Retrospective: Summer At The Jersey Shore

“Come on dude, I’m tryin to fuck,” – Utah

Memorial Day weekend is a lot of things. It’s a time to honor our nation’s fallen troops, it’s my birthday, and it’s also the unofficial start to summer — at least in New Jersey, I don’t know how other states do things, but Jersey is really the only place that matters.

The Jersey Shore social scene had a spotlight cast on it back in 2009, when MTV rolled out Jersey Shore. A bunch of guidos and guidettes spent the summer in Seaside Heights gymming, tanning, laundrying, and probably creating several new strains of HPV, all to the delight of audiences around the world. And while the TV fan in me feels that Jersey Shore is an easy contender for best reality show of all time, the New Jerseyan in me knows that it left a lot of meat on the bone.

MTV did with Seaside Heights, what Rudy Giuliani did to Times Square — they created a cleaned up version that feels dangerous, but is still safe enough for a teenager from middle-America. Sure people smushed, Snookie got punched in the face, there were arrests, and there was relationship drama; all part and parcel to a summer at the shore. And while you can still get stabbed by a homeless guy in Times Square, it’s just not the same when you know the blade probably isn’t AIDS infected, the whole thing goes down in front of Bubba Gump Shrimp instead of a 25-cent jackoff booth, and an EMT is there to render immediate first aid.

If you can’t get yourself to New Jersey for a summer of drunken depravity, the type which is rarely discussed among polite society, then I’d recommend watching the original version of MTV’s Jersey Shore, titled ‘True Life: I Have A Summer Share.’ True Life’s cameras followed an aging guido named Tommy through a summer in Seaside Heights as he searches for love and the answer to the question “Who ate my fucking cheeseballs?”. It features long gone, but legendary night spots like Temptations, Merge, and Bamboo, as well as the kind of belligerent, socially unacceptable behavior that makes me proud to be an Italian American.

Summer at the shore really is a special experience. Most of us here in NJ grow up doing it with our families; sand castles, boogie boards, mini golf, seafood dinners, ice cream, Bruce Springsteen songs, and all the wholesome shit that makes for a truly enriching childhood…or something. But when your 20s hit, the Shore becomes something else entirely (well it usually happens in your teens with underage drinking and trying to finger chicks on vacation, but that’s a different blog post).

I’m the proud veteran of what I will call 7 ‘fun’ shore summers. Now, the shore is pretty much always fun, but again I’m talking about grown up fun, the kind I didn’t think existed after college graduation.

Here’s how the game is played:

Find a house somewhere between Belmar and Seaside Heights. Pack said house with about a dozen people — there will probably only be 2 bedrooms at most, so you have to get creative, I recommend checking out the bunkbed setup favored America’s top religious cults. You won’t have much room for activities, and doggy-style sex can be a real hazard on the bottom bunk, but all things considered it’s the most pragmatic way for everyone to sleep.

If you don’t have a dozen friends to fill the house with, don’t worry about it. Once you put a deposit down to reserve a place, you can easily fill the remaining spots with random people from Craigslist. If you’re put off by the thought of vacationing for a summer with complete strangers in sleeping conditions that mirror steerage aboard the Titanic, then summer at the shore is not for you. Some of my coolest, longest lasting friendships started as Craigslist shore house acquaintances, one even sparked a 3 year relationship — so what I’m saying is don’t be such a close minded cunt, it’s the shore we’re here to get weird, you want something else, go somewhere else.

You’re gonna want to get intoxicated as well. Unlike college where everyone is broke and trying to stretch $20 into a cool buzz, your shore house crew should all be gainfully employed. This means you can drink higher quality liquor, which is important because you’re going to be combining that liquor with a lot of drugs, very little sleep, sexually risky behavior, and an entire weekend in the sun. Consuming higher quality shit will ensure that the hangover you bring to work on Monday, is a little less brutal.

So you’ve got the house, you’ve got the people, you’ve got the party supplies, now what? Now, you throw caution to the wind, crank some filthy house beats, and let the good times roll.

