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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Saturday
Mar122011

« In Which This Is Not About Love »

  How To Make Up Your Own Mind

by DURGA CHEW-BOSE

Based on font alone, YM was the lesser Seventeen. Italic serif trumps squat sans-serif any day. More accurately, toting a magazine whose title spoke to a future, more seasoned age, far outweighed one that might pass for a daytime soap or a new, travel-size tampon ad campaign.

But YM had the juice! They had free numerology booklets, Britney in a diamond-filled bathtub, Ryan & Reese in multiple issues, more contests, more MTV, more visible tattoos, and cheesier Photoshop — at the time, a good thing. They also featured a higher count of dimply, floppy haired boys on their covers: Barry, Devon, Gavin, Scott, Matt. So in that spirit, here are a few vague abstractions, a "Where Are They Now?" if you will.

"The Audible Knuckle-Cracker"

In a bi-coastal long distance relationship

Masterly maneuvers inside lining tears in her peacoat sleeves

Had a pet snake as a kid and named it Palindrome

When complimented about her piano hands she reflexively lies and complains about her fictional childhood piano teacher Thérèse

Untangles gold chains for friends when she's high

Equates talking about the annals of finding suitable work clothes to talking about the weather

Answers the phone with "Sup" or "Yo"

"The Braided Bed Head"

Always opts to sit on the floor

Has an ongoing theory about pets looking like their owners with the exception of celebrities

Takes pants-less Photobooth pictures of herself in her Ecru-Tulipe Saint James long sleeve

Recommends that everyone read Marguerite Yourcenar's Alexis

Has a fantastic sense of direction and can gauge if you respond better to points of compass or landmark routes

Things she hates that people assume she loves: botanical tattoos, Nicole Krauss books, marzipan, impromptu hula hooping

L-shaped couches give her bad vibes

"The Future Jenna Lyons"

Can switch from blonde to brunette seamlessly

Takes an adderall and then pops her pimples, plucks her eyebrows, and bids on trompe-l'œil eBay serving dishes

Lieutenant jackets, Ikat weaving, chunky statement jewelry

Has a twin brother that she rarely mentions; as kids they were Lands' End catalogue models

Is always caught skulking in photographs or lifting things with claw hands

Was worried Chanel Vamp nail polish would get discontinued again so she stashed a supply in her closet

Has low blood pressure

"The Clinique Happy"

Still collects Sanrio cell phone charms

Mouths the words as she reads on the subway

Three beers in, she'll request Soulja Boy and flawlessly execute the "Crank That" dance

Wears her mother's college graduation ring

Has no patience for people who stand on escalators

Never got the whole Winona Ryder thing

Her How-To "Cake Icing Technique" video has 427, 131 hits on YouTube

"The Girl with a Boy's Name"

Can only read in bed if she's wearing a headlamp

Describes her extended family using a wine lexicon: Acetic, Aggressive, Bold, Dry, Nutty, and Corked

Dresses up as either a cat or an iPod for Halloween

When discouraged about life she refers to her Model UN plenary address from junior year

Always has her shawl collar oversized Harris tweed blazer

On days when she occasionally wears mascara, friends of her parents sigh emphatically and tell her that she looks like Natalie Wood

Has especially postural Kyphosis in a dress

Seventeen was treated like a nonrival good. Passed around from sleepovers to backpacks to bio class to cafeteria huddles, the magazine was rarely read alone and circulated with the same urgent mien of teenage insecurity. Questions about Like vs. Lust vs. Love, prom, parents, back to school layering, and ratifying horoscopes, were asked and then answered in one sweeping quiz, personal essay, or celebrity interview.

Especially iconic were the covers: a close-up of Jennifer Love-Hewitt cozied in her white turtleneck, Claire Danes crouching in a pink trench with Mod Squad 'tude, Reese Witherspoon sprawled on a chaise lounge, a Drew Barrymore cut-out from Ever After, Jordana Brewster! Brad Renfro! They just don't make 'em like they used to. Luckily, I dug up some old covers and added a few extra trimmings for good measure.

"The New Me!"

Contemplating buying a pair of "Brilliant Blue" colored contacts

Determined to find the pink Gwyneth Oscar gown for prom

From here on out, no more smiling in pictures. Just pout.

Entrepreneurship vs. Environmentalism? Hmm...

Often seen twirling car keys

"The Cat Woman"

Self publishing comic zine based on Queen Cordelia

Family friends often remark, "You're looking more and more like your mother!"

Secretly already have an outfit planned for Accepted Students Day

Bored by girls who are only now obsessing over Christiane F.

“The Twister”

Parents are upstairs

Apparently there’s a boy who’s coming who might spike the punch

The girls know all the words to "The Boy is Mine"

Count four pairs of dELiA*s platform Mary Janes

Later, Donna Martin Popcorn Ice Cream in bed while reading Little Girl Lost

“Doing Homework On the Bed”

Middle part, no eyeliner, no mascara, just ChapStick

Uses Rhodia notebooks

Surprises everyone and auditions for the lead in the school play

Reads her mother’s copy of To Kill A Mockingbird instead of the one handed out in class

Likes resting face on cold surfaces like marble countertops

"The Pre-Haircut"

Summer before college road trip with Mom to The Mount

Rosy cheeked after one glass of red wine

Recites The Gettysburg Address as nerve pacifying technique before tests or first dates

Romanticizes growing up in a suburb subdivision

Durga Chew-Bose is the senior editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She last wrote in these pages about list-keeping. She twitters here and tumbls here.

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"Seven (The Twelves Remix)" - Fever Ray (mp3)

"Not In Love" - Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith of The Cure (mp3)

"My Name Is Trouble" - Keren Ann (mp3)

"Not About Love" - Fiona Apple (mp3)

References (2)

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  • Response
    Response: llHmPTsp
    In Which This Is Not About Love - Home - This Recording
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    Response: my review here
    Terrific Website, Keep up the great work. Thank you.

Reader Comments (4)

all of these covers were totally burned in my mind

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

also I keep thinking that headline says "sexual pleasure" and then remembering that these are magazine covers for teenage girls, so it actually says "sexual pressure."

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

god I just can't stay away, can I

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

this fever ray remix is incredible. thanks!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternsp

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