Things Not to Say to a Native Texan
I'm not originally from Texas. I moved down here just after high school to attend college. Needless to say, most of the people on campus were born true blue Texans and they had no problem noticing from the get-go that I am not a Texas native. Of course, that fact has become far less noticeable over the fourteen years that I have been here. I have somehow unintentionally adopted some of the sayings as my own. Funny how we adapt according to regions we live in. For instance, folks swore I had a Chicago accent when I moved down here even though I grew up a couple hours south of Chicago. Now people back home tell me I have a southern twang (which I, of course, will deny. hehe). I have, however, picked up the popular phrase 'fixin' to' and can't for the life of me figure out when I started using it! Sigh. . .maybe I deserve to be called a transplanted Yankee. I'm not all Texan, but I sure love it here.
There's just one thing about Texas, though. One very sure way to stick out like a sore thumb. If you dare to utter anything similar to these 18 phrases, you might just get a look that says you're two sandwiches short of a picnic! Really, doesn't everybody know how it works in Texas? I do now, especially after having made some of these mistakes myself.
First, I must give credit where credit is due. About nine months ago, according to the date on HubPages, my friend, Cheryl, and I joked about things a woman never wants to hear on a date. That turned into this hub: Things a Woman Never Wants to Hear on the First Few Dates. We said we would do more like it, but hadn't gotten around to it. Until the other night, that is.
In no particular order. . .
1. I thought everything was bigger in Texas. (Said to a man while looking down.)
Well, many things really are bigger in Texas. Spiders. Bugs of any sort are generally bigger in Texas. Belt buckles, too, maybe. Yes, you better be talking about the belt buckle. ;)
2. Hey, look- a real cowboy!
So, I actually had a friend visit from IL. I picked him up from DFW and we stopped for gas on the way back from the airport. This sheriff in line in front of us... Let's just say I thought nothing of him until those words came out of my friend's mouth rather loudly. It's not a thing up in Illinois, you see, to see a man in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat with a gun holstered around his waist casually going about normal day to day life in the modern world. But we discovered how to get a sheriff's attention, along with everybody else in the room.
3. If you don't give me access to my money, I'm going to retaliate!
Long story short, I learned NOT to say that in Texas. Especially to a bank teller! Apparently, where I come from retaliation has a totally different connotation than it does in Texas.
4. Where did you park your horse?
Contrary to popular belief, not all Texans have a horse and they do not ride them to town. Not on a regular basis anyway. Yes, I admit that I do currently live somewhere in a residential neighborhood where it is not abnormal to see people riding a horse. It's not abnormal to hear a cow, a goat, a donkey, chickens, roosters, or llamas even. Go figure.
5. Are you sure we're still in Texas, I see tumbleweeds?
No, you are not in Mexico. Not even in any other state (unless you actually did cross a state line). There are tumbleweeds in West Texas. In fact, there are many different landscapes and regions here in Texas. If you stick around long enough, you might just see them all.
6. It's only an inch of snow.
Only an inch? Oh no, no, no. You are mistaken. It's not just an inch of snow in Texas. It's an everything must come to a screeching halt event. Schools must close, businesses must close, and stores will be sold out of essentials if the event is forewarned.
7. All of you guys are invited. . .or some other such usage of 'you guys.'
Utter a phrase like this one and you will be looked at as if you just spoke gibberish. It's y'all, y'all. Got it? Good. And if you want to emphasize that every single one of y'all is included then say 'all y'all' just to be sure.
8. Swing by and see me sometime while I'm still in Texas. (Said to someone in Dallas from someone in Houston.)
Seriously, do you not realize that Texas is bigger than your state. In fact, people often measure distance here by minutes and hours rather than miles, and Houston is at least four hours away from Dallas, depending on the exact location from which one is traveling or going. This state, my friend, is freakin' huge. In fact, it takes just as long, give or take a couple of hours, to go from Chicago to the Oklahoma/Texas border as it does to go from that same border to a city in Texas near the Mexican border.
9. What's an armadillo?
Hmmm. . .what's an armadillo, you ask? Well, it's more than road kill, which, in my experience, they are most often seen as. An armadillo also represents the state mammal. Perhaps the main reason it is hard to see one alive is that they are primarily nocturnal creatures.
10. I just barbecued this on the grill.
You can't just put barbecue sauce on something you're cooking on the grill and call that BBQ. No, sir. I barbecue done properly is smoked. There are different methods for preparing barbecued meat in Texas, but one fact that remains is that it all involves wood, not a charcoal grill.
11. No thanks, I don't want a coke. Please bring me a Sprite instead.
Seems like an innocent enough thing to say, but the waitress might just think you are an idiot of gigantic proportions. After all, she just asked you if you wanted a coke. You said no, but then proceeded to tell her what kind of coke you want. Because in Texas, a coke is not necessarily a Coca-Cola; it's a coke of any kind, a soda or a pop.
12. You can't paint with your Indian paint brush?
Nope. It's just a wildflower. It grows in abundance. But thanks for the chuckle.
13. I think I'll wear a bluebonnet to the flower festival.
Say what? No, you won't. It's illegal to pick a bluebonnet in Texas. It is the state flower, after all. They don't even mow those things down on the side of the highway when they're in bloom. Don't be caught dead wearing one or talking about wearing one either. Go put a daisy in your hair instead.
14. I've never been to a high school football game before.
How could you have gone to high school and never been to a high schoo football game? Or have a teenage child or know a teenage child. . . or. . .or. . .It's a thing, people. Friday night lights. A big thing. To not go to a football game is like not wearing the homecoming mum to the homecoming game. Oh wait, you haven't heard of that either, have you? Yeah, that's also a very Texan thing to do.
15. What happened at the Alamo?
Remember the Alamo, people, remember it! How do you not know what happened at the Alamo? Every self-respecting Texan knows that historical tidbit! And according to them, so should you.
16. Why can't I mess with Texas?
Started in the late 1980's, the slogan Don't Mess with Texas was actually developed as a litter campaign slogan. No one expected it to become the iconic phrase that it became. But it did and Texans are mighty proud of it, too. Just don't mess with Texas and you'll be fine.
17. How many guns do you own?
Many Texans love their guns, are proud of their guns and of hunting, BUT they do not tote their guns around like common attire. Not every Texan owns one.
18. What's so great about Texas?
Everything. Any Texan will tell you that!