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Things Not to Say to a Native Texan

Updated on July 20, 2017
shanmarie profile image

Shannon sometimes has a quirky sense of humor. Sometimes she shares it with the world. Sometimes there is no profound reason for sharing. :)

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!


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    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 2 years ago

      Haha, Au fait! Thanks for stopping by, my fellow transplanted Yankee. ;)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Well, as of May 29th of this year, Texas IS an open carry state. I'm a Yankee myself and been here 26 years, but not consecutively. We have Indian Paint Brush wildflowers in central Wisconsin too.

      You can't be a Texan unless you're born here -- unless you have tons of money like GW and then they'll make you an honorary Texan. I married a Texan and what education I hadn't acquired by the time I met him, I learned from him.

      Interesting article. Enjoyed the read!

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 2 years ago

      Yes, that's Tue. It is illegal to pick the bluebonnets.

    • profile image

      Philip Peterson 2 years ago

      Actually, it is legal to pick blue bonnets in Texas.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      That's too bad, poetryman. It can bed quite amusing.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      We shall leave Texas soon and though we have not had occasion to use many of these observations, they are interesting nonetheless.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hehe, ladyguitarpicker. Some of my friends might still occasionally refer to me as a transplanted Yankee.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, My son lives in Miles, Texas it is a lot like Fl. I still get told I have a Chicago accent, but its fine,at least no one calls me Yankee anymore. Nice hub I enjoyed it.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Aw, fpherj48, it isn't that bad! There is southern hospitality, after all. Although there is a shirt for sale where I work that says, "If you think nobody's perfect, you haven't met a Texan." ;)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      LOL...This is hilarious, although I'm sure there's plenty of truth to it. I have heard that popular expression, "Don't mess with Texas!"

      You have convinced me that Texas is no place for me! I have a habit of saying the "wrong" thing once too often! I'd be in big trouble with Texans!! UP & Funny!

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hehehe, Peg, I am not far from you. Surprisingly, my kids went to school after it snowed yesterday. I did have to tell the silly.things not to make snowballs with bare hands, though. Hopefully, there will not be another ice storm this year. Talk about end of the world here!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This week we had the terrible "inch of snow" that halts commerce and closes everything here in Texas. It was the leading story on the news for what seemed like most of the program. Of course, it's only November so that brought out all the records and statistics about how odd this strange white stuff is, snow flurries likely, and pictures people sent in of the phenomenon. You nailed it on the Texas-isms. About the belt buckles, yep, that is so true. Some call them tombstones.

      You are one funny writer. Voted up for sure, pardner.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Thank you, Nellieanna. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Hahaha! Good one!

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      How funny! Anywhere a cow pissed, eh? LOL Now I am laughing!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      Shanmarie, I had to laugh at this because I relate only too well. I lived in the Lubbock-Midland-Odessa area for six years, and I have an ex-husband, a son and grandchildren who are all Texans. When I was a young bride, I pulled a major faux pa when was visiting at my then-husband’s place of employment. He worked for one of the radio stations in Lubbock, and he and a couple of other announcers were standing around talking. They kept mentioning some tributary running into the Trinity River with such reverence as I, being from Arkansas, would talk about the Arkansas River running into the Mississippi. Finally, I asked, “Where is this big Trinity River y’all keep talking about.” Hubby told me to “look out the window.” The station was situated on the banks of the Trinity River, and I didn’t know it.

      In my hillbilly ignorance, I replied, “That little thing. I thought it was a creek. It’s no bigger than Miller’s Creek!” (Miller’s Creek ran through my grandfather’s farm, and hubby was familiar with it – and furthermore knew I was right.) Being a loyal Texan, he hushed me up and hurried me out of the station with a lecture on how I had embarrassed him.

      That P.O.’d me, and after that I never missed an opportunity to say that “anywhere a cow pissed in Texas, they called it a river.” Don't get me wrong, I really did like living in Texas.

      Got a good laugh out of your hub. Voted you up and funny.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hi Ruby. Glad you enjoyed it. Houston and the Dallas area are quite large, for sure. I've lived in small town Texas too, though. My ideal location would be way out in the country with lots of open land around me, yet close enough to a town that I have easy access to supplies.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Kim, laughter is the best medicine. If I started your day off with a smile, I'm thrilled!

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hi dahoglund. Yes, the speed limits tend to be a bit fast in some parts of the state. Thank you for stopping by to read.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      HaHa, funny throughout. I lived in Houston for five years, working as a traveling nurse. I got used to the lingo, however, I must say that it isn't my favorite place to live. I'm a little town town gal. I enjoyed your hub. Thank you..

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina


      LOVE THIS! I have to agree with Jackie in that Texas doesn't sound too different from NC. Voted up for sure!

      Thanks for starting my day off with a smile,


    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I visited some relatives in Texas a few years ago and the speed limits was something I noticed. It was a forty mile drive to pick up a prescription I had ordered from my doctor. The speed limit was seventy-five mph on narrow mountain roads.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hi Shyron. I did not know that! Then again, I haven't dug for worms since I was a child. ;)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      I can relate to almost every one of these when I stop laughing.

      Do you know what is not bigger in texas? Worms! If you want to go fishing you may as have to go up to Oklahoma to get worms. Texas worms are strings. In fact Texas worms are so skinny you may have to tie them in a bow on the hook.

      As one transplanted Texan for the Chicagoland areat to another, I loved this hub. But I have to admit I am the grandmother of native Texans.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      LOL, Jackie!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Well ya'll in Texas don't sound so much different than us in NC...except maybe for the belt buckles!

      Fun hub; thanks for sharing. ^+

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      Hi healthwealthmusic! So glad you found my work and enjoy it. I am pretty sure I never meant to make remarks either. But I did. LOL.

    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 3 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

      Very interesting read - you definitely have good writing talent! Never been to Texas, but would love to one day - and no, I don't plan on making any stupid remarks :)

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 years ago

      What can I say, Maria? When two women start talking about what not to say to a Texan, especially when one of them is native and the other never know what will come out of our mouths!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      OMG, I could barely stop laughing after reading #1, shanmarie...this is a hoot! Voted UP and all the way across the line and sharing! Hugs, Maria