August 20, 2010

Summer Friday: Warning Signs Your Friend Might Be a 'Jersey Shore' Guido

Every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day I'm going to be featuring guest bloggers as a part of my "Summer Fridays" series. This week's post comes from comedian and writer Chris Vespoli who shares with us the warning signs that someone you love may be a friend of Snooki.

To millions of Americans, MTV's Jersey Shore is a spray-tanned, greasy orgasm of drama and violence, but to me, it's something far more important. It's an educational tool -- a cautionary tale of misguided youth. You see, no one is born a Guido; Guidos are genuinely good kids who just got swept up in a turbulent sea of Ed Hardy t-shirts and LA Looks Mega Hold hair gel.

Side note: Please realize I use the term "Guido" not as a racial slur towards Italian-Americans, but as a general term for the hard-partying Jersey Shore cast and other tri-state twenty-somethings like them. After all, Ronnie is only half Italian and Snooki is actually Chilean, so to label the word an epithet is pretty misguided in this situation (no pun intended). Also, I can use the word because I myself am Italian-American, so there.

So, in order to make sure this doesn't happen to one of your friends, it's important to recognize the seven warning signs below.

Your Friend Makes Constant, Non-Ironic Use of the Word "Bro"
If someone who is not your brother starts calling you and everyone else he knows "bro," that's usually one of the first signs that something is up. Whereas normal dudes might bust out a "bro" only during a heart-to-heart talk, Guidos use it in nearly every form of social interaction. Be cautious: Use of the word is often accompanied by an increase in aggression on boardwalks, as in Ronnie's "come at me, bro!" + face punch combination in Season 1.

He Treats G-T-L as if it were a Buddhist Mantra
As popularized by Pauly D and The Situation, going to the gym, getting an artificial tan and doing your laundry is the daily routine by which every Guido maintains his "freshness." You'll know it's time for an intervention when your friend starts spending more time and money on his appearance than he does on paying back his student loans... Oh, and his skin will be a bright shade of orange.

He Has a Ridiculous Nickname
A nickname is everything to a Guido. It's a rite de passage that signals the end of one life and the start of another. It's kind of like in Star Wars: Episode III when Emperor Palpatine gives Anakin Skywalker the name Darth Vader (only Guidos don't draw their power from The Force, they draw it from Ron Ron Juice and protein bars). So, needless to say, if your best friend starts referring to himself as The Situation, JohnnyYanks, Jay420, or any other moniker that sounds like a circa-1997 AOL screen name, it's probably a cry for help.

He Has Impeccably Clean, White Sneakers
As a general rule, I don't trust anyone who spends inordinate amounts of time in clubs and bars and still manages to keep his sneakers free of dirt, spilled cocktails and the occasional bodily fluids. I'm not sure if this is a staunch characteristic of Guidos or just a coincidence, but I have never seen one with dirty sneakers. Never.

All the Music on His iPod Sounds Like a Dying Car Alarm
Nothing gets a Guido fist pumping like a series of beeps, boops and indecipherable German words. You'll see your friend's taste in music shift slowly from Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon to artists whose names sound like characters from The Matrix movies. Don't be surprised if he starts saying stuff like, "Yo bro, you hear that new beat from Morpheus and Merovingian? Shit's hot."

He Always Talks About "Italian" Values
Guidos love to up their Italian cred, even if they're not Italian at all. They'll talk endlessly about how much they value things like family, loyalty and honor, not because they're familiar with the ancient Sicilian code of Omertá, but because they heard James Gandolfini say it a bunch of times on The Sopranos. By the way, just as soon as your friend is done talking about honor, he'll probably turn around and try to fornicate with your little sister.

He Threatens to Kick Your Ass After You Write a "Signs Your Friend is Becoming a Guido" Post on a Blog
I really don't want to get my ass kicked by Guidos if any of them read this (they're big and impulsive!), so I'm gonna go ahead and take back everything I just said about them. The truth is, I secretly love them. I love Jersey Shore, and I love my mother's sauce and meatballs. Please forgive me. I'm fragile.

Chris Vespoli is a freelance writer and author of the pop culture blog ANGELINA FAUXLIE. He is also a stand up, sketch and improvisational comedian whose work can be seen at Sans Pants Productions. You can follow him on Twitter here.