Most ridiculous trends of 2021: NFTs, Bing Bong, more

Another year, another internet rock bottom.

As if the trends from years past couldn’t get worse, somehow they always do.

This year, TikTok had us in a chokehold — we couldn’t escape the echoing sounds of “good soup” or yet another “challenge.”

Looking back, we can say with 100% certainty that these were the most ridiculous trends of 2021.

1. NFTs

Otherwise known as non-fungible tokens, NFTs are one-of-a-kind pieces of digital content linked to blockchain that people can own.

Now, people can purchase an NFT of the first text ever sent or the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (not that anyone wants it anyways).

So, what’s the big deal about owning a digital image or a social media post?

An NFT of the first text messaged ever, reading “Merry Christmas.”

Really, not much. The beauty, and the humor, of the NFT ecosystem, is that anyone can screenshot or photograph the media you “own,” as one Twitter user pointed out. So is it really yours to keep?

2. Scarf Tops

How does anyone wear this shirt? (Trust me, I tried.)

After seeing the likes of Kylie Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski rock this top, I mistakenly thought I could, too. Cue: nip slips and catcalls.

It was all the rage this hot girl summer, but for the average-sized woman, it may be best for poolside lounging, not midday brunch in the smothering city heat in July. After all, we don’t have celebrity-scale fashion tape or stylists to keep us in place all day long.

3. Meme stock

If you’ve been keeping up with the crypto boom this year, you’ve probably heard of meme stocks, like Dogecoin, which are inspired by, well, memes.

If it sounds silly, it’s because it is. The founder of Dogecoin even said he made it in “2 hours” as a joke and sold his holdings years ago. Now, Dogecoin is the sixth most valuable cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency, but more specifically meme stocks like Dogecoin, intrigued young investors online.

The crypto craze might be considered ridiculous with its volatile nature, mostly due to whatever Tesla CEO Elon Musk says on a given day. Musk has the cryptocurrency market in submission, even making a Christmas-themed dog currency soar 3,500 percent.

4. Soaking

“Soaking,” a Morman teen sex act, took over the internet this year, being used as a loophole to the religious “celibate” lifestyle.

It’s best described as “penetration without thrusting,” but adolescent Mormons are getting creative with ways to move that aren’t “thrusting.”

One TikToker described it as “jump humping,” where someone else shakes the bed somehow to create friction “down there.”

If that’s not the ultimate friend goals, then what is? But maybe don’t make it a trend on TikTok with more than 24 million tags.

5. Alabama RushTok

Are you on #BamaRush TikTok? If you weren’t, you probably lived under a rock — or simply not spending enough time on TikTok.

As new “get ready for rush with me” videos popped up, haters of #BamaRush took over the tag, mocking the University of Alabama freshmen showing off their sorority recruitment outfits.

In a totally serious video, one TikTok user and her friends shared their #OOTD, otherwise known as their “outfits of the day.”

But because of the joke videos taking over everyone’s feeds, one user commented, “I can’t tell if these are real anymore.”

In the trolling videos, TikTokers donned outrageous outfits and talked in a heavy (and fake) southern accent to really take the joke home.

6. GameStop

Speaking of meme stock, GameStop stock surged in January, baffling hedge fund bros everywhere after a Reddit thread took the stock “to the moon.”

When big-name investors began buying shares of GameStop, the Reddit chat forum “WallStreetBets,” who are self-proclaimed “degenerates,” confused Wall Street firms who shorted the company, along with others such as AMC.

GameStop stock soared after Reddit users trolled Wall Street hedge fund bros earlier this year.

To no surprise, the gains were short-lived. Despite investors on Reddit standing firm behind GameStop, the company’s stock plummeted in the weeks and months following its soaring numbers.

7. Joe Byron

What do you want to say to Joe Byron right now?

The chaotic “Bing, bong!” sound, brought to life by the people of Coney Island by the popular YouTube channel “Sidetalk,” circulated for the final months of 2021.

While the sound is ridiculous, the love for the “Joe Byron guy” isn’t.

He’s actually a homeless man named TJ, who has been picked up by fan accounts online. Now, there are GoFundMe efforts raising money for him to get off the streets.

As of December, the internet raised more than $30,000 for TJ, and with it, came online stardom.

8. Inverted TikTok filter

Leave it to TikTok to unearth our insecurities.

When the platform released the inverted filter for videos, with it, a new challenge came to fruition.

Users started to record themselves not using the filter, then recording their reactions while using it — it’s safe to say they weren’t happy with the results.

The inverted filter shows users any asymmetry in their faces, which highlighted their insecurities.

It also shows what they look like to other people, but because we aren’t used to seeing ourselves that way, it can be alarming.

9. Saying blonde is cheugy

Bad news for blondes everywhere: This year, Gen Z declared blonde “cheugy.”

The term, which means uncool, outdated and trying too hard, also spawned from 2021.

While some things declared as cheugy just speak to the changing fashion trends — we’re looking at you, skinny jeans and side parts — denouncing an entire color of hair seems far-fetched.

But it didn’t stop people from taking it to heart. Blondes flocked to hair salons in a frantic race to transform into brunettes.

