Out And About
I'd like to thank Djb for handing off his copy of Seventeen to me so that I wouldn't have to buy it my own self. Seventeen grosses me out, not least because, in the dark pre-Sassy days of my early adolescence, I relied on Seventeen for yet more reminders that I didn't measure up and never would, that I needed it to answer questions I hadn't thought to ask. In the many moons since I languished through my fifteenth year, the magazine has updated its image somewhat, but it's mostly surface -- the cosmetic addition of Self-Consciously Hip Lingo Collected By Thirty-Eight-Year-Olds And Deployed In A Diabetes-Inducing Girl-Talk Manner hasn't changed the basic content of the magazine, which breaks down like this: Boys = Neat, But Scary! My Body = Icky, And Even More Scary! Clothes = I Need More Of Them, And The More Butterfly Appliqués, The Better! Yuck.
Anyway, the March 2001 issue -- the one with Shiri Appleby's terrifying cyborgian rictus "gracing" the cover -- contains a column in the "guys" section (note The Lowercase Letter Of Chummy Familiarity) called "dating dilemmas" (TLLOCF again), in which Seventeen's panel of "experts" take on the date circumstances "ranked highest on the blush-o-meter." Oh, god. The panel: a dating-service founder named Andrea McGinty, John Gray of Men Are From Mars fame, and Kerr Smith. A snapshot of Kerr appears above the panelists' bios, in which he looks like he's 1) made of injection-molded plastic, and 2) trying desperately not to yell "Not!" at the photographer. Also, his hair looks like a Q-Tip. A used one. In his bio, we learn that Kerr "has fun dating: 'Every relationship you get into, you learn something about dating -- and yourself.'" Thanks for that, Kerr -- or, more accurately, Kerr's publicist, because if Kerr Smith actually said those words, then NASA faked the moon landing and that parking-lot ankle-slasher urban legend is true.
On to the dilemmas. Dilemma 1: Your dream boy asks you out for a group hang, but it's bowling, and you suck at bowling. How this constitutes an actual dilemma of any kind, I have no idea, since everyone sucks at bowling, but here's Kerr's counsel: "Ask for pointers -- that will serve as an icebreaker. Any time a guy's in a position where he feels more knowledgeable than someone else, it's a chance to show his stuff." Oh my holy god -- did he just tell girls to ACT STUPID so that boys will LIKE THEM BETTER? I think he did. Or his publicist did, because "icebreaker"? Shut up, Kerr's publicist. Kerr's lips move while his publicist goes on to say that "[e]veryone stinks at bowling" and it's nothing to stress over, but still. Dilemma 2: You go to the movies with your new semi-boyfriend, and his ex turns up and comes over to say hi. Kerr and his publicist advise us to "be nice, be cool" and to "trust in the guy that their relationship is over." Okay, that's decent advice. It's also totally obvious, but at least it's not totally Scarlett O'Hara like the first one. Dilemma 3: On a first date at a diner, your date suggests that you split the bill. Oh, Jeebus, help me (tm Homer). People still consider this an issue? You order something, you pay for it. Der. Anyway, Kerr's publicist yanks on the strings and Kerr tells us to split it, but that we could also offer to cover the whole bill to see whether or not the guy "is cheap." Oh, hello, Scarlett. Can I get you anything? A curtain, perhaps? I mean ew. Also, shut up, Kerr's publicist.