Being a teen sucks, #6

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#6: Halloween is just an excuse to get slutty.

You can wear anything at my school, within reason. Technically the school district has a dress code, but at my delightfully lax high school the only surefire way to be sent home is if you like, don’t wear a shirt. In fact, some girls regularly wear leggings in lieu of pants; just imagine what they wear on Halloween, the day of absolutely no wardrobe guidelines! Actually, it’s unfair of me to harp only on the girls, as the guys are often offenders, as well (a borderline obese band geek dressed as Tarzan in a skimpy, thong-y loincloth). The bottom line is, the majority of students get pretty damn trampy on H-day.

You see, excluding the puppies and unicorns bunch, Halloween– like most major holidays– is about sex. During the school year there are some parties on weekends, but they are mostly small affairs: moderate house parties, bonfires on the beach. And in the summer, so many people are out of town that it becomes difficult to build gatherings of any kind. On only a few occasions do high school parties really get crazy: post-prom, 4/20, and the more conventional holidays (New Years, Spring Break, and Halloween). These parties are about sheer scale: huge spaces, large amounts of alcohol, and tons of people, thus ample opportunities for hooking up. On Halloween, teens get drunk enough to do people they normally wouldn’t. But in order to make these catches, they first need to be really, really attractive.

Enter the slutty costume. Most of them aren’t horribly revealing, but I find the principle of sexy costumes simply too trashy to be fun– what would Alice say (Disney’s, not the star of the ’70s porn musical) if she saw the travesties girls wear in her honor? To me, Halloween is about assuming a persona through accurate dress, not sexing up a normally innocent character. Last year I went as Waldo/Wally, in a striped shirt from Ross, face-paint glasses, and a striped beanie I sewed myself. This year I’m going as the Paper Bag Princess— pretty prudish as costumes go. Maybe this is why I’m not getting much ass on H-day; when it comes to high school and the art of attraction, it pretty much uniformly comes down to showing cleavage and thighs. But for now, I’m sticking with my not-so-exciting costume. Sure, my boobs will never be as perky as they are now, but that doesn’t mean I should flash all thirty-two kids in my AP English class! I’m gonna go to a couple parties (finally, Halloween’s on a Friday night!) in my shapeless paper bag, with or without hookups, and pity my friends who have to take the ACT the very next morning.

I’ve accepted the fact that my peers will look like hos this Friday, but I still think it’s really sad, that when you google “slutty halloween costumes” you get 665,000 results. That’s two hundred thousand more results than you get if you google soporific! There should be more sleepiness and less sluttiness on Halloween.


Written by jane

October 28, 2008 at 11:11 PM

Being a teen sucks, #5

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#5: Phrase t-shirts.

I attended middle school from 2002 to 2005, when in my opinion Hot Topic really had its heyday. The tweens of the early 00’s wore pre-ripped jeans, studded belts, and phrase t-shirts; this explains why I kissed maybe two guys before I reached fourteen. Upon entering high school I hoped that my peers would outgrow the fashion, and to some extent my wish came true; most of my guy friends now wear plain t-shirts or button downs. However, there’s still a large contingent of teens who proudly display “If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling” on their chests.

Picture this scenario: you’re at a bonfire and a nice guy from a private school starts talking to you. He looks a little PacSun, but it turns out he’s reading Les Mis, which you’ve read three times! You’re excited. Things get warm by the fire so he unzips his jacket and suddenly, you’re staring at

Really, really not hot.

In my experience, the guys who wear these shirts tend to be douche bags. Example #1: In the eighth grade my very first boyfriend, whose trademark was his “Procrastinators unite… tomorrow” shirt broke up with me after four days to be with my gym-class enemy (come to think of it, she wore some phrase shirts, too!). Example #2: Soon after Procrastination Boy broke up with me, I got to know a guy whose spirit resided in a Spam shirt, which he wore at least once a week. On a group trip around Europe, Spam Boy lost his passport, delaying a good 150 people to the airport and eventually causing a chaperone to have to stay with him in Holland for an extra two days. It takes a certain kind of person to wear a phrase t-shirt, usually those who relish the notion of a shirt as a trademark, an identity.

While I’m on the subject of shirts, another chronic offender on my list is the manufactured vintage shirt, which comes in many forms: the acid-washed Woodstock shirt from Target, the Harvard ’75 shirt from Alloy, the ’50s roller rink tee. If your dad really was on the Ward Melville chess team in 1965, go ahead and wear the shirt. But otherwise, skip it.

You can shop at American Apparel without being a hipster; you can shop at Abercrombie without being racist. I mean, I bought a pair of green converses from Hot Topic in 2005 (it sucks, how few stores stock sizes smaller than a 6.5). But if you asked me what store I frequent, I definitely would not mention HT. Its association with phrase shirts is just too embarrassing.

Written by jane

September 15, 2008 at 6:22 PM

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Being a teen sucks, #3-4

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#3: Underage clubs as entertainment.

Underage clubs, or I should say, sad gymnasiums and Jewish Community Centers that host dances for sweaty teenagers once a month, are not cool. I live in San Francisco, a city that I understand has a pretty decent club life (though as a minor, I’ve only been able to get into a few places). So I’m actually kind of surprised that there’s only one crappy teen club here, the Glow, whose mission statement is “For you and your friends to have a Safe and Fun night out,” capitalization original. Even if the establishment is trying to suck up to parents, it should really know better than to market safety to a group of teenagers. Like, “Hey, Ron, do you wanna do something Safe and Fun tonight? I heard that Glow has a great reputation– it even enforces a dress code!” What allure. Anyway, because they check every bag and kick you out if you act too loopy, Glow has not exactly become a hot spot among my peers. Not to mention the music never strays from whatever’s on the Top 40.

