I'm relatively new to the LA area, but in my eight months here so far, I've noticed that most people only "know" what they see on TV. This is not directed to Los Angeles at all, this is a general observation. It's like we are all Christopher Columbus and too scared to venture out and see that the world isn't square. Which leads to a lot of ignorance and plenty of stereotypes. These stereotypes are only a minor annoyance to me, but happen too often. The main one that gripes me is the fact that everyone thinks because I'm from New Jersey that I'm Italian and fist pump at dance clubs. I am not from North Jersey, first off, so don't be confused here. North and South Jersey are two different places. So let me set the record straight about MY New Jersey.
I'm from a quiet suburb and spent time almost every summer at the Jersey shore. I'd never seen a fist pump in my life until a certain television show began following the exploits of a group of people who aren't from New Jersey. South Jersey is actually very racially diverse, and everyone is more or less used to being around different cultures. I am very disappointed to see that everyone in Los Angeles wants to know if I can fist pump, or if I saw the last episode of Mob Wives. Are you kidding me? Would you ask every Los Angelean if he/she listens to Tupac Shakur or if they can crip walk? Or would you ask every person from Wisconsin where their cheese hat is? Of course not. These may not be overly offensive questions to ask, but they do come off as a bit…retarded…for lack of a better word. It's even more insulting when I run into other people from New Jersey who ask me the same questions. I lie to you not, one of my bosses, who happened to also be from Jersey, literally asked if I was a Jersey shore Guido, in not so many words. Now I would like to think she would know better, but I guess that's asking too much.
Do these kinds of crazy, tan, greased up club-goers exist? Clearly. Are they a cliche at this point? Definitely. But the public is clamoring for these people to continue making fools out of themselves, while they drag the name of my home state through the mud everywhere they go. New Jersey may very well be known as the arm pit of our country. But I would like you all to reconsider your stance. Why? Because it is a good place to visit, relocate to, maybe even raise a family. Hey, I turned out OK right?
For example, do you want the big city bright lights vibe? I lived five minutes away from a train station that could get you to Center City Philadelphia in twenty minutes. Want to blow hard earned money on the black jack table? That same station will get you to Atlantic City in around forty five. Now, although Atlantic City has beaches, don't mistake it for the Jersey Shore. You're gonna need a car to get there. Nothing is better than piling up in a car with your buddies and taking the hour/hour and a half drive, depending on traffic, to the funnest place in the state. Boardwalks, amusements, water parks, beaches, bars, parties. You got family fun, or adult fun, depending on which beach town you choose to visit. There truly is something for everyone. Am I bragging? No, just stating the facts.
Am I over analyzing this whole thing and mistaking people's curiosity for stupidity? Maybe. But do they deserve it? Quite possibly. Expand your horizons people. It may save you from sounding completely ignorant next time you meet someone who didn't magically drop out of the sky and land in your area.