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Welcome to this edition of Blogger Stammtisch. This month I got to pick the topic and I came up with the idea of having all of us bust some myths either related to being an expat, about the country/area we now call home, or its people. I’ve been living in Texas for a while now and I remember my German friends asking me quite a few questions about Texas. The funny thing is that a lot of Americans who are not Texans ask similar questions. So, there seem to be some universal Texas stereotypes and Texas cliches out there. Time to put them to the test 🙂

  • Do Texans really all ride horses? No, they don’t – unless maybe they live on a farm. In fact, I’ve rarely seen people on a horse here. Well, if there’s a rodeo in town or some horse show, then of course all bets are off. We went to a chicken fried steak festival a while ago and there were calves and cows, and people warming up their horses for the show that afternoon. I felt like I was in a movie 🙂 But in Lubbock for example, you actually have to drive quite a way out of town to even find a place where you can go horseback riding. So… sorry, this myth is busted: No people riding their horses to work or school here – at least none that I have seen.

horseback riding in Texas

  • Are all Texans cowboys? No. However, it is not uncommon to see guys decked out in cowboy boots, hat, belt and buckle at the airport, on a university campus, and on the streets. Most of the girls seem to use this type of Western wear as much more of a fashion statement. Their boots tend to be less of the work boot and more of the dress boot. I have met one real cowboy since I moved here though. He was our guide at a dude ranch in Bandera and told me about his previous jobs that all had something to do with horses, his favorite horse back home, his son who went to school on a scholarship because he was on a wrangler team, … I swear, he was the real deal!Dixie Dude Ranch: Our Cowboy Guide
  • Are Texans really all fat? No, not at all. Most people I have seen here are what would be considered average weight, or maybe a little above, I think. And since I work in a college town, I have seen my fair share of incredibly fit people. Seriously! Sometimes I think it’s kind of crazy how many guys and girls here have an actual six-pack stomach. I think Texans get that reputation of being fat because of the few incredibly big people that you see here once in a while. You know, the ones who ride the carts through Walmart?
  • Do Texans all have huge trucks? Well, not all of them do, but you do see more than the average amount of big trucks around here. I’ve gotten kind of used to it, but I remember when I first bought my car here, a regular sedan that would probably be considered above-average-size in Germany, I started driving and was surprised that at traffic lights I was almost always in the smallest vehicle. In fact, it’s kind of weird when we fly to Europe and get in the little rentals that we use to get around. They are half the size of what people here drive 🙂 And when we see an SUV that stands out as big in Europe, I remind myself that that same model tends to look small-ish when driving around in Texas.

Only in Texas: Skull and Horns on Truck

  • Do Texans really drive everywhere? Yes, pretty much. I have never seen so many packed drive-throughs at fast food chains as I have seen here around lunch or dinner time. And I have never seen a drive-through ATM anywhere else in the world at all. Is it to save time? To avoid a short walk? Convenience? I don’t know… This might be better in big cities, but in West Texas it is in fact somewhat difficult to walk places because streets are huge, traffic lights don’t give you a whole lot of time to cross streets, etc.
  • Are Texans really that crazy about (American) football? Yes, totally! You know that series Friday Night Lights? So true. College sports in general are big here, but football takes the cake. Not only are the games really, really long (about 4 hours), but many people make it an all-day thing by either tailgating in front of the stadium or hosting a BBQ at their place and watching the game at a bar and hanging out before and/or after. I’ve actually seen people camp for a few nights in front of the stadium before a big game.College Football and Tailgating in Texas
  • What about this Southern hospitality everybody talks about? So true! Texans are crazy friendly. Everybody greets you and inquires how you’re doing. Mind you, that might not mean anything, but it does make for a nice atmosphere. And if you have out-of-town (or out-of-country) friends and family visiting, your Texan friends will really go out of their way to make them feel welcome – if my experience is any indication. Our friends all tried to invite us over when our family was in town and some came to our place to help prepare real Texan smoked ribs for them.Texas Smoked Ribs Recipe
  • Are Texans really all superficial and fake? No, but as a foreigner you do have to learn when their friendliness means something and when it is just there to create a nice atmosphere. This kind of goes along with the Texas cliche about Southern hospitality above. People go out of their way to be friendly, but, for better or worse, friendly here does not necessarily imply that you actually are friends.
  • Do all Texans have a broad Texas accent? Well, not all of them do, but many people here do speak with that Southern twang 🙂 Most Texans I have met are very proud that they are from Texas and they don’t mind letting their accents speak for themselves. It’s not only the pronunciation though. There are also quite a few Texas expressions that you’ll hear quite a bit when traveling around the state.

