Friday, April 20, 2007


I've been taking a trip down memory lane while reading this book, my latest Amazon purchase...

In March 1988 I was eleven years old. My dad's friend had a daughter a few years older than me who I had never met. She subscribed to a magazine called Sassy. I inherited all of her issues, then got my own subscription when she let hers run out.
That is where my obsession with magazines began. I had always loved books but this was different. I was awkward and shy and Sassy opened up a whole new world for me. For years I had no idea what most of it meant. The bands I had never heard of, the products I didn't know where to find. The fashions were kind of strange and scary but at some point I got it. I read Sassy for a full three years before I even got my period. During my freshman year I decorated my room by pinning open copies of Sassy to my walls and during my sophomore year I named my new Siamese kitten Sassy.
Around the time I graduated high school it was sold and became a weird mutant-impostor of itself. Then Jane Pratt started her own magazine.
The Sassy article that shocked me the most was in the April 1992 issue with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love on the cover. I'm sure they were both high as kites and during the interview Kurt showed Christina Kelly, the reporter his back which was covered in scratches. He proclaimed that Courtney was the "world's best fuck"--Yikes! I was traumatized! But I was also so proud because I had already heard of them and was a fan of Nirvana. When I first started reading Sassy I was mostly like "Who's Evan Dando??"
I read the "new Sassy" Jane until just three years ago. It had been unbearably lame for quite a while. I just kept hanging on because of my deep love for Sassy.
But every issue pissed me off. In fact, every issue of every women's magazine pissed me off. Each month I swore I wouldn't read them but then I'd pick one up here and there until the table in my bathroom was covered by a magazine tower. But it was so infuriating. The writing seemed geared towards promiscuous third-graders, the words as basic and non-threatening as possible.
What I liked about Sassy was that it was different and it didn't hype all the same tired old celebrities. But slowly, Jane was just like every other magazine and I had to accept the fact that Sassy was gone and more importantly, so was my girlhood. I am a woman now. But I still love magazines.
When Mothering or Utne comes in the mail I am giddy with anticipation. Some of my favorites tanked, Organic Style and Budget Living most notably. But I have filled that gap with Bust and Brain, Child and Body and Soul. A publication called The Sun once sent me a couple of trial issues and it was incredible. But so far I don't subscribe. I also devour Adbusters when I get a hold of a copy.
But nothing will ever match the thrill I got when I read Sassy. Learning about things my mom had no idea about and would have been too embarrassed to discuss had she known was invaluable.
I have a few issues squirreled away that I read on occasion and one of my big disappointments was the purchase of a giant box of old Sassy's that fell through several years ago. A flakey college student was cleaning out her stuff at her mom's house and posted an ad on Craigslist. She was going to sell them all to me for $15. My guess is that she realized what a goldmine she had and listed them on eBay. *sigh*

1 comment:

siri lakshmi said...

I felt the same way about Sassy! I started reading it 3 years before I got my period, also, and I felt like the magazine was a portal into an exotic, much cooler world than the one I knew. It inspired me to value my uniqueness and believe in my intrinsic awesomeness (regardless of how I might look or how awkward I might feel). *sigh* I welcomed each new issue like a long-lost friend and kept all of my issues for years, until my parents pressured me to toss them and I (sadly) complied. The only other magazines I've felt almost as passionately about since have been the early issues of Bust and Bitch. Thank you so much for writing about how meanigful Sassy was for you, too.