When I travel I usually wear Armani or Ralph Lauren suits. Its just the way I want to look in case I meet Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman Suit but I digress…back to the issue.
I am constantly perplexed every time I go to Texas by the Texas Trifecta: cowboy hat, big belt buckle, cowboy boots. I mean, on one hand I get it. I lived in Texas. Big belt buckles are shiny, almost hypnotically so. Cowboy hats can apparently hold 10 gallons of water. And, boots? Well, let’s just say “tennis-shoe scootin’ boogie” wouldn’t sound the same. Moreover, I understand that it’s fun to play dress-up, and also that if you are a farmer/rancher, this is the uniform. What I don’t get is why I see dudes (it’s almost always dudes) in compact cars wearing cowboy hats. I’m pretty sure most are either on their way to school or a white-collar office job. I also see people dressed like this at the grocery store, for no apparent reason. So, what’s up with the get-up?
You know how when you’re at the store, and you see a guy wearing a certain kind of athletic shoes and track pants or whatever, and you know that dude probably runs marathons or at least wants people to think he does? That is what Texan men are doing when they wear the get-up to H-E-B. It’s like a mating signal that’s not just a mating signal, because it’s also for dudes, and everybody knows there are no gays in Texas, most of all Texans, who now inexplicably support gay marriage.
The get-up says: I am a Texan, and I dare you to argue with me on point with the big-assed hat while I pass you going 55 mph in the right lane. It works well for picking up ladies at the honky-tonk, , but it also works for helping Texans maintain their connection to the Texas heritage while they are driving what I believe is the emasculating import scooter-car or participating in horribly shameful activities like buying food, or anything that isn’t roping cattle out on the range or wherever it is cattle get roped.
Of course, driving a sensible sedan or buying tomatoes isn’t actually going to make your balls fall off, but here in Texas, they seem to care less about facts and more about things that are not facts.
Fundamentally, it’s about the performance of a particular kind of Texanity, like most fashion choices associated with particular groups or cliques. But it’s also important to remember, and I think most do, that most of these kinds of fashion performances are rooted in practicality — those little cotton athletic shorts that popular teenaged girls have in fifty colors got started because they’re easy to wear when you’re cheer-leading and to mix-and-match with team colors.
Interestingly, however, the Texas get-up is one of the few fashion endeavors learned in childhood and adolescence that Texans continue to wear throughout their lives. Eventually, most people grow, literally or figuratively, out of their wide-legged Jnco’s or neon leg-warmers. Again, this is because there’s an actual reason cowboys wear cowboy gear. (Notably different from Cowboy gear, which you wear unless you want to get your ass kicked because Jesus, God, Cowboys, all live in Texas ….when are you going to get it together people?). I mean they even made a show about Cowboy Fans. Its called the ‘Walking Dead’
In Texas–scratch that, in America, and I think France also because those people are a little weird about things–the romanticization of the cowboy begins practically at birth, and Texas is one of the few places left on earth where you might actually grow up to be a cowboy or meet one regularly.
Therefore, it’s acceptable to dress like a 6-year-old in Halloween garb even if you are 60 and gunning your Geo Storm down I-35 to pick up milk. Maybe, just maybe, someone will think you’re a real cowboy and reward you with sex or beer.
Also good on you for correctly and enthusiastically using the phrase “get-up”! Welcome to Texas! Next, try integrating into your vocabulary another sartorial descriptor, “drawrrn,” which is what Texans wear for underpants.)
I’m just afraid that if I say “I miss New York” while I am down here for a day someone is going to smash my car windows and steal the radio.