I must confess: I cheated.
I vowed to spend last Saturday as The Situation. To live 24 hours vicariously GTL’ing it up as the six-packed, shameless star of the Jersey Shore. Now, I had my limitations. New York City in early November, for starters. There were the issues of Gym and Tan. My gym is uptown at school and I don’t do tanning beds, so I just ran to Brooklyn Bridge and back. The Jersey Shore falsely glamorizes the Laundry process. I experienced no T-shirt time chants when I donned my GTL shirt. Only confused looks.
The chatty Asian lady at the corner deli was speechless when I ordered 3 chicken parms and a protein shake in lieu of my usual lunch order. You also have no idea how long it takes to speak with Delta Airlines customer service when you have to say your middle name is The Situation. And don’t let Ronnie fool you. The fist-pump proved to be an ineffective dance move at an Italian party later that evening.
Alas, I’m also a fraud. Hours before the party, sometime between 2 and 5 PM, I read something. Several things, actually. I read some of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel “Freedom”, a Tom Wolfe article, homework (more of a skim), and finally The Situation’s debut book “Here’s The Situation”.
Jonathan Franzen embraces the ordinary nuclear family to encapsulate the postmodern American experience. Tom Wolfe has satirized American machoism from Wall Street boardrooms to college quads since co-founding the New Journalism movement in the 1960s. And neither author has anything to worry about from Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino who swears his abs wrote his eloquently entitled first chapter “Gym”.
The Situation wrote the remaining eleven chapters of “Here’s The Situation” with Chris Mills. This is to say The Situation crunched sit-ups while Mills penned the polysyllabic words (and the tricky monosyllabic ones as well). “Here’s The Situation” weighs in at a voluminous 144 pages—all in large font, half with cartoons. The book also comes with a free, very tight Gym, Tan & Laundry t-shirt.
“Here’s The Situation” offers a how-to guide to navigating the clubs, gyms, and tanning salons as a guido. It includes helpful charts (e.g. The Classes of Girls) and diagrams (Inside The Brain Of A Grenade: Jealousy, My Cat(s), Muffin Top Maintenance, Diet Coke, Blocking Out The Fact That I’m The Grenade).
The book is part mea culpa. The Situation admits he was not born in Jersey but Staten Island. It’s even vaguely political. He is launching his own political action committee—Sitizens for Situational Government—after a July 2010 10% federal tax on indoor tanning beds raised his annual tanning costs to over $2,000. The colloquial, profanity-laced prose reads as the stream of conscious ramblings of a meat-head suffering from delusions of grandeur. Columbia Journalism School professors could not be reached for comment.
You know those Axe commercials where the guy is in a grocery store or on a beach and he’s stampeded by a hoard of beautiful women? “Here’s The Situation” would have you believe this a typical Tuesday night for him. There was the time he strutted into a Detroit club and all the girls started shouting “D-T-F!” (Down To F—!). Or another late-night, when The Situation was in a hotel room with nine girls. He realized this was too many for even him to handle so he had the ladies self-select down to six.
I want to believe him. But this is the same man who has hooked up with Snooki (repeatedly) and regularly strikes out on camera. Ironically, The Situation’s astronomical rise in pop-culture coincides with his fall on The Jersey Shore show itself. Vinny—long The Situation’s apprentice—overtook his mentor by the tail end of Season 2. The Situation smacked Snooki in the face and routinely ruined Pauly D’s nights. Meanwhile, Vinny dated the loveliest lady of all and emerged as the rock of the however dysfunctional Jersey Shore house (Snooki: “[Vinny]’s like my big brother, I love him, but usually you don’t have sex with your big brother.”)
Some pundits have whispered The Situation has the makings of a 21st Century Arnold Schwarzenegger. A tanned body-builder of European descent who parlayed his muscles and distinct speaking style into an acting career and later politics. These people have evidently been watching the Jersey Shore more than I have.
The Situation will not marry a Kennedy or become governor of California. The Situation will serve as a cringing reminder—like the Snuggie or KFC Double Down—of America’s odd creature comforts in odder times. Mike Sorrentino will be the tanned totem of hyper-sensationalized mediocrity of the early 2010s. A reality star who rode shameless self-promotion, no standards, and abs to achieve fleeting pop-cultural relevance. After The Jersey Shore fizzles out, he is destined to a few comedy flicks before fading away to a career of knowing winks for the camera at celebrity golf tournaments.
The Situation doesn’t know much, but “Here’s The Situation” is the literary realization of this. Between the forced ab jokes, it reads as the desperate rantings of a C-lister clinging to the last trappings of 15 minutes of fame. It’s clear The Situation doesn’t believe in over-exposure—UV rays or brand promotion. He is developing a Fist-Pump 3000 Trainer exercise machine (currently in the R&D phase with Pauly D), The Situation cologne (coming next year), a workout DVD, and even a rap song. It’s why The Situation will pocket $5 million this year and $10 million in 2011 (http://perezhilton.com/2010-08-23-the-situation-to-make-5-million-this-year).
Like the Jersey Shore itself, “Here’s The Situation” is entertaining fluff that may make your parents sigh. Yes, The Situation tries too hard to be funny. He fabricates a quote by Winston Churchill (“We shall creep in the gym and at the tanning salon.”) But he somewhat redeems himself with absurd homespun wisdom to explain the Tao of GTL:
On Religion: “The Creeper’s Prayer: God grant me the stamina to satisfy hot chicks/the courage to deny grenades/and the wisdom to know the difference.”
On Women: “Now, chicks may object that bros simply look at them as creeping targets. But chicks like being crept on. Sure, they’ll tell you that they go to clubs simply to dance and have fun with friends. But take it from the Sitch, single people are at the club for one reason and one reason only: to not be single anymore. Even if it’s just for that night. So I creep.”
On Skin-Care: “If you’re a p—- who’s afraid of skin cancer, your only options are spray tanning and bronzers.”
On Higher-Education: “There ain’t no creeping like college-chick creeping.”
On Public Transportation: “That’s for Communists.”
On Civility: “A common mistake guys make is in treating a girl-any girl-like gold. It’s the law of diminishing returns, bro. If you always treat a girl like a princess, she’s going to get bored.”
On Sincerity: “You can’t be a little bit pregnant and you can’t fake the GTL lifestyle. It’s go hard or go home, bro. (And by the way, if you know anyone who’s a little bit pregnant, it wasn’t me.)”
On Love: “What do you say when a girl tells you she loves you? You say, “Awesome.” And that’s it. What do you do if she again tells you that she loves you? You roll.”
On Posing For Pictures: “If you’re a dude, you can either go with a hard-core stare into the camera, or an air-kiss. There is no third option. Chicks have to roll with the duck-face or the trout pout.”
On Spirituality: “Like how God is simultaneously the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Situation is Lifting, Cardio, and Nutrition. These are indivisible and eternal.”
And so I challenge you, The Situation. I couldn’t live a day as you, but I don’t think you can live a day as me. As one of eleven people on Earth who bought and read your book, you owe me. I challenge you to ride the Communist New York City Subway up to my business school. I challenge you to handle a 9 AM marketing class cold-call. And when you inevitably raise your shirt we’ll call it even.
Except I still had to read your book.
[tags]mike the situation, book, guide to creeping, here’s the situation, jersey shore, guidos, new jersey, long island, staten island, book review, literature, essay, article[/tags]