Taking on the important task of naming the year

January 22, 1994|By ALICE STEINBACH

One of the little-noticed side effects of the busy news month we're experiencing -- the sagas of the Bobbitts, the Menendez brothers and, of course, Nancy and Tonya -- is that no one has yet had time to give a name to the year of 1994.

Remember 1992? The Year of the Woman? And 1993? The Year of Observing That 1993 Was No Longer the Year of the Woman?

Well, here we are, approaching the end of January and still no news about what 1994 is the Year of.

This, I must admit, bothers me. Of course, being bothered is what columnists are paid to be.

It bothers me mostly because I know that if something isn't done soon to fill this vacuum, Newsweek magazine will come out with a cover screaming: The Year of the Cruciferous Vegetable! Or: The Year of the Lambada, Again!

Finally this morning, sitting alone at my kitchen table it struck me -- the idea, that is, struck me, not the table -- that as a public service I should name the year of 1994.

Naming a year, in my opinion, is by far one of the most important things columnists get to do in life. For one thing, it sets the agenda for what columnists and television pundits will write about and talk about for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult things we get to do in life. When it comes to naming a year, the possibilities, at first, seem endlessly seductive. Or, if you prefer, seductively endless.

For instance, I flirted briefly with an idea that I know would win instant approval from everyone -- regardless of age, gender or whether you love or hate Rush Limbaugh: The Year of the Bad Haircut.

After some thought -- based mostly on a course I once took titled "Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking" -- I decided the designation was too generic. Let's face it. Every year could be the Year of the Bad Haircut. Ditto for my next idea: The Year of the Older Man-Younger Woman. It's a theme that just keeps rolling along.

(Note to reader: For those interested in doing further research on this subject, see recent People magazine re: Jerry Seinfeld and his relationship with an 18-year-old college freshman.)

I also discarded the following:

The Year of the Men Who Are Sexually Harassed by Women.

The Year of the Home Security System and the Fake Signs: Beware of Vicious Dog.

The Year of the TV Talk Show Hosts You've Never Heard Of: Rolonda, Bertice, Ricki, Jerry, Linda Richman.

The Year of the Older Woman-Younger Man. (Note to reader: Despite all efforts in the past five years to establish the Older Woman-Younger Man syndrome as a major trend, my research proves that only the likes of Ursula Andress and Cher fall into this category.)

So much for the rejects. Now for the finalists. The envelope, please.

The Year of the Wonderbra. Stores can't keep these uplifting, cleavage-creating bras in stock. Described recently in the New York Times as "a feat of engineering, a phenomenon about to sweep the world," this bra is rumored to give world-class cleavage to the likes of even anorexic-looking model Kate Moss.

The Year of the Inner Adult. It's 11 p.m. Do you know where your Inner Adult is? 1994 just might be the year -- and about time, too -- when all those Inner Children who've been hanging around for the last several years start growing up.

The Year of the Coffee Bar. Espresso, cappuccino, latte, cafe au lait, macchiato. Sorry, but it's arrivederci, Folgers. And et tu, Maxwell House.

The Year of the Home Shopping Network. A chance to sit in your leatherette La-Z-Boy lounger and buy everything from French roast to Wonderbras.

The Year of the Movie Sequel in Double Digits. Will 1994 be the breakthrough year? Death Wish 10? Sister Act 13? Home Alone 15? House Party 20? Remember when there was only Lassie and Return of Lassie?

The Year of the Information Highway. On-line. E-mail. Internet. When will the madness stop? And will they ever bring back Route 66?

Year of the Extraordinarily Young-Looking Woman Who's Just Turned 50. As millions of babyboomers approach the half-century mark, this could be big. Currently it's gorgeous model Lauren Hutton who's "50 & Fabulous!" Who's next? Gorgeous model Isabella Rossellini? All such women will, of course, wear Wonderbras.

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