Do you have a “boy box”? What about a memories box?

Chances are if you were a teenager/kid in the ’80s, ’90s, or early 2000s, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You probably had a shoebox – mine was an old makeup case that I had unearthed in my grandmother’s basement (even as I child I was effortlessly stylish). It was plastered with cutouts from teen magazines or pictures of your best buds. The “boy box,” that was what I called it because it had smiling photos of Jonathan Taylor Thomas tucked strategically around the mirror inside the box so that when I gazed into the mirror it was almost like Jonathan and I were smushed together cheek-to-cheek for a photo-op and it brimmed my pre-teen soul with joy.

The box had other things of value (it wasn’t solely stuffed with photos of my main man JTT). There were school photos of all my friends, with loving, but ultimately unkept promises scrawled on the back in messy gel pen ink, friendship bracelets that had become unraveled and were now just an odd looking collections of string, notes to boys, notes about boys (but never actually notes from boys), and of course copious amount of boy band CDs. The boy box really lived up to its namesake.

I think about that boy box frequently, and I wonder if they even exist at all anymore. Do teens have a need for a physical box stuffed with keepsakes from their friends and crushes or is that just what a phone is now? I think about how my boy box has evolved over the years. The pictures of JTT have been stripped off the sides leaving little Elmer glue stains that look eerily like sticky silhouettes. Most of the school photos have been thrown out, and any notes from that time have, thankfully, been destroyed.

The boy box has evolved. Now, my grandmother’s old makeup case is loaded with Polaroid photos from the last five years. When Fujifilm resurrected the Polaroid camera with their Instax version, I was one of the first people that I knew to get one. My grandmother toted her actual Polaroid camera to all our family’s events, and even as a kid, I was fascinated by the instant development and the warm grainy images that resulted. So when Fujifilm offered me a chance to relive that glory, in typical hipster fashion, I jumped all over it.

In the time since purchasing my camera, I’ve probably accumulated over a thousand Instax photos from all over the world. I don’t even want to think about what I have spent on film. The natural place they started to accumulated was in the boy box, a name I’m not going to ever let go of even though it no longer describes the ratty makeup case.

Featured Image from Buzzfeed News

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