When I called my latest interview, he answered the phone by serenading me with Sinatra’s “My Way”. He sounded great, and while surprising, exactly what I expected. That was my introduction to Twitter’s @JohnnytheGrk. I knew I would like him because I love his wife @PDKHair. Penny is no dummy so I assumed the man she married would be fabulous.
Johnny is fabulous, and from the moment we started talking I was a fan. This man tells it like it is, hides nothing, and has a love for his wife and children that made me swoon. He loves Penny in a way that makes my heart flutter. By flutter of course I mean his ridiculous and blatant flirting with me not only made my day, but put a skip in my step.
His recounting of how he met Penny is slightly different from how she recalls it. He likes to laugh about how she threw herself at him, but then says that when he met her his heart stopped beating for a minute. He says she literally took his breath away and he loves her in a way that gives him life. I love a man who loves his wife this way.
Johnny is a true Jersey boy. He loves New Jersey and laughs at the notion that people think Jersey is like what we see on reality television. Snooki and Caroline are entertaining, but they are not Jersey. Johnny should be a spokesperson for Jersey so we won’t think the state is full of freaks. To clarify, he is freaky, but in the really good way.
Johnny graduated from college with a degree in finance and international business. He went to work for Dean Witter right after school and quickly became a wiz kid. He was making magic happen on Wall Street but it was not his passion. While all the young wolves read the Wall Street Journal, he was reading the sports section of The New York Times.
He was working endless hours in the finance business, but his father was not feeling well and Johnny felt he should go to work with his dad to take the pressure off and help the family. His father was the owner of Rutt’s Hut, which is a New Jersey landmark and home to one of the world’s greatest hotdogs. Johnny quit his job and went home.
Johnny’s father raised him to do something that he loved and not be driven by money. He did not care if Johnny was a garbage man or a politician, as long as he was happy and good at what he did. Rutt’s has been in Johnny’s family for 38 years and being there with his dad is what made him happy. He is loyal and devoted which makes him sexy as hell.
He still trades, has clients he helps with investments, and has no regrets. When asked about how he views life he said his life is like a book and every day is a different page. Years are chapters, and the goal is that when he is gone, people will want to read the book. His immortality will be in how people remember him, and that matters.
He wants his children to look at the life of their father and be proud, as he is of his dad. His father is alive and well and still working alongside Johnny. He wants to touch hearts in a way that they remember, which is interesting coming from a man who, in a lot of ways, does not care what people think about him. Johnny is fascinating.
He watches reality television with his wife because it is something they can do together. Well at least it was in the beginning. He is now a full blown addict just like the rest of us. He has been sucked into the drama and cannot look away. He also clarifies that he will support Penny if she is invited to be a Real NJ housewife, but it is her decision.
Bravo might not be able to handle his family because they are real and that does not seem to be what Bravo is going for these days. He and Penny are very black and white, live with no fear, and don’t worry about making Bravo happy as much as making their family proud of them. I dare Bravo to put these two on TV. Double dare actually.
Johnny has nothing to hide and says he is not afraid of being on a reality show. While historically reality TV rips families apart, that won’t happen to him. He says his family is solid, has no secrets, and if people want to look in their closets for skeletons, he says bring some beer and he will BBQ. This guy is exactly what Bravo does not want on television.
Penny and Johnny are authentic. By authentic of course I mean what reality TV used to be in the beginning, before it was a bunch of fame whores. Johnny describes Penny as the person who inspires him to be better. I come back to Penny because I think you can tell a lot about a man by how he speaks about his family, and this guy is brilliant at it.
Their marriage, like all marriages, is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but they are blessed to have more ups than downs. He says behind every door, in every city, no matter how big the house, are people who have problems. At the end of the day he looks at everyone as equal and has a lovely view of humanity. I really like this guy a lot.
It was when he spoke of his constant flirting that I think I fell in love with him. He says he will flirt with a 500 pound woman in the super market and a supermodel at the gas station, because it matters. Making someone’s day is a powerful thing and he loves to do it. I must tell you he flirted with me and I found myself twirling my hair as we spoke.
I asked Johnny to give me three ways in which he would describe himself and he chose spontaneous, flirtatious, and bullshit free. When I then asked him to describe Penny, he chose foundation, structure and home. He added that without her he has no foundation, no structure and no home. Seriously? Who is this guy? I want one just like him.
When it comes to Twitter, Johnny says it is 75% fun and 25% bullshit. I would argue it’s the other way around, but bless him for being positive. He does not take any of it personally and will not let it affect him, and he laughs at people more than he gets pissed off. He is himself on Twitter and marvels at those who want to use it for hate.
He has respect for people on Twitter who use their own pictures and names, and finds it entertaining when people threaten him from behind fake accounts. His response to those people? Be brave, leave the safety of Twitter, and come see him face to face. He will give you his address, grab you a beer, and take you on. He means business.
Johnny has developed a genuine affection for many people on Twitter and it is sweet how he truly cares about them. This guy is more wiseass than smart ass, and I hope to see him and Penny on RHoNJ. If Tony Soprano, Al Pacino, and Rocky had a son together, it would be @JohnnytheGrk. This guy is delicious and a true master at keeping it real.
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