PREACH IT! Pass the peppehs, we’re going down the shore (the ‘Jersey Shore,’ that is)


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You are not prepared for ‘Jersey Shore.’

I don’t mean the location itself, though in recent days I’ve learned that one cannot venture into said coastal lands without a modicum of hair gel, one feverishly torn pair of acid-washed jeans and at least one pair of panties silk-screened to read, “I Love the Situation.”

No, I speak of the reality show, which rightfully has at least half the planet mesmerized.


The cast: eight self-described ‘guidos’ and ‘guidettes’ -- and proud of it -- whose mamas cut their steak dinners for them and whose hair is an epic undertaking of streak jobs, tubs of styling gel and the occasional -- if I indeed follow correctly -- unfortunate pouf.

The names: Snooki, the Situation, Vinny, DJ Pauly D, Ronnie, Angelina, Sammi and J-WOWW. Their sole purpose in converging upon the New Jersey town of Seaside Heights, resplendent with its boardwalks and pony-legged ladies in artfully sliced tank tops, is to ‘pound out it’ (their words, not mine) with a suitable young Italian American of the opposite genduh.

No ‘The Hills'-style fake career girls here, or producer-staged “goals.” Again, sole purpose: Drink. Get laid. Check hair. Repeat. In simplicity, utter genius.

That isn’t to say there aren’t some sociological barriers for the rest of us. There are. Aplenty. The language, for starters. To best observe the guidos in their natural habitats, it helps to know their unique clan symbols and values. In future posts, I’ll be offering helpful recaps (fueled by healthy doses of Ron Ron juice) and other insights. Meantime, the basics.

A ‘Jersey Shore’ vocabulary:

Dirty girls: Any girls who are (a) not the three Jersey Shore guidettes and who (b) dare cross the beach house threshold to (c) remove their panties while (d) liaising in a hot tub with Ronnie, DJ Pauly D, Vinny or the Situation. In a sentence: “Don’t bring dirty girls in the house.”

Gel: A staple in guido grooming. (See: blow-out)

Juicehead: A drunk. Disambiguation: a steroid user. Intent when used on show: unclear.

Ron Ron juice: a refreshing beverage containing watermelon, ice, cherries, cranberry juice and, I’m sure, that’s totally it. In a sentence: “Gotta get some Ron Ron juice in my system.”

Guidette: (GWEE-det) A female guido, often marked by long, dark hair (with or without white streaks), neon plastic nails, strategically torn attire, a dark tan and a marked intolerance for dirty girls. (See: dirty girls, guido)

Guido: A proud Italian American man, often noticeable due to painstaking, often flat-topped coiffure, distinct musculature assisted by large tubs of protein shake mix, body-length tattoos celebrating popular car-brand names and a pierced, um, sweet Italian sausage.

The situation: A situation, which, in this situation, is happening all the time. Also a proper noun, a.k.a., Mike “The Situation.” There is never not a time when there’s not a situation, often in the Situation’s own head. (See: I Love the Situation.)

Peppehs: Green, red or yellow vegetables often baked alongside sausages and onion and eaten by enthusiastic guidos, but only after saying grace. Don’t play wit grace.

Karma: The best club on Earth for doggin’ on ladies. (See: vibin’)

Pouf: An undesirable style of female coiffure involving hair with a vertical trajectory, often assisted by strategically placed plastic hair clips. Champion: Snooki.

Poundin’ it out: Engaging in sexual intercourse. (See: dirty girls.)

Vibin’: Making time with a guido or guidette in hopes of poundin’ it out. (See: Karma)

Blow-out: The arrangement of a guido’s coiffure; must take at least 30 minutes to be an authentic blow-out. (See: gel)

Jerry Springer: Authorized by guidos as a verb only; indicates confrontation with an unfaithful lover or other undesirable person. (In a sentence: “I was totally gonna Jerry Springer her [lovely bottom].”)

‘I Love the Situation’: The phrase that the Situation hopes to have silk screened on the panties of every fine lady within a 20-mile radius. Panties thus silk-screened so far: One.

‘Scarface’ poster: Desirable guido decor.

Down the shore: This term is pulled from my own past as a Philadelphia-area native. One does not visit the shore. One goes down the shore.

You’re welcome.

-- Leslie Gornstein

[For the record, 9:33 a.m., Dec. 9, 2009: A previous version of this post had the name of Jenni ‘J-WOWW’ misspelled in the text and photo caption as ‘J-Wow.’ Leslie had it right the first time, and when she reads this, I almost certainly expect a shoe or something to come flying at me through the Interwebs. Hat tip to commenter Davo for the fix/cdz. And at 10:52 a.m.: A previous version of this post didn’t include Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ in the list above (What could we have been thinking??), though she’s in the picture and the caption. Hat tip to commenter Jeremy for the fix./cdz]

Photos, from top: The ‘Jersey Shore’ cast is, standing from left, Angelina, Jenni ‘J-WOWW’, Nicole ‘Snookie’ and Mike ‘The Situation,’ and front row from left, Vinnie, DJ Paulie, Ronnie and Sammi ‘Sweetheart.’ Next, dose on a left is some peppehs dat no girl has cooked yet. An’ finally, on da right, dat’s Al Pacino as ‘Scarface,’ but he’s not decorating nobody’s house yet. Credits, from top: Scott Gries/MTV; Irfan Khan/ Los Angeles Times; Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

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