Sixteen Things I Miss about Seventeen … and YM … and Teen

Somehow, I started getting Seventeen magazine in the mail. I did not ask for it, nor did I pay for it, but I was, at first, really excited. I miss the days when I read teen periodicals from cover to cover. But I was let down. It seemed way dumber that it had been in the past and was filled, unexpectedly, with clothing that actually looked pretty good. Worst of all, I had heard of very few of the so-called “celebrities” within its pages. It made me miss the late-’90s Seventeen … and YM and Teen and any lesser rags I bought on occasion. Here are the things I miss the most:

  1. Expert advice on how to apply glitter to one’s eyes, face, hair, shoulders …
  2. The amazing quizzes that let you know important things like whether he was crushing on you and which Spice Girl you were most like and whether you knew your STDs.
  3. Locker-ready photos of Leonardo DiCaprio, Gavin Rossdale, Jared Leto, and Prince William.
  4. Fashion spreads that once made me drool. How could I not lust after massively flared jeans, space-dyed everything, babydoll tops, spaghetti strap floral dresses, et al?
  5. Jenny McCarthy’s Candies ads. I liked when she was controversial for being tacky and not for putting children in harm’s way.
  6. Real investigative journalism that let you know what made the bomb (David Boreanez) tick and proved once and for all that Tyra’s tits were real.
  7. The body advice columns. Everyone was really concerned about tampons. Could it get lost inside you? Can you have sex with it in? Would it take away your virginity? Could it get you pregnant? (Sadly, no one has brought a Tampax on Maury. Yet.)
  8. Step-by-step instructions for getting your hair into a spiky updo, probably with two strands hanging down in front and copious amounts of tiny butterfly clips.
  9. The embarrassing stories columns. YM’s “Say Anything” was always the best because they had more poop-pee-period, while the other mags played it safe with make-out and awkward crush moment tales.
  10. Numerology. Horoscopes are pagan but that numerology stuff was the real deal.
  11. The special prom issues that came out in spring, which I always bought even though I was in middle school and, years later, skipped prom to read Faulkner.
  12. Hard-hitting confessionals of real-life teens who drove drunk and killed their boyfriends, got into drugs and went to rehab, got pregnant, overcame bulimia, quit smoking, or did any number of bad things that showed they were way more popular than I would ever be.
  13. Page after page of great accessories: platform flip-flops, tattoo chokers, furry pastel purses, rhinestone barrettes, and neon camo-print messanger bags.
  14. That one issue where they would feature a plus-size model (usually it was Mia Tyler), and then the rest of the time there were dieting tips, bulimia warnings, waifish models, and affirmations of inner beauty pulling me in too many directions.
  15. The coolest girls ever on the cover: Clare Danes, Alicia Silverstone, my girl Drew, Gwen Stefani, and Liv Tyler.
  16. Covers you loved drawing mustaches on. I knew Jennifer Love Hewitt was the worst way before she was on The Client List. And those copies I’m getting in the mail now? They are being put to good use by my kid and a Sharpie.

Anything I missed? Let us know in the comments!

You can contact Betsy, the author of this post, at

3 thoughts on “Sixteen Things I Miss about Seventeen … and YM … and Teen

  1. I definitely would watch that episode of Maury. Not that I’m discriminating as regards that particular art form, but still, it should be done.

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