You may or may not identify with the ‘millennial’ label and all its connotations. The word millennial refers to a vastly confusing, undefinable, range of generational quasi-subcultures.
Trying to label and scrutinise the behaviour of the generation who shaped social media is both fascinating and difficult. It was never going to be easy; for one thing- the millennial generation is the most diverse yet. Instead of trying to oversimplify, it’s perhaps easier to accept that there are many types of millennials. Most of which you will find at really any cafe/bar that has free WiFi and craft beer (but don’t go assuming this is 100% factual- because, you know, we millennials hate to be labelled). In this case we tested the theory at Yours Truly, one of the trendiest bars in Cape Town.
You’re probably caught unawares in the background of their Instagram story. This millennial hates being called narcissistic- even though they have probably managed to make a living off of taking videos or photos of themselves. They love nude coloured anything and the haircolour ‘bronde’.
A variation of the me-llenial is a kool kid- this group is just as Insta-famous. They are the creative movers and shakers. They are edgy AF and their pet hate is vanillaness or basicity. If you aren’t ‘extra’ enough, then you will never be a part of this group, fam.
ORDERING: An Americano.
This type thinks the Kool Kids are lame but is also (probably) a ‘kool kid’ in theory (clearly, the kool life chooses you). This group of people love to talk about how society judges them on their appearance but spend the night doing this to everyone else.
PS: This group loves irony.
ORDERING: Craft beer or lager.
START-UP WUNDERKIND MILLENNIAL
This species of young millennial basically came out of the womb coding, has never looked a house phone in the mouthpiece or heard of MySpace and is already developing an app- if they haven’t done so yet. The start-up kid may or may not develop the next social media platform but will always be financially well-off (because they’re going to make the robots that eventually make your job redundant), and they’re not the least bit modest about it.
THE LEAN GREEN MILLENNIAL
Is deathly scared of gluten and sprinkles matcha over everything. Can also be a me-llennial except they take considerably more pictures of food than themselves. Healthy food (mainly avocados), music festivals and yoga get this millennial passionate.
Is about ‘experiences’ (Trend reports show that millennials prefer investing in experiences over material objects) and won’t hesitate to tell you ALL about theirs. Doesn’t seem to understand that you cannot just happily greet anyone– this is Yours Truly!- Nay, this is Cape Town. They are characterised by sunburn and/or an unnaturally big, authentic smile (again this is Cape Town). This breed is usually a boomerang baby or start-up wunderkind post app. PS: They’re probably crashing on your couch tonight.
ORDERING: Beer. Probably Black Label.
The online activist and social media keyboard warrior. Find them powering up their caps lock on a Facebook post or Tweet. While a great aspect of this generation is our eagerness to be engaged and our considerably deeper interest in social and political issues (see below), the woke millennial is way ahead of everyone else in current events and the latest non-politically correct phrases. And they will definitely take the time to explain it to you.
ORDERING: A piece of humble pie.
.. Is not a new phenomenon but he (usually a he) is specific to this generation. This millennial is likely freelancing or working in a bar to pay off his student loan. And lives with mom and dad. The Boomerang baby is either more middle-class than 2-ply toilet paper or part of an emerging middle-class. He is a weird combination of slightly woke and confused (mostly confused). He means to read the news but ends up playing Dota or Fifa. You may have dated him, and while he doesn’t have strong opinions on anything – he’s quite sweet – plus his mom is lovely.
But don’t be fooled: the millennial coming of age phrase “You can’t sit with us” from cult movie Mean Girls does not apply- if only thanks to the communal tables. If you ask nicely, you can get a seat at any of these tables. And afterwards, you may even find yourself saying things like ‘lit’ and ‘wild’.
BY ZOYA PON