I Met Jane Pratt!!!!

I grew up worshiping Jane Pratt. Shocker, right? Her work is practically a rite of passage for any weird aspiring writer. Even though I was too young to get on the Sassy boat, Jane arrived right around my teens as some sort of Holy Bible. Despite being aimed at twentysomething women, it resonated with me — a closeted 14-year-old who felt like he was already a quirky career woman living in the big city — very deeply. I remember reading articles about orgasms and blind dates, and being like, “OMG, I KNOW RIGHT?” when, in fact, I didn’t know. My balls had just dropped and I was still masturbating in secret to a screenshot of Ryan Phillippe’s ass in Cruel Intentions. I had no idea what the hell they were talking about most of the time but it didn’t matter because the voice made sense. I felt like I had found my tribe.

It was shocking that a magazine like Jane even existed, let alone as a women’s magazine. Back then, there weren’t any funny female-centered blogs you could check to get an honest portrayal of your life. If you wanted to read about what it was like to be a girl,  your options were Cosmo or making a zine yourself, which many ladies often did.

Re-reading the articles, the tone of  Sassy and Jane comes across as very bloggy. The writing was very conversational and the writers themselves became mini-celebrities, which was sort of unheard of in the magazine world. Harvesting the personalities of each individual writer was a novel concept.  Now it’s the norm. In many ways, it feels like Jane Pratt made the very first mainstream women’s blog but in magazine form. The blogosphere, in effect, owes a lot to her.

It seems fitting then that she would eventually join the Internet with her own venture, xoJane.com.  Jane was only 24-years-old when she started at Sassy. Now, over twenty years later, she’s still relevant and showcasing writing you won’t see anywhere else on the Internet. Like, who talks about doing PCP on the Internet? Oh, Cat Marnell does. And thank god because even if PCP  isn’t your thing, she’s one of the only writers who’s willing to talk about her drug use on such a large platform. New York media is overrun with drug abusers and she’s the only one who will blog about it and call EVERYONE out on their BS. It’s refreshing. It’s very Jane Pratt.

Despite what your feelings are on xoJane or Jane Pratt as a person,  you have to respect her for sustaining a career in a notoriously fickle industry for 20+ years. Simply put, she knows what the hell she’s doing. You don’t stick around for over two decades just by having breakdowns and breakthroughs. Homegirl knows what’s up.

Anyway, today I went to the xoJane offices to hang out and talk with the staff and, of course, Jane Pratt herself. Like a psycho fan, I brought all these old issues of Sassy that I had bought on Ebay when I was in college. It was definitely a moment. I never imagined that I would one day be meeting the woman who inspired a lot of my writing but here we were being two gossip girls in an office in the Flatiron. It was awesome. I can’t really remember the particulars of our hang out sesh though because right before I came, I drank three shots of espresso and spent the subsequent hour in a haze of caffeine, but I think it was good. It’s always such an adrenaline rush when you meet someone you admire anyway. You only really come to when you leave. Then you realize, “Wow. I just met someone I’ve idolized since I was a young lad!” and everything is happy happy joy joy. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

    Jane Pratt is less of a hero once you learn to read critically.

    I think the Daria episode “The Lost Girls” was spot the fuck on.

  • em

    I can so relate to your first paragraph. Although I am a bit younger and more estrogen-filled than a twentysomething gay man, and may not have experienced everything about which you write, I feel like I have “found my tribe” in your writing.

  • Courtney

    SHE IS MY IDOL!

  • Anonymous

    why did you go to the offices? just because you wanted to/could, or are you doing an interview? give us more details!

  • http://twitter.com/jennmurray3 Jenn Murray

    FYI…I started reading Thought Catalog last year in an obsessive way, this led me to stalk you on Twitter, which then led me to stalking Cat Marnell…who I LOVE…that led me to reading xoJane everyday, multiple times a day. so THANKSSSSS.

  • Anonymous

    so good to meet you. come back when Cat is actually here.

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