Wow, you Texans are vocal. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, I wrote a blog a few days back informing everyone that I would most likely be visiting the Hamptons on my upcoming book tour and detailing the many preconceived notions I have in regards to what the Hamptons are all about. I also noted that I have allowed certain stereotypes to taint my views on the great state of Texas. For the record I did say that I was aware that my stereotypes were uninformed and that over the last year my many Texan readers have opened my mind a bit. Nonetheless I have gotten more emails about that post than any other post I’ve written thus far, all from Texans most of whom felt the need to defend their state. I think it’s interesting to note that no one from the Hamptons wrote me. Those socialites sure have a tough skin, must be a side effect of the botox.
Anyway as I said before, I’m sure that if I visited Texas I would discover many things that I liked about the place, but I also want to point something out to y’all. Most of you who wrote were either from Dallas or Houston. It has been my experience that big cities are rarely reflective of the states to which they belong. I dare you to find anyone who would say that New Orleans is a typical Louisiana town. New Yorkers from Manhattan tend to have very different views and attitudes than those who live well outside the city and Portland has nothing in common with the rest of Oregon. I mean when I went to Portland I encountered lots of hardcore environmentalists as well as urbanites who were eager to partake in what I would consider metropolitan activities. When I went to central Oregon I encountered prominently placed advertisements for “Mouse hunting” expeditions and men who thought it was okay to wear a Hooters t-shirts while dining out with their girlfriends. When I tell people from Portland that I left the city to check out the rest of the state their eyes get really big and they ask if I encountered any “problems.”
To be clear,I'm not suggesting that Texans who don't live in Houston spend their time shooting mice. As far as I know they could spend their Friday nights debating the implications quantum physics has on Western religions. I’m just saying that Dallas and Houston might not be the best benchmark when it comes assessing Texas.
Now that I’ve said all that I also want to suggest that most states and cities are associated with their own bundle of special stereotypes. Obviously stereotypes that suggest racism are…well…bad but most of the others are relatively harmless and can be a lot of fun for the locals. I went to school in NY for a brief period time and whenever I did anything that was considered quirky or different it was blamed on the state where I grew up. “Oh, Kyra doesn’t wear a watch, how Californian of her.” Almost all my Californian friends wear watches but I never bothered to correct anyone when they said this because it gave me an excuse for being late. “It’s not my fault we missed the first ten minutes of the movie, it’s because where I come from they don’t teach the children how to tell time!” When I had too many drinks and decided to dance on the bar, that too was blamed on my Californian upbringing.
Furthermore when I lived in San Francisco’s Castro district I loved nothing more than watching a tour bus drive by. When there isn’t a tour bus in the area the Castro is a fairly calm place. You can find business men reading through their Wall Street Journals in outdoor cafes and guys walking down the street having casual conversations and the like. Then one of those fake cable car vehicles drives through filled with tourists from Nebraska or wherever and all of a sudden Mr. Wall Street starts belting out some Barbara Streisand number and the guys who were previously talking are grabbing each other's respective asses and making out with a vengeance. The rest of the pedestrian locals start waving and saying things like “Welcome to Than Franthisco!” And you can just see the delight on the tourist’s faces. They’re like kids who have not only found out that Santa Claus is real but that he’s willing to allow you to video tape him while he’s playing with his elves.
So I guess what I’m saying is that if I was a Texan I’d probably tell tourists that I had a firearm to match each one of my outfits even if I had never shot anything more lethal than a water-gun, just because that’s what people want to hear. They want to go home and say, “Oh, those crazy Texans and their guns…they sure are a hoot.” Why ruin their fun?
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