Dear Teen Me,
Yes, you there.
You in the horn-rimmed glasses in your stupid millwheel hat. You knew you’d look totally dumb wearing that to a carnival party, didn’t you? And now you sit there hating the music, hating the people who dragged you there, hating your hair, your figure, your baggy tapered jeans and most of all your glasses. Yes, I know all that. I remember the whole damn evening, when they seemed to play nothing but Salt’n’Pepa, Rozalla and KLF. What did you think they’d play, Paul McCartney, or Elvis Costello? What did you expect the boys would do – would they suddenly notice you with that millwheel hat when they never noticed you before? I bet they noticed the hat, I’ll give you that. It's probably one of the things that makes them give you such a wide berth. Who’d snog someone who looks as if she’s ten? And be honest, do you really want to have someone shoving his tongue past your tonsils, the way they’re doing it all around you? Bet the mineral water you are drinking doesn’t help the coolness factor one bit. And sorry to disappoint you, but Sprite with a shot of deKuyper isn’t that cool either.
And yet I remember this too – I remember that you walked home again that night, alone, but stubborn. I salute you for that and I’m proud of you. You told yourself if nobody had ever noticed you (read: fallen madly in love with you) they didn’t deserve you. You refused to adapt, refused to be who you didn’t want to be. You didn’t break into tears when they teased you for your glasses, at least not in public. You kept liking music and books and other things nobody else liked. You kept shouting for Bayer Leverkusen although boys were scared of girls with short hair and football scarves and the girls rolled their eyes at you. You kept reading books on Ancient Rome, telling yourself to get a grip on yourself, Hannibal had a worse time. You stoically stared in front of you when the other girls giggled, remembering last night’s telephone joke when they dared a guy to phone you up to say he wanted to date you. As if that idea was so incredibly outrageous that it passed for a joke all by itself.
Let me tell you something. I know our mother has already told you this, but maybe you’ll believe it coming from me.
It gets better.
A few years from now, they’ll re-invent boot-cut jeans, and baggy t-shirts will go out of fashion. You'll suddenly look slim and sexy in boot-cut jeans and fitting t-shirts. It's just that those eighties leftovers didn't suit you. (Did they suit anyone?)
Glasses will be cool. (And until they’re horn-rimmed again, there are nice and slender ones.) And you know those things people despise you for? Fantasy, Tolkien, football, Ancient History, art?
Suddenly, those things will make you interesting.
And that other thing Mum told you – she was right with that, too. Yes, it’s tough being seventeen and looking as if you’re ten. But let me tell you, it’s great fun being thirty-seven and looking as if you’re twenty-five. And those girls who played tricks on you and called you “Fatty Dumbo” for reasons known only to themselves? You’ll see their photos on “stayfriends” or Facebook and do double-takes before you recognize them.
So, yes, of course, you’ll have questions.
Yes, you will get through school. Easily. No, Maths won’t be your strong suit, but you have English and Latin to push your marks. And you will get through University just as easily. And yes, English and Latin teachers will be high in demand in the early 2000s.
Yes, a boy will notice you eventually. He’ll do more than notice you. He’ll marry you and you’ll have two gorgeous kids. But I haven’t told you the best yet: He plays D&D and reads Fantasy.
No, Crowded House won’t be around any more. But watch out for the rise of Britpop over the next few years.
Aaaah… I’d hoped you wouldn’t ask that. No, I'm sorry. Bayer Leverkusen will not win the league in the next twenty years either. I’m awfully sorry.
But you know… there’ll be more important things in life. Seriously.