A Field Guide to Millennials - Rolling Stone
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A Field Guide to Millennials

‘Millennials of New York’ creator Connor Toole on how to recognize the species in the wild

In 1980, scientists observed a mysterious subspecies of human for the very first time, a group that would ultimately be classified as the “Millennial.”

Over the past few decades, the scientific community has worked tirelessly to fill the gaps in our knowledge in the hopes of better understanding this rapidly developing and increasingly invasive subset of the genus.

We hope this guide serves as an adequate primer.

Markings and appearance
It can be easy to mistakenly classify someone as a millennial based solely on their physical appearance. However, there are certain markings and visual patterns commonly associated with millennials that can aid in their identification (such as minimalist foot tattoos and gingham).

Additional traits include: haircuts requiring the use of a straight razor, highlights resembling the color palette of a Wes Anderson film, beards containing inanimate objects (including but not limited to: flowers, glitter and small nests of birds), tote bags plastered with the names of (and often containing) various ancient grains, glasses that were originally considered stylish in 1957 and far too much plaid.

Natural environment
Millennials can be found inhabiting virtually every region of the globe, but have the tendency to congregate in geographic areas with high concentrations of boutique gyms, dog-friendly breweries and hyper-specific food festivals.

Millennials are commonly observed in traditional office spaces, where they pass the time by constantly attempt to justify playing a role in the system they swore to reject before accepting the reality that comes with borrowing an exorbitant amount of money to pursue a creative writing degree from a small liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts or rural Pennsylvania.

With that said, research has shown that millennials feel most comfortable in an environment featuring multiple reproductions of Banksy pieces, a keg of beer from one of the aforementioned dog-friendly breweries and pinball machines that no one has ever actually played.

When they’re not working, millennials can most frequently be found in a shared living space, accompanied by either their friends, a friend of a friend, their parents, or the least sketchy individuals they were able to find on Craigslist.

Vegan bulgur salad in bowl

Eating habits
Millennials can be generally classified as omnivores, but there are a number of exceptions to this rule.

In recent years, veganism, cleanses, gluten-free everything, the Paleo diet and the potentially cannibalistic Soylent have seen an increase in popularity, raising questions about the potential health benefits that come with being absolutely insufferable about your eating habits.

Millennials are also unique when compared to other humans due to their atypical tendency to place more importance on how food looks when photographed compared to how it actually tastes.

Thanks to the help of dating apps like Tinder, millennials have virtually solved the problem of the anxiety that comes with approaching a potential mate by largely eliminating any physical interaction from the equation.

While their ancestors regularly spent an hour taking shots of tequila and working up the courage to speak to prospective sexual partner in person, millennials have mastered the ability of sending the same corny pickup lines used by their elders to hundreds of people in the same amount of time.

Unlike most other animals, the act of mating has virtually no correlation with reproduction for the vast majority of millennials, as the mere idea of being responsible for someone besides themselves is a near universal trigger for sexual impotency.

A user holds up a smartphone displaying the app Tinder in New York, USA; 29 March 2016

Millennials rely largely on text-based communication, and have developed a complex and constantly evolving series of electronic hieroglyphs that scientists are still attempting to translate in full.

When engaging in verbal communication, many millennials rely almost exclusively on hyperbole to convey their feelings, which is why “literally” now has two definitions that literally contradict each other.

Social activity
Millennials social and mating habits are reflective of one another.

In the past, watching multiple seasons of a television show while consuming an entire pizza and bottle of wine by yourself in a cramped apartment wouldn’t be considered a social activity, but thanks to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, the millennial can now technically interact with others by meticulously documenting their isolation and broadcasting them to the world.

That’s not to say millennials aren’t social creatures in a more traditional sense. They can be frequently spotted gathering in the wild in groups of various sizes, often lured by the promise of alcohol paired with a somewhat contradictory activity, such as a road race, painting, or the act of eating breakfast.

During these activities, millennials will frequently pausing to pose for carefully composed pictures meant to convey a sense of candidness. These pictures are then used to augment the online personality most millennials construct in an effort to win the compounding battle for the most envious alternate reality. 

Connor Toole is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn. He is the co-author of Millennials of New York, out today from Gallery Books.   

In This Article: Millennials


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