Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jersey Girl

(Special Note: I think my blog exchange partner is knee-deep in midterm exams, so not sure if I will be getting her post. So without further ado, I give you mine)

There was that chick from New Jersey that we all imagined, smacking her bubble gum between her teeth while smoking a Marlboro Light, full of East Coast attitude. In the 1980s, you could practically set a drink on the ledge of her bangs they were so high, but that was the style. And Jersey girls set the precedent for ‘80s hair’. Shampoo it, mouse it, tease it and spray it. I, for one, grew up on the Jersey shore and I was a little south of the Sopranos-style neighborhoods of Northern New Jersey, where the true “Jersey Girl” seemed to reside in our imagination. At least the kind that us central Jersey girls envision in our heads: high hair, acid-washed jeans, white belt, white boots, red lipstick and black eyeliner. But she is much more than that. And I am more of a Jersey Girl than I think.

When I moved to Columbus, Ohio from Red Bank, New Jersey, it was at the very least a culture shock. No more rude 7-11 store clerks, no more road rage, no more lazy summer days at the beach, no more scenic road trips, no more obscenely high car insurance rates, and no more mass transportation. Central Ohio is like one big land of flat suburbia, with a major interstate cut through the middle. Strip mall after strip mall, there is urban sprawl everywhere, while our downtown consists of vacant department stores. But no one here seems to care much. Most of the people here are modest, middle class people that care only about whether the Buckeyes will have a winning football season. Sometimes there’s too much of an evenness about the people, just like the landscape that surrounds us. I know I’m not making it sound very nice, but it’s really just fine. Just fine. And that’s the best way to describe it. Not too great, not too bad, just F-I-N-E. Fine. But how can this Jersey Girl manage such “fineness”? Where is my 3 hour commute? Where is the scummy ocean wave filled with hypodermic needles? Where is the overpriced housing? Where are the property tax hikes? Where is the political graft? Where is all the traffic? How can I function in such “fineness”?

Exposed to the Jersey way of living for 30+ years, I certainly lived up to the saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” But in my case, of course, I’m a girl. And apparently a complicated one at that. I was so flabbergasted when I came across the following definition of a Jersey Girl from Wikipedia, I thought it would have been extremely appropriate for the publishers of Wikipedia to place my photo next to this paragraph:

…She's humble, but ambitious. She's independent, but family-oriented. She likes pizza, beer and lots of mascara, but don't think for a moment she's not sophisticated. Jersey girls are about attitude. A Jersey girl is "crunchy on the outside, and soft in the center." A Jersey girl has the tenacity and drive of a New Yorker, but with the beauty of warmth and humility that being from Jersey is all about. Don't mistake her toughness as a lack of refinement. Don't misjudge her sometimes 'brash' manners as a lack of 'classiness.' At the center of the crunchy sweet exterior, she is tuned in and knows how and what she's workin'. She's spunky and witty, and she handles competition very well. She's got that confidence. Bottom line: she's sexy as hell and if you're lucky, she's yours."

Upon reading that paragraph, I think there’s a little Jersey Girl in all of us. Meanwhile, I’m hanging onto my Jersey-ness here in Ohio, so that I can continue to get giddy everytime I open my car insurance bill to remind me why I’m still here.

This month’s blog exchange assignment was to pick a song and write a post about the title. My song is “Jersey Girl”, by Bruce Springsteen, my hometown hero (even though Tom Waite originally recorded the version, Bruce covered the song later). I picked this one because I truly live up to the official description. And it ain’t a bad song either. Long live Bruuuuuce!


Blogger Mitch McDad said...'s as if I was back at the Stoned Poney, a little high, sipping on a beer and walking up to a big haired gum smacker and saying, "how you doin' baby?"

Thanks for the trip down amnesia lane.

11:02 AM

Blogger Mayberry said...

It definitely sounds like Ohio needs a little (or a large) dose of Jersey Girl. Perfect way to interpret the BE challenge!

11:55 AM

Anonymous Laura Lohr said...

I love the definition of a Jersey girl. Great post!

Everytime I think of Ohio, I think of this silly thing my husband always says, "Round on the sides and 'HI' in the middle." I am sure you have heard that before...but I have never been to Ohio.

2:23 PM

Blogger Damselfly said...

You may say, "Long live Bruce," but I say, "You da boss!" for exchanging a blog post with yourself. How gracious of you.

2:52 PM

Blogger chrisanne said...

Love it. There is some Jersey girl somewhere inside of me still, although I haven't lived in Jersey for 13 years.
And Bruce. Well, there are no words for Bruce. He is the soundtrack to my adolescence.

4:03 PM

Blogger soccer mom in denial said...

I'm so glad you were part of the exchange this month and sorry about your partner (it happened to me last month).

Hang on to your Jersey-ness. There are enough mid-westerners.

9:03 PM

Blogger Amanda said...

My second summer working summer stock on the east coast I befriended a Jersey girl. She was the truest friend ever. And I don't know if this is all Jersey girls, but she had the most engaging candor, trucker mouth and decency about her. This west coast girl (living in upstate NY) gives your Jersey girl a standing O.

9:57 PM

Blogger Star said...


Found this great site with lots of weekly comps, any anyone can easily join. :)


1:50 AM

Blogger Alex Elliot said...

It's funny how different parts of the US are. I'm from Chicago, but am living in MA and the whole pace is diffent. I lived in Hoboken for a couple of years which I loved!

12:34 AM

Anonymous Jurgen Nation said...

Oh, 80s hair!!! Kris (Mama Likey) and I had a "Bang Off" in 2005 that just kicked ass. And speaking of kick ass - my bangs kicked her bangs' ass. Or something. Anyway, I'm a Michigan girl and that hairstyle trickled over to us, too in the late 80s early 90s. Frankly, I have no idea how I still have hair on my head, I used so much spray and teased it so much. And then it would get crusty and little white flakes would bead up from over-hairspraying...*shudder*

Loved this post and memories it brought forth. And hi from Indie Bloggers, btw! :) -stacy

3:10 PM

Anonymous Jenn said...

love this - such a big country is bound to lead to a tonne of diversity and it always amazes me how different areas can be! happy Ohio :)

3:47 PM

Blogger Wikeni said...

I just moved to South Fl and WOW how different (you wouldn't think so, but it is)! No matter what, though - and I think I can speak for all of us Jersey Girls - I'll always have a true love for the muddy green waters of the shore, taylor ham, egg and cheese on a hardroll (eaten at a diner at 3 am, of course), and the best corn and tomatoes grown 5 miles from a landfill.

6:08 PM


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