I will be the first to admit it: I vehemently detest Jersey Shore. The thought that unattractive individuals with little intellectual prowess and even less emotional substance receive checks large enough to pay for my future brownstone is simply absurd.
And when the Jersey Shore premiered and litte Guidos and Guidettes were popping up everywhere I turned, I determined to give it a chance– to watch one complete episode and reserve my preliminary judgment until its conclusion.
About 12 minutes into the first episode I turned off the television. Seriously, the amount of times the words “boobs,” “six-pack” (both in reference to body and beer), and “hairspray” were used was astounding. These men and woman had little ambition and were content to drink, sleep– preferably with each other, and engage in an activity they claimed resembled dance, but I consider sex on the dance floor.
When I dismissed the show in its early stages of airing, I thought I had wiped my hands clean of these human-animals. But last night I took a train from Connecticut to New York that reminded me the Jersey Shore mentality is alive and well. And any of us with an ounce of human intelligence should be afraid, very afraid.
One said human-animal– we’ll call him Tony– decided to seat himself next to me. His first comment: “Want to feel my arm muscles?” And before I could say no, vomit in my mouth, or locate my middle finger, he assumed the flex-press-and-burn position.
“They’re rippling, no?” I gave him the disinterested glare, but he proceeded, “Not getting any, huh?” Holy Moses, Tony was already asking me the intimate details of my non-existent romantic life.
To send a message, I removed my clean and crisp copy of The New Yorker from my purse and began perusing the “About Town” section. Tony, now joined by two friends who had enough grease into their hair to fry a diner’s worth of eggs, did not seem deterred. Perhaps he was illiterate, but turning to his fellow Guidos, he exclaimed, “I hope ‘Bad Romance’ is playing when we get there. I always get the booty during that song.”
My inner feminist was enraged. Lady Gaga is a symbol of female empowerment– not a means to attain a cheap sexual thrill. I decided to initiate conservation with the human-animal and said, “Are you familiar with the tenets of post-modernist psychology?”
Tony responded, “Um, what? I only got ‘are,’ ‘you,’ and ‘with.’ Are you one of those smart types that, like, reads books and s***?”
“You mean, am I one of those girls who views Lady Gaga as a modern day example of contemporary post-feminist ideals and you as a classic case of the human-animal, composed of human flesh and animal impulses?”
I had silenced the beast. He was completely and utterly speechless. For the remainder of our ride into Grand Central, he spoke only to his fellow human-animals about the ladies and their dance floor bodies. Occasionally, he would shoot me a frightened glare or two. But mostly he cowered in the cage I had strategically cornered him into.
The Beloved Roommate, whom I consulted upon my return to the City, reaffirmed my faith in humanity by providing me with another example of my post-feminist ideals. I was quite intrigued by this example largely because she, like many a Jersey Shore aspirant, was from Staten Island, New York. And despite this geographical correlation, she- Ms. Ingrid Michaelson- had employed her intellectual capabilities in pursuing her musical genius: