9 bizarre things that actually happened in the '90s

7/24/2017, 6 a.m.
As we age, we tend to look back on earlier decades' culture with smug superiority.

— As we age, we tend to look back on earlier decades' culture with smug superiority.

Can you believe people listened to disco? Who thought acid-washed jeans were a good idea? What's with the big hair, was it all full of secrets?

Except there's one problem with that: Unless you're Gen Z (younger than a millennial), you're basically making fun of your own poor life choices. (Just wait Generation Z.)

The 1990s were no exception. The decade that brought us "Seinfeld," Tupac, Britney Spears and a very famous white Bronco chase also had plenty of weird stuff. And we actually liked a lot of it.

Here are just nine examples:

You had to dial up the Internet -- and it took forever

Back in the day when you wanted to "surf the Information Superhighway" -- er, go online -- you had to attach your desktop computer to a modem that would establish a balky Internet connection over the telephone.

That's right -- you couldn't talk on the phone and search the Internet at the same time. The struggle was real.

The process made a screechy, crackling noise that sounded like R2-D2 if you put him in a bag and threw him in the river. And it sometimes took several minutes.

"Wake up! You've finally got mail!"

To today's iPhone-toting teens, it must seem like something from "The Flintstones."

Even the most nostalgic '90s kids among us don't miss dial-up. (But that Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie was sort of cute.)

Rock stars looked like mopey lumberjacks

Blame Nirvana. By the early '90s, rock bands in Seattle were walking around sipping coffee in baggy flannel shirts because wearing clothes that fit and were weather-appropriate would be "trying" -- and everyone knew trying wasn't cool.

Then, the grunge-rock scene went mainstream, and suddenly everyone from Claire Danes to your nephew was wearing them.

It sort of made sense if you were, say, a longshoreman in Vancouver. It was a little silly if you were a teenage TV star.

Thankfully, the flannel trend was pretty much over by the late '90s.

A woman cut off her husband's penis and threw it out a car window

No, really. This isn't a clickbait headline - it's an actual historical fact from 1993.

In June of that year, a Virginia woman named Lorena Bobbitt, fed up with her reportedly abusive husband, cut off his penis with a kitchen knife while he was sleeping. She then got into her car with the severed appendage, drove away and tossed it into a field.

Surgeons reattached it to her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, during an operation that took more than nine hours.

He later starred in porn movies -- because this wasn't weird enough already.

The episode shocked the world, kept comedians in punchlines for months and inspired a new verb, "Bobbitted." (Shiver.)

We liked cheesy music

OK, there was plenty of good music in the '90s. But it was also the decade that gave us some pretty cheesy hit songs like "Achy Breaky Heart," "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "Mambo No. 5."