Not only are the "retro" hair ties back in style, but girls are giving them to guys they think are cute, and they're turning up in household dryers all over the land...

By Maressa Brown
October 10, 2019
scrunchies and roses
Credit: Ewelina Robaczek/EyeEm/Getty Images

News flash: If you thought that scrunchies were forever relegated to the days when we listened to Alanis, wore flannel, and thought we were Angela Chase (or maybe you were more of an Allison or Rayanne, whatevs), think again. They're back, part of a late '80s and '90s-inspired aesthetic loved by teen and tween girls referred to as "VSCO," and they're actually being used for far more than throwing hair up in a messy bun. They're basically the tween equivalent of a Bachelorette rose. A viral Facebook post by a mom named Emily Covington recently highlighted the phenomenon for parents who might not be in the know.

Covington wrote, "PSA to ALL MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRL MOMS! Are you tired of wasting money on hair scrunchies? Feel like you're buying them every week? Wondering why your daughter can't keep up with them? Well, let me let you in on a little secret. They are being found in the dryer of every boy mom's home."

She went on to joke that she's "about to start a lost and found page for them on Facebook or better yet, return them to school with a love note for me."

The reason they're piling up in Covington's—and other parents' homes? "Apparently, it's cool to give your scrunchie to someone you think is cute," she wrote. The post accompanied a shot of "a stash" of scrunchies that her son has "racked up just this week." (Oh, hey, Adolescent Casanova!)

She concluded, "So, basically stop wasting your money and clogging up my dryer."

The post has racked up over 6K reactions and 47K shares with commenters chiming in confirming the trend. One wrote, "Girl, yes!!! Colt came home with four on his arm. I told him to give them back." Another shared, "Omg, our girl came home with her boyfriend’s hoodie today and out of the blue said, 'I want to get some scrunchies!'"

A Reddit thread from March confirmed the phenomenon, as well. One Redditor noted, "As a dude with a scrunchie, I can tell you that it’s most likely from a girl who either likes him/goes out with him and is claiming him." Another offered an origin story, suggesting the scrunchie giveaway as a flirtatious move started with Netflix's To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which was released last fall. In it, there's a whole dramatic plotline based around a scrunchie, who gave it to who, and who's dating who.

Used to be teen guys would give their girlfriend a pin, ring, or letterman's jacket to denote that they were a couple, but leave it to Gen Z to take an antiquated tradition and flip the gender roles. A perpetual pile of scrunchies might very well be a headache for parents like Covington, but props to the tween girls who are boldly making plays for the guys they're into. Guess we always knew scrunchies radiated girl power.