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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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