I Tried the Cool Teenager Diet

Gotta relive those glory days somehow


Back in my day, those looking to reclaim their youth would simply suck the blood from a nearby child or get Botox or something. Now, thanks to social media, it is so much easier.

I will be 28 in less than two months from this story’s date of publish. Construct or not, 28 is a nothing age; it’s not a milestone in the way that 25 was or 30 will be. I’ve had gray hairs since I was a kid, disliked loitering since I was 12 and I accepted my mortality the moment I experienced a hangover for the first time, which means 28 is nothing to panic about. It’s kind of a snooze. Even my parents are like, “Who are you? Who cares?”

SO, I decided to regress. For one week I’d try to be a teenager. A cool teenager, because what other kind is there. (Rhetorical question, hence the intentional lack of punctuation’s ear.) Here’s a question I did need to ask, though: how do I “be” one?

Tell every front lawn owner who doesn’t want to shovel his or her car out of the driveway after a snowstorm something they don’t know, but a good teenager is hard to find. This is because the coolest ones, like my 14-year-old twin cousins, don’t answer text messages. They only respond to Snapchats. Also, the older-by-two-minutes twin has blocked me on social media apps because I once called him handsome in a comment under his Instagram, and the other is too busy with Grand Theft Auto. (Hey, we used to play that!!)

Luckily, our old intern/resident millennial Franny Keller came to the rescue. She answers emails because she’s almost not a teen, assigned me cool teen homework, and I completed it.

Some of it.


Homework for the week of March 21, 2016*
*When I was a cool teen, we’d write this on the backs of our hands then get yelled at by our moms because it looked trashy and ink is poison.

– Use Face Swap on Snapchat and be sure to send a daily safety snap to maintain streaks with friends.
– Go to “Instagram-able cafes” (they generally have avocado toast on the menu) and take pictures of the food for 10 minutes before eating it. Restaurants consist of Jacks Wife Freda, Two Hands, Cafe Gitane, Bluestone Lane, Dudley’s, Dimes, etc.
– Take pictures of any cool graffiti.
– Get a good latte somewhere trendy like Happy Bones, Saturday’s or Gasoline Alley. Take a picture of the shop and latte.
While on the subway, open VSCO app and filter all your pics of the day for future possible instas.
– Listen to Rihanna’s new album on repeat.
– Find cool artists on HypeMachine.
– Go to Reformation. You must use the photo booth while you’re there or it didn’t happen.
– Take a workout class with a friend.
– Attempt to make a cool PHHHOTO (no Instagram, it’s not the same as Boomerang!), preferably one with artsy lights.
– Check Instagram nonstop.
– Check the AstrologyZone app and also check your crush’s horoscope to make sure you’re matching up.
– Reload email and college applicant portal websites even though you know you’re not hearing from the school for another week.
– Get a fun dinner downtown and decide you need ice cream while you wait around to hear if any parties are happening. (Morgensterns, Van Leeuwen, Victory Garden are all favs.)

Here is what I learned: I am more of a cool teen than I thought! I use Snapchat’s FaceSwap on the reg. It’s giving me nightmares, too, which feels authentic. Also, even though I keep deleting my Snapchat and therefore can’t claim a streak, I’m well-versed in the accessory filters.

They don’t call me AmeliO Earhart for nothing.

Getting a good latte somewhere trendy and snapping cool graffiti art was easy considering that I work in cool coffee/graffiti wall mecca. NBD. What I could absolutely not do was multitask opening VSCO app to filter pictures while on the subway. That sounds dangerous. Eyes up! Stay alert! I texted Franny Keller as much because I’m worried about her safety now.

Listen to Rihanna’s new album — I’m never not.

Find cool artists in HypeMachine — that’s how I first heard about SZA way back. Oh! I’m so sorry. Did an ice cube just fall out of my backpack? Yea. That cool.

Currently have this on repeat in between Rihanna, though:

I get how to operate PHHHOTO, but it gives me mild seizures. I went to Reformation (and I wrote about it?) but failed to take a picture in the photobooth, so I guess it doesn’t count 🙁

Check Instagram nonstop?

Check the AstrologyZone app and also check your crush’s horoscope to make sure you’re matching up? 300%. James Corden, I know you’re married but we’re compatible!

I reloaded my email but for non-collegiate purposes (although this right here made me both nostalgic and sympathetic) and I went to a workout class with friends but didn’t exactly “work out” so much as I did glare at the instructor to communicate the word “no.” Forgot a pic. I got dinner downtown more out of convenience and hunger than cool-factor, but I did appreciate having an excuse to get ice cream as an appetizer and didn’t feel weird at all about eavesdropping on some local teens about their party plans.

All in all, I make an excellent cool teen, but I will say this: 1) when do you go to school?, and 2) no wonder you guys are always napping. This is exhausting. It just might be more tiring than turning 28.

Illustration by Meghann Stephenson. You can also follow Meghann on Instagram and Tumblr.


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