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Washington Post article on jersey guidos

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13708-2003Jul5.html

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By Libby Copeland

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, July 6, 2003; Page D05

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. -- Guidos belong to summer, and summer belongs to the guidos.

Anthony Moussa, 24, who runs a Web site called NJGuido.com, comes alive during Memorial Day weekend, like a Roman statue freed from stone, beautiful. The summer months give shape and meaning to Moussa's life. This is when he parties hardest, staying up to see the dawn. This is when he comes to the Jersey Shore with his buddies and fixes his hair and hits the nightclubs and admires the girls, again and again tipping back the sweet, fruity shot he calls life.

This is when Anthony Moussa achieves the fullest expression of his guido self. This is when he becomes The Moo.

"The bus is leaving now!" Moo shouts, just after 11 on a Saturday night, his hair spiked, his shirt tight. It's nightclub time and he's waited long enough. "I'm locking the door and you can all go to hell if you don't come!"

To understand the guido, a modern-day Jersey dandy, come to Seaside, a honky-tonk town with a boardwalk of neon signs and flashing light bulbs, where Moo and his friends flock every weekend all summer. This year, eight of the guys have nabbed a "palace," a four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with central air in a house just around the corner from their favorite nightclub, Temptations.

Every Saturday and Sunday, they make their way to this club, where disco balls glitter and the dance floor is as crowded as a chicken house. The music is so loud it's like a dentist's drill in your mouth. Moo and many other guys take off their shirts, offering the glamorous guidettes an eye-level display of countless man-nipples. Here, rock-hard pecs are a sort of pickup line all their own. Moo always brings a digital camera to take pictures for his year-old Web site, which he hopes will transform the term guido, an ethnic stereotype, into shorthand for all that he loves: youth, beauty and flash.

"If it's changeable, I'm changing it," Moo, who is half-Italian and half-Lebanese, says as he steps into the club. He's grinning wildly. Inaction is a burden upon Moo, who gets anxiety attacks if he is forced to spend too many hours lying on the beach. The frenzy of Temptations serves as a balm for his soul.

"This place actually relaxes me," he says. "I'm in my element."

He looks around at all the taut, tan skin and spandex.

"It's all New Jersey," Moo says passionately. "It's like a cult." He recalls how he once described Temptations to a friend: "You can't tell me there's anyplace in the world where you'll find more beautiful women."

Like the guido, the guidette's beauty is defined in upper-body terms, but instead of muscle, her currency is breasts. Implants are popular. Cleavage is all. Her nails are pink or French manicured, her earrings are hoop, her top is tube, her tank is mesh, and she teeters on sandals with three-inch heels. Her lips are wet with lip gloss. She has the look of a varnished-sushi refrigerator magnet, perfect under the Temptations strobe lights.

Moo's friends gather around the corner of the bar they always claim. Somebody orders shots of Sex on the Beach for everyone. "You know what'll happen in here?" Moo asks, looking excited. "It'll get tighter and tighter and tighter until it's like this." He bumps one massive shoulder against yours, and you know something both thrilling and scary is about to happen.

The guido is breaking free.

It is Sunday morning in the palace, by which we mean almost noon. Moo and his girlfriend, Jana Brusich, 26, a bartender and part-time model, are having breakfast at the kitchen table. (In afternoons, this table is replaced by a long wooden board for beer pong, a game that involves throwing ping-pong balls into cups of beer and then drinking it.) Some of the guys are over on the couches, recovering from their night at Temptations, watching ESPN and giving each other a hard time. One is already having a beer.

"Bagel?" Moo asks a huge guy who has just stumbled out of his bedroom and is now wandering around the kitchen like a disoriented bear. "Advil?"

"Hospital," the bear says.

Moo turns back to the table.

"There was a rumor going that they were playing beer pong at 8:30 in the morning," he says.

"I think I heard it," Jana says, eating a bagel with jelly. She's astonishingly thin.

