Hey, y’all: Two non-Texans discuss this strange state

Monica:    Hey, y’all! Welcome to Texas, gals and guys. Many of you were born and raised here, while others hail from all sorts of exotic locales. This article is mostly for those of you who are generally unfamiliar with the Lone Star State. John and I were both born and raised in other places before we called Texas home, so we think we offer a unique perspective on the Texan Experience (trademarked). I was born in Chicago and lived in Minnesota until I was fifteen.

John: I was born and raised in the Philippines until I moved to the great land of America when I was 10. So we picked some stereotypes we’d heard about before arriving, and we’ll tell you how accurate or inaccurate it proved to be.

The Loudmouth Texan:

M: In the Midwest, we consider ourselves “nice.” In fact, we have a reputation for it: it’s called “Minnesota nice.” If you’ve ever watched the movie (or the show) “Fargo,” you might have chuckled a bit at the characters’ thick accents, but ultimately it was their inability to curse strongly and their apologetic natures that felt the most real to me. Coming to Texas, I was afraid of the “loudmouth Texan” image I’d seen in popular culture. To be frank with you, readers, it’s a stereotype for a reason””but not in a bad way (mostly).

Texans are opinionated and very proud of it. As a Midwesterner, I’ve grown to appreciate their candid nature. Midwesterners, in my experience, tend to hide their true feelings  to avoid offending others. But with Texans, you know where they stand on just about anything! Their frankness is refreshing.

J: In the Philippines, I remember most people being generally nice but also loud. People were always joking, but normally it was at someone’s expense. It was a very dense population, so you generally knew your neighbors pretty well.

I always imagined Texans in two ways, one of which included the idea of the traditional Southern Gentry. They all said “y’all”, looked like Colonel Sanders, had ranches, ate biscuits and gravy and had very strict yet well-mannered old ladies in their families.

The Dumb Texan:

M: I definitely heard about this one living in the Midwest. But my experience has been that there are many incredibly accomplished Texans in every field imaginable. Texas can boast of thousands of its notable natives””the Wikipedia page of famous Texans is just enormous. And I mean, c’mon. Beyonce is from here. “˜Nuff said.

J: Growing up in the Philippines, the other stereotype was that Texans were dumb and spit a lot. I don’t know why people settled on those two things, but that’s how it was. Texas was always seen as a place that was used for a cheap laugh. For example, in one episode of “Spongebob Squarepants,” Patrick and Spongebob kept repeating the line “Texans are stupid” as they made fun of Sandy, a squirrel from Texas. Suffice it to say that all Texans are not dumb. OK, that still sounds pretty negative. As with everywhere else, there are all kinds of people here, and I have met some very thoughtful and intelligent people. Plus, as Monica mentioned, Beyonce is from here. Case closed.

The Cowboy/Girl Texan

M: There were people in the Midwest who listened to country music or rode horses, sure. But ALL Texans do that, right? I had an idea that everyone here lives on a ranch, wears boots and jeans, rides horses and goes to the rodeo. Basically, “country” equated to “Texas” in my mind. Upon moving here, I realized that yes, cowboy boots are popular, but people wear them with all sorts of outfits. And yes, country music is popular, but so are all other forms of music. And yes, there are ranches, but 1) not everyone lives on one and 2) they’re freaking beautiful to look at anyway!

J: Yeah, there were NO cowboys in the Philippines. I am not even sure where one would buy a ten-gallon hat or cowboy boots. I always equated cowboys and country songs with Texas. I imagined dusty saloons playing Kenny Rogers, patroned by cowboys with revolvers by their sides or tucked into their boots.

I found it difficult to imagine Texas as just another regular place, especially because it was  a thousand miles away. Of course, I got here and realized it really IS just another regular place. Except that everyone wears winter boots when the weather drops below 70 degrees””and, oh my god, why does everyone have a pickup truck?