#4: Energy drinks.

Glow and its siblings serve two main beverages: soda and an energy drink called Red Bull. First of all, I don’t know why one would ever want to serve this shit. You group a hundred hormonal teenagers together, the majority of whom are already tipsy but not drunk enough to raise any suspicion at the doors, and now you want to make them hyperactive? And the logistics are just bad. At 80 mg of caffeine per serving, Red Bull gives you about as much energy as a small cup of coffee with milk. So of course you have to drink three or four cans of the stuff, and then not only do you have to pee, but you also might have a stroke! If they’re looking to make their visitors jittery, I don’t see why teen clubs can’t serve espressos; exploiting South American plantation workers is almost preferable to experiencing the sickeningly sweet taste of carbonated teen juice.

Written by jane

August 31, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Being a teen sucks, #2

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#2: The Twilight series.

When I first heard a couple of my peers talking about Twilight, I thought they were referring to the Twilight Zone. “Cool!” I thought. “I’m not the only person under fifty who tunes into the SciFi channel!” I was sadly mistaken. For those of you who are not familiar with this particular literary travesty, Twilight is, according to Wikipedia, a series of “vampire-based fantasy/romance/horror novels by American author Stephanie Meyer.” I think the description speaks for itself.

Basically, Twilight is the smutty story of Isabella Swan (…), a high school girl who falls in love with Edward, a vampire from a couple centuries ago. Of course, Edward just happens to be totally harmless– he’s a “vegetarian vampire,” meaning he doesn’t drink human blood. I can’t decide whether this makes him incredibly progressive or just decidedly non-vampirian. Anyway, Edward is a complete Mary-Sue: dark, handsome, smart, and perpetually young (he’s frozen at seventeen). The series consists mainly of Isabella fantasizing about Edward and the occasional Vampire!Drama. Here’s an excerpt from the back cover of one of the books:


Edward’s soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again.

This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mineā€”like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.*

How the hell is this book a New York Times #1 Bestseller? I have nothing against romance– in fact, most of my favorite books are love stories– but this is simply too cringe-worthy. In fact, I could only get through the first half of the first book. Teenagers looking to broaden their reading horizons should check out 1,001 Books, which includes some classics as well as engaging new reads like Jefferey Eugenides’s Middlesex. And few of these works are very complicated; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is probably no more difficult to read than a Harry Potter book.

* This back cover excerpt belongs to Stephanie Meyers.

Written by jane

August 31, 2008 at 1:51 AM

Being a teen sucks, #1

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#1: Being a teenager = being lumped in with those who write poetry.

Over the course of my public schooling I’ve come across several teachers who have urged me and my classmates to write for leisure. “It’s a creative outlet for your feelings,” they said. I don’t know about you, but I never liked to write poetry. In elementary school I read Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot and was appropriately horrified when I learned that the musical Cats is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, but that was the extent of my interest. And while I respect those young adults talented enough to have written themselves into the New Yorker, the majority of us have absolutely no gift for poetry and should not write it, ever.

However, it seems the shallow pains of high school are simply too great for my fellow teenagers to refrain from writing. I browsed Xanga, a blogging host with a mainly juvenile audience, for poems that support my argument against teens writing about their feelings. Here are the highest quality (read: correctly spelled) pieces I could find:

Poem by Nostalgic_Worries*
My life is filled with empty dreams and sleepless nights
I look at you eyes wide with fright
As I start to turn out the light
And face the monsters in the night.

Laying here alone and cold
You turned your back on the lies you told
Walking away with my heart in your hold
Making a statement that’s so very bold.

As my eyes begin to cry
No longer strong enough to try
Oh, how badly I want to die
Spread my wings, take off, and fly.

A good example of rhyming for the sake of rhyming. I really want to turn this into iambic pentameter (“My life is filled with empty dreams and nights“).

Untitled by Rcknrollangel__quotesx0x*
Every time you spoke
I could almost choke
with how much I wanted to believe
that you really did love me
you were such a lovely liar
and my need was dire

There are so many depressed teenagers in America, I almost feel bad for mocking them. I mean, trivializing others’ pain is a jerky thing to do, and I suppose it’s better that teens write than watch bad tv or hang out at 7-11. And yet… reading poems like this, I’m embarrassed to be part of the 13-20 demographic. In fact, I think my poetry assignment from fourth grade, which I rescued from the basement last week, is superior to these wallowings of self-pity. I had to write about an animal and came up with this:

The Lion
I am the Lion! I am fierce! I have teeth and claws that pierce!
If you meet me, you better run fast! Or else you’ll be my breakfast.
Run like the wind or you’ll be in fear, for I’ll eat you if you come near!
I’m a lion– I’m a big cat!

I labored for so long, especially over the spelling of “pierce”, and still couldn’t come up with a good rhyme for “run fast.” I mean, that was Fred Durst (rhyming “here” with “here”) caliber. The experience turned me away from any poetic endeavors; I don’t think I’ve attempted another piece since. But I still think “The Lion” and I could take poems by Nostalgic Worries or Rcknrollangel in a fight, any day.

For further reading, visit the hilarious blogring WRITE YOUR TEARS IN A POEM on Xanga (my one stop for everything teen). The group description reads, “Poems of pain. Poems of heartbreak. Poems of suicide. Poems of death. Poems of anguish. Poems of love. Poems of hate. Poems of tears. Poems of memories. Poems of blood. Poems of everything you have ever had to deal with.”

* Reprinted without permission.

Written by jane

August 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

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