Telling someone you're from New Jersey is kind of like giving an oral presentation in high school: you're nervous, you’re feeling judged, and you know at least one person is going to make you feel like a total idiot for just being there. The Garden State has taken some serious shade over the years from the rest of the country, largely thanks to numerous stereotypes we just can't shake: The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, the whole Taylor ham-pork roll debate, Real Housewives, Chris Christie, Tan Mom (remember her?!). In an effort to maybe, possibly quell some of the more annoying ones, we present this list of every single thing people from New Jersey are sick of hearing from the rest of the country -- from insults about our driving to seven-year-old MTV references. Just know this: regardless of what you throw at us, we’ll defend our state to hell.
True story: I once told someone I lived in New Jersey and it caused them to have a guttural reaction of sheer disgust. Needless to say, we no longer speak.
"Isn’t the Shore just generally like Seaside Heights and everything on Jersey Shore?"
Nope, and a lot of it is quite beautiful... and not at all like Seaside Heights. Which is great! And it brings me to...
"[Any dumb comment about Jersey Shore]"
Thankfully this has somewhat died down over the years. Here's the truth: Jersey's a big state. The shore is merely a small section of said big state, most of which is perfectly nice and good and great and not at all like Seaside Heights. But then there's this small sliver called Belmar. And yeah, that part is a lot like Jersey Shore. But there's a distinct dividing line, guys! And no person actually from New Jersey would dare cross it (unless you go to Monmouth University and it’s a Saturday night).
"Have you ever seen any of the real housewives from Real Housewives?"
Given that nearly all suburban housewives within 30 miles of New York City are trying to play the part, it's literally impossible to know. So I guess the answer to this question is.. maybe?
"Do you have a car?"
This one typically comes from people who live in New York. Having a car in New York City is a luxury (and probably a huge pain in the ass!). But in Jersey, yes, most of us have cars. Do you expect us to walk down the highway? Unless you live in places like Jersey City or Hoboken, you’ll need one.
This is a kind(ish) way of saying "Ugh…" without having to actually do it. You’re basically still showing that you disapprove, but you're slightly too nice to really go for it.
"What's up with those 'exit' bumper stickers?"
So, there's this thing called the Garden State Parkway. It's a long highway that stretches through much of the state. People from towns near it like to buy bumper stickers for their cars that read certain exit numbers (example: Exit 117). This way they never have to face the ever-so-famous NJ question, "What exit are you?" from other residents (which is honestly just a way of asking someone where they live so that you can [silently] judge them later).
"Bruuuuuuce!" [said in a mocking tone]
Yes, we love Bruce Springsteen! And we’ll defend him to the death. This guy has managed to make it to living-legend status, and still resides just a few miles away from where he grew up. Therefore, we’ll always love him. Plus, let’s be honest: it’s actually the one good stereotype we have in NJ, so back off and let us love The Boss, OK?!
"Does it really smell like everyone says?"
To be honest -- some parts do. I don't know what it is, but I do know where you'll find it: anywhere on the NJ Turnpike. So just opt for the GSP. It's a nicer drive anyway.
"Is it dangerous?"
Parts of it, sure. Just like most places in the country. Yes, Newark has some bad parts. And yes, Camden is one of the most dangerous places in the country. But if you don’t know how to travel smartly and avoid dangerous situations, you’re going to do pretty poorly basically everywhere -- not just Jersey.
"I've been there a few times."
Honestly, this conversation probably isn't going anywhere good or interesting.
"Ever run into Snooki?"
Just like Jersey Shore in general, NJ has thankfully managed to mostly cut ties with this one. Having said that, I am about 89% sure I once passed her on the Turnpike. She was driving very slowly in the fast lane and I couldn't just sit there. Of course, it could have just been some other tan girl driving a white Mercedes. (And for the record, Snooki is from Marlboro, New York!!!).
"But… you don't have an accent."
We're not all Tony Soprano.
"I bet you're a great driver."
We get it. We're aggressive drivers. Let it go. And maybe get out of the fast lane?
"Everybody always hates on you guys. I actually like New Jersey!"
Great! You should. There are a lot of things to like.
"You can't make left turns?"
This one’s kind of weird. Short answer: it depends. Some highways in Jersey are lousy with traffic lights (read: all of them). So instead of turning lanes that would easily allow us to make lefts, we’ve got things called jug handles, which sounds a lot like a body-shaming term but surprisingly isn’t. This guy does a pretty good job explaining it. Let’s just say that if you’re on a highway riddled with lights, chances are you won’t be making a left. It’s a big pain in the ass, but you do get used to it. Plus, it's nowhere near as annoying as goddamn traffic circles down by the Shore.
"New York's armpit!"
There are no words for this.
"How close are you to the city?"
Does me being closer to New York somehow make me cooler and more appealing to you?!
"Chris Christie, huh?"
Yeah, we know. But hey, at least he likes Bruce.
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