18 Shocking Habits From the ’70s That Would Leave Millennials Speechless

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The 1970s were a decade marked by cultural shifts, social upheaval, and unique habits that defined a generation. From fashion choices to societal norms, the ’70s were a time like no other. As we look back, it’s easy to see how much has changed since then, especially when comparing the habits of that era to those of millennials today. Here are 18 shocking habits from the ’70s that would undoubtedly leave millennials speechless.

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Smoking Everywhere

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In the 1970s, smoking was not only widespread but also socially acceptable in various public settings like airplanes and hospitals. Millennials would be astonished by the presence of this habit, considering the drastic shift in societal attitudes towards smoking and the implementation of stringent anti-smoking laws. 

Drinking and Driving

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In the 1970s, drinking and driving were far more common and accepted compared to today. Unlike the strict laws and awareness campaigns surrounding DUIs now, the ’70s saw a lax attitude towards the dangers of combining alcohol and driving. With fewer consequences and less social stigma attached to the practice, people often thought nothing of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. 

Lack of Seatbelts

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In the 1970s, seatbelt usage wasn’t mandated, leading to a lax attitude towards road safety. Unlike today’s strict enforcement and public awareness campaigns, many drivers and passengers traveled without wearing seatbelts. This lack of restraint contributed to a higher risk of injury or death in car accidents. 

No Internet or Cell Phones

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In the 1970s, the absence of the Internet and cell phones meant communication relied on traditional methods. People used landline phones, wrote letters, or engaged in face-to-face interactions. Unlike today’s instant connectivity, accessing information was slower, requiring library visits or flipping through encyclopedias. The lack of online resources limited the speed and breadth of research. 

Limited TV Channels

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In the 1970s, television viewers had limited options, with only a handful of channels available for entertainment. Families gathered around the TV set to watch scheduled programming, often restricted to a few hours per day. Unlike today’s vast streaming services offering on-demand content, individuals had to plan their viewing around fixed broadcast schedules. This meant waiting for specific shows to air and missing out on the convenience of binge-watching the entire series at their leisure. 

Physical Encyclopedias

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In the 1970s, accessing information meant relying on physical encyclopedias or visiting libraries. Unlike today’s instant access to limitless information through search engines, researching involved flipping through volumes of encyclopedias or consulting reference books. Without the convenience of digital platforms, learning and gathering information were more time-consuming and required more significant effort. 

Casual Attire in the Workplace

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In the 1970s, workplace attire was notably more relaxed than today’s corporate culture. Casual clothing like jeans and T-shirts was widely accepted, challenging the formal dress codes in many modern workplaces. This more laid-back approach reflected a shift in societal norms, emphasizing comfort and individual expression over traditional professional attire. 

Drive-In Movies

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In the 1970s, drive-in movies were a popular form of entertainment where families would watch films projected onto a large screen outdoors. Unlike traditional theaters, drive-ins offered a unique experience of watching movies under the stars while surrounded by the comfort of their vehicles. This communal activity fostered a sense of togetherness and nostalgia, creating cherished memories for many. 

Physical Maps for Navigation

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In the 1970s, navigating unfamiliar terrain relied solely on physical maps without GPS or digital assistance. Travelers meticulously planned routes, unfolded large paper maps, and deciphered complex road networks. Getting lost was a genuine concern, prompting reliance on guidebooks and asking locals for directions. 

Rotary Phones and Payphones

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In the 1970s, before mobile phones, payphones were essential public communication devices located on street corners, malls, and other public spaces. Users inserted coins into the payphone to make a call, and rates varied depending on the duration and distance of the call. 

Lead-Based Paint

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In the 1970s, lead-based paint was commonly used in homes and buildings despite its health risks. Unlike today’s stringent regulations, lead-based paint posed a significant hazard, especially to children who might ingest paint chips or inhale lead dust. The toxicity of lead was not widely recognized until later years, prompting government intervention and bans. 

No Bicycle Helmets

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In the 1970s, bicycle helmets were virtually non-existent, unlike today’s strict safety measures. Children freely rode bicycles without the protection of helmets, unaware of the risks involved. Unlike the present-day emphasis on safety, the absence of helmet laws meant that head injuries from cycling accidents were more common. 

Limited Food Options

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In the 1970s, food options were more limited than today’s diverse array. Families typically relied on traditional, home-cooked meals, often centered around meat, potatoes, and vegetables. International cuisines were less common, with fewer restaurants offering ethnic dishes. Processed and convenience foods were also less prevalent, with home cooking being the norm. 

Manual Typewriters

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In the 1970s, typewriters were the primary tool for writing and office work, predating the widespread use of computers. Typewriters required manual operation, with users pressing keys to imprint characters onto paper. Typists had to possess skill and accuracy, as errors required correction through white-out or correction tape. Ribbons needed regular replacement, and maintenance was crucial for smooth operation.

Polite Dinner Etiquette

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In the 1970s, formal dinner etiquette was more prevalent, emphasizing proper table manners and attire. Unlike today’s casual dining norms, dinners were often occasions for families or social gatherings where decorum was expected. This included using utensils correctly, observing polite conversation, and dressing appropriately. The emphasis on etiquette reflected a cultural value placed on manners and social grace, shaping how people interacted at the dinner table. 

Vinyl Records and Cassette Tapes

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In the 1970s, vinyl and cassette tapes dominated music consumption. Music enthusiasts cherished their collections of vinyl records, enjoying the tactile experience of selecting albums and placing the needle on the spinning disc. Cassette tapes offered a portable alternative, allowing music lovers to create mixtapes and listen on the go with their Walkman or boombox. 

Limited Environmental Awareness

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In the 1970s, environmental awareness was less prevalent than today, leading to less concern for conservation and sustainability. Practices like indiscriminate littering, pollution, and resource depletion were standard, with little regard for long-term consequences. 

Smaller Portions

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In the 1970s, portion sizes were generally smaller than today’s norms. Meals served at restaurants and prepared at home often consisted of more modest portions, reflecting a different attitude towards food consumption. Unlike the prevalent super-sized meals and snacks common today, there was less emphasis on overindulgence and excess. 

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