It is hard living in a pack, especially when there are new members coming in and threatening its cohesion. That is the problem that everyone is having with Jionni, the father of Snooki's unborn child. They treat him like a threat, but they also have to bring him into the fold in order to keep the most important sociological experiment of our time from crumbling. Last night's dispatch mostly had to do with how his relationship with Snooki works with all the guidos.
But first, we must look at some of the show's vocabulary, so we know just what the stars are talking about.
Store Credit: The opportunity to have sex with a girl after you have broken up with her. Just like when you return an item to the store and they give you a coupon so that you can come back and, essentially, get something from the store for free, since you already paid for it. The same goes with banging your exes.
Knock the Dust Off: To call up, and presumably have sex with, a girl, presumably an ex-girlfriend, with whom you have not spoken in quite some time.
The most difficult thing for a guido male who is about to make a lifelong commitment to a guidette (and as we have learned, this species only mates for an evening or for life) is dealing with all the other men who are in her surrogate guido family. Since the mores about sexual availability among peers is different in guido society, it is likely that a guidette has had sexual relations with a number of the men in her retinue. This is, of course, true of Snooki, who had an extended dalliance with Vinny and a possible one-time hookup with The Situation. Now, Jionni has to deal with all of this before he can proceed to marry Snooki.
To Vinny's credit, he approaches Jionni at Snooki's baby shower because he wants to be "the bigger man," which, for Vinny, whose member is longer than most elephant's memories, isn't difficult. He apologizes to Jionni and tells him that he's sorry for any jokes he's made about him and Snooki and just wants to clear the air and let him know it's okay to move forward. That is sweet of him. I guess as the "bigger man" he is the one who gets to decide who Snooki will end up with eventually. (But, I gotta say, based on Jionni's build, he could be a pretty big man himself).
The Situation never makes any similar overture to Jionni; he just goes along with the rest of the boys to take Jionni out for cigars. At the meeting, which is more like an interrogation, the guys have to suss Jionni out to make sure that he's allowed to date Snooki and that there is no resistance if he enters their little pride. (Also, we find out that Jionni owns and operates ATMs, which answers just where all those $1.95 fees you pay when you need more cash at the bar actually go. They go to treating Snooki right!) While it was easy to forgive Vinny, Jionni isn't so quick to dismiss The Situation, who tries to show off his alpha male status by using the fact that he may or may not have slept with Snooki to embarrass Jionni. He may be quiet, but that Jionni can go toe-to-toe with The Situation. Maybe a new alpha will find his way to the front of the pack. Either way, I would really like to see these two fight. Particularly in gladiator costumes, because I have a little Spartacus fetish.
Jionni's interaction with the boys is very different from his interaction with the girls, which yet again proves that the only time men and women in guido society can mix with success is when sex is involved. When all the girls and Jionni go to baby Lorenzo's ultrasound, JWOWW tells him that he should be around Snooki more often. This is not JWOWW's place. She tells Jionni what she, and the other guido women, would expect of a mate if they were pregnant, but what a woman wants and what a man can deliver are often two different things. It would be one thing if JWOWW were presenting Jionni with Snooki's wishes, but instead she's just letting him know what she thinks is right. While most of them follow an archaic code of honor known as Guy Code and Girl Code, there is no codified behavior for relationships, necessarily, so whatever the couple decides is what is right, not what the woman's best friend thinks is just. Until Snooki says that Jionni needs to be around more, that is when it is decided.
The other important thing that we learn about at the ultrasound – that we have long suspected but never been able to prove before – is that the guido is physiologically different from the normal homo sapien. First of all, his penis appears to be significantly larger than that of traditional fetuses, which possibly accounts for their preoccupation with sex. We also learned that, in the womb, the guidus (that is a guido fetus) has its middle finger cocked and the rest of its hand balled into a fist. This shows a rage and aggression that is not documented in other primates. This may account for the male's propensity for physical violence. It's good to know that some things are born from nature and not from nurture.
