I spent my 90s youth obsessed toys “for boys.” I exalted their commercials and worshipped the boys in them. But unlike my peers, I didn’t want to kiss those boys — nope, I wanted to be them. I admired how they drove their Power Wheels over treacherous terrain, pranked their uptight teachers, and proudly sported hairstyles that would make kids today cringe. I coveted their ripped jeans, their flannels, and their baseball caps. The boys in 90s toy commercials displayed an unparalleled zest for life and an aesthetic that can only be described as Exceptionally, Unsettlingly Dykey, and to my younger self, that was Peak Cool.
I grew up, I came out, I bought an assortment of flannels, and suddenly, I felt aligned with the boys in those commercials. Acknowledging this alignment pains me — because I like to imagine myself as an intimidating uberbutch, a sophisticated sex writer, the toppiest of tops — but we all I know I’m a little rascal at heart. I’m also willing to laugh at myself, especially when other queer folks laugh with me.
Please enjoy this list of nine boys from 90s toy commercials who have my exact same energy. Maybe you’ll see yourself in these kids, too.
The Boy in the Denim Vest (Crossfire commercial, 1992)
Like every other masc, I spent all of my twenties hermetically sealed in a denim vest — and, yes, I looked exactly like this.
The Prankster in the Backwards Hat (TalkBoy Fx+ commercial, 1996)
I love pranks (although I’d like to think that mine are more mature and good-natured than antics in this video), and as a homosexual, I am legally required to love an oversized flannel.
The Theater Kid Who Simply Had to Wear a Lab Coat (Creepy Crawlers commercial, 1994)
Yes, I’m a former theater kid. Yes, I’ll seize any opportunity to wear a costume.
The Boy With the Mullet and the Unbridled Enthusiasm (Mouse Trap commercial, 1990)
Truly, is there anything dykier than this kid’s haircut?
The Faceless Kid Demonstrating a Sock’em Bopper (Sock’em Boppers commercial, 1997)
The only time this kid appears in the Sock’em Bopper commercial is when it’s time to demonstrate the donning of the Sock’em Boppers — and WOW, is he eager and aggressive.
The Kid Who Pretends to Sneeze Out a Giant Snot Rocket (Gak commercial, 1993)
I will do literally anything to make women laugh.
The Overly Confident Teen With the Tragic Combover (Vortex Mega Flight commercial, 1996)
I may be 5’2″, but I’m also an Aries Sun with a Sagittarius Moon — so I would absolutely go head-to-head with a 6’3″ pro-athlete.
The Only Boy in the Furby Commercial (Furby commercial, 1998)
I used to exclusively hang out with femmes — because femmes are fun — and this kid gets it.
The Butch Lesbian Boy Driving the Power Wheels Jeep (Power Wheels commercial, 1992)
Take a look at this little fella — he’s wearing a flannel AND a puffer vest while driving a Jeep with a smiling girl by his side. He’s living the lesbian dream!
Do you feel represented by a certain toy commercial? Tell me about it in the comments — I know I’m not alone.