“Beth, why do you hate Houston?”
This question came completely out of the blue and gave me pause, because while I do dislike Houston on general principle (and really all principles), I wasn’t aware that it was a well-known and discussed fact. Like many prejudices among people who consider themselves cultured or worldly or educated, I thought I had fairly successfully kept this one under wraps,
Why I Hate Houston
Texas is a large state and as you probably heard we like to use the word “big” a lot when referencing anything concerning our state. In fact, “bigger” is preferred to the less grand “big”, because we believe everything is “bigger” here. Now one of the features of being a “bigger” state is we have several distinct geographical regions, at least we feel they’re distinct and we’d prefer they not mix with our own personal region unless tourist dollars are involved. We have deserts, forests, beaches, plains and mountains. Each region typically has its own defining qualities and its own dialect. True story, we don’t all sound like we tumbled off the set of The Lone Ranger and those who do that hail from East Texas, don’t sound like those who do that hail from West Texas. Being from Texas, we’re aware of the different drawls and dialects, but it’s ok by us (or me) that you’re not. It’s a “big” place.
My family is from Dallas. They were born in Dallas and I was born within the Dallas Metroplex. We like that word “Metroplex” because it sounds big and kind of smart. My birthright includes a love of the Cowboys, the Rangers, the Mavericks, Six Flags, a desire to see every State Fair, a crush on Big Tex, a bizarre love of wrestling (I try not to indulge, because it makes me feel a bit dirty) and a disdain for all other large cities – all of which happen to be not as large or as grand as Dallas. Tom Landry is our patron saint and if truth be told, I aspired to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader (anyone who knows me probably just spit out whatever they were drinking, but there you have it).
Growing up, the only university that mattered was SMU (Southern Methodist University) where my grandmother attended and was president of her sorority. I believe her brothers went there as well, but my memory is hazy and there aren’t a lot of people around to ask these days. At the time, the only thing I knew about the University of Texas was that some rowdy students would descend on our blessed Cotton Bowl to disrupt the State Fair over some ridiculous rivalry with an equally unimportant school, Oklahoma University (OU).
Dallas has its own culture and style and Dallas is proud.
Then there’s Houston.
When I think about the other large cities through the eyes of a proud daughter of Dallas, I mostly shrug with indifference until you get to Houston. I could make up a lot of things about Dallas’ ugly older cousin, but it would just be mean and somewhat untrue. Plus, if you don’t understand it’s the armpit of the state, there’s not a lot I can do for you, bless your heart. And let’s admit it, they’ve got some things working for them – the Astros, the Oilers (I mean the Texans), Rice and they had AstroWorld if your parents couldn’t take you to a real theme park. They do have astronauts and astronauts are cool I suppose if you’re into astronauts or have some fond memories of Tang, but seriously, despite all they’ve got working for them, they’re just not Dallas.
So, to answer the question: What it comes down to is I just don’t like Houston because it’s Houston – plain and simple – my Zen of Disdain – Houston just “is” and I find its is-ness disagreeable. Blame my genetic code. It’s something I can’t help. Any other reason you may have heard is pure bullshit.
… and neither of them are Austin.