow us to revel in common memories that took place long before Facebook’s “On This Day” feature existed.
So in the spirit of The Guardian’s arguably most Xennial take on this week’s Xennial craze — a quiz to see if you really qualify as a kid born between 1977 and 1983 — we invited Stankorb to create her own quiz below, containing the definitive questions that should deliver the affirmation you crave.
— Katie Wudel
1. How many of your friends are named Rachel, Michael, Sarah, or John?
A. Um, my friends are named McKenna, Cash, and Mason.
B. What’s it to you?
C. At least five. Also, that’s my name.
2. The Recession:
A. Resulted in me having to live with my parents for a while. It’s cool. We get along.
B. Destroyed my retirement savings.
C. Was hard for everyone, but I held onto my job and have recovered.
3. When you take online quizzes do you:
A. Share the results. I love sharing.
B. Feel ashamed for having participated in an idiotic exercise in groupthink.
C. Take the quiz, but don’t post the results unless the quiz is related to “Harry Potter.”\n
4. Your first music album was on:
B. Eight-track or vinyl.
5. It’s midnight. If I have an electronic device on:
A. I’m scrolling through Tinder.
B. I’m on Facebook.
C. I’m watching TV.
A. ...require an exterminator. But, wait, who still goes to malls?
B. ...is when I started hating Ben Affleck.
C. ...is a Kevin Smith movie, right?
7. My first experience messaging with strangers was:
A. Trolling an idiot in the comments on YouTube.
B. A handwritten letter to my middle-school pen pal.
C. On AOL Instant Messenger.
8. Your first boy-band crush was:
C. New Kids on the Block.
9. The first time I remember being affected personally by national news was:
B. The Challenger shuttle explosion.
C. The OJ Simpson trial.
10. My generational identity matters to me because
A. I am actually an optimist and I like belonging to a wave of socially minded people (whatever the other negative stereotypes).
B. Wait … it doesn’t matter at all. Generalizations exhaust me, and that’s all this talk about generations boils down to.
C. I don’t really fit anywhere in particular. It would be nice, though, to know how the circumstance of history shaped my perspective.
Ready? Add up your answers.
If mostly A, you are:
It is actually impossible to write anything more about Millennials. We have no further information.
If mostly B:
But you knew that because you skimmed down to check the answers before finishing the quiz.
If mostly C:
You deserve at least a full paragraph about what makes your group of generational cuspers so special. Born analog but comfortable in the digital world, you hold an unparalleled nostalgia for early video games. You launched as an adult before the 2008 market crash could destroy your dreams — but mostly because you weren’t stable enough yet to have a home or retirement savings to lose. You have a Millennial desire for affirmation, but you’re also a Generation X-style realist and recognize that an online quiz cannot define you and you will not find validation here.
OK. Fine. You nevertheless want validation? You are not alone. We all miss the original Oregon Trail as much as you do.
— Sarah Stankorb