You Are Not From Houston, 10 Surefire Ways To Know

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Photo by abrahán
You just have to be from here.
Houstonians are a distinct breed of Texan. There are many unique characteristics that make the people of this great city, well... great. We're a little bit liberal and a little bit conservative, a little bit weird, with a very normal streak. We are a little bit business-minded with a little bit artsy-fartsy. Basically, we're a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll through and through.

But as long as people live in Houston, there are some tell-tale signs that they were not born and bred in the Space City. We transients love it here, but there a few things that we just don't "get." (Of course, not all natives fit into these categories.)

Saying Y'all Sounds Really Awkward
The Houstonian "y'all" rolls off the tongue as natural as sap from a maple tree. It oozes out. "Y'all going to... fill in with anything but probably something about the Texans." When a person not from the area tries to say y'all there is just something incredibly weird about it. It is as if the word is Arabic or Greek and we can't make the our mouths form the letters. Either that, or non-Houstonians completely avoid the word all together. Where a "y'all" should be the non-H'ers mumble some combination of "you guys" and "all" that may come out sounding like "you g'all."

Tearing Down the Astrodome... Why is This a Big Deal Again?

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Photo by B. Tse
A conversation about the now-famous fate of the Astrodome leaves non-natives feeling self-conscious and so they ultimately keep their mouths shut because (shhh), we don't really care. Oh yes, it's a historic monument, the first of its kind, it was magical like Disney World and that movie Brewster McCloud was set there. Hurray! Non-natives appreciate its majesty but then it's also a building. They tore down Yankee stadium too and that was the house that Babe built.

When Allison Hit I Was __________
Strike up a conversation about tropical storms and get ready for the most insane of stories involving cars under water, loss of homes, power outages, exploding transistors, fires, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Of course many non-Houstonians may have lived through this, but our stories never involve having to drive up to Cyprus to round up our 80-year old Memaws who refused to leave their homes without all of their costume jewelry for fear that looters would take it.

Kolaches VS Doughnuts
I think this would be an amazing experiment: Go into any typical office building on a Friday with a box of kolaches and a box of doughnuts and see who takes which. I would wager there would be more kolache takage from natives in the office. Houstonians LOVE their kolaches. They love them.


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83 comments
TXKathy
TXKathy

And the "coke" (with a lowercase 'c,' duh) used to refer to all sodas is a Southern thing. It's not specific to Houston or even to Texas. I broke that habit when I worked in a restaurant years ago because it can be confusing, and I now say "soda."

TXKathy
TXKathy

You clearly have never had a real Frito pie. It's not topped with "ground beef," it's topped with chili. The type of cheese is up to the person making it, but it's not, by definition, "shitty melted cheese." I would personally make it with a Mexican cheese blend - several cheeses that melt well and smoothly without being too oily. Frito pie is like nachos. Have you ever had the chili and cheese they serve on ballpark nachos? It's disgusting. I wouldn't eat that if I was starving to death. Does that make all nachos disgusting? Hell no, nachos are awesome. Frito pie is the same way. I have never seen it on the menu at a restaurant though, but, like nachos, it is an appetizer if you share it or an entree if you eat it alone and make a meal of it. I could maybe see it at a bar, but I would never order it when I go out to eat. And I highly doubt that it's just a Houston thing. Kolaches are not just a Houston thing, either, btw, although they are fairly unique to Texas.

pweston58
pweston58

Give me a donut any day over a dry ass Kolache.

pweston58
pweston58

No one around here ever used the term hunker-down until for some ungodly reason the news anchors started using it during Ike! It sounds like something Ellie Mae Clampet would say.


Jacob Bocanegra
Jacob Bocanegra

if you get a chance to, theres a tractor-trailer dealership with a rig painted with Texans logo on McCarty just north of I-10, its sweet, makes me want to drive 18 wheelers again..

wes04
wes04

Insulting to say the least ...




