Extreme weather, guilt tipping and, yes, Barbie: We're over you, 2023


NEW YORK — All things Barbie, going pantless, humungo Stanley Cup bottles and pressure tipping. There’s plenty from 2023 to leave behind come the new year.

Extreme weather hit historic heights. Fakeness took a huge turn with the rise of AI. The rudeness epidemic continued with the help of FaceTime. Here’s a less than all-inclusive list of what we’re over as we look ahead to 2024:

Barbiecore, aka all things hot pink and playful and hyper-feminine, has been around since the dawn of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino added some high-fashion oomph in 2022 with a buzzy Barbie pink collection. And there’s Nicki Minaj, of course, and her army of fans dubbed the Barbz.

Then along came Barbenheimer and bam! July 2023 was nuts with the conflation of the films “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” They shared an opening weekend. Big Barbie (and “Oppenheimer”) money was made. It was fun. We needed that feel-good frenzy.

Now, please, let’s put Babs back in her box and hop on over to some other aesthetic and spot on the color wheel to get all crazy about. Enough with the high profile for our senior gal and her pink. Pink for breast cancer awareness is a whole other story. So is millennial pink, if that ever was an actual thing people generally cared about.

On to Gen Z yellow, people!

Kendall Jenner. Hailey Bieber. Ariana Grande. Rihanna. Kim Kardashian. The list goes on of celebs who decided colored but still sheer pantyhose are pants.

They’re not pants. They’re not tights. They’re not leggings. And they’re definitely not naked dresses, which make some kind of sense on a red carpet or runway for a sheer, sexy vibe.

There are lots of other ways people go pantless, for sure. Bare legged. Leotarded, like the bedazzled Marc Jacobs number Jenner wore to the Met Gala. All just look like one forgot one’s pants, leaving behind a tuxedo jacket or a long bulky sweater or ill-fitting sweatshirt.

Isn’t this what assistants are for? To make sure one remembers one’s pants?

“The dog days of summer are not just barking, they are biting. Climate breakdown has begun.”

So said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres of the summer of 2023 and its devastating outbreak of extreme weather.

Wicked ocean storms, wildfires, flooding and droughts. The planet suffered through them all. Earth experienced its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured. The world’s oceans were the hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the European climate service Copernicus.

We know this is a big ask, in a climate change sort of way, but extreme weather, be gone!

At the height of the pandemic, and during the early throes of rebuilding our lives, we were happy to tip generously and often. That included an onslaught of new tip requests from a brave new world of workers armed with little screens that prompt for tips just before we pay. Because, as you remember, we were contactless.

The problem? It never went away. The pre-pay tip prompts are still there, in our faces.

Tipping fatigue is real.

The idea of tipping isn’t new, of course. But the disgruntled took to social media in protest of the guilt trip for non-traditional tipping, when we’re handed coffee and a muffin, say, or cruising through a drive-through.

The new normal doesn’t look or feel anything like the tip jars of yore that were easily ignored.

Let’s pay workers more to begin with and stop the pressure tipping.

Fake eyelashes the size of caterpillars persisted in 2023. Lab-grown diamonds made their way into the mainstream as cheaper alternatives to the real thing. Fake marriages hit the A-list, or at least those that secretly reached expiration dates years before the world found out (looking at you Will, Jada, Meryl and Don).

The relentless onslaught of fake news and disinformation continued in the lead-up to elections in 2024. Influencers and celebs rocked on with their “natural look” makeup tutorials that require a counter full of products. Kim Kardashian’s fringe at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards was, yes, fake.

Was 2023 a big year for fake everything? Counting AI, the answer is, definitely. Talk about creating an illusion. Let’s not forget about real. Real just may get us through.

Hydration is important. Reducing water bottle plastic is a worthy cause.

HOWEVER, there’s a world of reusable water bottles out there, not just the ginormous and pricey Stanley Cup kind that earned cult status on TikTok and Instagram in 2023.

People wait in lines for these things. Some come as large as 40 ounces in a variety of colors at $40 a pop. Stans (apropos slang) put up unboxing videos. Starbucks, Target and other retailers have been selling out. And there’s bling to be had: Name plates and straw tips fill the new TikTok shop, along with suspected fake Stanleys.

Stanley-related hashtags have been shared millions upon millions of times.

Who’s behind it all? Social media marketing, of course. Thanks mom influencers. And score one for Stanley parent Pacific Market International. And while we’re at it, score one for inventor William Stanley Jr.

He created the things in 1913 when, through his work on transformers, he hit on a welding technique to insulate his vacuum bottles with steel instead of glass.

Would he approve of all the virtue signaling, which is not unlike all the virtue signaling we had already experienced via Hydro Flasks and their VSCO Girls? Before that it was Nalgene.

It’s likely Stanley would be ecstatic.

FaceTime is great. FaceTime is fun. FaceTime keeps us connected. The thing is, we like our FaceTimes. Not your FaceTimes.

FaceTiming in public (along with good ole speaker phone talk) reached cataclysmic proportions on the annoyance scale in 2023. On trains and buses, in streets, stores, doctors’ offices. In public restrooms. Nowhere is spared. Sometimes, the camera’s not remotely pointed at the phone user’s face.

What’s the deal? What’s the point? Is it a, “I do it because I can” thing? What you do because you fat-finger all your texts or hang up a call with your face when the phone is, um, at your face? Don’t know what Bluetooth is? Can’t stand things in your ears or on your head?

Don’t make us rue 2010, when Apple introduced FaceTime alongside the iPhone 4. Figure something out, unless there’s a legit reason you can’t use your phone all the other more considerate ways in public.

Weed, of the marijuana variety, is ubiquitous. Weed stinks. Somebody please genetically alter a variety that smells better. Much appreciated.

Social media speak: “I was today years old.” “So let’s get into it.” “Yas, bestie, it’s giving.” Be original. You’ll love it.

The comings and goings of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Let them live unfettered by media drooling over their every move, presuming their romance lasts come 2024.



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