One of the best parts of being in your 20s in the NYC/NJ area is getting a shore house with your friends in Jersey for the summer. It is better than the Hamptons/Montauk full stop. I can write that blog another day but the bridged version is this - Jersey Shore is quicker/easier to get to, the bars are closer together, it's not as expensive to go out, and the share houses are affordable.
For those who still think the Jersey Shore is like the show, I am here to tell you it is not.** It's actually the opposite in a lot of ways. Perhaps the best part is the feeling of relaxation when everyone performs the mass exodus on Friday afternoon to get as far away from the city as possible. You know what is waiting for you - no work, a fridge full of cold drinks, no responsibilities, relaxing on the beach, and great times with your friends. I'll tell you what else is waiting for you though...the one guy in the house who didn't tell anyone his cousin from Staten Island is coming for the weekend again for the 4th time that summer even though he didn't pay for a share but he keeps coming because he thinks if he brings a 30 rack of Miller Lite it's okay. It is not okay. No one likes that guy.
But I'll tell you what else is waiting for you these days...TWO HOUR LINES TO GET INTO THE BAR.
One of the fun things we like to do now is drive around to look at the lines at the bars in the afternoons nearing happy hour. My parents are locals so I'm still down there for most of the summer. Yes, I recognize I just said driving around is fun but I am 38 so what do you want from me?
I do not go out to bars down the shore with the frequency I did 10 years ago but even 10 years ago, I wasn't waiting in a two hour line. That isn't even a flex to say I skipped lines (duh of course I had VIP cards) because there just weren't lines. Yes, on holiday weekends there was a 10-15 minute line but nothing of significance. We chatted about why these lines popped up the last few years and ultimately came to the conclusion that there is a desperate need to show everyone on social media you made it there. That, plus KFC ruined Parker House and Columns for everyone.
So I am here to make a proclamation - if you wait in a line, sober mind you, for more than 20 minutes you are a loser. A certified lame-o. Here's why - no bar is worth that wait. You get inside and it takes 30 minutes to get a drink. Not fun. You get inside and you aren't comfortable because people are banging into you. Not fun. That same guy from Staten Island who didn't pay his share for the house? Yea, he's inside the bar looking to start a fight with you for something that didn't happen. Not fun.
Go make a good time with your friends. Go back to the house. Put on your own music. Drink the free High Noons in your fridge. Of the best memories I have from summers down the shore, almost none occurred inside of a bar. Don't get me wrong, we had fun at the bars but those fun times pale in comparison to the things that happened at the house. (Nights we had at 507 Main with my guy Colin bartending might be the exception but that bar doesn't exist any more and Colin is a dad now who doesn't bartend so no use chasing that high). Go to the bars, just not when there is a 2 hour line.
I promise you, just like no one cares about the story you posted from the concert in the 300s section, no one cares that you made it into the basement for a Spring Laker. If I can impart any wisdom on you it is this - Quit worrying that you need to be where you think the good time is happening and just go have a good time. Think about everything you could've been doing instead of standing in a line.
But that raises the question - what is worth waiting 2 hours in line for?
Have this discussion this Saturday after you come off the beach and are enjoying a beer on your shore house porch while the losers wait in line to get inside a bar to have zero fun.
P.S. Put your foot down and tell your friend to stop allowing his cousin to freeload off your shore house. You'll thank me