Language: Most people don't go around saying "It's hotter than a snake's belly in July," but we do say "y'all" prodigiously. We do not use it to refer to a single person, as in "Y'all come back now." Maybe they do that in Alabama.
And if you glean nothing else from this page, please remember that the correct spelling is y'all because it is a contraction of "you" and "all" and the apostrophe goes where the letters in a contraction are missing.
We also say "thank you" a lot. And there's no such thing as a stranger in a line. At the grocery store, waiting to vote, at the bank...it's perfectly natural to strike up a conversation with the person in front of you--or behind you--or both!
A little history: Texas became a republic in 1836 and an official state of the United States in February 1846. It initially included part of New Mexico and Colorado which is why Texans feel so at home skiing in the Rockies. The name, "Texas," comes from a Caddoan Indian word meaning "friendly" or "friend."
It was a dark day when Alaska joined the union, and Texas was no longer the biggest State in the Union. The most common phrase heard in those days was, "Wait 'til the ice melts." We're still waiting.
(Note: Only a non-Texas company, i.e. Starbucks, would sell a coffee mug extolling the date Texas became a state.)
Geography: Texas really is a land of contrasts, with the Davis Mountains and Big Bend in the west, and the Piney Woods and swamps in the east. In between lie rolling fields, the craggy bluffs of the "Hill Country" in Central Texas, and 367 miles of coastline. Texas covers 261,914 square miles of land and 5,363 square miles of water. The longest straight-line distance, north to south, is 801 miles from the northwest corner of the Panhandle to the southern tip of Texas below Brownsville.
Stereotypes & Myths: We don't all ride horses, but it's not unusual to drive down the highway and see someone riding a horse. We're not all rich from oil or ranching, either. Darn it.
Contrary to what you might see on tv, women don't wear cowboy boots and western dresses with fringe when going to the grocery store. Matter of fact, I don't think I've worn a dress with fringe in my life. Now, I did have a fine fringed suede jacked in 5th grade - or maybe 3rd, but that was the last fringed thing I owned. And I do have two pair of cowboy boys: a nice pair of lizard boots with a riding heel (the higher heel with a slant) and another pair that I consider "working" boots, with a low heel. Those are the ones I wear when walking out in the brush and prefer not to get bitten by a snake.
Big Hair: I haven't seen anyone with big hair in 25 years. They may be out there, but not where most people see them.
Quirks: We require about twice the "personal space" that Easterners do, and we do have a tendency to brag. How can we not? We come from the biggest State (if we're talking about the biggest habitable land area); and we used to be our own country. What other state can say that?
We're about the friendliest people you'll ever meet. Most native Texans will strike up a conversation at the drop of hat - or less. Texas isn't called "The Friendly State" for nothing. I actually have to restrain myself when I go to other states so people don't think I'm nuts.
Drive through Texas, especially on any back road, and you're likely to see the driver coming toward you raise his or her index finger off the steering wheel. That's our way of saying "howdy."
We hope you'll wave back.