Last week, MTV announced its newest series, Jersey Shore, which it promises will feature the "hottest, tannest, craziest guidos" in the Jerz. (Think The Hills, but starring people who are tanner and have a whole lot more confidence.) What you can expect to see: all the fist pumping, pecs, and hair gel you can handle, naturally. So how close will it be to reality and how much of it will be the product of imaginative MTV producers? To separate fact from fiction, we reached out to the world's leading expert on guido-dom, Anthony Moussa, a 30-year-old Jersey native who founded the website NLSociety.com (formerly the infamous NJGuido.com), and asked him to explain to us what the lifestyle is really all about. Join us as he discusses man-jewelry, the origin of the fist pump, and how some guidos today are disgracing the culture that so many hold near and dear.
Yeah, it's typical wannabe TV guidos. They're not the real thing. It's like they pulled them straight off of YouTube. I'm going to be laughing at them because they're so fake. At the end of the day, there are real guidos and there are others who pretend to be them but who have no class and no manners. I have no time for those people. But it makes good TV, right?
We'll see soon enough. So how would you characterize the whole Jersey Shore lifestyle?
When you're younger, it's a nice family place. People in this area really grow into loving the Jersey Shore because it reminds everyone of summertime and good times. When you turn 21, the club scene is intense. It's buffed up guys and tanned up girls. In the summer, you get out of work on Friday, drive down the shore, get stuck in traffic, get to your share house, and start drinking. As each person comes in, you have a drink with him, and then you realize you're drunk before you even go out! And that happens every weekend for the entire summer! It's a great time.
What, exactly, is a guido?
It's a fashion statement, really. Trendy jeans and tight shirts and the spiked haircut are all very standard. I mean, we kind of defined guidos back in the day. Hitting the gym and getting a tan is part of it. When you're in that scene and you're competing with those other guys, they're not coming to the table with flabby arms. The only way for you to pick up Jersey girls is to look as good as the next guy in line. It's a competitive thing. That whole culture is about going to the gym five times each week.
Does a scrawny guy like a hipster have a prayer with the ladies on the shore?
To be honest with you, no. He doesn't stand a chance.
Does every self-respecting guido spray tan?
Personally, I don't think anybody should spray tan. I think it's a joke. But I can't deny it. Tanning is definitely a guido thing. But going to a tanning booth should be left to the summer. Well, or at least the spring and summer, so you're ready for summer. It's a very competitive scene appearance-wise between men trying to get the women.
How would you classify a guidette?
Well, any girl who hangs out with a guido. [Laughs] It takes a certain type of girl to date a guy who spends as much time in front of the mirror as she does, you know what I mean? As far as physical appearance goes, guidettes wear tight pants, tight shirts, and have their boobs hanging out. Oh, and they're tan.
Is a boob job a requirement?
Yes. No. [Pause] You know, I don't know. The people I hung out with back in the day, there weren't a ton of boob jobs. But now it's pretty standard. Either way, women make sure what they've got is pronounced.
What is the average nail length for a guidette?
They all wear the nail tips. I don't really know. But if I did know, that would be a little strange, don't you think?
Okay, fair point. So, is there a regulation height for a guido's hair?
Nah, but you definitely need hair gel to keep your hair up. That's the standard. People always make fun of it, but the reality is you need a lot of gel to get it that way. It is what it is.
How long does that take?
It's been very exaggerated. It's really only about 5 minutes. I mean, I'm a pro, I've been doing it forever. You put the gel on, push it up for about a minute, and then you have to spray a ton of hair spray right on there on top of it to make it stiff and hold it.
Do you use more product than your wife?
No... I don't think so. She buys the expensive stuff; I buy the cheap stuff.
What are your thoughts on man-jewelry?
I'm not opposed to it. If I go out for dinner, I wear a gold bracelet and a watch. But I don't stack on three pinkie rings. I don't know that jewelry is as much a part of it, but it's another way to be flashy and compete. If another guy goes to the gym four days, you've got to go five days. If he wears a bracelet; you've got to wear a bracelet with diamonds.
