In Defense Of The Jersey Shore

I am fed up with everyone trashing New Jersey — specifically the Jersey Shore. And it’s even more frustrating when it comes from people who have never even visited our glorious state or set foot on our beaches. The audacity of you idiots perfectly astounds me. How can you be so condescending about something you’ve never even experienced? Fantastic way to go about life, really. I happen to actually be from the “Jersey Shore,” and as you already can tell, I am a total sweetheart and absolutely worth getting to know (HA, get in line). In all seriousness though, I have a valid argument, because in New Jersey everything is an argument, to make about the “Jersey Shore.”

First off, it’s called “the beach.”

Locals get this. And do you know what I did every summer growing up? I went to the beach. Every. Single. Day. Not “the Shore,” the beach. And I rode my bike there. And I worked there. Oh, and my best friend had a house there, so I kind of lived there. Oh, wait, you say you had backyard camping sleepovers in the summer? So did we. And guess where?! That’s right, ON THE BEACH (because the beach is our backyard… are you catching on to the trend yet?) So take your sad childhood-backyard-camping-sleepover-stories back to the amateur division, dork.

Jersey: 1. You: zero.

And it is not infested with “Guidos.”

Okay, maybe it is sometimes and maybe some of us are guidos. But, you win some you lose some, right? I do have to say though, I thoroughly enjoy when outsiders try telling me about “people from the Jersey Shore.” Simply put, we’re beach kids. And you know what the funny thing is about beach kids? You can go anywhere around the world and we’re all the same. In Jersey, we’re a little bit hippie and a little bit hardcore. We were born in the sand and made of the summer sun. We’re as open as the horizon and as tough as the jetties. We can timeline our lives by the rise and the fall of the tide. Everything from first beer to first heartbreak will usually occur somewhere around the same illegal fire-pit nestled under a summer night’s sky. And having said that…

No one parties harder and no one is crazier.

Except for maybe mountain kids (see exceptions 1-3, below). But Bear Grylls’ cronies aside, beach kids from the Jersey Shore are built to rage. We follow our hearts and flaunt our disregard of the limits in style. When we were younger, we would barbecue every night down at the beach. On weekends, we would have the treat of listening to local rock bands sing the likes of Tom Petty and Steve Miller Band on the locker decks until the sun went down. Now that we’re a bit older, not much has changed. Add in an ice luge and a Slip n’ Slide and we’re our parent’s children, for sure. We just love to play. We’ll play in the ocean any way we can — and I really mean that. Surf, boogie board, body-surf. The moment even a trace of swell has been spotted, a crowd is paddling out vying for a spot at the point. Oh, no waves today? That’s alright, we don’t need ‘em. We’ll invent “launching” or jump 15 feet off the sea walls into the flume, or entertain ourselves by building a fort to lounge in. If all else fails, we can always count on our keg in the sand to take care of us.

Exceptions
1. Mountain kids are stuck in the mountain so what else are you going to do?
2. Who’s going to arrest you if you’re doing something illegal? Scratch that, who’s even going to find you or care?
3. Where else are you going to put a meth lab?

At the “Jersey Shore” we know we’re from New Jersey.

I don’t mean to knock too hard on other New Jerseyans — because let’s face facts, we’re all in this battle as a team. We have to stick together and we really cannot afford to take each other out with friendly fire. That being said, I will make one remark. People from North Jersey sometimes tend to believe they’re actually New Yorkers. People from South Jersey are oftentimes under a similar misplaced delusion that they’re from Philly. But, those of us who reside along the coast know we’re from New Joisey and we are goddamn proud of it. (Disclaimer: this generalization varies according to product and some may have allergic reactions to this opinion.)

All I am saying is that we’re like the hub of Jersey Pride. I like to think of myself as having a degree in New Jersey with a focus on exit 105, ya know? Speaking of exits…

In no other state is driving considered a cultural experience.

Have you ever driven on the Jersey turnpike? It’s kind of like playing a game where you drive and you try not to die. “Initiation,” if you will. The speed limit is 88-or-else, and if you don’t get that, then you are in for quite a trip. The highlighted version is as follows:

First, My Father’s Driving Rules:

1. Always be on the offensive.

2. If you’re too scared to drive, get off the goddamn road.

And my personal favorite,

3. Never use your blinker. Then, they’ll know you’re coming.

Second, NJ Drivers Top 3 Moves:

1. The “Jersey-lane-change” as in, “See that car?! Now you DON’T!” Why? Because it just crossed four lanes of traffic in the blink of an eye.

