Growing up, Seventeen represented everything I hoped to be when I was a teenager: confident, beautiful, fashion-forward, flirtatious. I remember hauling stacks of old issues to a big table at the library, reading quickly to absorb their wisdom before my mom found me–she thought the content was a little too “mature” for a girl my age. And though Seventeen wasn’t my favorite teen mag (anyone remember YM? BEST MAGAZINE EVER.), I idolized Atoosa Rubenstein (former Seventeen editor-in-chief and founder of CosmoGIRL!) and set my sights on working for the magazine when I grew up.
What I failed to realize was that the readers of Seventeen were actually mostly awkward 12-year-olds like myself. The girls who I aspired to be like when I was a teenager were probably actually reading Cosmo, but that’s another story. But I took everything within the pages of each issue of Seventeen as an unequivocal guide to how to live my life, not once questioning the validity of content written for 17-year-olds but read by their little sisters. Luckily, I’m now 20 years old and have seen the error in my ways, so I’m here to check out the “expert advice” Seventeen‘s spitting at our next generation of young women.
In this month’s issue, I learned such gems as “Switch to decaf drinks after 4 p.m.” (but Seventeen, that’s when I start drinking caffeinated drinks!) and the fact that Megan “Toe-Thumbs” Fox once held a job in a smoothie café that required her to wear a banana costume. Fascinating. But, as usual, the greatest inspiration was in the “Love Life” section of the magazine. I learned that confessing your undying love for your male best friend has absolutely no negative consequences, and that guys find it weird when you sneak into their rooms to await their return home. Who knew? But the greatest advice of all lies within a story entitled “Sneaky Ways to Tell He’s Secretly in Love with You,” because Lord knows 13-year-old girls weren’t already assuming that their secret crushes also love them back.
Seventeen Says: He finger-laces. When he grabs your hand, does he intertwine his fingers with yours? That tight grip is his way of communicating how tight your bond is too.
Norah Says: How else would he hold your hand? The hand-cupping method is just plain awkward, and more often than not, he’s holding your hand because you grabbed his first. Nothing says love like feeling obligated to grip someone else’s sweaty palm, right?
Seventeen Says: He has routines. Does your guy always end phone convos the same way? Those routines reinforce how important you are to him. If he didn’t see a real future with you, he wouldn’t make you such a regular part of his life!
Norah Says: Yes, I know it’s adorable that he texts “good night” before he goes to bed, but maybe he’s just wishing you a good night. And what happens when he says “sleep well” one night instead? By Seventeen‘s logic, that’s an obvious sign that he must not love you anymore. Here’s a tip, ladies: his lack of originality is not a cue that he wants to be with you forever. And who wants to have the same conversation every day anyway?
Seventeen Says: He uses the L word. When he starts to think his feelings for you are love, he’ll use the actual word more often in conversation. He’s testing out your reaction!
Norah Says: Or maybe he really does love Call of Duty. Unlike us, guys do not analyze every single word before they say it, so you can bet he’s not surreptitiously trying to throw the L word into your convos to subtly indicate his true desire to love you until the end of time. However, if he inserts the L word between the words “I” and “you,” it’s possible that he meant to say it.