How do you feel about being labeled a guido?
It's what I am. When this whole guido reemergence happened, it all came about because of our site, NJGuido.com. Because we put a spotlight on it. I don't feel comfortable having that image in the hands of some kids on TV. Without my hand in it, I can't really say I'm that guy anymore. The main difference is that we never disrespected women. We never just went up to girls and grabbed them or ever yelled at them. We didn't get in fights either. That's all I see now. Oh, and we knew how to dance. Not like these guys you see on YouTube. I'm sure you've seen "Guidos in Cabo."
Not yet. I'll have to check that out. So what's with the fist pump?
My personal belief is that it originated at a club that used to be around called Temptations. The DJ would bring you down and then build you up with the music, and then there would be this peak of energy. Whenever that happened, people would pump their fists. The reason the one-handed, over-the-head fist pump came about was because the club was standing room only. You had to reach your hand as high up as you could in the air because that was the only way to make room, and you had to make yourself known. A big song would come on, and you'd be packed in like sardines. You had to really reach up not to hit anybody. To this day, everybody says the whole closing of Temptations a couple years ago changed Seaside Heights completely. It was our mecca.
So where are the guidos hanging nowadays?
A lot of people go to Belmar or near there in Seaside or Point Pleasant. D'Jais, Tiki Bar, The Headliner... those are all pretty much guido places. The Surf Club is guido heaven.
What are some signature Jersey nightclub anthems?
Well, now it changes every week, but classics parties are big on the shore. Old school anthems like Whitney Houston's "Your Love is My Love"—the remixed dance version—was huge. Know the song called "Baby Wants a Ride"? That's a real fist-pumper. Vengaboys' "Kiss" was a big one. Not the one you heard on the radio; the dance version. There's one by Sal Dano called "Hands Up." That one's pretty awesome.
No Bruce Springsteen, then?
I mean, you could still guido fist pump to that, but I don't know who you'd be doing it next to. When the guidos are in full force, it's always club music that's on.
What's the guido drink of choice?
Grey Goose or Ketel One. It's definitely vodka. It's the only thing that doesn't make you too full, and it gets you drunk. It's the perfect club drink. Shots are more of a bar thing. Did you see "My New Haircut" on YouTube with the kid with the Jager bombs? That was hysterical.
No, sorry. You really watch all those guido-bashing videos too, huh?
Well, yeah, because I think it's funny how the public sees guidos, and I know how most of us really are. When I see these idiots imitating guidos, I don't think they're imitating me. They're the new wannabe versions.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the guido lifestyle?
People think we're stupid. Guidos are still responsible people with respectable jobs. It's not a bunch of kids that are working for the weekend. I never felt that that was a fair perception. Whatever. People make fun of the Jersey bridge and tunnel crowd, but these people have money to spend just like anybody else. It's not a stupid crowd. It's just a few people acting stupid. I've been a computer consultant for 12 years, and I make a decent living. Also, most guidos are not disrespectful to women. Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I'm just old.
But you're only 30.
That's old in guido years! [Laughs] When I was 25, it was five o'clock on a Friday and I'd call my buddies and we'd just scream on the phone because we were so excited for the weekend. We'd be like, "It's five o'clock, what the fuck are you doing?"And then we'd meet up at happy hour. But Monday through Friday, I'm normal.
Jersey guys seem like a good time.
You can say what you want about guidos, but we're always a good time. We're only out trying to have fun. We're not trying to show up the preppy guy wearing the flannel to the club. There's competition for the women if you're a single guy, but were not competing with the preppy guy. We're competing against our own kind. Picking up a girl in New York City isn't very hard anyway because you're not competing against a bunch of other ripped guys like you would be in Jersey. It's a free-for-all.
You guys sure are confident.
Look. Five days a week to the gym and then buying a new outfit from Bloomingdale's on Friday to wear for the weekend? What's not to be confident about? A real guido doesn't need to analyze women and intimidate himself before he even goes up to one. We don't care if a girl knows we're not rich. It's still worth a shot, right?
— Molly Fahner