Moo's best friend, Brian Carline, 24, known as Construction Carline for his habit of donning a construction helmet when going dancing, is rooting through the freezer for breakfast food. He pulls out a bottle of Stoli Vanilla. "THERE'S NO WAY!" he shouts in his everyday, cranked-to-10 voice. He holds up the bottle, which is nearly empty, and looks accusingly toward the couches. "WHAT THE HELL WENT ON HERE?"

It's a rhetorical question. Carline starts knocking the ice off a box of Eggo waffles.

Breakfast may be one of the few quiet periods in the life of the guido, so it seems appropriate to take advantage of this lull to consider what "guido" means.

Consider the T-shirt Moo is wearing, which he designed and sells on NJGuido. (Clothing sales on the site net about $70 or $80 a month, which is enough for one guy's night of drinking at Temptations, if he's not buying too much.) On the front of the shirt is the site's logo: a bare-chested guy holding what looks like a fireball -- Moo calls this "the energy" -- above his head. On the back it says: I am a New Jersey guido. A well refined, clean cut, muscle toned, fist pumping, girlfriend stealing, machine. You got a problem with that?

Then, at the bottom: If a sexy guidette is reading this . . . how you doin?

One slang dictionary dates the emergence of the term guido to the late '80s. Back then, he wore baggy-legged Z. Cavaricci pants, tank tops and gold chains and drove a souped-up Mustang or Camaro IROC-Z. The guidette kabuki'd her hair into a massive nest guarded by an iron fence of bangs. In the '80s and '90s, the term guido was often derisive and directed at Italians, but the community was ethnically broader than that.

These were the people of northern New Jersey and Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Yonkers, a bridge-and-tunnel crowd bound together more by attitude than by ancestral homeland. They were the spiritual descendants of John Travolta's "Saturday Night Fever" character, the dim but gorgeous Tony Manero, a Brooklyn paint clerk who is truly alive only when he's strutting on the dance floor.

The guido ethos is showy, it bumps shoulders and yells. It is a hey-baby culture, in which the men are macho and the women wear spandex. When cruising in cars -- a popular pastime -- guidos like loud dance music and loud-looking girls. When they walk, they thrust their shoulders back and take over sidewalks.

But as evolution teaches, those who cannot adapt, die. Moo understands this, and he wants the world to know that today's guido is a modern, sophisticated creature -- that although the guido persists, his Z. Cavariccis do not. The old IROC-Z has been replaced by the BMW 330 as the ideal form of transportation. The guidette's hair is no longer big -- it is flat as an ironed skirt or limp and curly, like seaweed.

Moo, a computer consultant mostly for construction companies, didn't start the Web site with any grand ambitions. Originally, NJGuido was just a place he could post digital photos he'd taken of nights out with friends. The name was descriptive, because he knew what he was. He was a guido.

"I never had a problem being called that," says Moo, who lives in Franklin Lakes, N.J. "But then people were like, 'Why do you have a Web site called guido -- is that a joke?' "

The site's reputation seemed to spread by word-of-mouth, becoming popular not only with other guidos but also with people who liked to make fun of them. Moo didn't care. He got so much traffic, the message board he'd set up was crashing. He moved NJGuido to a bigger server. He put an "I H NJGUIDOS" thong up for sale and added a game called Bustout!, involving a girl in a bikini. He added banner ads for local nightclubs, which he says allow the site to break even. He says he now gets 11,000 to 13,000 visits a day.

"Now that everybody sees it, I figure, may as well try to turn it into something good," he says.

Over on the couches, the guys are making a fuss about a pop star on TV.

"That's Jewel!"

"I'm Jewel-ing right now!"

Perhaps these guys -- indeed, perhaps all of New Jersey -- have been waiting for a visionary like Moo. A proud man. A man with a poetic soul who can write an inspirational online piece like "NJ Anthem":

"This is the weekend that we show the rest of the world what we are made of . . . . We don't want to dress up, we want to dress less. We want to show off the fact that New Jersey men and women are in the best shape."

