1. You have a special relationship with ‘the city.’
New York City was a place you visited on weekends with friends or where you went for a night out, but you always swore you’d never live there. Then, when you do move to the city, you run into six people from high school during your daily commute.
2. You’re familiar with the phrase, ‘near NYC.’
Traveling abroad, your response to the question “where are you from?” either gets you a rendition of “Born in the U.S.A.” or receives blank looks and apologetic shrugs. You get used to using our famous landmark of a neighbor to describe our state with the follow-up phrase, ‘…near NYC’.
3. You spend the summer on the shore, but you’ve never had a “Jersey Shore’ experience.
You know the shore is filled with more quaint Victorian Bed & Breakfasts than buff twenty-something partiers, and you have fond memories of spending summers there eating ice cream and doing puzzles. Sure, you still find yourself lying on the beach near flocks of tanned, tattooed bros occasionally (I did this weekend) but you’re just as likely to end up swimming near middle-aged moms who tell you which colleges their kids are going to.
4. You’ve been told there’s a Jersey accent but you’ve never heard it in the wild.
Ok, I can concede that most of us say ‘water’ differently than the rest of the country, but the idea of a unifying ‘Jersey accent’ you’ll encounter throughout the state is an urban myth. Like many things about Jersey, what you find in the north is different from what you’ll find in the south. And none of us say ‘Joisey’!
5. You know most of the stereotypes aren’t true.
Is Jersey a state filled with Italian-Americans with loose links to the mafia? Is it the unsophisticated state of McMansions and Real Housewives? Are we the Dirty Jersey you roll up your windows against while driving through on your way to NYC, or a state defined by the unhinged cast of the Jersey Shore? If you’re from Jersey, you know we aren’t any of these stereotypes, but you probably also have fun playing into them sometimes. Sure, we’ll tell you we know the mafia, but we probably don’t. (Or did they tell me to say that?)
6. You’re always excited to go back home because of the food.
Anyone born and raised in Jersey knows we’ve got great food. We have fresh food (we are ‘The Garden State,’ after all), we have classic food, we have guilty pleasure food. You were raised spoiled by the fresh corn and tomatoes you bought by the side of the road at farm stands, and used to a certain standard when you stop for an Italian Hoagie for lunch. Summers contained boardwalk delicacies like funnel cake and salt-water taffy or impulsive stops by a Stewarts for a root beer float.
For a fast meal or a late night snack, there’s always Wawa or one of the many, many diners our state is known for. Speaking of which, you know that diners aren’t just a staple of New York — New Jersey has the most, and many of the best, diners in the country.
7. You didn’t grow up pumping your own gas.
If you learned to drive in a state where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas, you’re either from Oregon or you’re a fellow Jersey resident. You probably still sit waiting in your car for a while when you pull into stations in other states.
8. You know you’re in good company.
For a small state, we lay claim to many of the most talented people in the nation. From Alan Alda and Danny DeVito, to David Copperfield and Frank Langella, your fellow Jersey born-and-bred are names known throughout the world. Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen still make Jersey proud, and we may be stuck with Christie, but we can also claim Jon Stewart. You wouldn’t even have Game of Thrones without Jersey — not only is George R. R. Marin one of us, but so is Peter Dinklage. Would any other state have inspired Zach Braff to sing a song about his hometown?
9. You know we’re more than Newark Airport or that part of Elizabeth you pass on the Turnpike.
Everyone from Jersey is used to living in a small state with a lot of identities. We know that when you veer off of I-95, you’re likely to end up in beautiful historic towns with artistic communities, or find yourself driving through the peaceful forested area of the Pine Barrens. You understand that along with the industrial cities in the north, we also have vast farmland and untouched nature, quiet suburbs and those charming towns by the shore. You probably define where you’re from by north, south or central Jersey and understand what those differences are.
10. You’re quick to defend your state.
You may be okay being the butt of the joke from time to time, but when it goes too far, your sense of Jersey pride is always ready to come to the surface. We definitely won’t be okay with outsiders calling us “Dirty Jersey”. We might be divided by north, south and central, but we all know how great the real Jersey is and nothing brings us together like encountering someone who doesn’t.