2. The “Threesome” when you disobey the golden 88-or-else rule or look at someone the wrong way and so you (1) receive the finger, (2) the horn and (3) a death threat out the window. And rightfully so… keep your eyes on the road, asshole.

3. The “Zoolander” as in, “Why can’t I turn left anywhere in this f-ckin’ state!?” Because we said so, that’s why. Our state, our rules.

Whatever you have, we have it better.

You know the drill. We’ve got better bagels, better pizza and better looking people. It’s true. And we have Bruce! We have THE BOSS, baby. And we are certainly not running out of talent in any of the artistic arenas, any time soon. Some of the best surfers in the world (Mike Gleason, get it cuz) tout the Jersey Shore as their home break. And have you heard of Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why? What about Kid Felix? If you haven’t, you should iTunes hunt them ASAP so you can tell all of your friends that you knew all about them before they made it big. Because they will. Or, if you’re into avant-garde art, check out Katy Hirschfeld’s sexpot collection of grit and glamour at Collage Garage. She’s going to be big, too. And of course, we’re proud to lay home-land claim to Move For Hunger. They’re already big, you idiot, so do some Googling.

So, that’s my argument for the Jersey Shore. We aren’t always the boxed-in version of what you see on TV. We produce some of the most original and talented people on the planet. And behind the (sometimes) misrepresented television and news mockery, we’re just one big make-shift family full of good hearts, sharp tongues and a lot of soul. I mean, what else could you possibly want — clear water and white sand? Come on, don’t be greedy. TC mark

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  • http://twitter.com/timdonnelly Tim Donnelly (@timdonnelly)

    +1 million to point No. 1

  • Shannon

    Wow, I’d read this but you seem like a real unlikeable bitch via paragraph #1, so why bother.

  • Michelle

    To me you just proved the point of “Jersey Shore”, a bunch of non-intellectuals “RAGING” on the beach.

    I’ll give it up to you for your home town pride. I’m from Miami and can’t say that I have any pride for the city other than my appreciation for the insane diversity there.

    And although I wouldn’t call it a “cultural experience”, anytime I’ve ever visited Jersey and driven the Turnpike, I wanted to write a letter to the NJ DOT telling them they are a bunch of idiots for setting up the roads the way they did. That was the most humorous part of your essay.

  • Amanda

    Thanks for this article- I’m a native of the Exit 98 neighborhood and everything you said was true. Also, I’m pretty sure my Dad’s rules on driving were exactly the same, especially the first two lol.

    • http://xioduckiexio.livejournal.com alexa

      exit 98!

  • Hillary

    The attitude of this article is exactly why people hate Jersey.

    • ben

      i absolutely second that.

    • John Mellor

      I completely agree.

  • seikel

    I was a mountain kid. Mostly robbing convenience stores and doing hard drugs at 13 was the ish. You can also ride a horse to your girlfriends house.

  • NICK

    Exit 82 resident for the past 25 years…glad to have grown up a beach kid, because it was a damn good time. Love the line about “good hearts, sharp tongues and a lot of soul”, couldn’t have said it better.

  • http://thronesblog.com/2012/06/what-game-of-thrones-characters-would-tweet-if-they-had-twitter/ What Game Of Thrones Characters Would Tweet, If They Had Twitter … | Game of Thrones Blog

    […] In Defense Of The Jersey Shore […]

  • ro

    you sound like a real asshole.

    • Amy

      You sound like you need a hug.

  • Adrienne

    Jersey born and raised. I have spent every summer of my life down the shore and thought this article would have been defending our beaches not talking about our lack of left turns or crossing lanes going 88 mph I think the best defense would have been that the tools on the “Jersey Shore” arent even from Jersey.

  • kook

    You sounds nuts. Soz. And I totally agree with the person who said above – this kind of asinine behavior is why people think you guys cray.

  • Mary Ellen

    Wow everyone attacking the writer…its called Sarcasm, ever heard of it? Lay off and go troll elsewhere.

