Click on funny NJ map to enlarge.
Jersey. No, not like the show The Jersey Shore. That bears no resemblance to the South Jersey existence I'm tethered to. Mine is the Jersey shore that's entering a long winter, where a handful of weathered locals sit at dimly lit bars, drinking Coors Light, talking about sea bass, football and plumbing.
Jersey. Bad accents. Really bad ones. Now that I'm living here again, I can hear that nasally vowel-dragging suburban twang returning to my speech after years of trying to get rid of it. Makes me want to sew my lips shut.
Jersey. I was born here. So I guess that makes me a "Jersey girl." I fit the bill, I suppose. I’m not thrilled about it, but its my simple, inescapable fate. I would have preferred London or Madrid, but New Jersey it is.
Though there are some qualities I do appreciate about being a Jersey girl.
Qualities of your Average Jersey Girl
- She “parties” in one form or the other and has for a long time; its simply a way of life now.
- She keeps it real; no bullshit. Definitely not prissy.
- She probably lost her virginity pretty early on. In a fast car with orange flames painted on it. He kept his leather jacket on. The smell of leather will turn her on from that point forward.
- She smoked cigarettes in high school bathrooms, where you had to say, "It's alright" before entering, so the other girls knew you weren't a teacher, trying to bust you. If you forgot, and cigarettes were tossed in the toilets, those girls got pissed.
- She attended many a keg party. She rolled down hills while going to pee with her friends. They laughed hysterically until they realized they couldn't climb back up the hill because they were too drunk.
- She most probably had brushes with the law. Maybe involving Quaaludes.
- She’s definitely tripped on acid before. Something wildly disastrous happened that is still talked about to this day. She can laugh about it now, finally - but it took a while.
- She may have jumped over fences while being chased by the cops. And tore her jeans while doing so. She wore those jeans for years until the bottom finally ripped. When she threw them away, she may have sighed.
- She thinks an occasional fistfight is a perfectly acceptable way to handle disputes.
- Yes, she's eaten hoagies. And panzarottis. And pork roll sandwiches. And Scrapple.
- She never wants to hear the name "Brianna" again.
- She has never said "Joisey" or anything remotely like that. Also doesn't joke about "What exit are you?"
- She’s roller-skated in her past. Bubble gum and strawberry lip gloss. She carried a comb in the back of her pocket and compulsively ran it through her feathered hair so Alan Gantowski would maybe, just maybe, ask her to join him during "Couples Skate." He never did.
- She has the mouth of sailor but can be soft and sweet in demeanor at the very same time. Its a delightful paradox, at least to her.
- She knows lots of "dudes." Not quite boys, not quite men. Just straight-up dudes.
- She's humble. She had to be or she'd get checked by a group of friends that didn't tolerate snobbery of any sort. She could stand to be less humble at this point of her life.
- She acts a little Italian, whether she is or not.
- Yes, she has a strong affinity for Bruce Springsteen. (She does not feel this way about Bon Jovi.)
- She learned French kissing in the back of a school bus. She mastered the art over the years and enjoys it as much as sex. (Well, almost.)
- She will moon people if she's provoked. She will not feel embarrassed about it the next day.
- Friends are her family.
- Andrea Saggio dragged her kicking and screaming to see Jersey Boys on Broadway and she loved it, in spite of herself. She knew every word to every song, of course.
- She's worked hard. Too hard for too little. She gets weary; the kind of weary that Otis Redding sang about. She now awaits tenderness. Waits, waits. It comes in dribs and drabs when she needs buckets of it.
- She didn't dream as big as she'd liked. Everyone around her, well, no one was that inspired to break out the suburban trap that was South Jersey...eh, or maybe dreams are overrated.
- She likes flannel shirts.
- She will always love classic rock.
- She is a survivor.
Yes, living in New Jersey has shaped me. When I go other places, I realize I'm from this state. There's a "keeping it real" aspect that made moving to California a little difficult at first, for instance. Now, to get the hell out here.
Because as Bruce so aptly puts it: