At the Jersey Shore, Guidos Are Pumped for the Prime of Their Lives
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.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company