The Teen Beat Skeleton

Everyone has a few skeletons in their closet. It's time I came clean and went public with one of mine. So here it goes.

In the mid/late 1980s...around 5th grade...I...had...a subscription to Teen Beat magazine.

Yes, that's right. This kid who lived and breathed action figures and baseball cards also had a certain appreciation for teen idols and celebrity gossip. The funny thing was, I always looked past the tampon ads and features like "Hunk of the Month" never minding the fact that this magazine wasn't the most masculine publication on the rack. I certainly didn't go out of my way to share my magazines with my friends but there's no denying it -- I loved my monthly issues of Teen Beat.

I first discovered Teen Beat at the local grocery store in 1986. While my mom did the shopping, I took to the magazine racks where I usually stuck my nose in the latest issue of Beckett's Baseball Card Monthly or WWF Magazine. But this time, a different magazine caught my eye. There on the cover was none other than Michael J. Fox -- Alex P. Keaton or Marty McFly as I knew him best. Next to him was that Kirk Cameron guy that all the girls at school were crazy over. After leafing through the pages of gossipy goodness, I somehow convinced my mom that this magazine needed to come home with us.

The next month, back at the same rack in the same store, I picked up the next issue of Teen Beat. I was officially hooked. Nearing the holiday season by this time, a subscription to Teen Beat was near the top of my Christmas wishlist and my parents came through as they often did.

For about two years to follow, an issue of Teen Beat was delivered to my house each month. I became an expert of the lives of everyone from Ralph Macchio to Danny Pintauro as these magazines formed a nice stack on the bottom shelf of my closet. I'd often put on a tape in my bedroom -- probably INXS or the Monkees around that time -- and flip through my stockpile of back issues.

Then somewhere around the start or 7th grade, my interest in Teen Beat faded. After two years, my subscription was not renewed as I became more focused on the interests typical of a junior high boy -- sports, dirty jokes, and so on. Much to my adult-regret, my two years of Teen Beat magazines hit the garbage can soon thereafter.

Now, almost thirty years later, I find myself looking online for copies of these magazines. Sellers often want much more than I'm willing to pay but over the past few years, I've been able to come up with a handful of issues for a decent price. My collection of Teen Beat magazines isn't near what it once was, but it's enough to feed my nostalgic hunger.

Stick around and in the coming weeks here on FASTE, I'll give you a taste of the content found in a mid-80s issue of Teen Beat.

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