The Gen-Xers among you will surely remember Sassy, that transcendent turn-of-the-‘90s magazine for teenaged girls. It was noteworthy for being uncommonly smart, accessible well outside its target audience, and in its music coverage, every bit as friendly to under-the-radar bands as Spin was at the time. Their regular “Cute Band Alert” feature once highlighted the ferociously uncute Poison Idea, and they infamously declared Nation of Ulysses’ singer Ian Svenonius the winner in their 1990 search for the “Sassiest Boy in America.” Males of any age were “boys” to Sassy, and there was certainly no exception for their “Dear Boy” column, in which established and emerging alternarock luminaries would impart to curious young women the life lessons only years in the van could teach.
The column featured such “boys” as Iggy Pop, Mike D, Beck, and the gentleman who concerns us today, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis.
Via Girls of a Certain Age:
What’s with boys and commitment?
This is the first answer J gave us: Boys — yes it’s true — are reluctant to commit. But what would happen if the guy let the girl know he was psyched for this heavy commitment? She would get bored and blow him off. If he had “let’s settle down” all over his face, he’d never get lucky. Face it girls, it’s guys who want the commitment, but they know you’d break their hearts if they gave you half a chance.
This is the revised answer J gave us two weeks later: Face it, guys are psycho. You can’t pin them down. They’ll change their minds from minute to minute. You may think that boys tend to avoid commitment like the plague, which is true, unless of course you girls aren’t into it. You gotta keep him guessing.
I hear celebrities hate when people spaz out over them. Is this true? What should you do when you see or meet them?
—A Speechless Fan
Try to talk to them about ordinary things as if they’re normal. Don’t ask them any questions about their profession.
Shopping for a guy — that’s worse than taking the pop quiz your calculus teacher throws you on Monday morning! Do you have any ideas on gifts for members of the male species?
Blank tapes are always good, because you’ll buy the wrong bands if you try store-bought tapes or CDs. Clothes are negative. Flashlights are always fun. Candles, fireworks — anything with a pyro angle. Stuffed animals are usually OK if they’re not too sappy.
I am 16 years old and I have a 19 year old boyfriend who’s in jail. I don’t know how to deal with him being there. Do you have any suggestions?
—Imprisoned by Love
It depends on what he’s in for, and if you feel like sticking by him. Just don’t get too obsessed and freaked out about it. If he stays cool, keep an open mind and don’t let prison ruin your life too.
Do boys like it when girls ask them out?
In general, if you’re not a total spaz about it, guys are completely psyched if you ask them out. We’re a lazy breed, so the more you ladies do, the happier we are. The vaguer you are, the easier it is to get out of it if he completely blows you off. Just stand near him and smile a lot. Try to talk to him if you can, but don’t overdo it. Casual is key.
I am a 16 year old girl and I’ve had sex before. I’m not sure if I like it or ever want to have it again. I’m very interested in guys, but when sex is brought up, I feel sick and turned off. The problem is, my friends all say how great sex is and how much they love it. Am I totally weird?
—Scared and Confused
I don’t think girls start digging it for a while, but you’ll probably turn around. Just don’t worry about it; you’re definitely not weird. Don’t do anything you don’t wanna do. Don’t feel weird if your friends talk about it. You don’t have to compete.
Do boys like big butts?
I am baffled by this question. Butts are so awesome that obviously the bigger, the better. Any guy who’s not a weirdo will take as much butt as he can get. I don’t know if you’re worried that yours is too big or too small, but it can’t be too big. Whatever it is, just get into it.
I asked this guy to the Snow Ball about a month ago. We were just supposed to go as friends, and it was going to be really cool. Anyways, he calls me up about three weeks before and asks me if it’s all right to take his girlfriend with us. I have my dress and shoes already. What should I tell him?
I would be enraged. I think you gotta throw a total fit and make sure he and anyone who knows him hears about what a complete jerk he is. Try to go with someone else, if you can stomach it, just to torture him and make sure he has a miserable time. Guys will try any scam. It’s up to you not to let him get away with it. He’s testing the boundaries of sanity and good taste. Make him pay. You can’t blame the guy for trying but I think you gotta make him pay.
I like this boy. I hope he likes me, ’cause he teases me a lot. How do you know when a boy likes you? Also, how do you get a boy to like you?
You can tell if a boy likes you if he looks terrified whenever you’re around. He points his head at the ground, shakes and stutters, if he can get the nerve up to talk to you at all. You’ll see him around a lot and wonder how he got there. You’ll see him stare at you and dart his head away when you catch him. Either that or he’ll do all he can to completely avoid you. Try to talk to him calmly whenever possible, and smile and flutter your eyes. Basically, guys like girls who like them. It’s pretty simple. So make him think you dig him and he’s yours.
In the years since he dropped all that wisdom on the youth, Mascis has dissolved and reconvened Dionsaur Jr, performed with the Fog and Witch, and most recently, released The Golden Age of Glitter with Sweet Apple, his band with his Witch bandmate Dave Sweetapple, and Tim Parnin and John Petkovic of Cobra Verde, with whom Mascis has served as touring guitarist. The album’s been getting favorable attention from some unlikely places, and the video for the lead-off single, “Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)” featuring guest vocals by Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, was released last month. Another video, for “Boys in Her Fan Club,” shot at the Rose Bowl, made its debut shortly after.
Cute Librarian Alert—many thanks to Beth Piwkowski for this sassy find!