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How to Behave Like a Texan
Texas is a pretty unique state. It used to be its own country, it's bigger than any of the other 47 contiguous states, and its gross domestic product - at over $1.3 trillion - rivals that of the entire country of Australia.
Texas is also famous for its residents. Texans are uniquely proud of their state, and go through their lives with a uniquely friendly swagger that citizens of other states often wish they could replicate. There's good news, though - as a native Texan myself, I'm well-equipped to lead you on your journey to becoming a fellow member of the Lone Star clan. By following a few fairly painless steps, you too can learn how to behave like a Texan.
Step 1: Drink Like A Texan
While that title may have gotten some of you thinking about happy hour, it turns out that Texans drink something else - Dr Pepper.
Dr Pepper (note the absence of a period after "Dr") was invented in 1885 by pharmacist Charles Alderton, who worked for Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. The store owner and customers loved it, and Dr Pepper's popularity quickly spread. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, now a multibillion dollar corporation, is still headquartered in the Dallas suburb of Plano.
While Dr Pepper is enjoyed by soda fans across America, nowhere is it as loved as it is in Texas. If you order any other soft drink, you'll immediately be spotted as an impostor Texan. So if you're not a soda fan, opt for water instead!
Step 2: Eat Like A Texan
Thinking about ordering a salad or slice of tofu casserole to go along with that Dr Pepper? Think twice - locals will notice that one pretty fast. There are only five acceptable food groups in Texas:
- The fixings
Any one of these is acceptable fare if you're trying to behave like a Texan - preferably, more than one. Texans are known for being fond of their food, a fact which has (unfortunately) led to high obesity rates. Nevertheless, if you're in Texas, you've gotta eat like a Texan, which means you're in for quite a big dinner. Texas is, in fact, home to the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch, where they'll give you a 72 ounce steak with all the fixings for free - if and only if you can finish it all in an hour! It's a tourist (and eating) destination you can't afford to mix, even if you aren't quite that adventurous.
So chow down on a hunk of meat and wash it down with some Dr Pepper. When you're done, take a trip to the mall, because your Texan transformation isn't quite complete.
Step 3: Dress Like A Texan
If you want to behave like a Texan, you'll have to dress the part, and that means the dress code doesn't end at 5 PM! With the following rules, you'll be well on your way to fitting in:
- Shirt: Nothing pink (if you're a guy), and preferably something to show your Texan-ness - a shirt with the Texan flag is a pretty good bet, as is anything that says "don't mess with Texas."
- Pants: Jeans, all day every day. The only exception is if you're meeting with a client, in which case suit pants are acceptable.
- Belt: An important component of every Texan's outfit. The bigger the buckle, the better.
- Shoes: Leave the Vans and Converse behind. Here, people wear cowboy boots.
- Hat: Fedoras are for Northeners. If you must wear a hat, try out one that's roughly five gallons big.
To your right is an assortment of appropriate clothing. (I left out the jeans, because if you don't have those already, you probably won't ever be able to behave like a Texan.)
Step 4: Walk And Talk Like A Texan
You can eat the food, drink the Dr Pepper, and wear the clothes, but if you don't get the talkin' right, you won't really be behaving like a Texan. So listen up, and listen close.
First of all, leave the Yankee accent at the airport. In Texas, you don't necessarily have to drawl, but you do have to talk without a Northern accent. If you do want to practice your drawl, envision the picture above - it's open and warm. That's what a drawl sounds like. You have to say your words a little slower than usual. Draw them out. Try saying "hey, y'all" in front of a mirror.
Second, you need to be friendly. I can't stress this enough - this is important! One of the first things I noticed when I traveled up North is how much colder everyone seemed. The people in Texas are like the weather - they're warm. If you're lost, people will drive several miles so you can follow them to the right spot. If you need to move furniture, your neighbors will rush over. If you need to borrow a cup of milk, your neighbors will give you a gallon.
Third, you need to have that swagger. You can't walk with your face down and your hands shoved in your pockets. Open up your body, lift your chin, and it'll come through in your voice.
Step 5: Drive Like A Texan
If you're going to be driving in Texas, you'd better pick the right car for the occasion. A pickup truck is ideal, with a muscle car like the Ford Mustang a good second. Of course, it may not be practical to buy a whole new car just to behave like a Texan - but if you're coming to Texas and getting a rental, make sure it's a pickup truck, or at the very least something with heft.
Of course, lots of people in Texas own other types of cars too, so you won't be branded as un-Texan for driving a Civic or Corolla. But you do have to worry about certain types of cars, like:
- Prius/other hybrids: frowned upon. You're like to hear mutterings that sound suspiciously like "sissy" wherever you go.
- Lunchboxes - I mean, smartcars. If you're driving a smartcar around in Texas, you won't feel very smart. You'll be laughed out of town.
Step 6: Cheer Like A Texan
Texas Team Jerseys
In Texas, there's one sport that really matters, and that's football. Of course, we have baseball and basketball too, but football's the real big deal.
So if you're going to behave like a Texan, you'd better cheer for the right teams. You have, of course, the Dallas Cowboys, who haven't been doing so well lately, much to the chagrin of the entire state. If you want to hop on the trendier bandwagon, you can root for the Houston Texans. If pro sports aren't your thing, you can root for the Longhorns or Aggies - but not both, because they're rivals!
If you don't find yourself in attendance at a football game, the easiest solution is a jersey, but if you can't get your hands on one, a burnt orange (Longhorns) or maroon (Aggies) shirt will work as well.
Step 7: Own A Ranch (or pretend to)
The previous six steps are great, but this is the one that will really seal the deal. Here's the thing: in Texas, everybody either owns a ranch or knows someone who does. It might be your uncle, your cousin, your friend, or your grandpa, but it's someone.
So when you're meeting up with your Texan pals, casually mention you just came back from your uncle's ranch, where you went hunting and fishing and rode horses.
And to really seal the deal, if they ask what your uncle's name is, say "Billy Bob." Trust me. It works every time.
A Quick Poll
How Texan Are You?
Conclusion: Behaving Like A Texan Is Easy
If you're a non-Texan who wants to be more like a Texan (or even a Texan who wants to be more patriotic), you now know the secrets to behaving like a Texan. Go try these seven steps out on your friends, and report back in the comments stream below - did they buy it? Does everyone think you're a Texan now?
This article is written by Skyler Greene, all rights reserved. It's hosted on HubPages, an online community where everyday experts like you and me can publish high-quality articles like this one and earn a share of the ad revenue they generate. Sign up for HubPages.