23 January 2008

Evolution Of The Guido

Tackling the true evolution of "the guido" is really quite a task, bordering on insurmountable. It's probably a task better fit for an eager archaeologist rather than a blogger.

I think its a great idea and I'd love to read it so I wished someone else had done it first but alas they have not. Being an original thinker / genius isn't easy, in fact at times it can be quite lonely and difficult. These ideas, they come to me, and sometimes I do not know what to do with them. Like Bob said "I got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane!"

"The Evolution Of The Guido", I thought, "Perfect!".

I figured I'd tirelessly track "the guido" on stage and screen since the dawn of time. When did the "guido" become a cartoon, a parody of its own self.

I'd pose the tough question: Who was the first guido? But where would I draw the line?

For instance, I wouldn't ever look to The Godfather movies for guidos. Gangsters are not guidos and guidos are not gangsters. This will come up again later so, pay attention.

The first character who comes to my head, quite honestly, is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli or "The Fonz" as played by Henry Winkler on Happy Days.

The Fonzie character was Italian, he had slicked back hair, he was a mechanic, he wore a leather jacket, he made famous the animated catchphrases: "Whoa!", and "Aaay!" while snapping his fingers, and forming a thrust-forward double thumbs up. Fonzie was a fucking cheeseball; a cartoon.

And the fact that Winker is not Italian but Jewish is absolutely perfect for my theory, for these days most "guidos" are not Italian. I'd say maybe one out of every 10 stereotypical "guidos" is of Italian-American descent. The rest are Albanian, Russian, Persian, and whatever else.

After Fonzie I'd say the torch was passed to the Vinnie Barbarino character from Welcome Back, Kotter who John Travolta would somewhat reprise and perfect in Saturday Night Fever as the legendary Tony Manero. And I'd say Tony Manero was the last of the true guidos.

Vinnie Barbarino with The Sweathogs

Tony Manero

Saturday Night Fever put a period on the 70's disco era, it also laid out the blueprint for the true late 70's into 1980's guido. This was when guidos were still actually Italian, unlike today. Then it was the wife beater, gold chains, chest hair, pompadours, Camaros, etc. Some had leather jackets, unbuttoned dress shirts with white tank underneath, and dress suits. Oh, and they all still lived with their parents. That's key. This is when being guido still meant something, like being punk, it stood for something, it had depth and meaning and rules.

Sweat and tracksuits would come later when the guidos started emulating their mafia heroes. I've never met an actual gangster I'd consider a guido. Gangsters are not guidos and guidos are not gangsters, though they very much wish they were.

I guess the evolution of the guido is rather short for we're just about ready for the modern day guido. The tracksuits, the white sneakers, the headbands, the awful lobster tanning salon tan, the wolverine hair, etc. The definitions I found on Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary were pretty spot on.

Nowadays, just like punk, being a "guido" is little more than a look, a style. You don't have to be Italian, that's for sure.

Whats funny, too, is that the guido is such a New York/NJ thing. I'll even extend it to the entire Northeastern United States but after that the guidos are ghosts. In the South they have rednecks, they don't have guidos.

The rest of the country knows no guidos.

I never realised this phenomenon until a good friend of mine from Atlanta moved to Brooklyn. He had never seen a guido before! We tried to tell him about them but he just didn't understand.

So we took him to a movie at the UA in Sheepshead Bay and the Staten Island Mall and schooled him to some good, old fashioned Albanian guidos. Finding a real, bona fide Italian guido is next to impossible these days. They've gone underground.

My friend from Atlanta found it fascinating to see the guidos in the natural habitat, shopping at the mall and talking on their cellphones during the movie. Suddenly Andrew Dice Clay (another example of a non-Italian guido) made so much more sense to him. It all came together and my man was hooked on the guido culture!

Born Andrew Clay Silverstein

Today's guido is quite young and gets his entire look from Growing Up Gotti on A&E. Victoria Gotti, the daughter of late boss of bosses, and her three sons with her ex-husband Carmine Agnello: Carmine, John and Frank are their unequaled icons.

Carmine, John and Frank come together like a pop-culture Voltron to form a three headed modern day Fonzarelli-Barbarino-Manero, the blueprint for the modern day double parked outside Pazzo's guido.

