Texans have a culture that’s all their own. If you visit, you might just feel like you’re in a whole different country. As a matter of fact, for ten years (from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846) Texas actually was a sovereign nation.
If you’ve ever lived in Texas, you already know the truth about the inhabitants of the Lone Star State: they are some of the nicest, most hospitable and just plain fun Americans you’ll ever meet.
I grew up in Texas. I went to high school and college there. Even though my wanderlust compelled me to hit the road, I like to think that I carry a little piece of this big state with me wherever I go. Read on to discover 20 things only a true Texan would know.
20. True Texans know that in spring when the bluebonnets bloom, you don’t need to mow your lawn.
The official state flower of Texas is the beautiful bluebonnet. In spring, Texans let bluebonnets grow wild everywhere to celebrate the awesomeness of Texas. Even the Texas State Highway Department lets the side of the road get shaggy during bluebonnet season.
19. Texans know all about the joy of staying home from school on a “snow” day.
Believe it or not, snow is not an unheard of thing in some parts of Texas. It never snows a whole lot, but in north Texas it happens about once or twice a year. As soon as the first snowflake hits the ground, the government shuts down and the authorities cancel school immediately. The reason? Snow is so rare that the state just can’t justify spending any money on salting the roads or paying for snowplows.
18. It’s okay to eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Texans love Mexican food so much that they came up with their own version of it: Tex-Mex. In Texas, many people like to eat a breakfast burrito in the morning, a bowl of chili for lunch and a plate of tacos for dinner. If you’re still hungry after supper, you can always chomp down a churro for dessert.
17. Football isn’t just a game.
It’s a religion. Some high school football stadiums in Texas are actually bigger and better than the ones used by professional teams. Frisco’s Toyota Stadium seats over 20,000 spectators. It cost over $96.9 million dollars to build.
Even tiny high schools are crazy about their football teams. My high school football team lost almost every game, but everyone showed up to watch us get pounded every Sunday anyway.
Our basketball team was actually pretty good– they qualified for the state tournament almost every year. Still, only the parents and girlfriends of the players ever bothered to show up and cheer them on.
16. In Texas, all carbonated, sugary drinks are Cokes.
For some reason, Texans refer to soft drinks as “Cokes.” However, true Texans prefer Dr. Pepper over Coca Cola. It’s a Texas pride thing. The Dr. Pepper formula was created in the 1880s by a Texan from Waco named Charles Alderton.
15. If you want respect you’ve got to be polite.
Texas drivers are some of the friendliest ones you’ll ever encounter. A true Texan won’t hesitate to pull onto the shoulder of the highway to let you pass if they notice that you want to drive a bit faster.
Also, most Texans will “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am” you to death or until you specifically ask to be called by your first name. But the formal address isn’t just used by children when talking to adults. It isn’t uncommon for adult Texans to address children using “sir” and “ma’am” or “miss.” It’s all about respect and good manners.
14. BBQ is an art form.
None of the southern states can hang with Texas when it comes to barbeque. The “barbacoa” style of Texas BBQ is particularly delicious. To make real barbacoa style BBQed meat, you don’t even need a grill– just a hole in the ground will do just fine. Maguey leaves give barbacoa BBQ its unique flavor.
13. Texans know how to throw a proper tailgate party.
You don’t even need a sports game to get your tailgate on in Texas. It isn’t uncommon to see a bunch of pickup trucks randomly gathered together in a big circle on any given day of the weekend. It’s all about cold beers, grilled meat and twangy country music flowing out of car stereos.
12. You’ve got to have good roads.
The roads in Texas are always clean and in good repair. Potholes get filled in immediately. Also, Texan roads have huge, spacious shoulders. If you don’t mind the constant blazing heat, there are no better roads for bicycle riding in America.
11. Everyone should own at least one pair of cowboy boots.
Fashion trends may come and go, but the “cowboy” look will always stay the same: wide-brimmed hat, denim jeans, button-down shirt and enormous belt buckle. The number one most important part of the look, though, is the cowboy boot. It’s an iconic part of the way Texans dress.
10. …And a whole wardrobe full of blue jeans.
In Texas, it’s okay to wear jeans to any occasion. Weddings, funerals, job interviews, you name it. If you’ve got denim, you can go anywhere. “Texas Ranger” Chuck Norris even invented a pair of blue jeans specifically designed for occasions when you might need to kick a little ass.
9. How to do the two-step.
If you’re a Texan, it’s expected that you know how to handle yourself on the dance floor. Learning how to square dance and do the two step is a right of passage.
8. An ice cold beer is the perfect remedy for a broiling hot Texas day.
Shiner Bock might be the most well-known Texas beer outside of Texas, but there are tons of little-known microbreweries in Texas that make excellent stuff.
And let’s not forget about Lone Star Beer– the most Texas-y beer of all time. Lone Star Beer doesn’t have much of a taste, but it’s super cheap– and it goes down smooth when it’s hot out.
7. Texan men know that chivalry ain’t dead.
In Texas, it’s okay to be a gentleman. Texan men always hold the door open for a lady.
6. All Texans can speak Tex-ese fluently.
Howdy! Git-R-Done. Darn tootin. Fixin’ to. These are essential phrases you need to master if you want to be understood in Texas.
Also: when you’re in Texas it’s not a fridge, it’s an icebox. It’s not a window, it’s a winduh. And let’s not forget the most famous Texas-ism of all time: y’all.
5. Texans know the true meaning of the phrase “wide open spaces.”
Texas is a big state, and most of it is pretty empty. There aren’t a lot of hills or mountains around, so if you’re out in the country you can see in all directions for miles.
4. All Texans know that Texas was once an independent republic.
All Texas grade school kids get Texas history beaten into their brains. That’s why anyone who grew up in Texas can tell you that Texas is the only state that was once a self-governing nation, hence the nickname “the Lone Star State.”
3. How to shoot a gun.
Texans love their guns. According to Texas Penal Code Title 2, the use of deadly force is authorized if there is an “imminent threat of harm or death.” If someone breaks into your home, vehicle or place of business in Texas and you have a gun license, you have the legal right to shoot the intruder dead.
2. Dairy Queen ice cream is a must.
For whatever reason, even the very smallest, middle-of-nowhere towns in Texas are equipped with at least one Dairy Queen restaurant.
1. You don’t mess with Texas.
The “don’t mess with Texas” slogan was invented by the Texas Highway Department back in the 80s. After the slogan came out, highway littering declined 72%. Today, the “don’t mess with Texas” slogan has come to define Texan attitude, pride and swagger.