I think these are the most common Texas cliches. Do you have any more? Share them in the comments as questions or additions. Or do you have a different answer than I gave above to the above myths about Texas? Feel free to say so below 🙂

And head over to some of the posts below to read more from other bloggers busting some of the myths, cliches, and stereotypes they have run into:

 


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30 Comments

  • Cliches are funny, sometimes. I remember my first trip, as an adult, to Texas. It was during the “Dallas” TV show heyday and I thought everyone would have a huge cowboy hat and boots on. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed when I found out this was not true!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Unique Lodging Is It For You?

    • Sabrina says:

      That’s funny, because when I came to Texas for the very first time I thought the whole cowboy hats and boots thing was only a cliche and nobody would wear that stuff – I was so surprised when I saw quite a few hats even at the airport 🙂

  • Andrew says:

    Cars are just in general larger in the US. I saw a car yesterday that would be considered decent sized in the US, but it stood out so much as it was bigger than everything else. Love the horns on the front of the truck though. Distance wise you have to drive everywhere, there isn’t a choice. So it becomes a thing you spend a lot of time in, so a lot of money.
    The drive throughs are there to let you stay in the airconditioning longer, I think. In the summer, to get out of the car and wait in line at the ATM in the sun and get back in the car takes both time and is REALLY hot.
    Andrew recently posted..Are Germans Any Fun?

    • Sabrina says:

      That could be… the distances are really much longer here. There’s no quick walk to the supermarket or to the bar possible. But I think maybe because of that, people get so used to not having to walk that then they start doing silly things like driving from shop to shop when they are in a shopping area.

  • Leah says:

    Well, I’d say you pretty much nailed Texans, and I should know, I’m a sixth generation Texan. And I love the picture of Jones Stadium as a Texas Tech graduate. Are you in Lubbock?
    Leah recently posted..Three Reasons to Get Out of Austin

    • Sabrina says:

      I’m glad I got it right then 🙂 You recognized the Jones! How fun! Yes, am in Lubbock and also a Tech graduate 🙂 Are your from Lubbock or did you just move here for college?

  • Andrea says:

    Really enjoyed this post! It’s always fun to mythbust – I only know a few Texans…always love the accents =)
    Andrea recently posted..Our Next Move

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks! Yes, the accent is nice, isn’t it? As a foreigner I found it sometimes easier to understand at the beginning because it tends to be a slower spoken. Well, except for the older Texans I have met – some of them, I still don’t understand 🙂

  • R. Sherman says:

    A lot of those cliches are applicable to most southern States, i.e. football, pick-up trucks, friendliness, etc. The northeast is much more “European” and comfortable for visitors from across the pond, at least initially. Once they get south of the Mason-Dixon line and stay for awhile, they tend to like it down here.

    Cheers.
    R. Sherman recently posted..IF . . .

    • Sabrina says:

      That makes sense. When I visited D.C. a few years ago, it felt much more like home – architecture, smaller streets, little shopping areas in neighborhoods, restaurants, the people, … But you’re right about starting to like the whole Southern thing after a while. First, it got to me, because I couldn’t figure out when somebody actually meany something and it would drive me nuts that people would never follow through. Now, I kind of like the friendliness for what it is: creating a nice atmosphere.

  • Prior to my recent visit to Texas, a perfect stranger invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner at her home. So sweet. That speaks volumes for Texas hospitality!
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..A Stinky Pig & Fried Pickles in Texas

    • Sabrina says:

      I’ve had similar experiences, especially around the holidays. People just seem to really want to make sure that you’re not alone on Thanksgiving. So nice!

  • As a Native Texan, I LOVED this post – you hit the nail on the head!!!
    Becca@RWeThereYetMom? recently posted..Friday Daydreamin’: Still in LOVE!

  • Pit says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    I like this posting of yours a lot! Let me add my two-penny worth:
    As to the size of cars here I used to joke, “When in a parking lot a Mercedes S-Class looks like a midsize sedan, you’re in the US, and when it looks like a compact car, you’re in Texas.”
    Re pick-up trucks: A lot of people here in Texas use them, because they’re ever so versatile and very well suited to their needs as many of them have some kind of agricultural business, even if it’s small-time/hobby ranching only.
    As to obesity: of course, not all Texans are obese, but there certainly a lot. On July 7 last year the Houston Chronicle reported that nearly 1 of every three adults here in Texas is obese. Btw, I’ve never heard that cliché for Texans, but for US Americans in general.
    Re drive throughs: there even are drive-through churches here [http://pitstexasexpatblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/drive-in/]. What annoys me here, though, is that people keep the engines of their cars running when they’re waiting in line. I know, in the summers here it’s very hot and you might want air-conditioning, but still it’s pollutions and a waste of gas. And you quite often see empty cars but with their engines running in parking lots, while the people are shopping, eating, or just talking to friends. Not that this is typically Texas, though.
    As to driving and not walking, even for short distances in town: I once read – I hope I still have the numbers correct – that the average Americans don’t walk but use their cars if the distance is more than 600 ft. But as you said, the towns hereabouts don’t make it easy to walk: wide streets but nor many sidewalks.
    Best regards,
    Pit
    Pit recently posted..Green Card Status – Update

    • Sabrina says:

      Thank you! I love that saying with the S-Class 🙂 We need to amend it and include Europe somehow: “When an S-class looks like a full-size, you’re in Europe” or something. About people owning pick-ups because they use them… well, maybe in the countryside. I doubt all these college kids need a pick-up to drive to class and back. Seriously, you’d be surprised about many you see on campus. I think I’m out-voted on the whole obesity thing. Maybe they really are bigger in average in Texas? I guess my perception might be thrown off by all the college kids.

  • Suzy says:

    Haha we have drive up ATMs in Colorado too. When you think about it, it is kind of silly. I guess people are in a hurry and don’t want to unbuckle their seat-belts.
    Suzy recently posted..Bled, Slovenia Wishes You Were Here

  • Andrew says:

    The odd thing about drive up Arms is that often they are more of a hassle. Depending on how tall your car is in relation and how far away you pull up, you often have to unbuckle and half crawl out to reach it. Don’t ever drop something. The door is not going to open that far when you are so close. And do set the emergency break if you are crawled out. And don’t kick anything important.
    Andrew recently posted..Steam Engine on an Island : Kingston Flyer

    • Sabrina says:

      Haha! Sounds like you’ve experienced the drawbacks of a drive-through ATM 🙂 I agree…. these things aren’t all that convenient if you don’t get it just right. Even worse? Some of the pay stations on the French highways. When they spit out your ticket because they don’t like your card, they don’t hold on to it at all and it flies all over the high way… and because you parked to close that you were able to reach it, you are now stuck in your car and can’t get out to run after it… so messy!

  • This was a fun post! You’ve certainly gotten familiar with the true essence of Texas!
    Kae Lani | A Travel Broad recently posted..Traveling from Jersey Shore to Hamburger Dom

  • Laurel says:

    Really enjoyed this post Sabrina and learning more about Texans. I’ve only spent a few days there but the cliches about Texas are famous.
    Laurel recently posted..Calcotada: A Catalonia Gastronomical Event

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks Laurel! I like taking a look at cliches because while they are often not true, there usually is a good reason of why and how they came into being.

  • Andrea says:

    it should probably be mentioned that many farmers use ATVs instead of horses now. I mean what is better to a texan than a motorized horse?? My in-laws are farmer-ranchers (and if you get deep into Texas cliches you will learn about the farmer versus rancher phenomenon!), so
    I was thinking I would finally get the horse I always dreamed of owning, but instead I got a four-wheeler!
    Andrea recently posted..No Touch Monkey! A giveaway!!

    • Sabrina says:

      I love it! ATVs are the new horses? Brilliant! But… you have to explain… what is the difference between a farmer vs. a rancher? I would naively think it might be produce vs. animals, but could be completely and totally way off.

  • When people in Malaysia ask me where I’m from, I don’t say “America,” I say, “Texas.” I’ve definitely been asked about horses and have jokingly claimed that it’s really hard to get groceries home on one.
    Michele @ Malaysian Meanders recently posted..Kid-friendly History at Tokyo’s Fukagawa Edo Museum

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