Everything Mizz magazine taught us about life in our twenties

Mum thought Sugar and Bliss were too sexy


Life as a 13-year-old girl in the mid-noughties was really hard. There was so much to think and worry about, including but not limited to: when will I get boobs, why don’t boys like me, who should I put in my Myspace top 16, why won’t my crush send me Bebo love, why don’t I look like Britney in Hit Me One More Time in my school uniform, am I normal? A lot of the things I worried about were things I couldn’t ask my mum. I would have been too embarrassed to ask my equally clueless mates, and I didn’t have any cool older sisters to turn to. Luckily, I had a stack of Mizz magazines, and that’s all I ever needed.

Mizz, for basic pre-teens who wanted to look cool but weren’t allowed Sugar, Mizz, Teen Vogue or J17 (mum thought they were a bit too sexy), was basically a bible. A way to navigate a world of lush lads, cringes, crushes and prickly legs. It didn’t stop being relevant after those awkward teenage years either. There are still some serious pearls of wisdom in these back-issues, and they can teach you a lot about life as a twenty-something just as much as they could when you were 12 and it was really really important that you got your period. Either that, or I haven’t got any cooler or more put together in the past 10 years.

Your humiliation can be used for good and the betterment of others

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Listen to this real life embarrassing story from the “share your shame!” section of Mizz magazine circa 2009:

“The other day I was running late for school, so my mum offered to give me a lift. As I was rushing to get out of the car, who should walk by but my crush. If it wasn’t embarrassing enough that I was all flustered, my shoe then fell off in my haste and he saw me hop around like a mad girl trying to put it back on. Cringe!” (Cleo, by email).

Or this one from “cringe! You kind of asked for it” back in 2007:

“I wnt camping & wnt to da public loo bt 4got to lock it. My bro’s m8 wlked in on me mid wee! O, da shame!” (Jayne, by txt).

Can you imagine how humiliating these incidents were at the time? When Cleo and Jayne were dealing with the monumental fuck ups of having their bro’s mate watch them wee, or their crush see them struggle to put on a shoe? But they’ve moved on, they’ve accepted it happened and now they can laugh about it. Reading it, we feel better about our own embarrassing fuck ups, and glad that they’ve been brave enough to share them with the world. It takes a while, but you can laugh at everything if you try hard enough. It’s the kind of cavalier mentality which encourages you to embellish a humiliating/cringe sex story with your most recent lush lad so people will laugh, and so you won’t think about it in the shower and cry on your own.

Literally all men can be categorized

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If you’re wondering where you can see Chris Brown on a list with Joey Essex, it is in the pages of Mizz

They are either mingers, crushes, lush lads, or your dad.

You should never call men anything other than a lad

Lots of things take the blame for lad culture and its toxic cringe influence on our society, but nobody ever points the finger at Mizz. Which is weird because it’s the first place you went to to understand the concept of lads. They weren’t bolting pints or shagging though, back then they were just nice accessible boys from your local disco with clammy hands who would try to kiss you on the way to school.

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‘Lad masterclass’

Everything is “awkward”

Crush sees you eating a chip in the canteen = awkward. Friends see you in your knickers at a sleepover = awkward. Have to move back in with your parents when you run out of money = awkward.

Your wardrobe staples should be bright and synthetic and you should always wear your hair in a side ponytail

There is nothing you cannot do, nowhere you can’t conquer, no lush lad that can resist your advances if you stroll into any social situation in footless tights and a scrunchie tied to the side of your head. It was the ultimate in power dressing (I mean yeah you should probably update it a little bit now).

Problems basically stay the same as you get older (and so does bad advice)

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“Is he a player?” Asks a lonely, confused girl on the “Boy Stresses” section of Mizz problem’s page. “I really like a lad at school but he’s in Year 9 – I’m only in Year 7 – and he’s my sister’s friend. We don’t talk, but he sometimes says hi to me and winks. I fancy him but he seems like a bit of a player. Should I just forget about him? From In Love, Brighton”

I’m not ‘In Love, Brighton’, but I have been many times, and probably will be again. I too have felt the crushing resignation of the answer to the problem from the smug agony uncle “yes, he probably is a player, leave it”. You leave Year 7, but you don’t leave fuckboys behind. Nor do you leave the sheer terror and hypochondria that grips you every time you have so much as a cough. Now, we Google “early signs of lung cancer” and vow to give up smoking, or try to find out if you can suddenly get adult acne from WebMD, but ten years ago we would have been Yasmina from Bath, who writes “I’ve got a really sore throat and I keep losing my voice but I don’t know why”, or “Spotty, Devon” who writes “I’m 12 and I’ve got really bad skin, how do I make it go away?”

Basically, everyone wants to know they’re normal.

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Celebrities are just like us!

They look bad in photos, they had favourite subjects in school, and Frankie from The Saturdays once fell over on stage during a live performance. Remember these things and use them for comfort the next time you try and fail to recreate Kim Kardashian’s Instagram photos.

Smoking is literally the worst fucking thing in the entire world

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There is nothing worse in the eyes of Mizz than smoking. Getting with your mate’s crush, dropping out of school, killing a man with your bare hands and hiding the body beneath your floorboards – none of these things are as bad as what you do to your body when you smoke. If you’d followed this advice you would have saved yourself a lot of money.