    • Amy

      Amen! Everybody needs to calm it down. I mean if you can’t have a sense of humor on a place like ThoughtCatalog, you probably need to take a looooong walk off a short pier.

  • http://foodboozeandshoes.wordpress.com Melissa

    I fell in love with you within the first paragraph. As a jersey shore girl myself (exit 89 born and raised) robbing bennys blind every summer growing up, I approve this message.

  • shannon

    wow okay so I’m also (mostly) from ‘the jersey shore’ and this piece pissed me off immensely. not only did I find a lot of it to be less-than-accurate (based off of my own personal experiences at the jersey shore. e.g. I go ‘down the shore’ when I’m heading to normandy but ‘to the beach’ when I’m already there and heading to the sandy place w/ the ocean), but the whole thing was also just stupid and overly defensive. I got major ‘this is why we’re better than you’ vibes and those are rarely/never good and are totally counterproductive for what you were trying to do.

    I live ~5mins from seaside heights (aka ‘sleazeside’) and have spent every summer down the shore in my own house or my nana’s place since I was about 7 y/o. I’m not ‘technically’ a local, but I spend enough time at the beach in the offseason, consider my beach town more of a hometown than my actual hometown, and love/respect the beach/beach culture enough to feel comfortable speaking as one.

    thanks for making me feel like I have to defend myself as a jersey shore inhabitant.

    • http://xioduckiexio.livejournal.com alexa

      “I go ‘down the shore’ when I’m heading to normandy but ‘to the beach’ when I’m already there and heading to the sandy place w/ the ocean”

      YES!

      also, i grew up on normandy’s beach — grandparents had a house. :)

      • shannon

        ah that’s nuts! I wonder if my parents, nana, or I know them! what are their names???

      • http://xioduckiexio.livejournal.com alexa

        i forget what street they lived on (i want to say sixth?) but dot and tom mantell. :)

  • Mike J

    I am from “the jersey shore’ also. Asbury park. And this article is the exact reason people hate us.

  • Guest

    “We were born in the sand and made of the summer sun.”

    Born in the sand? Literally? That explains why many of you, especially those on TV and this writer, seem to be gritty and dirty. Also, it is impossible to be made of the sunshine – ESPECIALLY the summer sun, to those born not in June, July, August, or the first part of September.

    Maybe your state should get more than 3 good colleges.

  • WhatExit?

    Articles like this piss me off. I am from NJ (born and raised exit 117). I have lived at the first beach exit until I moved out of state at age 24. We do call it the beach, we do hate Bennys, and we do love our state. I LOVE New Jersey (and will defend it to the bitter end) but not because I was born in the sand and made of sun (seriously?). I mean I went to the beach a lot as a kid, and I feel blessed to have had that experience but it wasn’t transcendent or anything. The reason why these articles piss me off is because I’m tired of people painting us a unintelligent crass drunken slobs. Do I like to party? Definitely. However, I am not a douche from Seaside who gets sloppy drunk and fights everyone. The fact is that most people in New Jersey are normal intelligent non-fist pumping human beings. Yes, we have an attitude sometimes and live fast paced lives (two of the things I love most about NJ), but we are relatively normal with a special east coast essence. I went to high school with one of the only cast members of Jersey Shore actually from NJ (she was a grade younger than I). Guess what? She wasn’t a guidette in high school. It is an act for the show. Shocker! In my experience, there really aren’t too many guidos who are native to NJ. As for the Real Housewives…well they are just embarrassing.

    This article is off but most of the comments here are too. NJ has plenty of great colleges and universities (Princeton, Rutgers, TCNJ, Ramapo, Rider, Drew, FDU, Monmouth just to name a few). Personally, I don’t care if people hate us. We hate you too (this should be our new state motto). What I can’t stand is people that trash us constantly then come here and clog up our roads and beaches (Yeah, I am looking at you New Yorkers). If you want to complain about how gross and awful our state is then STAY OUT. Us locals would love to go to beach that is 10 miles from the house I grew up in without it taking an hour due to traffic. Bottom line: What you see on Jersey Shore is a bunch of dumb twenty-somethings getting paid a ridiculous amount of money to act the way that they do. Most of them are tourists in the great State of New Jersey. In fact the summer in Seaside is pretty much exclusively tourists. Some locals may go out to bars there, but most of us stay away because of the crowds. Don’t generalize a truly beautiful state based on the way the Turnpike looks and a group of tourists who act like idiots on TV for a paycheck. You would start to get annoyed if people were constantly looking down on you too for absolutely no reason.