The anthem ends, as most of Moo's online entries do, with his motto: "There are no excuses. Party like a rockstar."

Seaside Before Dark

Waiting.

It's mid-afternoon on Sunday. The daylight hours are slow. It's too cold to go to the bikini bar on the beach the guys like to call the Silicone Club.

The music in the palace is almost always on and often extremely loud, so that a person can find the apartment -- which is down an alley, on the back side of the house -- just by following the thumping bass line. This contributes to a sense that Moo and his friends are perpetually pumping themselves up for a party, even when they're just sitting around.

In the kitchen, Moo is making burgers for everyone on a George Foreman grill. Construction Carline, who has been awake for just about four hours, makes an announcement to no one in particular.

"ALL RIGHT, I'M READY. I'M GONNA HAVE A BURGER AND THEN I'M GONNA START SERIOUSLY DRINKING."

Moo and his friends are being treated to the fluttery presence of best friends Karen Vega and Katie Mesa, who got to know them by becoming devoted posters to the message boards of NJGuido. Both are 21 and small, with long brown hair. They showed up at the palace for a visit the afternoon before with such equally bouncy energy that a newcomer could tell them apart only by the color of their bandannas (one wore red and the other wore blue).

Today, in one of the bedrooms off the kitchen, Mesa, an aspiring actress who studies at a conservatory in Manhattan, is giving a guy a massage on one bed. Vega, a college student who is sometimes called Sparkplug, is sitting on the other bed with Craig Caracozza, 23, who is sometimes known by his NJGuido message board name, Joe C. He is drinking a Bacardi and cranberry to get rid of a headache. At some point, Sparkplug lies on her side and asks Joe C. for a massage, but instead, he just slaps her bottom. She laughs.

The group is discussing what it means to be guido. They say one needn't be Italian.

"It's a state of mind," says Joe C. "You should make a Guidopoly." He means a board game, like Monopoly.

"What would you have?" asks Mesa.

"Temptations, Seaside, boardwalk, a Deko Lounge," says Joe C.

"A pizzeria!" adds Mesa.

"A pizzeria?" asks Joe C, in a dismissive tone.

"It's going out, partying, dancing, clubbing," says Sparkplug.

"Having fun," says Joe C., who wears a Coach visor and a shirt that says Italia. Friends describe Joe C. as the "ultimate guido." He studies at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., with hopes of becoming a gym teacher, drives a paprika-colored Mercedes Kompressor and, perhaps more than anyone, understands that being guido is an aspiration to carefully crafted gorgeousness.

Joe C., Moo and many other guidos get their hair shaped into what Moo calls the "guido cut" -- short on the sides and gelled into long spikes on top. They still favor gold chains, but their fashion is current clubwear. Moo likes Diesel, Boss by Hugo Boss, Buffalo, Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Seven and Dolce & Gabbana, and he buys something new every weekend. For going out, Joe C., Moo and Co. like tank tops and anything else that will evidence countless gym hours spent on "pecs, abs, tris and bis." On Saturday night, for example, Moo wears a muscle tee, the sleeves of which he has snipped to make room for his bulging biceps.

Guidos may live in one of the few realms of the straight world in which men are as preciously groomed as women. The quest for perfection is what prompts one of the Moo's friends to bring an electric nose hair trimmer to the palace. It's why Moo shaves his chest and back -- and why Joe C. shaves his back and arms and sometimes his legs.

"That's guido," Sparkplug says.

Joe C. also gets his eyebrows waxed, a fact he reveals casually, only to be unnerved when an outsider expresses astonishment. He asks several guys who pass by the bedroom door whether they also wax their eyebrows and seems relieved when the third guy says he does. It seems to confirm to Joe C. that he is potently macho.

Mesa pipes up: "Guys are more girlier than girls these days."

