Being an adult right now is equal parts depressing and relieving. It’s relieving because I’m so incredibly glad that MySpace, Facebook, blogging platforms and slam sites like Juicy Campus weren’t around when I was an awkward, angst-filled teen just trying to survive high school. Seriously.

I feel for you youngsters today, and all I can really say to you for advice is this: think before you post. Think twice, think three times. Better yet? Don’t post anything at all ever. Or, post your little heart out on a password-protected site and then never give anyone the password. There you go.

 I mean really, there’s already enough bullshit for teens to try and live through without dealing with the repercussions of splashing your hormonally-charged dramarama all over the global stage that is the interwebz. Anyway, what’s depressing about being an adult is…. Um…… Well, nothing really, other than that kids today have a lot cooler shit than when I was coming of age.

As much as I hate record-company-assemby-line hipster garbage like The Killers, it’s still worlds better than the pop music available to me in the 90s. What were the most popular bands at my high school? 311, G Love and Special Sauce (I shit you not), Incubus, Dave Matthews Band, Sublime (even though the singer guy had been dead for a number of years- such is the trickle-down of pop culture when you live in the Deep South), and all sorts of other cock-rockin’, whiteboy trustafarian, pot-smoke-billowing-out-the-sweet-Jeep-Cherokee-Daddy-bought-you tunes.

Nothing rubbed salt in the gaping Prozac hole left by the Seattle-spawned music of the early 90s quite like the happy-go-sappy-pap, wannabe eclectic, Jamaican culture-copping pop music 180-turn that was the latter half of the 90s. The musical landscape went from Sonic Youth and Sunny Day Real Estate to Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth overnight. That sucked to the point that I feel the electro-synth rut of indie music the kids are listening to today would be preferred.

Kids today also have much cooler phones and communications devices. I mean, seriously, what the fuck was the point of a pager? I hated that shit. But, I must say, the #1 thing I envy about kids today is the beauty products they have access to now.

(Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the Donnas, but this album cover always reminded me of the girly sleepovers I had as an adolescent…. and I actually do like their version of “Teenage Kicks,” sue me).

After the jump, I get some much-deserved teenage kicks from a new drugstore product..

First of all, we didn’t have Sephora when I was a kid. We had Walgreens. The extent of my glamour was hair by Miss Clarol and 99-cent Wet & Wild eyeliner. Couple that with my bad skin and braces, and I pretty much looked like a pasty-white Ugly Betty.

When I was a teen, you know what we had to deal with our erupting skin? Oxy pads, St. Ives Apricot Scrub and fucking Sea Breeze. Might as well wash your face with paint stripper, as that shit (in its ’90s formulations, don’t know how they work now, but I’m guessing nothing’s changed) would assfuck your already angry complexion. And the Clean & Clear moisturizer I used at the time was “oil free,” yet sat on top of my skin like a layer of grease on a slice of Sbarro’s at the mall.

Any attempt to improve the look of my skin was done through those smelly Cover Girl pressed powders. Just chalky enough to soak up the shine, just cheap and irritant enough to keep me perpetually broken out. Which is not to say that all girls had bad skin in my po-dunk Southern town. Not so! The popular girls’ (read: rich girls) moms would buy them whole Clinique arsenals to treat their skin. Others, like my sisters, just had good skin without having to try. But I was S-O-L in that I was acne-prone, poor as shit therefore relying on drugstore fare, and being raised by a single father who had nothing to offer in the “skincare tips for teenage girls” department.

Which is why I’m BITTER as hell that drugstore products have come such a long way, and teens today have boutique quality products waiting for them behind the Wal-Mart rollback smiley. They make it so easy for you now, as the products are numbered in steps and grouped together in sets so kids today can get everything they need in one go. Not to mention, online review sites like Makeup Alley, beauty blogs, and the reviews at can help youngsters navigate the complicated world of skincare without having to waste their allowance on products that won’t work for them.

Like I did. For years and years.

The best of what’s new is the Soft line from Clean & Clear. These products work much like Shiseido’s The Skincare line in that they’re designed to restore skin’s moisture balance, but Clean & Clear has the added bonus of acne-clearing ingredients that work without stripping moisture from the skin. And, you know, the Clean & Clear products are about 1/4th the Shiseido price. As I’m currently experiencing some heat/sunscreen-related summer break-outage, I bought the Soft in-shower facial in the hopes of clearing my skin. So far so good.

 This one-minute miracle contains Alpha Hydroxy acid and clay to help smooth the skin while drawing impurities out of the pores, aided by the steam in your shower. Smooth the slightly thick cream on, let sit for a minute, then lightly scrub with the microbeads already in the cream, and rinse. Voila! My skin felt so smooth and lovely after the first use, and it didn’t even aggrivate my rosacea. This $7 product has done what no amount of overpriced garbage from Philosophy ever could.

But I’m not totally over-the-moon about it. My love of this new fab skin find is tainted by the knowledge that this product is designed for teens, and that I may have suffered all those years in vain. WHY could this stuff not have come out 10 years ago? Why didn’t I know that the formula for success was: splash and moisturize in the morning, wash/tone/moisturize at night, and use a scrub or mask twice a week or so? That I know this stuff NOW doesn’t make up for how awkward I was for not knowing it THEN. Ah, the follies of youth.

I shouldn’t begrudge girls today of their good fortune, but I do. It should make me feel better to know that young girls today may be spared my pain, but it doesn’t. It’s just not fair. Kids today have it good on a lot of levels, and if they don’t appreciate it, I will personally come over to each & every one of their houses and read their diaries aloud on YouTube…provided they’re not doing that already.  

How’s THAT for acting my age?

Please to tell the tales of teenaged acne heartache in the comments, or just talk about how lame you were in the 90s.