Related: Joey Porsche®, More Joey Porsche®


Anonymous said...

what's with the last Photo? Those dudes look like they want to suck some dick, lips all pushed out.

Anonymous said...

wow, these guys are garbage. i don't know what i'd rather have, rednecks with the mullets or these 'guidos'.

ps im from the south and i've never seen one in person before.

Anonymous said...

The middle guy in the first photo looks like a burn victim. It's disgusting to see guys who are obsessed with tanning and hair gel. Blah. I would pay to see one of these jokes getting beat up.

Anonymous said...

Pay to see one get beat-up? Hell, I'd pay to be the ass kicker!
One at a time, with feeling.

Anonymous said...

i think you left out de niro's character in meanstreets in your historical arch. he isn't a gangster, just a worthless human being; and he has that new york italian confidence thing down pat. also, i've seen guidos as south as baltimore, but think they die out pretty far north of the dc line.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

So glad to come accross your blog. I've been doing Guido research for about a year. Belive it or not, there is a small pocket of Guidos in the South which is how I became obessesed with them. On the "West Bank" in New Orleans, or accross the Miss River, there presides a rather stout population. N.O. has a large population of Italians (I am 1/2) that came in at the turn of the century during a famine in Italy. Anyone who has been to N.O. may notice the New York accents. N.O. and N.Y. accents are very similar. In the early 1900s a number of Catholic schools were established by nuns from NY and you did things there way. Including pronounce words. Now, somehow, these cheesedicks have adopted the Guido style. Not all are Italian, but there has to be some connection which I am still trying to discover. Any assitance would be helpful. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How is it that these guys don't get there asses kicked every time they're in public? Perplexing.....

Anonymous said...

they don't get their asses kicked because their population has surpassed that of normal people. Seaside and Belmar, NJ are loaded with these animals. The jersey shore in general is infested beyond recognition. I would love to know when this fad is going to die out.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found your site---this is very important work, and I've personally been conducting my own research project for years now.

I would also like to point something out you seemed to have missed, though I could be wrong: Florida.

Florida is like a second home to many NYers, and there is an ample supply of Guidos to be found there, specifically in the Miami-South Beach area. In fact, South Beach is a very important place for the Guido. In addition, there is quite a bit of mob activity down in Florida, and while you claim that mobsters are not guidos and vice versa (some might dispute this), mafia neighborhoods and areas typically have Guidos in high supply.

For the most part, I agree that the Guido is now like the Punk---it's more of a style than a lifestyle. But never, ever, ever underestimate the Guido. He's been proclaimed dead many times, and he keeps coming back, and back, and back. I think in the depths of Brooklyn, you will find some who are hardcore Guidos, those schooled in the ways by the previous generation who took it seriously. And while the focus turns more to hair gel and BMWs, the mentality is there---being a meathead, and more disturbingly, being proud of it.

And while you claim the Italian Guido is rare...this is not entirely true. Italian Guidos are not as concentrated in one area as before (except for the borough of Staten Island, which is like a fortress of Guidos). Instead, the Guido has permeated the suburbs and society at large in the Northeast, making his presence a more pernicious one, albeit in subtle ways. You have to look harder, scratch the surface, and you will find him out there, waiting, watching...

Anonymous said...

What about Miami? I am from NY so I am very familiar with these guys, and I see them all over Miami these days.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be mainly certain ethnicities - while it used to be Italian, it is now very much oriented around "Russian" immigrants, and especially middle eastern (Arab and Persian), and also Greek-Americans. Can anyone comment on this or clarify it better for me?

Anonymous said...

justt maken it knownn, the last picture is allllllll Albanians lmao

Unknown said...

The advent of the Albanian Guidos was in the early 70s. "2 Wild And Crazy Guys" illustrates the prototype quite well. St George SI had quite a burgeoning population of them back in the day. I'd viewed them in the local habitat a couple of years before the SNL bit, which made the bit even more howlingly funny to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm Italian..

Here, even the worse thrash-guys don't look so disgusting.

Anonymous said...

between the 80's and the beginning of the 90's there was a mobster in miami called Guido, according to what they say he was the shit in miami beach and i wonder if actually derivations of the "guido" slang term should be attributed directly to him. does anyone know anything more about this?