Moo Over Miami

The guido lifestyle is not made for wives and children, or other things that get in the way of fun. As one of the guys puts it when asked if he has a girlfriend: "Depends who's asking."

Moo and his guy friends partied in Miami for five nights this spring and didn't make it to bed earlier than 7 a.m. Some weeks later, they celebrated the broken engagement of the oldest member of their crew (computer programmer Tony Gasperino, 29) by renting a stretch Navigator and embarking on what Moo dubbed a Born-Again Bachelor party. ("One of the drunkest nights ever," he says.) That this is a lifestyle only for the young seems to be clear to Moo, who acts like he has to get all his partying in now before it's too late.

In one of his essays on NJGuido, Moo quotes himself like he's quoting Thoreau:

" 'One minute awake is a minute of youth, one minute of sleep is a minute of old age.' (Anthony Moussa)"

One day at lunch, Moo says, "I don't like downtime. Downtime stinks." He's drinking an Amstel Light after finishing some sort of spiked mango drink. "You know what'll really give me an anxiety attack?"

He starts telling about this time he was walking past a California Pizza Kitchen.

"And outside I see about five baby strollers and I'm like, 'Oh, my God.' That makes me crazy. I don't ever want to get old. That's my worst nightmare."

Tony the bachelor, who's also sitting at the table, explains how he knows Moo is having an anxiety attack. His "face gets red like a tomato and he has to lay down," Tony says.

What is the guido without the bloom of youth -- without his bachelorhood, his boundless bravado, his beauty?

At the shore house one evening, Moo remarks that someone who was looking at photos of him on NJGuido told him that the last year's worth of partying seemed to have aged him.

"Do you think I look older than I was?" he asks a friend, in what seems a brief moment of vulnerability.

To which the friend replies, as the true guido must, "I don't pay attention to you."

The Countdown

As the sun sinks, guidos prepare for partying. Some nap. Some shower. The whole crew walks to Temptations to wait 20 minutes to pay $20 and get stamped so that later, they won't have to wait in an even longer line. When they stand outside the club, guys drive by pumping loud music through open windows, and a voice from somewhere keeps yelling, " 'Ssup, girl!"

Then the guidos head back to the house and drink. While the mainstay of daylight hours is Bud Light, Amstel Light and Corona, evenings are all about the shots. The guys down Stoli vodka, licorice-flavored Jaegermeister and Goldschlager, a cinnamon schnapps whose novelty is its floating 24-karat gold flakes. Dancing starts in the kitchen. The guys put on hats they keep above the fridge: a green, oversize foam hat with a huge brim and a shiny plastic captain's hat that might once have belonged to the Village People.

Then they get serious. They start considering outfits.

Close to 10, Moo stands shirtless in his room, grabbing tops out of his drawer and pulling pants out of his closet. He keeps seven pairs of jeans at the shore house, all folded on hangers. He's asking his girlfriend for advice.

"Does this work?" Moo asks.

"Absolutely not, it doesn't even match," says Jana. "I just think you should wear the gray T-shirt."

"I wanna wear the green one."

"Well, then, you can't wear these pants, it doesn't match."

Moo gives up and goes to take a shower. Jana says, "He takes longer than I take." Out in the main apartment, the music is loud, and Construction Carline is shouting, "WHO WANTS SOME SHOTS OF JAEGER?"

Carline already has his outfit set for the club: his construction helmet (actually a tree-trimmer's helmet with ear guards) and a red cape. Tonight, he'll be calling himself Tempts Man.

After the shower, Moo puts one kind of moisturizer on his face. Then he rubs a different moisturizer, which smells like cocoa butter, on his chest and arms, adding more and more until he's beige. This is necessary. "When you sweat, it brings back the cocoa butter smell," Moo says. He sprays on deodorant, then heads back into the bedroom, where he ponders jeans with Jana.

"These are nice," she says. "You wanna wear these with the green shirt?"

"I can't wear these with green."

"Why don't you wear these?"

"I wore those Friday night."