No one really ever knows what’s going to happen over the course of a Jersey Shore weekend, it’s like an NFL game in that sense. Sure it’s easy to make some predictions, “Brady’s gonna throw for 3 scores”, “I’m gonna drink until I can’t see and spend the rest of my night struggling to stick my 3/4 erection into a visibly unsatisfied fat chick”, whatever, but you won’t really know until you start drinking, snorting, and smoking. Odds are, however, that you will likely see some nudity.

Nothing will desensitize you to the sight of other people having sex in squalid conditions, like a weekend at the shore. I strolled in the door one night, burrito in hand, to find my roommate ‘Utah’ (he’s actually named after a different state, but changing names to protect the innocent and such) squat racking some chick on the living room couch — “Come on dude, I’m trying to fuck,” he bellowed as I moved briskly through the room. “I can see that,” I replied as I made my way to the kitchen to smoke a bowl and enjoy my burrito. Minutes later several more roommates walked in, one disrobed in an effort to turn the carnal act from a duet to a trio…he was rebuffed, and the amorous pair made their way to more private surroundings.

On another occasion, a female friend and I took a few hits of Molly before heading out to D’Jais Sunday Funday — a raucous bacchanal that brings together the Shore’s most hardcore party people for an afternoon of substance fueled fun. Our eyes met as we glided arm-in-arm across the dance floor, “do you want to go home and fuck me?” she asked. Not one to let a lady down, I obliged. As happens when one takes MDMA, my penis struggled mightily to become erect. I countered by rolling a blunt and drinking a beer. The edge now taken off of my high, we consummated our lust on the living room couch — a different living room and different couch than the previous tale. As my lady love took a mid-session break to urinate, I sat on the couch, house music thumping, gutted cigars and beer cans scattered about, stroking my penis to maintain my precious erection, when my roommate walked in the door…he was kind enough to turn and walk back out, allowing the lovemaking to commence.

These are the things that happen when one parties at the shore. Waking up, rolling over, and looking across the room to see a pair of thrusting male ass cheeks is de rigeur on a Saturday morning in a Belmar summer house. In my first ever Belmar house, I found myself face deep in the thighs of a gal who could kindly be described as ‘thick’. My sister of all people walked in and exclaimed, “there’s Mike…and some strange lady.” I chuckled, the Strange Lady was not amused. She berated me and stormed out. It was quite a scene. It was my 29th birthday. These are the things that happen when one parties at the shore.

There are other avenues for genital exposure along New Jersey’s wave whipped coast. It’s not all sexual, sometimes a penis reveals itself amidst an act of whimsy. My soul aches with nostalgia, a yearning for summers gone by, when I think of my friend ‘The Dick Shower’ (a nickname he earned when he was arrested for exposing himself to a prostitute and plainclothes cops inside of a Bank of America ATM vestibule) taking his dick out to show people at my 27th birthday party — an afternoon on which I successfully navigated bottom bunk doggy style intercourse! One steamy Saturday, as we marked Christmas in July, my friend Jimmy ran a lap around the block completely naked, save for the Santa Claus hat upon his head, his balls jingling like so many bells affixed to a one-horse open sleigh. And how could I leave out the couch jumpers. My buddy and I thought it would be quite a gas if we left our front door open to allow a pair of drunken streakers to sprint through the house. They did just that, while also making a pit stop on our living room couches, where they jumped up and down, dongs flapping in the faces of our other friends’ girlfriends…hilarity did not ensue.

But this year I fear the coronavirus will deny us those cherished rights of summer. And while pandemic disease may cull the levels of fun had by New jersey’s party people, those memories will live on in every sweet breeze that brings hints of saltwater, booze, BO, fart, weed, feminine hygiene products, and stale leftover beer to dance upon our olfactory glands. And when I smell those smells, no matter where I am, I once more stroll those golden sands, of the Jersey Shore.

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