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So, You Want To Talk About Texas
by Branden Hart
So, you want to talk about Texas
I'm a Texan. Native. And I'm damn proud of it. Why am I proud? Fuck if I know. We all need something to love. Some of you go crazy over your hometown hockey/baseball/basketball/football teams. I go crazy over my state. It's not like I'm a fanatic—I don't own a Texas flag, I have no idea what the exact date of our annexation is, but damn, I love this state, and I love living here.
I've traveled quite a few places in this country, and met people from all over the world. When you tell someone you're from Texas, no matter where they are from, they already have these set stereotypes they judge you by. Some of them are harmless. People unfamiliar with the state, they think we all have horses and ride them to school and work. They balk at the fact that I'm not wearing shit-stained bluejeans and boots, ask me where my Stetson is. And there's a reason for those stereotypes. A year ago, two guys from Canada, who I'd never met before in person, came down to stay with me for a few days to attend the Texas TotalFark BBQ. Sure enough, we're driving down the eight-lane road that leads to the interstate, and a person riding a horse crosses the road.
But that's cool. Not too many places in the world anymore you can see stuff like that, and that's part of what makes me proud of this state. But some of the stereotypes, they're harmful. For instance, just last week, I opened up the latest offering from Travis's column. I always look forward to reading Travis's stuff. The guy's fucking hilarious. So I was a bit dismayed to read this quote at the end of the first paragraph: “And you fucking assholes in Texas can eat a sugar frosting flavored fuck off the end of my dick, 'Everything’s bigger in Texas,' yeah like assholes and retardation.”
Such vitriol. Such hate! It wasn't the first time I'd run across this stereotype. In my time on the Internet, talking to strangers to pass the time at work, I've discovered that there are quite a few people who, for whatever reason, think of Texans as arrogant, self-centered assholes. There are others who think we're all complete morons just looking forward to drinking cheap beer and tipping cows.
Truth is, there ARE plenty of assholes in Texas. But then again, there's plenty of assholes everywhere. We've got our share of arrogance, but so do other places. And there are people who drink cheap beer and do stupid shit. But I'm willing to bet, wherever you are, there's at least one person in a five-mile radius that does the same.
I guess what gets me most about the bad stereotypes is that they ignore the diversity in the state. Three of our cities are in the top ten largest cities in the US, and with that population comes an enormous amount of diversity. When you think of a place like San Antonio, what kind of restaurants do you think we have? A bunch of taco stands and hamburger places? Well, you're right about that—those places are fucking everywhere. But there's so much more. Across the street from my house is an eclectic restaurant that serves the best Reuben sandwich in town—Pam's Patio Kitchen (which I've written about before here). Next to that is a four-star Italian restaurant. Less than two minutes down the road, there's the ubiquitous taco shop, but it's sandwiched in between a Jewish deli and a Vietnamese restaurant.
In Bedford, a part of the area known as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, my uncle goes to a church that does two different services simultaneously—one for the English-speaking congregates, and one for the Vietnamese congregates. These types of services are extremely common in the area, which boasts a substantial Asian population. Every Sunday, when the services are over, the two groups join together for lunch. And even though they don't speak the same language, they sit down at tables across from each other and eat, enjoying that communion.
My point is that Texas is a place with so much to explore, and more to understand than what you've seen in the movies. We have mountains, beaches, deserts, forests, almost every type of land you could think of. We have people from every place in the world living here.
And we're not assholes. I've never been anywhere else where 99% of the male population feels it is their responsibility to hold open doors for other people, particularly women. You rarely sit down to a home-cooked meal in Texas where people pick up their forks before the hostess picks up hers. In reality, Texas is a place where politeness and careful attention to appropriate social behavior is paramount to the social experience.
So to anyone who thinks that Texans are all arrogant assholes, I'll make you a deal. You always have an open door and an open bed at my house. You come down, and I'll show you what a fucking blast being in Texas can be. I'll give you the biggest dose of old fashioned Texas hospitality you can handle. Because if there's one thing Texans are more proud of than anything, it's the joy we take in opening the doors of our homes to people and showing them a fucking good time.
See y'all next week.
Uber doesn't realize that by doing this column, one of the Editors is going to do a "Why California is the greatest fucking state in the Union" post next week.
People are pretty cool where ever you go. I think the only place where I have been where an entire town were a bunch of dickheads was Bakersfield and that was in California so go figure.
Posted by: turtle | June 4, 2007 7:06 AM
All I know is if you're gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band...
Posted by: Ernie | June 4, 2007 9:45 AM
Texas is almost as cool as Louisiana.
Posted by: Cullen | June 4, 2007 10:01 AM
West Texas is the area that frightens me (Lubbock, Amarillo, etc.)
But I had bad luck in that area with State Troopers, so that might have something to do with it. Austin is one of the greatest cities I have ever visited, and that's coming from someone who, until 3 or 4 years ago, was a die-hard Texas hater.
The only time Texas REALLY sucks is when you're driving across is from east to west. Houston sucks as well, but at least they have good graffiti and music there.
Now Alabama... I have yet to meet anyone who has kind words to say about that state, even native Alabamaniacs.
Posted by: Seetwist | June 4, 2007 12:54 PM
Walker is from there, so it can't be all that bad.
/he is a Texas Ranger
Posted by: turtle | June 4, 2007 5:34 PM
Stationed in San Angelo, which I loved, and spent some time in San Antonio which also rocked.
People who don't get Texas can suck it.
Posted by: Jimbo-sama | June 4, 2007 5:48 PM
The Texas haters are sure staying in the woodwork for this one. Considering coming down and letting me get you drunk off fine Texas microbrews?
Posted by: Uber | June 4, 2007 6:57 PM
Dude I'd take you up on your offer but I hear your A.C. is full of wasps.
Posted by: Dan | June 5, 2007 8:00 AM
People unfamiliar with the state, they think we all have horses and ride them to school and work.
And they're RIGHT!
I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as quick as I could.
I was born in Alabama. Another damn fine place to live.
Posted by: Dave in Texas | June 5, 2007 9:29 AM
"And there are people who drink cheap beer and do stupid shit. But I'm willing to bet, wherever you are, there's at least one person in a five-mile radius that does the same."
Ah yes...but in Texas there are parts that there is no one else in that 5 mile radius. There were a few places like that back home in Michigan. Unfortunately, the state is getting stupid so when I left perhaps the stupidest place in the South(New Orleans area, hence, I'd differ with Cullen on lousyana)the move I ended up making was to Texas and DFW (Burleson). Michigan got so bad, Ted Nugent had to make a break and now lives here. I used to tease Texans, but it was just that, teasing. Alaska is bigger, but it is a bit rougher to live there. Texas is big enough that you have the Metros, but you also have the big open spaces. I like living on the edge of DFW like this...it is country livin' with the benefits (mostly) of big city life as well.
Posted by: JP | June 8, 2007 8:51 PM
Great article. Texas rules and as soon as I can get back for good I will. You tell 'em brother.
Posted by: Andrew | June 17, 2007 5:52 AM