A Jersey Girl manifesto

OK. So… Susan’s making fun of me. I’ll own up to my deep dark secret. I don’t know know how to pump gas.

Do you still like me anyway?

I tried to think of something I could make fun of Susan for. Couldn’t think of anything. Couldn’t find a single thing online, even, to make fun of her for or anything about that place in the middle of nowhere that she’s from. That says something, I think. There’s lots written about NJ and lots written about Jersey Girls. Making fun of us is a hot topic, almost. Bruce Springsteen wrote a song about us, even. You don’t hear anyone singing songs about Mid-Western girls. So there.

Anyway, I spent a couple hours with my tongue in my cheek and came up with this, excerpted from a dozen different sources and meant to make you wish you were me, or at least, wish you were from NJ.

I was born and raised in NJ and while I often feel very damaged by this, I’m still pretty proud of it. I know what real pizza tastes like, and I know that a bagel is much more than a roll with a hole in the middle. I judge people by what exit they get off the Parkway. I can navigate a traffic circle–with attitude. I know that 65 mph really means 80. When someone cuts me off, they get the horn AND the finger. And they expect it. It’s a sub, not a hoagie or, worse yet, a hero, and I wash it down with soda, not pop. Yes, I drink cawfee, and lots of it. I’ve always lived within 10 minutes of a mall.

In NJ, I can watch the sun rise on the east coast and watch it set on the west. I can climb a mountain in the morning, swim in the ocean in the afternoon, and get robbed at gunpoint in Camden by night. It’s the only state where massive oil refineries and dairy farms are just a few miles apart.

Where I’m from… the shore… makeup, shoes and bras are optional, salty hair and sand under the fingernails a given, a strong attitude and a tough mouth a plus. I say what I mean and I’ve got a nice, cheerful laugh. I’m a Jersey Girl, and I’m one of the Garden State’s most enduring icons- a readily identifiable personality, as much a part of America’s cultural landscape as that other great Jerseyan, Frank Sinatra. I’m spunky and witty. I’ve got confidence- everyone from New Jersey has that confidence. A Jersey Girl is crunchy on the outside, and soft in the center. At the center of the crunchy sweet exterior, I’m tuned in and know how and what I’m working.

The Jersey Girl mystique is hard to put into words. One would never say earthy-that’s way too California. Gritty gets closer when you understand that a true Jersey Girl sleeps just fine with sand in the bed. Jersey Girls go to the beach, or “down the Shore” They’re not formal. We know good corn and tomatoes when we taste them, and we never pump our own gas!!!

So there.


Is there anything people from your part of the blogosphere are known for or made fun of for? Big hair or a bad accent or ?

21 thoughts on “A Jersey Girl manifesto”

  1. Nice come back Laura. I’m proud of you for being proud of who you are and where you are from. To tell you a secret, if I was riding with Susan, I would tell her that I didn’t know how to pump gas so she would have to. 🙂

  2. Nothing wrong with being a Jersey girl. But – You’re talking about north Jersey. In south Jersey, a lot of what you said isn’t so.
    I do love Cape May County. But, I’d still rather be in Monterey County, in California.

  3. Bobbie: lol! Funny that you should say that. I think most of the icky things that people say about NJ and the people who live here apply mostly to North Jersey – and I’m not from N. Jersey at all, tho compared to you I guess I am! Cape May County and along the Delaware Bayshore does have a very different feel, even, than where I’m from. North Jersey is like another planet, far as I’m concerned.

  4. So you never pumped gas. Have you ever:
    – Gotten your memory card stuck and considered a screwdriver as a useful tool?
    – Owned a pair of “lucky birding underwear?”
    – Been tossed out of Waffle House for dancing on the table?
    – Owned (much less wore) a pair of thigh-high patent leather boots?
    – Had to get a ride home because you were ditched at the post-prom party?
    – Resolved on January 1 to post every day?
    – Started complaining on January 5 that you resolved to post every day?

    Maybe not pumping your own gas isn’t such a big deal after all.

  5. Laura–I just heard a news story today about average prices of gas around the country.
    Highest–can’t remember where
    Lowest–New Jersey!
    So, maybe there’s something to not being able to pump your own gas.

  6. We don’t tan, we rust. Coffee Coffee Coffee. More sunglasses lost here than anywhere. “Louie, Louie”! The greenest green, the bluest blue.