10. Low rise jeans

Dear Gen Z, please let this trend die. Y2K is all the rage recently, but we can all agree low-rise jeans were not it, even back then.

Christine Aguilera in low rise jeans
Just because Christina Aguilera rocked the low rise look on the red carpet, doesn’t mean we all can.

While Gen Z may not remember the horrifying red carpet looks of the early 2000s, Millennials certainly do — and those low-rise jeans trigger their flight or fight response.

11. Lube as primer

This makeup trick is too slick. Amateur beauty gurus on TikTok took the platform by storm to show off their latest “hack.”

Namely, TikToker Rady gained traction online while using Durex lube to set a base for her foundation. Because of its slick nature due to the propylene glycol, it creates a seamless makeup finish, but at a potentially sticky cost.

12. Celebrity doppelgangers

A chorus of A-list lookalikes flooded the internet this year, some earning modeling gigs and internet stardom due to their celebrity features.

But at what point are there too many doppelgangers?

Elon Musk and Taylor Swift and Brad Pitt, oh my! And don’t forget about Scarlett Johansson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Cardi B, Jennifer Aniston and Amy Schumer.

13. Instagram story stickers

Did you really think posting a photo of your dog would get a tree planted?

The viral sticker on Instagram Stories, which reads, “We’ll plant 1 tree for every pet picture,” cropped up on feeds earlier this year.

At its height, more than four million stories were shared using the sticker — but can four million trees really be planted?

At first, it wasn’t clear who “we” was, but later the account @plantatreeco claimed it. They immediately deleted the sticker after creating it, realizing the potential it had.

However, it didn’t stop millions of people from participating, posting a picture of their pets for an adorable but ultimately useless purpose.

14. Urban dictionary name trend

No one cares what your name means on Urban Dictionary.

The trend, which took over social media this fall, involved people looking up what their names meant — untraditionally — on Urban Dictionary, which is typically only used to look up NSFW terms.

From humorous to flattering, the bizarre name definitions shared online were really only a result of internet boredom.

One person named Brandi tweeted her name definition. “Illest and dopest chick you’ll ever meet,” the submission read. “She’s very sensual and affectionate. Non-materialistic and she picks her friends like she picks her fruit. She is hard to anger, but once angered, beware.”

But many were quick to dub the trend as “self-congratulatory,” with one user saying, “No offense but absolutely nobody is reading ur urban dictionary names.”

15. Dry scoop challenge

The internet is constantly churning out ridiculous challenges, but this one is a new low.

Doctors warned against the dry scoop challenge on TikTok due to possible heart attacks. The “challenge” involves swallowing a heaping spoonful of pre-workout powder, followed by a sip of water, before hitting the gym.

After one influencer succumbed to a fatal heart attack because of the trend, parents and medical experts worried about the young people participating in the online craze.

16. “Squid Game” trends

After the premiere of one of the biggest streaming shows on Netflix, “Squid Game” merchandise and trends took off.

Cryptocurrencies, home light shows, costumes and other knick-knacks spawned seemingly overnight — but one really took the cake for more ridiculous.

The “Squid Game” makeup trends flooded TikTok, with users posting tutorials showing eerily real looks that mimic characters from the series.

17. The Backyardigans

The viral TikTok sounds, featuring sound clips from Nick Jr.’s show “The Backyardigans” — “Castaways” and “Into the Thick of It” — were reimagined for people 16+ on TikTok.

Users created dances to “Into the Thick of It” with a bit of extra chutzpah, while others tried to perform the song with perfect timing.

But the content for “Castaways” took a different turn. TikTokers attempted to mimic the Backyardigans’ iconic dance number from the animated show.

18. Milk crate challenge

TikTok apparently can’t get enough of harm-inducing trends, including the milk crate challenge.

Instead of people completing the crazy “challenge,” — which involves conquering a treacherous race across stacked milk crates — most daredevils fell off the harrowing mountain of plastic.

Despite potential bone breaks or joint sprains, trend participators seemed unfazed and undeterred, hellbent on cascading up and down their own Tower of Terror, set right in their backyard.

19. Whole face waxing

The most harrowing part of these whole face waxes might be the hot wax on eyelids and eyelashes.

Hot wax is smeared all over the face — with no part left out — and once dry, is ripped off.

The ridiculous and painful trend has led to viral videos of people subjected to the hair removal process, leaving them smooth but at the cost of their skin.

20. Rubbing your tongue

In this NSFW trend, women on TikTok rubbed the underside of their tongue with one finger after being told it feels like male genitalia. Yes, you read that right.

After rubbing the large vein that runs underneath their tongue, the women in the videos were shocked, with some joking that they did it when they “missed their boyfriend.”

21. Blow drying your eyelashes

Beauty gurus online felt a little bit of heat after showing this “hack.”

To give their eyelashes an extra lift, they used a blow dryer on their lashes.

Just like hair, users wet their lashes and blasted them on the “cool” setting, according to one expert named Sophia. After using primer, she repeats.

Even though the dryer is “cool,” experts warned this popular trend could lead to skin damage like corneal abrasions or excessive dryness.