Sideswipe: March 4: Remembering teen mags

Before the internet, what did teenagers do? Pore over the latest teen magazines … teen pin-up of the day, advice on how to get a boyfriend, how to be popular and, of course, “makeovers”.

1. I remember a page that consisted of readers accidentally showing people their sanitary towels, or sneezing while walking past their “crush” in the street … they were just manuals on how to get boys to notice you! (With a free clear lip gloss, of course.)

2. And having a spot was the worse thing ever. If you hadn’t prevented said spot then you better go to great lengths to cover it up or your crush might see and fancy your friend instead. I unfortunately lapped all this up until I was about 15. The only thing I think I was sceptical about was the “True Life Stories”, which I suspect were written by people who worked at the magazine. Always a cautionary tale about getting into a car with an older boy who was a joy rider and the poor girl in the story ended up losing a leg or something awful!

3. I was a teenager in the 90s. One particular article I remember was about how to look good when sunbathing on the beach. Their top tip was to dig a recess in the sand to put your bum and thighs in so the fat doesn’t get squashed out to the sides and therefore you look thinner.

4. There was one calledMy Guy – full of pictures of brooding teens in stonewashed denim, white T-shirts and leather. All the girls had perms and the boys had floppy long hair.

5. I’m sure I read one of the tips on how to get your crush to notice you was try and discreetly spray his school bag with your Impulse spray so that he would be reminded of the smell of you. Can just imagine stalking a poor boy in the corridors trying to get close enough to fumigate his belongings with Vanilla Impulse?

You saved me in your phone as what?

1. I have my husband in my phone as “Probably Peter” since he’s the only one who calls. If it rings, it’s probably Peter.

2. In my daughter’s phone I’m listed as “Birth giver”.

3. My daughter has me in her phone as “my creator”.

4. I’m listed as “Mothership”.

5. My husband has me as “Babe” … I’m 65.

6. At university a classmate passed out in a bar and it took an hour to find his wife in his phone because she was listed as “Panda”.

7. My wife and I gave each other “rapper” names in our phones early in our relationship … to this day I am “D-Money” and she is “$tephy $teph”.

Living up to the stereotype

Amy writes: My previous landlord doesn’t want to give me a reference because it was an inconvenience that I moved out. “Dear Amy, I was surprised to hear from you after a few months. This puts us in an awkward position. If we answer the questions of your perspective rental agency honestly it would be number 1: yes you did pay your rent on time. You were quiet and did keep the apartment reasonably clean. The problem is the question would we rent to you again. The honest answer is no, because although you were legally able to leave with two months’ notice, it cost us considerable hardship to have to try and rent in the middle of winter. Therefore, it may be better if I did not respond to the agency for a request for a reference.” (Via Letters of Note)

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