SCENE-MAKERS Typical fashion-show crowds include, from left, Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs and Madonna. Credit…Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Yesterday The New York Times featured an article about Fashion Week called “Muscling In on the Front Row.”

What was the issue? Well, there was a rumour last week that The Situation, Snookie and friends might grace the fashion world with their presence. Snooty high fashion meets overdone tans and hot pink nails. Worlds collide.

Which makes me think about going to college. I grew up and went to school with The Situation and Snookie prototypes. Imagine being stuck in a classroom with them for one second for twelve years. I practically ran up to Connecticut, clamoring to find a more worldly crowd. But lo, there was an issue. Namely, my accent and life experience set me apart and made it hard to blend into Wesleyan. My fellow collegiate schoolmates talked about travelling in Europe, I spoke about “The Boulevard”; they spoke about high culture, I pointed out every “dirty slut” that came sauntering past; they responded to outrage with op-eds, I thought that we should just kick the offender’s ass. And never ever could I see “water” without someone laughing. Urgh.

There was an adjustment period that lasted until Senior Week four years later. I never wanted to be like Snookie, but I being birthed in guido-land meant that I came out with some of their habits. It was a lonely four years. Only rarely did I meet another student in college who could understand where I was coming from. Everyone else thought my life experience was “sooooo interesting” and “fascinating aspect of culture” – like a circus animal.

This experience makes me wonder about the cast of “Jersey Shore”. From first-hand experience, I know that when people find you entertaining for how “guido” (which is not the same as Italian – see this post for a full explanation) you are the laugh is at you, not with you. When they go to high-profile events such as Fashion Week do they feel the sarcasm in people’s interest in them? How do they feel about that? Although the characters are not known for their intelligence, they are certainly not oblivious. They love the attention, but do they care that it is at their expense? I would like that they do.

And suddenly, I’m empathizing with Snookie.