I have a confession to make. No, I haven't eloped or tattooed anything ridiculous and regret-worthy on my derriere. I haven't robbed a bank, nor have I become a hugely successful underground belly dancer. My confession is actually nothing to be ashamed of: I grew up at the Jersey Shore.
Ok, so maybe this isn't such a big secret. It's not like I make a conscious decision to not tell people where I grew up. I simply tend to avoid it, mentioning instead that I am Colombian on my mom's side, or that I lived in New York for four years before moving to England, where I live now.
But the truth is I grew up in Lacey Township, a mere few miles outside of Seaside Heights. Yes, Seaside. The setting of The Jersey Shore television show and Snooki's countless, drunken escapades. It's the heart of Ocean County: the capital of tanning salons, teeth-whitening treatments, and muddy brown beach water.
But hey — at least we have beaches. And we've proven time and time again that we can rise back on our feet after devastating natural disasters, like Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. When our boardwalk is in ruins, we re-build it, and we make it stronger.
If you're also from the Jersey Shore, then you know there are plenty of reasons to be proud, because there are some things only we can natives can truly understand. Things like...
you know WaWa = Heaven
No fast food place, over-priced Starbucks, or bubble tea bar will ever compare to your WaWa subs and $1-milkshakes.
and that there's always a 24-hour diner around the corner in case WaWa is closed
And you'll never feel bad about going. No matter how ramshackled and gritty those diners might be.
you've made your peace with the lack public Transportation
Just kidding! We get the oldest N.J. Transit buses, and drivers that couldn't care less if their recklessness results in passengers being trapped on a bus for five extra hours.
And the traffic getting to Seaside? Don't even get me started
Beach days have to start pre-dawn, otherwise you'll be stuck on Route 37 the whole morning.
Once you're there, though, it is so, so worth it
even the salt water taffy is unlike any other
You can even get non-descript-beer-flavor.
yes, some shore residents do in fact have tanning addictions
As in, they want to be fifty shades of orange.
and an attachement to those short-shorts
With every store on the boardwalk only further nurturing their needs.
But you know not everyone here is like Snooki
A lot of what you see on The Jersey Shore is pretty representative of life on Seaside Heights, but at least it's not representative of the entire coast.
That said, you've probably been to Bamboo
You feel compelled to go because what else is there to do, really, on the Jersey Shore? And who is actually going to pass up $2-shots?
and yes, you fist-pumped
Me? No, no, no. I didn't mean me.
At least you didn't have to pump your gas to get there, though
So maybe this applies to all of New Jersey residents, but we're fundamentally opposed to it on the shore.
sometimes, you like to escape the "proper" shore and head down to Wildwood
But the abundance of drunken teenagers out for their prom weekends is usually too much to handle.
or go to Long Beach Island
L.B.I. is the best, quietest and most peaceful beach that the Jersey Shore has to offer. It's waters are still brown, but at least the setting is slightly more serene.
you know the joy of a taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel. (Top bun and hoodie included.)
She is the quintessential example of a shore resident.
Speaking of hoodies, you never feel pressured to wear anything but
We take "casual" to whole new levels.
Except, maybe, your Ugg boots
But who can blame us? They are cozy and warm and pure works of Australian artistry.
you laugh (or wince) at the abundance of pickup trucks with XL tires
Because having a pseudo-monster truck is a first-class ticket to cool, don't ya know (vomits slightly in mouth).
but you do love your XL pizza
Best thing about the boardwalk: the 30-inch pies. Comfort food never looked so good.
and rain or shine, you're glad there will always be deep-fried Oreos
Known also as "heart attack on a platter" — but that's probably why they call it a "guilty pleasure."
most of all, while you might sometimes have to defend your home against the haters
You're damn proud of where you're from, and what we've built
There's no place like home.