With all the “That boy is sooooo fine!” “I’m going to sneak behind my mom’s back and start shaving my legs” “I can’t believe my best friend is going to try smoking… now I have to try too” “I think Bobby brushed my hand in Meeting For Worship (Quaker School, gotta love it) moments, being 12 was internally both exciting and excruciating.
But outwardly, it was boring as hell. Couldn’t date, couldn’t drive, couldn’t see any good movies, couldn’t party. The best option was to walk around the neighborhood (or, on your lucky days, the mall) and semi-flirt with Starter jacket clad boys / talk about the things you wish you could be doing if you were allowed.
And of course, there was always the option of sitting on the floor in a bookstore, drinking Café au Laits and riffling through magazines... which is what I did practically every weekend with my best friend in the whole world (who I just found out is moving to Ghana!!!).
We’d always go for the Big Three: Bop, Tiger Beat (which now appear to be one in the same) and the (apparently now defunct) Big Bopper. We’d spend hours crouched in the brand new Borders at the top of Philly’s Chestnut Hill, searching for posters of our favorite guys. Both of our bedrooms were wallpapered, floor to ceiling, with these touched up glamour shots – I even had my walls sectioned according to the crush.
I also kept a scrapbook, entitled (fittingly) The Cutest MEN of 1994. It housed all the greats of my time: Matthew Lawrence, Mike Vitar, Gabriel Damon, Luke Perry, Boyz 2 Men and my mega-crush, the late Jonathan Brandis - who actually signed my scrapbook after I stood in line for hours to meet him at the Philadelphia Car Show (I had the image to the right plastered on my wall for years... sigh).
Anyway, this Tiger Beat cover shown below is from ages ago, I know, but that doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this post because I’m still thinking about it. The whole thing is hilarious, no question, but isn’t it also borderline inappropriate for a teen (really PREteen) rag to feature a 47-year old man? With a caption placing him in his shower? NAKED? And the promise of MORE PERSONAL facts?
It’s too easy to imagine myself meticulously cutting out Obama smiling faces from magazines, taping them into my scrapbook and scribbling the caption “Obama is SO fine!” in purple marker next to each one. Because, for realz, that Giant Obama Poster would have definitely made it to the wall. Which is ridiculously ridiculous and just a tad terrifying.