    Lotsa rabbits ina house!

  7. From one Jersey girl to another, you ROCK! I’ve been transplanted for many years, but I’ll always be a Jersey girl. Yes to real pizza and bagels, real corn and tomatoes. Only in Jersey. I have to admit, though, I do pump my own gas. Like I said, I’ve been gone a while!

  8. To answer your question about things that get made fun of in my part of the blogosphere–PA Dutch accents and expressions.
    Prime example–throw Papa down the stairs his hat.
    Or It makes rain today.
    My husband grew up in Lebanon County & is very sensitive to this kind of teasing.

  9. FC: Right.


    ncmountainwoman: lol! Did our Susan really do all those things?


    KGMom: Really, I think NJ ought to see some benefit of all those oil refineries, don’t you?

    Rabbit’s Guy: Those sound like pretty good things – except for the lost sunglasses, I guess.

    Robin: I suppose I’ll have to learn someday.


    John: I’m glad to hear a guy say that; I sort of figure knowing how to pump guess comes in the genes, you know?

    KGMom: None of that sounds so strange to me – of course – I have PA Dutch relatives and a long list of odd expressions to go along with that heritage. There’s also the funny half-German words my Grandma taught me.

  10. Damn. ncmountainwoman has been paying attention.
    And strangely, she brings up the point I wanted to make.
    But no one is allowed to dis the lucky underwear. That’s sacred.

    I have been planning a rebuttal all day, but I just got back from an injured bird pick-up in the next county (sweet little barred owl) so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

  11. Shucks, I would never dis anyone’s lucky charm. However, I must regretfully point out that my husband (UNC alum) was indeed wearing his lucky tee shirt when the TarHeels got stomped Saturday night.

  12. Susan: No rebuttal is necessary, really. Or possible, for that matter.


    Love ya!

    ncmountainwoman: Maybe Susan’s on to something you should suggest to your DH.

  13. Late to the party, I still like you anyway. I wanna know, “who pumps your gas?”

    Maryland girls sound a lot like Jersey girls – without the accent :o) But we pump our own gas…

  14. We all love you, Laura, even if you can’t pump gas. I hate pumping my own gas, but we can’t all live in New Jersey. I think it’s probably places like Camden that made it necessary for people to stay in their cars at all times, so they wouldn’t be SHOT while pumping gas.

  15. Laura,
    As a Jersey girl of many, many years (I partied with Springstein and Clarence in Asbury Park and in the Colts Neck area in the early 70s), I know all the good things about NJ that outsiders never hear about. Like the beauty of the GSP from the southern tip in Cape May all the way up to the NY border. Most people equate NJ with the NJ Turnpike. Hell, no. NJ IS the Garden State for a reason. I haven’t tasted a decent tomato since I moved to Florida, nor white corn on the cob that’s sweet enough to be dessert. NJ has miles and miles of farmland, horse farms, and apple orchards. North Jersey doesn’t have beaches, but it has mountains, the Appalachian Trail, the Delaware Water Gap, and the Statue of Liberty. From Sandy Hook south, the beaches are gorgeous, beautiful views of the NYC skyline, and tons of birding spots and sanctuaries. I grew up in North Jersey and in Central Jersey. I lived in Somerset, Holmdel, Middletown, Seabright, Atlantic Highlands, and Little Egg Harbor, an hour north of Cape May. I truly miss NJ, but I don’t miss the cold, ice and snow. I love it in SW Florida, even if I do have to pump my own gas.

    You’ve got that right about the bagels, too, Laura. But the thing I miss most about NJ is Taylor ham pork roll. None of the stores down here have ever heard of it. Mmmm, yum, I could really go for a pork roll and cheese on a toasted sesame seed bagel. Mmmmm. With lots of butter dripping…oh…sorry.

    A Jersey girl in Florida. 🙂

  16. Mary: Glad you came, late even!

    Silly – there’s a guy who works at the gas station that pumps my gas – part of the $3.00 we have to pay per gallon.

    Delia: You’re probably right about Camden.

    Susan would know.


    Cathy: lol! You’ve got spunk of your own, I think.

    Elaine: Hi. Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you grew up in all the same places as me… so there’s no need to convince of how nice it can be here!

    Taylor ham… yum… really – can you not find it other places?

    Larry: Hmm.. not sure – you’ve got that great college basketball team tho!

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