It was 20 years ago… one of the days this year.
I was six or seven years old and it was way past my bedtime. I had been shown how to connect to the internet on a laptop by an older cousin. This is where #90sKids must remember really, really hard and try to think of the first thing you typed into a search engine after “play games” and subsequently “play free games.” Can you recall?
I remember mine. It was so benign that it doesn’t exist on the Wayback Machine. That’s because it was “spice girls.” I was vaguely attracted to the Spice Girls. I had seen their pictures. I probably hadn’t heard their music. According to Wikipedia they hadn’t even released an album.
I was “aware” of them though. An odd sort of foreshadowing word that in retrospect defines the collective mood since the internet connected our lives: “awareness.”
Of what was I aware? Attractive British women existed and it made me feel funny? Maybe.
I typed “spice girls” into Yahoo! (I think) and watched as the text loaded beneath. Unclicked links, an entire page of them. I didn’t know what that meant either. But I scrolled, and one thing caught my eye, “nude-naked spice girls!”
I had no idea what nude meant. But naked? That’s what I got when I got in the bath. And they were that on the web? What? Click.
The text loaded quickly and I didn’t read it until I realized that the photos were creeping down the page at a rate of a quarter-inch every minute. And there were five separate photos. And they were on the beach. And I expanded my vocabulary that night to include nude because there was nothing else to confuse that word within the pictures.
I wasn’t even bummed out that someone had deemed themselves censor and dropped stars on the Spice Girls’ nipples and respective mons pubis (how to pluralize that?). I had no frame of reference to be bummed out about this. As far as I was concerned, getting nude-naked was the single greatest thing I had ever discovered. I had just been sexually awakened by the Spice Girls on the information superhighway.
When I told my friends at school what I had found, I made certain to let them in on the new word I discovered too. “You can search naked girls and nude girls.” I said and then in the sophist tradition leant a little more classiness to nude.
I never found that page nor saw those pictures again, but it changed my life.
I’d love to hear about your first experience with the world wide web or internet. Whatever they called it when you discovered it.
-Last year I watched part of Spiceworld at McCarren Park after smoking something to “knock the edge off” and was truly not ready for it. However, I think it’s worth revisiting as an accidental stoner movie. Thoughts?
-This was an innocent search. To me it’s the quintessential internet search. A variation of Godwin’s Law except with nipples instead of Nazis. And instead of trying to make you think about hyperbole, I used my young self as a comparison. A jumping off point for your memories.
-I can remember emailing my older brother when he was in Kuwait and asking if he heard that the “Spice Girls got booed off stage” somewhere. I was something of a pussy.
-I didn’t use the word “porn” until at least the sixth grade. I was unaware of that word. I think that “Playboy” was the substitute word of choice.
-I may be misremembering the year, it may have been ’96. File that under self-mythology.