    • John Mellor

      Adopting “We Hate You Too” as the state motto would be the single most badass move since Teddy Roosevelt gave that speech after getting shot.

    • Amy

      Damn, WhatExit. You’ve got quite the mouth on you.

  • Rachel

    I’m from New Jersey… and I hate everything about this.

    You sound like you’re waiting to graduate middle school and ready for the BeSt SuMmEr EvEr with your “girlies” and sneaking bottles of Smirnoff Ice under the boardwalk. Because only then is it considered cool to boast that “no one parties harder or is crazier.”

    Grow up. You’re embarrassing the rest of us from the state.

    • http://jerseyan new

      I left NJ when I was 12, and was indelibly marked by my experiences. I moved to California for 32 years, and always thought to myself (from age 12) that people here were polite and fake, not very intelligent, and food was a joke. I missed the hot summers, changing of the leaves in fall, winter snow, bagels, pizza, delis, eastern europeans, italians, and the bad-ass New Jersey attitude. I had always wished my friends would say what they really felt, but I continued to trudge on in passive-aggressive California. I miss the tell it how you feel it, New Jersey. I love that what you wrote is from your heart, and I completely and absolutely get it – all that you’ve said and how you have expressed it to the world. Rock on, Jersey! I may very well move back to the most real and passionate part of the nation – my birthplace, New Jersey (northern New Jersey). I love you, Jersey!!!!

  • Marc

    So many people hate on NJ…little do they know we have the highest standards for living and no sales tax on clothing or food. All of the local New Yorkers always flock to NJ on weekends for this reason.

  • parker

    great article, you nailed it! exit 30 kid, right here!

  • John Mellor

    This is pretty lame, mostly because it does exactly what it condemns…makes sweeping generalizations without the evidence to back it up. “Jersey has everything better”. Really? You’ve been everywhere? You can make that claim? How is that any better than the people who purport to know the Jersey Shore just because they watched eight idiots on television?
    Yeah, Jersey is a pretty cool state with some really cool stuff, but it’s this kind of obnoxiousness that turns people off. “No other state makes driving a cultural experience”? How about your big brother New York? Or driving through the Rockies or California Redwoods? You’re the only state with crazy drivers? No. And ditto for the bagels, pizza, whatever. Everyone knows those are New York City products. Not Jersey products. You can share in them, but to claim them as your own is obnoxious and disingenuous.

    Jersey is a really cool state; its natives should be proud. But not everything needs to be comparative. You can say “I love New Jersey; we have so much here” without saying “Everything about Jersey is better.” I have been to Jersey many times, and to many other places, and everything about Jersey (nor California nor New York nor Italy) is not necessarily better. Celebrate the charm unique to your state; don’t implicitly rip on everyone else in the process.

    And “perfectly astounds” is the one of the uglier constructions I have ever had the misfortune to read.

  • E.

    Exit 100A or 123, depending which direction you’re coming from! This article was FANTASTIC. Nothin’ like yelling out the car telling Benny’s to go home when you’re on your way to Jenk’s!

  • Allison

    Haters gonna hate. Exit 10 is where its at… Stone Harbor beach by day, Wildwood fun by night. Check out the song “Wild Summer Nights” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. It’s from Eddie and the Cruisers and it’s about summers on the Jersey Shore.

  • nancychen@optonline.net

    Dead on! Aproud jersey girl !

  • Dan

    Hey all you critics out there, I got news for you, this piece did exactly what it was suppose to do. Engage you in the writing and stir your emotions. You either loved it or hated it because the content and the way it was written sucked you in like a sponge. This is what “Thought Catalog” is about
    “Thought Catalog is a place for relevant and relatable non-fiction and thought”
    By the way, here is an added note, this is “SARCASM” at it’s best.
    Here is the definition for you Numnutz’s that don’t understand;
    1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
    2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
    So, for all you thinned skin readers out there who believes and sees the world in a single demension you should probably just stay home and lock the doors before the real “big bad world” shows up on your front steps.

    • Amy

      100 percent agree with this comment. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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