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 The old IROC-Z has been replaced by the BMW 330 as the ideal form of transportation.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.
"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
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.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company