Thursday, August 04, 2005

Getting in touch with my inner 13-year old girl

Time magazine this week has devoted something like 16 pages to what it's like being 13-years old in 2005. The articles should have come to the conclusion that it's probably just as lousy being 13 today as it was in 1982 (when the 19 Minutes staff was 13), or whenever the authors were 13. But as the media has accomplished with the Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y, and the "Greatest Generation", we now learn that today's 13-year olds are dealing with their own unique issues. Bullying by IM, for example.

The article doesn't mention whether today's 13-year olds manage to give and receive wedgies over instant messaging, nor whether they sneak cigarettes in a virtual breezeway, but I suppose we can all agree that the 7th and 8th graders of 2005 are all marvelously different beyond the comprehension of anyone from previous and future generations.

But the most interesting sidebar to the Time story is the "Gotta Have It" section, in which we learn what material possessions are de rigeur for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah-aged among us. And in the case of the 19 Minutes staff, it turns out that we haven't progressed all that much in the past 23 years - at least when it comes to our eating habits.

We learn that, among girls:

Coke is so ... everywhere. Dr Pepper is the alternative fizz.
Here in Public Radioland, we were just discussing whether it was possible to build a pneumatic tube to deliver Dr Pepper from the vending machines next door directly to the studios. To distinguish ourselves from today's 13-year olds, we may just have to revert to Moxie, an outstanding beverage in its own right (though a colleague has described it as a poor man's Dr Pepper), but one that's next to impossible to come up with in Arizona.

For boys, the gotta-haves include Snickers Doritos, Snapple, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, which could just as easily have all been included in a story about "Seinfeld" ten years ago.

But just when the 19 Minutes staff started worrying about getting wedgies ourselves, we also learned the boys are into trucker-style baseball caps and something called "Axe" body spray. And that allows smug outside observers such as ourselves to feel pleasantly superior, as we throw our empty bags of Doritos in the trash and go looking for another pint of Chunky Monkey.


Friends of McDougal said...

There is nothing more offensive than the mix of 13-yr-old hormonal stench drowned in any form of body spray, cologne, or spray-on deodorant.

In my day, it was Brut by Faberge.

Anonymous said...

...unless it's the stench of 13-year-old hormones drenched in body spray and mixed with Dorito breath!