The Teen I Want To Be

Teen I Want to Be coverThe Teen I Want To Be: Secrets To Modeling, Make-up, Fashion, Hair Styles

Submitter: The real title of this should probably be “The Teen My Mother Wants Me To Be.” She’s trying to claim this was a school project but judging from the writing inside I was in 6th grade when I got this. (Yes, I couldn’t spell “pretty” correctly in 6th grade, apparently. Nor “blonde.” To be fair I was going through some things and just Did Not Care at that point.) And since my 6th grade teacher believed that people should take a bath once every 3 days and never use antiperspirant or mouthwash – according to her Listerine was poisoning our water table – I sincerely doubt she gave this to any of us girls as a school project. (She also used to say that robots were going to take over all our jobs and it was all Reagan’s fault and that we’d all die in the coming ice age due to global cooling.)

Holly:  This is not a self-esteem booster.  It feels like a “you’re not good enough but if you try these techniques you might have some friends” book.  It is also too old to be useful or interesting to today’s teenagers.  (It doesn’t tell you how to get more Facebook friends, so it’s basically useless.)

Teen I Want to Be back cover

Teen I Want to Be introduction

The best me size

the best me shape


  1. Hahahaa… I was totally given this book when I was a teen in the 90s and completely committed to the grunge lifestyle. Needless to say this book spent it’s life as a coaster.

  2. Completely different that when I was a teenager – I had to put stockings on one at a time and make sure the garters were fastened properly. Sheesh. Thanks for making me fell older…

  3. “The Best Me Shape” is killing me with its either/or mentality. Either you have smooth and shapely thighs, or you’ve got thunder thighs! Either you have a firm chin, or you are Jabba the Hutt!

    Also, I don’t care how popular pantyhose are again now because Kate Middleton is wearing them – you do NOT wear pantyhose with sandals (“sandalfoot” sounds like some kind of fungal infection you get from doing just that).

  4. I never had this book, but I had one very much like it that gave instructions and menu plans for a 1200 calorie/day diet. Because apparently learning how to be anorexic was an important part of being a happy, well-adjusted teenage girl.

  5. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any teens today wearing slips. In fact I’m pretty sure there weren’t any teens wearing slips when I was a teen in the late 90s. I personally owned ONE slip in high school and that was only because my grandmother gave it to me in 5th grade for a dress I had to wear and I barely grew after that.

    And shoot… camisoles… those are things teenage girls wear as shirts now!

    Also, pantyhose are awful… I never liked wearing them and never will. On occasion I might wear a pair of black tights, but most of the time I’d rather have cold legs.

  6. Since this is from my personal library I’ll freely admit that this is mine. At least until it “accidently” finds it’s way into the fireplace.

    I would never wear a dress without nylons and yes, that includes if I’m wearing strapy/open toed shoes. Don’t care how bad people think it looks, it makes me feel good. I use pantaloons/bloomers instead of slips though.

    Still, I feel this book was another one of mom’s trying to change me. Seriously, folks, you should the knock down, drag out fights we’ve had over my refusal to wear eyebrow pencil, or eye makeup in general. And I wear my clothing a size or more too large. She’s always quoting Stacy & Clinton to me. Even though she knows I hate them and if I was to get a make over it would be from someone I respect like Tim Gunn.

    You should see the stretching exercises. No, I won’t scan them. You have to find your own copy. Just think “Woman with big hair in 80s leotard.”

    Jusskind – Trust me, you don’t. My 6th grade teacher was a horrible person. She used to tell me what a horrible person I was because I bathe every single day. According to her I was the one solely responsible for the hole in the Ozone layer. We were all suppose to get free lessons in the musical instrument of our choice. I wanted the violin because I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. She told my mom my fingers were too stubby but to me she said, “The violin is too complicated and you’re too stupid to learn it.”

    I wasn’t the only student she destroyed either. Over the years so many kids left her class with their self esteem so low they were flunking out of jr. high and causing all sorts of trouble. They couldn’t fire her, so they demoted her to 4th grade thinking that would give them two years to build up the kids who’s fragile egos she tore apart.

    It was the 80s/early 90s, you didn’t fuss about teachers back then, apparently. Not like they started to do later on in the 90s.

    One thing on the violin story – I took it as an adult for a few months to get it out of my system. The man teaching me, who I had told the story to, turned to me one day and said, “It’s too bad you never took this as a kid. If you had you’d be REALLY good by now!”

  7. @Jami, since it looks like you filled out several parts of the book, do you remember if you took it seriously at the time, or were you just trying to humor your mom? Just curious! It seems like there were a lot of books like this for girls in the 80s. Ugh.

  8. Yet another book that gives the message “You are not OK just the way you are. You are either perfect or terrible, nothing in between.” Yuck. Teenage and pre-teen girls do not need this type of books.

  9. I did it mostly to humor mom, though it does look in some places like a teacher corrected some parts. I read in class a lot when my work was done and teachers, even ones who didn’t like me, were always interested in what I was reading.

    Mom used to subscribe me to all sorts of teen fashion magazines too. Plus there was this weird thing – three ring binder with different categories. They’d send a new packet every month to put in there. One month would be diet, another exercise, hair, make up, etc. I wonder if it’s packed away somewhere. That one bugged me for another reason. Money was tight at one point and mom had to cancel the subscription, so it was never completed. I hated it, but I wanted it completed. I can be a little OCD about some things.

  10. Lingerie wardrobe sounds perfectly sensible to me! Unless you are aiming for “full transparency”!

  11. OMG I had this book! I’m sure I took it seriously too. No wonder I had such self-hatred as a teen. I was 12/13 when this book came out.

    I seem to remember it coming with some book-a-month club my mom subscribed me to. But I could be wrong.

  12. No wonder kids felt crappy about themselves. I like it when people write in the books,I know I shouldn’t say this,but it’s funny.

  13. This is so sad. Being in middle and high school was and is hard.

    Thank God Sassy Magazine finally came along, because the magazines were pretty much like this book until then. I hope there are some good things available to today’s girls. (RIP Sassy)

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