What Seventeen Magazine Made Me Believe the High School Experience Would Look Like
As someone in her early twenties, I can confidently say that my taste in magazines has matured substantially. I read The New Yorker. I like Vogue. I relish my morning news. But there was a time in my life, as was for many people in my age range, when the media I consumed was a bundle of sugary buzzwords and exclamation points gift-wrapped around a monthly celebrity personality. Teen magazines like Seventeen offered content that was upbeat, irresistible, and possibly drizzled with crack cocaine.
And because I read it way before I was a bona fide teenager, Seventeen made high school look like the tits. And I totally bought it. Accompanied by my future BFF&E&E, savvy fashion game, popular boyfriend, and astute social awareness, Seventeen made me believe I was going to take over the world. Girl Power! So allow me to delve into my younger, more naïve psychology to explore the delusions of what, thanks to teen magazine media, I believed turning seventeen would be like.
Disclaimer: this might get weird.
-I am a flirting artiste, a true virtuoso. I type a winky face at the end of every sentence because doing so is entirely normal and socially acceptable. My skills have scored me three interested hotties thanks to the dating tips sprinkled across every page. Each one belongs to the only acceptable boyfriend categories: wistfully ambitious band member, cool yet earnest jock, and sensitive poet searching for the meaning of life. We have absolutely nothing in common but crushes, am I right?
-Absolutely every bright color matches when pulling an outfit together. Fun patterns? Animal prints? Those too! Besides the Seventeen fashion pages, Disney Channel sitcoms have been the single greatest beacon of fashion wisdom since the date of my conception.
-The first day of school as a teenager is the single most important day of my life. I will successfully pick out an outfit that lends to my laid-back personality, yet lets everyone know that I mean business because it’s a new year, new me. If my braces don’t come off before Day 1, I will fling myself off the high-dive pool and happily drown in pity texts throughout my stay at the nearby hospital.
-Thanks to those fun and flirty leg workouts, I’ll have a cute butt in no time! Genetics? What are those?
-There exists no acceptable fragrance that is not a celebrity fragrance. Seventeen told me so. Product placement has nothing to do with it!
-No way! I won a shopping spree at Candie’s and South Pole? Thanks, Internet! Can’t wait to buy that sideways newsboy hat that JLo wears. I hope it’s bedazzled! My relaxed side ponytail will make me look approachable yet trendy.
Now that my mom lets me buy makeup, the mascara I use maximizes the length of my eyelashes threefold, just like the ads told me. It’s like magic!
-My next boyfriend will look like an American Eagle model. Our rendezvous point will be somewhere in a field of barley at sunset. I will have never seen him wearing a shirt. He will wear loose-fitted cargo shorts (so hot right now!) and a puka necklace that he bought on his Royal Caribbean vacation.
-Just bought some Mane ‘n Tail. Can’t wait for my scalp to sprout lustrous strands of golden silk that will fan out behind me as I run toward my boyfriend across that barley field! The glare of the sun reflecting off my new long hair will render him speechless. He will propose to me immediately.
-I will be able to avoid every fuckboy that saunters my way after reading, “Is Your Crush a Myspace Player?” Someone named Jason posted a mirror pic of his abs on my profile? And he posted the same one on my BFF’s profile, too? Next!
-Garnier Fructis has every hair product I could ever need. Their mousse is the jizz of the gods.
-My virginity is a precious gift that should not be squandered on just any old boy. Good thing my crush is the love of my life!
-Achieving flat abs is directly correlated with self-confidence and how well my workout gear matches my Nikes.
-Clear skin requires a pulsing face brush, several hours of dead-arm, and a can-do-attitude! Better call for my Proactive soon, Jessica Simpson told me I need to order within the next five minutes or else I won’t get the limited time offer until the next commercial break!
-Absolutely nothing costs money to DIY, because I definitely have all the supplies in my craft closet.
-There are exactly five categories of personal style: bad-ass chic, girlie chic, sporty chic, preppy chic, and boho chic. It’s so hard to pick one that matches my personality—good things there’s a quiz for that!
-You can put glitter on anything—eyelashes, lips, fingernails, bellybuttons, the enamel of your teeth—you name it!
-The only acceptable book to read is one where there are no less than five kissing scenes, a surprise paranormal twist, and/or a juicy love triangle. What’s the point of reading if I’m not going to experience post-pubescent heat flashes?
-Hot Guy Panelist named Zach C. will always represent every male teen opinion ever. He said he likes when girls are spontaneous. He looks pretty cute in that thumbnail, maybe one day I’ll vacation in Cincinnati and spontaneously bump into him in his living room!
-Taylor Swift will have curly hair forever—it’s her signature look!
Feature photo by Hannah Briggs, @inthemomentsnapshot