Now that Vinny has reached and understanding with Jionni, he and Snooki can hang out as friends once again without her fearing the anger and retribution of her future spouse. Since Snooki isn't going out because of her delicate condition, and Vinny has a cold, they decide to hang out together on the boardwalk. They both decide to ride scooters, but not cool scooters like a Vespa. No, they're on Rascals like a bunch of senior citizens or Johnny Knoxville. What is interesting is that the both ride scooters around the boardwalk (including, badassedly, into Aztec) and ape the behaviors of an old married couple. They aren't playing the part of friends, but rather of mates. Even though Snooki has chosen to spend her life with another, she is still entertaining the idea, through make-believe, of a life with Vinny. Maybe he is the bigger man after all.
Speaking of soul mates, The Situation is still grappling with the effects of his relationship with Paula, a messy trick that he banged for four years and then decided to make his girlfriend. The problem with Paula is that she is one of the Vestal Virgins who works at the guido high temple: the tanning salon. That means every time the crew goes to the second stage of their holy trinity (the T of GTL), The Situation has to see Paula. She decides to leave a note for him on his tanning bed, written in her poor grammar and in her bubbly girlish scrawl that looks more appropriate inside a Justin Bieber Trapper Keeper than coming from the hand of an adult female.
After her sweet sentiment that she still cares for him (and how could a woman still care for The Situation after being treated so shabbily for years is beyond me) he thinks about taking her back. Then he runs into her at Aztec and asks him to hold her drink, even though he just got out of rehab. He thinks this is some sort of awful personal affront. I'm sorry, but I know plenty of sober people and they will always hold your vodka tonic while you tie your shoe or light a cigarette. They are used to white knuckling enough that holding a cocktail for 30 seconds isn't going to make them relapse. Why The Situation can't figure this out just shows how incredibly selfish he always is, and that Paula should know how wrong this is how narcissistic he is. This slight, in my mind, should be forgivable.
However, what Paula does next is unforgivable. She gives The Situation "the ex girlfriend stare." Yes, this is a very sad and horrible manuever, where a woman gets close enough to her ex to see what he is doing and where he can see her. The hope is that he will find her alluring and come ask for her back. The ulterior motive is that she can also keep tabs on her. When The Situation gets close with another girl, Paula comes back up and gets up in her grill, effectively destroying The Situation's game. Now, this girl is a straight up grenade, especially compared with the comely Paula, but that is beside the point. There is an unwritten compact, not just in guido culture, but across the world, that exes will let each other go, even if you don't want to be an ex anymore. The Situation needs to keep up his end of the bargain and find a new tanning place, to not talk to Paula at the club and tell her how good she looks, to not string her along and make her think that she still has a chance.
But Paula, she is the one who really needs help. When she left Aztec that night, she walked down the boardwalk alone, listening to the sound of the waves washing in and washing out on the shore. She listened to the bass booming in the background and the rustle and din of people stumbling home in small groups, either with their friends or with someone of a new acquaintances who they would get to know even better once they arrived home. Paula took off her strappy shoes and had them dangling from her hands as she walked closer and closer to the sand. She knew that she wasn't supposed to be on the beach that late, but she didn't care about the cops. All she could think about was Mike, their long history together and how she messed it all up. What could she have done different? How could she have kept him? But the problem, deep down, was that she was herself. He didn't dump her for what she did, but who she was, and that was something she could never change. That was something she couldn't change for any man, and none of them would want her anymore. And she didn't want another. She wanted back the one she ruined, but that would never happen. She let the leather straps slide from her fingers and she didn't hear her shoes hitting the sand, but she felt the grit brush against her right ankle. She looked up at the moon, neither full nor waning, just sitting there like a lumpy apple slice in the sky. The light from it made strange ripples on the water. She thought she could just walk in. Just walk in and never come out, her body washing up somewhere or never. She would just be gone. One more girl disappeared from Mike's life forever, and he wouldn't even notice. Or maybe he would and then he would be sad. Then he would know he was wrong all along. She took a few steps forward, as the sand got firmer and thought she could do it, break into a run and never come back. She could. This could be it. This could be over. She could. She could. But she wouldn't. She almost fell over picking up her shoes back up as she headed back to the board walk. She'll have to face another day. All because the water is so cold, and even that future is uncertain.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: AP Photo]
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