60-second recap: Sammi and Ron are finally reconciling at club Karma when Mike runs into Arvin, a friend from the neighborhood. Arvin says he’s supposed to meet Sam there and shows Mike some text messages that supposedly indicate a burgeoning relationship with Sam. Mike (aka The Snitchuation) decides that it’s his god-given duty to inform J WOWW and Snooks of Sammi’s apparent unfaithfulness (it should be noted that she and Ron are still broken up at this time). Word gets out to Ron, Ron confronts Sam, everyone leaves the club. Back at the house, Sam accuses Mike of shady behavior and a desire to start drama amongst the other housemates. Mike maintains that he was only following “boy code,” but one question remains unanswered: was Sammi sexy-texting this guy, or as she’s maintained all along, was Arvin merely a friend?
And if Sammi was sexting Arvin, does it even matter? All the male housemates accuse Sam of “shady” (a favorite adjective) behavior, but she and Ron weren’t even dating. His abusive tendencies and destructive actions are barely acknowledged, but Sam’s perceived slight is completely exaggerated. The impetus for all this drama is clearly, in a single word, Mike.
Closet-case Mike (seriously, he would be much happier if he just came out already) is a total shit-disturber. If the housemates leave him alone during the day to indulge in some “nails-GTL,” Mike frees J WOWW’s dogs so that they can eat food from the trash and defecate all over the house. When things are a little too quiet on the home front, Mike preys on the existing tension between Ron and Sammi under the pretense of boy code. Dude, you’re one of the oldest people in the house. You’re pushing 30 and you still act like a whiny tattle-tale. Sam’s business isn’t your business, and pretending that it is, under the facade of male loyalty, only increases the mistrust of women in the house.
At the height of Sam and Ron’s fight, token intellectual Vinny says, “Girls don’t have friends that are guys.” This sort of attitude ensures that no one in the house will take Sammi’s side in this argument, even though she’s done nothing wrong. The guys will denounce Sam and the girls will condemn her behavior silently, lest they violate the conventions of girl code. If Vinny’s dictum is taken at face value, then how do we characterize the relationships between the members of the house?
Snooki has a very different relationship with Vinny than she has with Pauly. Snooki and Vinny are occasional hook-up partners and friends, thus certifying Vinny’s theory, but Snooks and Pauly have never had sex (to our knowledge!), yet they remain close and they share intimate details about their lives with each other. Is there a word for that? Oh yeah, I think “friends” just about covers it.
When Vinny and the other guys in the house reduce and trivialize the types of relationships women are capable of having, they reduce and trivialize the women themselves. People often characterize themselves and others through their interactions with other people. Sammi is most identified as being a bitch during her loud, drawn-out fights with Ron, not when she’s getting her nails done with the girls. When women’s relationships are so firmly defined along gender boundaries–other women are friends, men are lovers–it perpetuates a social climate of tension and conflict. Snooks can’t be friends with Pauly because her feelings might change at any moment and she’ll want him to “get it in.” If we invert Vinny’s philosophy and apply it to men, then Pauly can’t be friends with Snooki in case he gets the overwhelming urge to do her.
Such a narrow-minded perspective on friendship does a disservice to men and women, especially when a snitch like Mike stirs up some drama. If the guidos and guidettes could fathom the existence of male-female friendship, and perhaps even acknowledge it amongst themselves, they could better ignore Mike’s goading comments. A dichotomous, emotionally charged approach to any issue often incites controversy, but the rational acceptance of many distinct types of male-female friendship would undoubtedly quell some of the conflict in the Jersey Shore household. Hell, it may even encourage Mike to come to terms with his latent homosexuality. Is this libelous slander? Will I receive a cease-and-desist notice from Mike’s lawyers? Stay tuned!