On Being Cheugy
Updated: Sep 14
Cheugy. Chew-gee. Give it a listen:
It was coined in 2013 by a then-high schooler, now age 23, Gaby Rasson. A person who's cheugy is called a cheug (choog). It's basically the opposite of trendy.
But for everyone that no longer gets carded at liquor stores and restaurants, here's some examples: adulting; the caption "so...I did a thing;" girl boss or boss babe mugs; skinny jeans; calling them doggos instead of dogs; emoji merch; rustic wooden word art wall decor; side parts; wine moms; Boomerangs of drinks (video below); "I can't live without my coffee" graphic tees; minions-posting on Facebook (image above); obsessing over Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars and having car decals of them. If you don't get it by now, to zoomers, it's straight up cringe.
Some people consider cheugy to misogynistic, as a lot of people stick to uncool things that are typically feminine, or at best, gender neutral. But cheugy also encompasses male-biased millennial stereotypes: "Saturdays are for the boys" captions and comments; video game or compass tattoos; Converse high tops; beer dads; Buffalo Wild Wings (B-Dubs) nights; binging energy drinks; Joe Rogan fans.
To go completely gender neutral, it's that person that's stuck in their ways, typically a millennial. Sorry older generational, zoomers never really thought you were cool.
Seriously though, if you do or love that stuff, embrace it. We can't all be cool forever. Also, a pair of Uggs should not define who you are as a person. I definitely consider myself cheugy in a lot of ways, and I'm 24. I use a PopSocket to save my pinkie finger from aching, love pumpkin spice lattes, and joke about spending way too much at Target. First rule of business: know how to laugh at yourself. Humility goes a long way with customers and clients, and even though most of us are pretty uncool regardless of our stage in life, it's important to remember that your demographic isn't some amorphous mob. They're individuals, and showcasing the personality of you and your business and employees will grant you much deeper connections. This generational war between zoomers, millennials, gen-xers, and boomers can heavily impact how relevant your company and brand feels to different audiences. If your demographic skews young, you better understand why they're ratioing you on Twitter. If they're older, well, business cards and pamphlets may grant you more success.
While things do tend to trend in cycles (hello, Crocs!), knowing when to pick up a trend and when to pass is critical for success in the modern era. And knowing that you will inevitably have some failures. My rule of thumb is to pass on things that feel inauthentic. If you think it would be fun, relatable, or endearing to hop on a trend, most people in your audience would probably agree. See a fun TikTok dance on your kid's phone? Relish in making them cringe, do it with them if they're up for it. At the least, others your age will think its great (and that's more likely your client base!).
Ensure that you're not following every trend just to participate. The most important part of your brand is a strong, consistent voice. See a slang term, hashtag, or meme you have a fun spin on --- play it safe, look it up before you go public (or risk ending up in our Dash of Bitters category). It's not a race, and there's no sense in losing customers or sleep over something that we all know will blow over in a few days or weeks. Something that may seem harmless may not be as it seems. Go with what you know, but don't stay inside your comfort zone. It's boring there, and boring doesn't move product. Take some risks, throw caution to the wind, and make sure it screams your brand. YOLO---erm, carpe diem.
Adulting -- acting like a responsible adult, typically simple, mundane tasks like filing taxes or making phone calls for appointments
Cheugy -- out of touch, uncool, outdated
Ratioing -- like-to-reply ratio is heavily weighted toward replies, typically meaning the original statement was controversial or unpopular and led to lots of critical discussion
Zoomers -- gen z, currently teens and young adults born late 1990s, early 2000s