A friend recently sent me an article that was posted in Garden & Gun’s online magazine (I know! Worst magazine title ever, even if you are into squeezing a trigger) about what being a Southern woman means. It’s an excellent little piece.
Here’s one of my favorite insights: “It also means never leaving the house with wet hair. Not even in the case of fire. Because wet hair is low-rent. It shows you don’t care, and not caring is not something Southern women do …”
Mostly, though, the article got me thinking about what it really means to be a Texas woman. (Because when you’re from Texas, even if you move on like I have, you’re still a Texan. It’s not something you can ever leave behind. In fact, for me, Texas has only become more important as I’ve tried to make a life somewhere else. Texas is home. Texas is family. Texas is my heritage.)
I’ve been so lucky in my life to be surrounded by amazing Texas women from all walks of life: Women who grew up on farms and ended up running huge ranching operations on their own. Women who grew up in Houston and Dallas and Austin who go on to lead meaningful nonprofits and run international companies. Women who quietly make their own mark in small towns that are miles and miles from a metropolitan area. Women who drive 18-wheelers. Women who devote everything they have to their church or their art.
So, while I always fear over-generalization, I wanted to point out some commonalities I think exist in all of these different kinds of women — characteristics that, in combination, make Texas women truly unique. These are only my thoughts, of course — I’d love for others to add to the list (or argue with my perceptions). Here it goes:
1. Texas women are fiercely loyal. We’re seriously like German Shepherds on crack. A Texas woman will stand up for her man, her family and her close friends, protect them and guard them with her life — if they have earned her trust. Once you make it into a Texas woman’s inner circle, she will do anything for you. We have each other’s backs, even if we don’t necessarily agree with your actions, or if we haven’t seen you in 10 years.
2. Texas women hold grudges. If we feel a wrong has been committed against us, or against those we love dearly, we will never forgive you for it. It’s just a fact. You can apologize, and we might accept the apology at face value, we might even say that we forgive you, but you’ll never be in our inner circle again. Never. And you’ll miss that, because our trust and loyalty are pretty awesome things to have.
3. We’re going to do what we want, so you probably should just go along with it. A friend of mine asked me one day if I thought Texas women were high maintenance. She was thinking of the Dallas (the city, not the old TV show) stereotypes out there. My response was no, not at all. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Texas women who demand nice things in life (the mansion, the car, the jewelry). What it does mean is this: Texas women don’t stop until they get what they want. Maybe they’ll ask you for what they want. Maybe they won’t. But either way, they’ll push forward and find a way to make it happen with or without you. It’s not high maintenance, it’s perseverance. It’s “lead or get the hell out of the way so I can.”
4. We get football. We understand the game because we likely had fathers or brothers or college boyfriends or mothers or aunts who loved it. Or maybe we loved it, too. After all, football is big in Texas. BIG. It’s a huge part of the culture, whether you live in the city or a small rural town. Texas women grow up with the excitement of Friday night games and cheerleading and the marching band, and pep rallies. It’s just part of the fabric of Texas life. Some Texas women go on to love it their whole lives, and some don’t. But either way, they still get it.
5. Texas women know that when someone is grieving, sending over a brisket, a broccoli-cheese casserole and a pound of coffee is the best way to express how much you care. Period.
6. Texas women, if they are moms, are deeply involved in their kids’ lives. If her son is playing football, she will be at every game, no matter how far she has to drive. If her daughter wants to play softball, but the family can’t afford a team uniform and fees, she will work an extra job, or sell breakfast tacos at work, until she earns enough to make it happen.
7. We hold it together in tough times. We’re powered by a hardy history and kick-ass ancestors. Remember, Texas was a god-forsaken place back when it was first settled: Difficult to farm, little water, hard ground, harsh weather. I think those resilient women of yesteryear have stayed in our genes throughout time. You tragically lose a husband or a child? You curse, you howl in agony, and then you put yourself back together and make it through it. Your son goes to jail for an unspeakable crime? You hold your head up high and visit him weekly. A hurricane destroys your home? You rebuild it, stronger. And sure, Texas women cry. But then we wipe those tears and figure out how to go on.
8. We understand that you can draw more flies with honey than vinegar. We know how to use that strategy to, say, get out of speeding tickets, or get another desired result (see #3 above). But we have plenty of vinegar to share if you get on our bad side. Texas women love a good fight, and we know how to fight with words that’ll slap you harder than a happy hound dog’s tail.
9. Texas hospitality is unique, too. We don’t welcome just anybody into our homes. But when we do ask you to come in, you can expect a glass of cold, sweet iced tea, and an invitation to stay for dinner and pie. And if you’ve earned our trust (see #1 above), you can make yourself at home from then on out. Just grab what you want out of the refrigerator and be sure the back screen door is shut tight.
10. Finally, yes, Texas women like to look good. Appearances are important. It’s rare to find a Texas woman who will go to the grocery store without at least a little makeup on. I personally think it all comes back to the fact that we need a whole lot of self-confidence to fight our way through life, and by wearing those nice-fitting jeans and a sparkly belt (even after the age of 45) to buy toilet tissue, we give ourselves the edge we need to run our little (or big) worlds.
I miss my Texas gals. Every one of you, even if I don’t wear makeup to the grocery store in Colorado any more.
BOOK NEWS! It’s been an unbelievable week so far for Blue Straggler. The novel hit the #1 best-selling position in both comic fiction and humor categories on Amazon, and on its first free promotion day, 7,000+ people downloaded it to their Kindles. Someone pinch me!
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