He gives up and goes to do his hair.

"He's worse than a woman!" Jana says.

The doing of the hair is a complex and mysterious ritual. The night before, Moo got so frustrated that he had to do it three times and "change products." Tonight, he first puts spiking gel in his hair, then sprays his hair with hairspray, then styles it, then sprays it again. "Then I'll come back here when it starts falling from all the weight and spray it again," he says.

He goes back in the bedroom and finally settles on the green tank he wanted to wear all along, plus a pair of blue corduroys. He rejects two of the five pairs of sneakers he's brought to the shore house, settling unhappily on a third pair. ("These are last year's, too, that's why I don't want to wear them.")

This is about the point that Construction Carline comes into the bedroom and starts whispering something about underwear in Moo's ear.

Carline is in a quandary. He's wearing fitted boxer briefs, and he's trying to decide if he should change into looser boxer shorts. This is an important decision because once in a while, in a fit of giddiness at Temptations, Carline likes to take off his pants. He knows that if he wears his boxer briefs, which look an awful lot like underwear, he'll never take off his pants. If he wears his boxer shorts, on the other hand, he gives himself the option of keeping the pants on or taking them off.

The problem is that in Carline's life, "Options always happen." Which means that if he changes his underwear, he knows he'll wind up taking off his pants.

He thinks a bit, shouts a bit, has another beer.

Then he changes his underwear.

The longer Moo has to wait, the more anxious he feels. At 11:17 p.m., moments before the crew leaves for the club, he stands by the kitchen looking distressed. His face is not yet red like a tomato, but it's clear he's succumbing to the immense pressure of nothing happening. Like a fish suffocating on a pier, Moo needs to be in his habitat. He needs Temptations.

"I really think I have legitimate problems," he says. "I can't breathe."

Lions' Din

By 2:15 a.m., Moo and Construction Carline are onstage, standing in front of the DJ, who they're friendly with, and prancing for the crowd. Moo has been twirling his tank top around his head, and Carline is shirtless, wearing his helmet and cape.

After a while, they step off the stage and onto the dance floor, making their way around the club with a digital camera and taking pictures for NJGuido. Girls primp and guys pump. The place is so crowded, one of Moo's buddies says, it's "bittersweet."

The guidos party till 3:20, when the lights come on in Temptations, and then they keep partying. The music stays on and the crowd stays on the dance floor. Somebody in Moo's camp orders 48 shots of Southern Comfort and lime, and Moo's friends pass them around.

"They don't care that the lights are on!" says Moo, beaming like a man in religious ecstasy. "They don't want it to end. Have you ever seen energy like this at four in the morning?"

Nearby, a stern, beefy staffer named Sam Mickens looks over the crowd from his perch on a wooden crate, watching everything detachedly.

He says he is a graduate student in psychology at Montclair State University, and when he watches the crowd at Temptations, he thinks of male lions trying to attract females with their manes.

"They work on their bodies only to impress the female lions," Mickens says. "If challenged, the two males will compete for the female's attention by fighting."

He eyes the crowd in his serious way.

"All women want the strongest male," he says. "There are no subtleties in an environment like this."

Over at the bar, a group of muscly guidos is posing for a picture. Among them is Construction Carline, looking like a deranged tree-trimming superhero in his cape and helmet.

He has taken off his pants.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

I'm never reading the Washington Post ever again.

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Originally posted by housedog

The sad part was I read that whole dam article. The funny part was I was a guido in the late 80's. :laugh:

lol...:laugh: same thats the the only reason why read the article... my favorite part was... this...

Originally posted by bigpoppanils

In the kitchen, Moo is making burgers for everyone on a George Foreman grill. Construction Carline, who has been awake for just about four hours, makes an announcement to no one in particular.

"ALL RIGHT, I'M READY. I'M GONNA HAVE A BURGER AND THEN I'M GONNA START SERIOUSLY DRINKING."

lmao...:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:...lmao

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