Hey guys! Gosh, time really flies when it’s 85 degrees and sunny outside. One minute I was grumbling about still having to wear a jacket outside in May, and the next I found myself basking in the sun on the front porch every chance I got. Summer is hard, isn’t it?
Speaking of hard things, I just returned from the sandy yet loving arms of the Jersey shore. Every year, my family and I travel from all over this great wide nation to converge upon the beaches of Cape May, NJ, as we have done every July for the past 42 years. The week consists mostly of eating as many hot dogs as your stomach will allow, drinking cheap beer, and forgetting about all of your problems while floating upon the salty sea. It’s idyllic.
Reactions to my choice in vacation spot ranged from surprise to abject horror. I have spent much of my life defending my home state against the constant barrage of stereotypes, misconceptions, and, OK, undeniable facts, but none among them vex me so much as the disparate realities between “Jersey Shore” and the actual Jersey shore.
So I have, like, three points I’d like to make. They probably won’t change your opinion of the Jersey shore, but at least, should you feel so inclined, any insults you might make will come from an educated place.
First and foremost: Seaside Heights is not The Jersey Shore. It is one of many (many!) beach towns along the coast of New Jersey. Is it a little on the trashy side? Yes. Can you get your bellybutton pierced for ten bucks while ordering a slice of pizza at the same time? Probably. Does it span the entire coastline of New Jersey? No! No, it doesn’t.
Secondly, many of the beaches in New Jersey are actually really nice! Maybe you should go to one some time? Bucket list, maybe? Cape May has this Victorian vibe that makes you feel like a bathing garment might actually be more appropriate than a bikini. There are horse drawn carriages and hot dog stands and arcades! And the mini golf! Such wonderful mini golf! (Totally kidding about the beach garment thing. But look at these guys! They look like they’re having fun regardless.)
And finally, Jersey shore style. I get the sense that people think some sort of darkly magical transformation happens when you step foot onto the Jersey shore. Like, your hair grows to three times it’s size, your face gets buried by four inches of make up, and your skin tans to such a degree that you are nigh unrecognizable. I suppose I can only speak for myself when I say this, but in my experience, this has not been the case. I drew a helpful side-by-side comparison to illustrate my point.
In conclusion, the Jersey shore is not all spray tans and fake nails. For the most part, it’s beaches are relatively normal, filled with relatively normal people. You should not be afraid to visit it…if for no other reason than to see us fist pump in our natural habitat.