Zac Elizondo
Zac Elizondo

I told you a while back OL Skool you are a NFL FAN LEGEND! Also Houston Press! This was a good read too!

whirledtravlr
whirledtravlr

Downtown Foley's every year at Christmas transformed their large display windows into Christmas tableaus, complete with mechanical dolls. Each window was unique with moveable figures, and they were different from year to year. They even set up ramps outside their windows so that small children could be elevated in order to see better. Every year, crowds of people would go downtown after dark, which was prime window-viewing time, even though downtown Houston tended to be rather dead on nights and weekends in the 1960s. Going downtown to see the Foley's windows was one of my favorite parts of Christmas as a small child. That's why people remember downtown Foley's with the nostalgia akin to that evinced in Christmas Story.

Jake Rawls
Jake Rawls

The Soda/Coke thing is just the South in general. You'd hear the exact same conversation in any Atlanta, Nashville, or any other southern city for that matter.

Ted Dimitry
Ted Dimitry

Pretty funny - but Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean. You're thinking of Cypress... yankee. ;-)

Tami Leigh Brandon
Tami Leigh Brandon

Include Entertainment Piece, Actors,Singers,Presidential Natives.....so many Beyonce,Bush Family,Miranda Lambert,Etc.

Greg Barker
Greg Barker

Good article. Do I hate Dallas? Nah. I just don't believe in Dallas. It's full of plastic people who act too professional and massive architecture reflecting some unfounded municipal ego plus it all looks like it was planned. It's spooky and too far from the Gulf and we've owned it for 20 years. Oh yeah, and y'all is simply the best possible contraction for the collective second person. People from other places don't recognize this simple fact. We do.

Libby Medea
Libby Medea

So this truck is unable to successfully pass (other vehicles). Signed, A former Houstonian who loved living there.

justdonna13
justdonna13

While Ms. Koenig and I agree on many points in this article, I would like to point out that it is not sucky cheese on top of her frito pie, it is delicious shredded cheddar.  Also, I assume she is young or she would have mentioned that real Houstonians used to shop at Sakowitz and Joskes.  But, yes, we can all agree, Dallas does indeed suck.

godette
godette

The "Coke" thing is basically Southern. I grew up in Atlanta, and there was no such thing as "soda".

Edward Reyna
Edward Reyna

Seems like sum of these are not just "houston" things, frito pies? Calling sodas coke? Hardly unique to H-Town. Good try, though. Here's mine, calling mexican food tex-mex is a sure fire way to I'd a non-Houstonian. And yes, I know the difference between the two.

Sergio Flores
Sergio Flores

That's Mr. Herman's truck. Super nice man. Met him in the HEB parking lot.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

"Cyprus"? I bet you pronounce the H in Humble too.

Scott Bland
Scott Bland

When Allison Hit I Was... really?? You spell Cypress "Cyprus" you're not from Texas!

Texasyank
Texasyank

They haven't yet torn down old Yankee Stadium.  And it was The House that Ruth Built.

Julia
Julia

"Fixin'" isn't particularly Houstonian. You missed that road that crosses the North Freeway that's pronounced "Kirkendall" even though there's no "R" in it. And that street downtown is pronounced "Two-Am", not "Twam".

And Frito Pie has *chili*, not ground beef (though you can use ground beef for your chili - Or use Wolf Brand for Frito Pie..mmm...used to love the Frito Pie at the old James Coney Island on Walker. *sigh* 

Oddly enough, you have to go up to the Great Lakes to find another region that commonly uses "feeder". The rest of the country will catch up some day. 

And always remember that "Y'all" is *plural*, not singular. "All y'all" refers to multiple groups of "y'all"s. "Y'all on the first floor put all your electronics on your desks before you leave. Y'all near windows be sure to cover anything you value with plastic. Y'all in the basement...well, bless your hearts. *All* y'all listen to the weather before you get on the road in the morning. No sense in gettin' halfway before ya gotta turn around and go home if the storm is gonna hit us."


SarahBelham
SarahBelham

Fuqua. 

Non-Houstonians either pronounce it "foo-KWAH" or look around nervously and then spell it.

Dana Marie Cain
Dana Marie Cain

You know, even though I wasn't born in Houston, I have lived here 3 different times in my 43 years and because of Houston I have been saying Ya'll, Fixin' to and soda since I was a kid. I had my first Kolache when I was just 11 and I used to make them at home when I lived in Virginia and later in Seattle. I relate to this city and it's quirky side so much. Spiritually I feel like a native even though I was born in the midwest and lived all over the country. And yet, Houston keeps bringing me back. And ironically enough, I will be spending my birthday in 2 weeks at Numbers. I also hate Dallas for no good reason except it seems right that I do. :)

nhunter1
nhunter1

Alison?! Pfftt.. now Carla was a hurricane!

massmurdermedia
massmurdermedia

the author is not from houston, one surefire way to know:  cyprus?...



MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

"That's right, you're not from Texas, that's right you're not from Texas, I said that's right you're not from Texas but Texas wants you anyway." Lyle Lovett.

racmann
racmann

Chunk instead of "chuck" seems to be unique to Houstonians as well. I'm not sure if this is a result of the Paul Wall megahit "Chunk Up Tha Deuce" or if it pre-dated that. Sure, it's incorrect. But it's ours. Instead of saying "chuck the rest in the garbage" I've heard "chunk the rest..." here and only here. And of course we can't forget about Feeder Roads vs Frontage Roads. Never heard them referred to as Feeders anywhere else.

racmann
racmann

Yeah, you definitely got Frito Pie wrong, but otherwise entertaining article. Frito pie - the one common denominator between variations of this "dish" is red chili (NO BEANS!!). The rest - cheese type and whether or not sour cream, chopped onion, or cilantro are used are up to you.

Louren Yzaguirre
Louren Yzaguirre

I agree! I just know that I hate Dallas AND the Cowboys!

Nick Danger
Nick Danger

You should do an article of why houstonians hate Dallas so much. I'm a native HOU-TEX and I still don't get why I hate Dallas!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@TXKathy  

Real Frito Pie is made like lasagna ...

A layer of fritos

spread cheese, chopped onions and Wolf brand Chili

A layer of fritos

more cheese, chopped onions and Wolf brand Chili

A layer of fritos

topped with lots of cheese

stick in the  oven at 350F until it is all bubbly hot and gooey

grew up on this

killerkorn
killerkorn

@racmann When I moved to Austin I had no clue what these "frontage roads" where. I just assumed everyone knew what the feeder was.

racmann
racmann

The one common denominator aside from Fritos, that is.

conatonc
conatonc

@Nick Danger Massive inferiority complex. Dallas is the bigger, more famous city and native Houstonians can't seem to get over it. The way to tell this isn't a rivalry? Dallas residents don't seem to care or even think about Houston most of the time.

Julia
Julia

@Nick Danger Cuz it's *Dallas*! All the reason any of us need.

Texasyank
Texasyank

@Nate @Texasyank I suppose it has been.  My mistake, and my apologies to the author.

jonathanwilliamson
jonathanwilliamson

Houston is the 4th largest city in the country  (by population) and the largest in Texas and it isn't even close. Dallas is the 9th largest city in the country by population (and is still considerably smaller than Houston even if you combine it with Fort Worth). Dallas isn't even the second largest city by population in Texas. San Antonio has a larger population than Dallas.


Houston is also the largest city in Texas geographically at 627 square miles. Dallas is 340.5 square miles.  

As far as fame goes - I don't know how you can measure that. I know Dallas had the tv show of the same name and the Cowboys are pretty well known, but there is that little thing called NASA here and the line "Houston, we have a problem" that is known throughout the world. 

P.S. Your most famous rapper is Vanilla Ice.


andy434
andy434

It was the House that Ruth built, though.

conatonc
conatonc

@jonathanwilliamson  I'm not from Dallas and don't really have a dog in the fight except that I get sick of hearing Houstonians whine about how much Dallas sucks.

As far as city size, yes, if you go by actual city size Houston is bigger. Houston isn't hemmed in on all sides by suburbs because Houston just absorbs whatever suburb it can get its hands on. But as far as metropolitan area goes, which is reallly how you measure the size of a city, the Metroplex is still #4 in the country. Hey, though, Houston continues to creep up, passing Atlanta, Miami, Washington DC, and Philadelphia in the past few years and coming in right behind DFW at #5. BTW, San Antonio is all the way down at #25.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

In the other interesting measure of city size, Houston is all the way down at #10 for media markets, while DFW sits at #4. In radio markets, DFW is #4 and Houston is #5.

http://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets

http://www.arbitron.com/home/mm001050.asp

So probably by the time the 2020 census rolls around, