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.

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. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Kirsten Chen

More From Thought Catalog