00s nostalgia

@caitlin.the.realtor/TikTok, used with permission

Wait, so 90's fashion is in, but 90's hair is out?

Every era has its own version of what’s attractive. And very rarely does that aesthetic hold power with the following generation. In fact, it often becomes the opposite of cool.

Just think of Elvis. He might have been a universal sex symbol for a time, but it also wasn’t long before his pompadour became passé. Same goes for Paul Newman’s rugged manliness, David Cassidy’s babyface, Tom Selleck’s mustache. Indeed, for everything a season.

Which brings us to the 90s. The age of beach blonde surfer boys (real surfing skills not required, but a plus). Of flannel, lots of flannel, and super chiseled bodies. Let’s not forget this was the dawning of the term “metrosexual,” and also the time period that brought us that Calvin Klein ad with Mark Wahlburg.

How exactly would these guys measure up with the Gen Z kids today?

That was the question Caitlin Baudhuin aimed to answer when she decided to have her Gen Z daughter rate teenage heartthrobs of the 90’s and 00s on a scale of 1-10.

Let’s just say…none of them made the cut. Which saddened many a millennial and Gen Xer.

First up: Zachery Ty Bryan, who played eldest brother Brad Taylor on “Home Improvement.”

Baudhuin’s daughter graciously gave Bryan a 3. That’s the numerical version of “meh.”

Next: James Van Der Beek from “Dawson’s Creek.”

Appalled, her daughter says “It's so bad. It's like, I don't even know.”

At this point, you must be thinking, “well, she must be a Joshua Jackson kind of gal.” As Baudhuin explains, you were either Team Dawson, played by Vanderbeek, or Team Pacey, played by Jackson.

But after being shown a picture of Jackson, Baudhuin’s daughter makes a face like she’s just had bad shrimp, and says, “That's two. The last one was a four, that one's so bad. He's so ugly.” Ouch.

Finally, Baudhuin’s Hail Mary is “Saved By The Bell”’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris.
@caitlin.the.realtor Episode 1 of my daughter rating my teen hollywood heartthrobs of the 90’s. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤣 #greenscreen #90skids #90steenheartthrobs #dawsonscreek #teampacey ♬ original sound - Caitlin - Memphis, TN Realtor

Before ranking Gosselaar at a measly 2.5, her daughter says, “Why is his smile like, it looks like he's not even happy. It looks like he's fake smiling. And then like his hair, like why is that a sleek back?”

This last one seemed to hurt folks the most. “The disrespect for Zach Morris!” one person wrote. Meanwhile, another said that ranking him that low was “criminal.”

But wait, there’s more. Baudhuin did a round two, many heartthrobs inspired by viewer suggestions. See the victims below:

-Shane West from “A Walk To Remember” got a 3, primarily due to his spiky hair. Baudhuin’s daughter is clearly not a fan of 90’s hairstyles. To which her mother asks, “have you seen boy’s hair these days?” Fair point!

-Freddie Prince Jr. from “She’s all That.” Another 3.

-Joseph Gordon Levitt, as seen in his role for “10 Things I Hate About You.” Levitt got a whopping 4 or 5! Progress!

-Erik von Detten from “The Princess Diaries.” This time Baudhuin asked her daughter to “ignore the greasy hair.” Which must have worked, cause he got a 5.5, thus winning this unofficial beauty contest. Still brutal though.

@caitlin.the.realtor Part 2 of my daughter rating 90’s/early 2000’s heartthrobs. We have a sort of winner! 🎉 #greenscreen #90s #early2000s #heartthrobs #awalktoremember #princessdiariesmovie #shesallthat #10thingsihateabout ♬ original sound - Caitlin - Memphis, TN Realtor

So there you have it. Beauty trends indeed come and go for men too. And on the bright side, even if our childhood icons don’t have the Timothée Chalamet Effect, it’s nice to know that by and large the definition of heartthrob has become way more diverse and inclusive. Thanks for that Gen Z, even though your candidness is savage sometimes.