Teen Romances Magazine Led the War Against Making Out

Categories: Studies in Crap

​Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Teen Romances magazine

Date: November, 1960
Publisher: Hillman
Discovered at: Antiques Colony, San Jose

The Cover Promises: "What Every Teenager Should Know About Love!"Also, that optimism and decency will have America's clean-living teens smiling right through the 1960s.

Representative Quote:

"When his hands start roving, start to talk. Keep in reserve a question or remark about his favorite sport or hobby for just such an emergency. Remind him of something you were talking about earlier, perhaps, and ask a question: 'You know, I've been thinking about what you said before about our chances to win the pennant and --'" (page 45)

Here's something that red-blooded American boys might have appreciated knowing back in 1960: When a girl asks you a question about your interests, it's because she thinks you might be making a move for her bra. That's how that just-elected Kennedy boy grew beat Nixon in those debates -- he'd been fielding questions from women fifty or sixty times a day! Maybe it's even how Helen Thomas got her start as an interviewer.

Lust-killing queries about pennant races were just one of Teen Romances' methods of dealing with what was then America's most pressing concern: Making out. Here's how big a deal it was:


In fact, the headline writers at Teen Romances believed that this deadly sin could ruin teens' life through mere proximity:
Let's say it's 1960. A gal and a guy hit the Bijou to catch Swiss Family Robinson and savor the last possible moment when white people could pretend everything is all right in America. But right there, in the theater, they spy a couple going at full-on mouth-to-moth tongue-happy make out. What should they do?

Before you say "Flee and remain uncorrupted so that they don't inevitably become runaways," ask yourself this: What mode of transportation would out young couple most likely escape in?


Here's the problem in short, from "Teen Enemy No. 1":
"Marriage counselors report adolescent couples are often forced to get married before they wanted to, or even marry someone they do not love, because the car is being widely used for immoral purposes."
Much of Teen Romances is hysterically funny, but I think my favorite thing in it is the adverb "widely" in the sentence above: For immoral purposes, teens use cars widely. How big are these kids?

So, something like William F. Buckley attempted with his National Review in 1955, Teen Romances dared to stand athwart petting kids and shout "Stop! Or at least ask him to clarify that thing he said earlier about Vern Law being a shoo-in for the Cy Young Award!" While the cover promises "everything" a teenager needed to know about romance, the editorial policy was in actuality strictly anti-romantic, going so far as to suggest that falling in love could make you a social pariah:

​That article -- written anonymously, like all in Teen Romances-- is especially nasty. After calling those who go stead "dull and goonie," it acknowledges that there is value in exclusive relationships:
"You understand each other a lot and your relationship is a fine one because he is the kind of friend you can talk things over with without being afraid of being called dumb or a square. You feel so safe."
Besides suggesting that it's only cowardice that keeps couples together, the article entices its readers with exactly what parents today fear:
"There is a thrill in meeting new people; of making new conquests and dropping them in favor of others. Going stead rules out this kind of behavior. It ties you down hand and foot."
Your Crap Archivist concedes that in 1960 "conquests" may not have had the exact connotation it does now. Instead, it just referred to what the Spanish did to the Incas and Aztecs, which is fine behavior for teens to emulate, since it doesn't involve cars.

Here's something else that wouldn't fly today:

​ Imagine the proud father: "In her new swimsuit, my Jeannie is a fine piece of bait!"

Next: What a girl means when she says "No." Plus, how to gain weight for summer

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"but if she seems all give-in-y, even while she's saying no, and really cooperates -- man, a guy would be a real cube if he doesn't grab all the free samples being handed out." Is being a "cube" like being a "square" only four times more dorky by sixties teminology? The guy neck deep in library books who looks disapprovingly at the table opposite whose legs are not decently covered by a valance?

"all give-in-y, even while she's saying no"Oh chloroform. The scent of romance.

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

I was surprised to see "all give-in-y." I thought that whole adding-a-y-to-turn-phrases-into-a-single-modifier thing was a more recent development, but it turns out even '60s date rapists were all bad grammar-y.

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