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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Party Packs & Wingmen: A Lesson from 'Jersey Shore'

By Corey Koscielniak

In MTV’s Jersey Shore, the guidos and guidettes never went out alone. Regardless of whether Vinnie or the Situation knew it or not, the cast provided the moral support for each other in finding one-night stands. They were one giant hook-up wing-family. Some could argue the hook up culture of the Jersey Shore is one characterized by loneliness, drunken sex and low self-esteem, but this is some serious hating. The Shore is more about helping each other out than simply getting laid. In the show, viewers watched multiple exhibitions of each character’s sexuality. Most notably, hot mess Snooki illustrated the less admirable qualities of intoxication when she took off her clothes and gave Vinnie, Pauly D, Mike and Ronnie each a lap dance in the hot tub. And Mike “The Situation” is an excellent case study of a 27-year old man with no life goals or friends, and his use of sex to fill a void left by some past tragic experience and lack of self-worth is so obvious it’s sickening at times.

But who are we to judge the Jersey Shore crew when each of us has private reasons for doing what we do? Whether you’re in debt because of all the internet pornography you buy, you’re a non-stop sex addict or you’re a cold sexual wet blanket, your sexuality is most definitely an expression of your social behavior. In this way, your attitudes toward sex and sexuality are just a part of who you are, not a defining quality. For instance, Mike and wingman Pauly D consistently found themselves in “situations” involving hooking up. They desire girls, and their high success rate (especially Mike) illustrates the energy and reliance for each other both contribute to getting laid. Inasmuch as the cast disliked each other’s sexual manifestations, they accepted those attributes and stayed fairly sex-positive throughout the show. Besides, their sex life is not the only interesting thing about them. Mike is a really good cook, and Pauly D is a DJ.

So can Macalester learn anything from the Shore? When you’re at a fabulous Mac party, do you ever wonder the purpose of your sexual behavior? Why do you do what you do? Do you hook up? How do you plan it out? Do you effortlessly walk up to a cute boy and sweep him off his feet and into your bed? Would you prefer a plan to make a calculated move when you’ve decided the timing is perfect? Are you successful? Are you a complete failure? Do you think it would be easier with a little help?

Here’s a thought: the Jersey Shore crew as well as Macalester folks party and play in packs. At Mac, packs include the kind that arrive early and don’t stay too long. These ones are often in groups of no more than two and usually bring down the average rate of attraction by a few points. Then there are the athletic packs who travel together and almost certainly do not congregate with anyone outside their designated sports. Sure, you might see a football player chatting with soccer dudes, but they rarely expand past the social demographic of an athlete, which is always frustrating for any girl or guy who wants it with one of them, but fears the future exposure they will encounter when the rest of the sports team hears about the hook up later. There are the hipster packs that are often unreliable in attendance, dress somewhat strange and prefer extremely unpleasant music, cheap alcohol and bad body odor. There are stoners, who like to get high and “chill.” There are the worldly, stuck-up packs that think they’re better than everyone. But you don’t see much of them at parties because no one likes them. The list goes on; Mac definitely parties in packs.

Okay here’s a “Situation”: let’s say that you’re there, and I’m there and we both want to hook up, but can’t really afford the right moment because both our party packs keep giving us mean mugs. So what do you do? How do you ensure a great time while simultaneously avoiding the cliquish nature of arriving in a group? It seems like you’re encountering that Minnesota Nice you absolutely detest. You know that Minnesota Nice – the kind witnessed at bars suggesting that not a whole lot of Minnesotans really care about coming off as cliquey or rude or passive-aggressive or fake or disrespectful or shallow or sterile or obnoxious or off-the-wall irritating. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s a fetish here to be a complete asshole to everyone you don’t know.

It seems like this “Situation” is in need of Pauly D. He’s a real sweet guy. Any viewer picks up on his sincerity and frank opinions of his housemates. Coming into the house as an experienced wingman, he somehow transformed into Mike’s personal bitch, dodged some horrible grenades and became the yes-man for every one of Mike’s “Situations.” The show had some unfortunate portrayals of this integral part of hook-up culture, and all viewers can do is pity the role the Situation creates for Pauly D. But, the wingman is like a U.N. peacekeeping trooper. His role is to be 100 percent helpful all the time. In any situation, the wingman must support his cronies in search of the perfect mate. This means that he must be willing to tolerate a lot of bullshit; and as any Jersey Shore viewer knows, there’s nothing but bullshit on that show.
Of course Macalester has the Pauly D Guido type: the overly macho guy, the one who’s more into his hair than his ability to hook up with anyone, or the huge tool that everyone strongly dislikes. But does Macalester have the positives of his wingmanship? Like the trustworthy aide of a successful hook up? Where are the men and women who are looking out for each other in a sex-positive way? Sure, anyone can go to a party and see Mac people attempting what looks like a hook up, but their packs are usually filled with bad attitudes about it. This is unfortunate. Your wingman has got to be down with whatever you do and willing to support you by any means necessary. Pauly D once described his distaste in being Mike’s wingman, but he still performed with integrity even when one Situation got dangerously out of control. And then Snooki stepped in to help Mike out, even took a few punches for him from a “hippo” (her words not mine). So get your pack on, and make sure you’ve got a wingman.

I feel like one of the messages of MTV’s Jersey Shore is to make viewers more comfortable with the idea of sexual guidance and wingmanship – mostly through exhibiting the sexual (mis)encounters of guido/guidette culture. In this way, the non-orange, non-Jersey demographic can see that these characters, like everyone else, will act on sexual behaviors without regard to any dissenting pack’s opinions. Pure pleasure-fulfillment can be a motive; however, it doesn’t have to be the only one. In any case, you just have to share your motives with your pack and/or wingman. And they should support you in some way or another.
Perhaps partying in packs is then an excellent idea, as long as no one is exclusive about it. Macalester people can learn a lot about hooking up and partying from the Shore. We should help each other out more; expand our networks and party and play with every pack. We should celebrate our diversity, internationalism and multiculturalism by screwing in a sex-positive atmosphere. And most importantly, we must prevent the Minnesota Nice from infiltrating our parties.

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