Okay, I admit it. I’m fairly old. I was too young for Woodstock, but I’m old enough to have children in college, and I was a VERY late bloomer, having not married until I was 30. The good thing about having children relatively late in life is that keeping up with them has kept me young.
This is especially true when it comes to keeping pace with my teenage daughter, who likes to think of herself as an expert on all things Paris/Britney/Lindsey/Kim etc. It wasn’t so long ago that I was annoying her on trips to the library by sitting in the teen section and reading every recent issue of Teen People, Cosmo Girl, Teen Vogue, and Twist on the rack. I had to find a path into her adolescent mind, so I studied these publications intently, as if they were the Holy Grail and the Rosetta Stone all rolled into one.
Eventually, I learned some of the common lingo. Girls didn’t have crushes on boys anymore, like when I was young. No, the term ‘crush’ has morphed from a noun into a verb; now girls ‘crush on’ the object of their affection. (That leaves me with a vision of a teen boy as flat as a pancake on the asphalt.) Nowadays, the cute boys are “hotties” and not “foxes.” (I so miss the 70s…) I was pleased to find that what little reading material there was, wedged between slick ads for lip gloss, trendy clothes, and feminine protection, was truly sassy and smart. It was all easy to read, and I could see how the tone of these publications can be enticing to pre-teens and teenagers.
Like that devil, Disney TV, teen magazines are insidious. They offer plenty of clothes and cosmetics, comprehensive tips on snaring and keeping a boyfriend, cheeky language, and personal revelations of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to someone. (God forbid! These girls are only fourteen!) By the way, that’s another hallmark of a teen magazine – reckless overuse of exclamation points and lots of italicized and bolded script.
Now, I don’t mind sassy and smart. In fact, I like to think of myself as a slightly mature version of sassy and smart. Like a fine wine, with time my tongue and wit have developed a rosy bouquet, an expressive taste of both tannin and berries, and a fairly sweet finish. However, I am finding myself a bit perturbed. Perhaps because I AM old, I have found a problem with some of the lingo. I mean, really. When did impending babies-to-be get downgraded to mere “bumps?”