My involvement with American holidays has usually consisted of partaking from afar, gladly accepting the day off work and going along with whatever plans unfold. Last weekend was no exception.
It was a last minute decision to join six girlfriends and spend the weekend on Long Beach Island, NJ, and writing this now as my skin rages with fierce sunburn and my hangover threatens to kill me, I can conclude it was a great decision to kick off the summer.
Recently, I was re-launched back into the single world in a bizarre turn of events that I’m still struggling to process. When I finally manage to narrow it down into a digestible read that isn’t pure angry vitriol, I’ll attempt to share a version with the world.
For now, all that matters is that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially a woman who has been scorned thrice by three other women, now similarly furious. Ergo, the opportunity to come to Jersey Shore was perfectly timed.
The weekend began with a seven hour journey that should have been two. Arriving on 9th Avenue at 7:30 a.m. for the 8 a.m. bus, I was packed, punctual and ready to go.
Unfortunately, the bus wasn’t. When it finally arrived at 10:30 a.m., my light layer of early morning sunburn was well underway.
Two iced coffees then decided to make their presence very well known and the bus driver decided that the best place to stop so that the women could relieve themselves was a church. As I found myself scurrying through a church hunting for a loo with 15 total strangers, I knew this weekend was going to be interesting.
Later that afternoon, bikini clad, I walked the length of the beach with my girls and began to absorb the culture of Long Beach Island, or LBI. Around our base camp in Surf City, the houses are identical.
Slatted, pastel colored, decked and decorated almost identically from one end of the island to the next, there is an impressive sense of consistency and respect for the overall aesthetic of the island. With only 80 year-round residents, the numbers soar high into the thousands once summer rolls in.
The best means of transport is by bike, running smooth tracks on the flat, straight length of the island to bars, restaurants and beaches. Our days were filled with sunshine activities, most of which resulted in sunburn.
We took out kayaks and jet skis, spectacularly managing to capsize everything, and we lay out in the sun until we felt faint. We drank 4,000 bottles of Prosecco and our magically weird hostess cooked us delicious homemade meals.
It isn’t hard to see how and why people abandon the hot sticky city to come here for months at a time. The breeze blows away the cobwebs of stress and suffocation, and the outdoor activity and sunshine rejuvenate the soul.
Going out at night, you need to Uber your way there and back. On Sunday night, celebrating one of the girl’s birthdays, we decided to commit to a real night out in true Jersey Shore style.
And oh, did we get it. As we went out to hail a cab, we ran into four Jersey boys. Step one complete.
They offered to bring us with them in their cabs. They ordered a second one and thus began the process of them paying for everything which none of us objected to.
We got to Joe Pops which had “2002” emblazoned over the door at around midnight, just in time to catch the last hour of one of the most entertaining cover bands I have ever come across. The boys bought round after round of drink and shots and we danced and screamed like teenagers.
Safe in the anonymity of holiday mode, we were free to let loose and behave like total lunatics. So we did.
Eventually there were only two of us gals left dancing, and we were dedicated to the idea of making this a night to remember. With the four guys, we managed to conduct a night of completely juvenile behavior in a way that was so fun I woke up on Mnday morning with pain in my stomach from having laughed so much for so long.
We managed to hit every stereotype, skinny dipping in the bay, lounging in a hot tub, scampering around the free and open space like we had never been set free before. I woke up in the hot tub owner’s living room as his parents were calmly preparing the morning coffee.
They greeted us with genuine friendliness and sheer amusement and appreciation of the youthfulness that shines through the silliness of the Jersey Shore. It’s the best hangover we’ve ever had.
The best cure for a breakup can be many things, but to escape with six of your most incredible single female friends and embrace the solidarity of your female tribe, unleash your wild womanly ways and do a little of the things you wouldn’t ordinarily do has been the perfect cure for me.
We boarded a bus back to New York as sleepy, exhausted sunkissed ladies, leaving our antics behind on the beach, safe in the knowledge that what happens on LBI, stays on LBI.
Until we inevitably come back later this summer. I feel cured.