None of us want to own up to being gullible or susceptible to being influenced by media… but let’s be real: Our perception of the world is and will be like is heavily based on what we’ve seen in television and movies. Who doesn’t watch a teen movie as an eight-year-old and doesn’t assume that, to some extent, what they see in the movie is what is waiting for them in their pimple-ridden, puberty-filled, locker hell of a future? I know I watched Clueless as a little kid and thought that my teen future would be full of crazy parties, my own cool Jeep, and Paul Rudd. In reality…well, I always borrowed my parents’ cars, the parties were overrated, and there was a huge lack of Paul Rudd.
But whether it was Clueless, Degrassi, My So-Called Life, Mean Girls, or whatever, it was easy for these shows and movies to inspire an idea of teenhood that just…wasn’t totally unrealistic, but wasn’t as representative of that era either. Want a better idea of what I’m going on about? Check out these nine things that don’t really happen in your teens as much as you thought they would.
Boners EverywhereI know I wasn't the only weird pre-teen who was fascinated by boners. Own up, you are too. And the fact that they were always used as comic relief in some episode of a TV show about puberty made me assume that I would see a whole lot of dudes' awkward boners in high school. Like, I assumed I'd see awkward boners in class, in hallways, during P.E., everywhere. Alas, I'm sorry to disappoint, but your chances of seeing a spontaneous boner at school is actually pretty low. I think I only saw one during my entire middle school and high school career, and I'm still not sure if I really saw what I think I saw. Maybe people with penises are a lot better at hiding it than the media leads us to believe. Degrassi
Sneaking OutMaybe I just wasn't cool enough as a teenager, or maybe it was just really hard to successfully sneak out and get very far as a teenager in LA (which I was), but man...you'd think that you'd get up to a lot more crazy hijinks as a teen and you really don't. Sneaking out is a lot more of an ordeal than TV shows and movies make it out to be. Not all of us have a window we can soundlessly sneak out of, and even more of us wouldn't have anywhere all that interesting to go on a Wednesday night anyway. Grease
Unrelenting Peer Pressure Left And RightYes, peer pressure exists. There are always going to be assholes going against your wishes and pestering you to do something you already said you don't want to do. That's the case at any age. But honestly, from all the Very Special Episodes you grow up watching, you'd think that there would be a lot more people out there pressuring you to drink, do drugs, smoke cigarettes...steal a damn car, etc. In reality? Eh, not so much. Sure, you'll experience it, but people are actually a lot more chill about it than you'd think. It's very possible to be the only one in your crew who isn't drinking or smoking pot and not get deemed a loser for not partaking. Heathers
Awkward School Dance ScenariosMaybe this is because my high school didn't really have many school dances, but man...a lot of movies and TV shows highlight hilarious, awkward, or devastating events at school dances. In reality, they're usually pretty uneventful and, well, boring as hell. Talk about disappointing. I mean, I'm convinced people don't even really attend school dances like they used to anyway. Napoleon Dynamite
Sex Sex SexNOT. EVERY. ONE. LEAVES. HIGH. SCHOOL. AS. A. SEXPERT. There are people who only have sex one awkward time. There are people who have only done oral. There are plenty who never even had sex at all in high school. Yes, statistically it's pretty common to lose your v-card sometime between the ages of 14 and 17, but teen movies and TV shows act as if it's totally just a normal part of every teen's life. It ain't, period. The To-Do List
Super Defined CliquesTHE NERDS. THE JOCKS. THE POPULAR GIRLS. THE WEIRD GOTH KIDS. God, you'd think that cliques were super finite if you based your understanding of high school friend groups on teen movies. In reality, groups are a lot more fluid and change all the time. The Craft
Spending Some Quality Time And Having Deep Conversation In The Girls' BathroomTV shows and movies always make the girl's bathroom some kind of sanctuary where you go to drop some deep AF truth bombs with your friends, or just, well, hang out. In reality, do you really spend that much of your free time in the bathroom? It either stinks or it's impossible to actually have a private, meaningful conversation. Sure, you might hit up the bathroom with your friends, confirming the notion that girls love going to the bathroom in groups. But be honest: Are you really trying to chill in there for that long? LOL, no. My So-Called Life
Crazy Parties (That You'll Somehow End Up At All The Time)Yes, there are plenty of wild parties in high school. Are you going to go to that many? Honestly, probably not. And besides, looks can be deceiving. Even the most seemingly wild high school parties pretty quickly dissolve into awkward affairs where some dudes are smoking in a corner while some girls are just chillin' on their phones. Wow, what a good time...not. Skins
Getting Out Of Your Awkward Stage By Senior YearHonestly, most transformations/makeovers in teen movies are BS. Wow, some girl took off her glasses and straightened her hair, what a beauty! Pfft, yeah, right, whatever. But nevertheless, I think that teen movies and TV shows give a lot of us who felt like awkward, funky looking oddballs a lot more hope that we'd transform into some bodacious butterfly by senior year...when that really might not happen. Look, we're all beautiful and cool in our own ways, but I honestly don't think I truly felt a little more confident in the way I look until I was in my later college years. Don't worry if you're a teenager and still feel like a bit of an ugly duckling; the last thing you want to do is freak out about not being a "hottie" in high school. The Princess Diaries
What else should be on this list? Is there anything about your teen years that’s going exactly as you expected? Tell us in the comments!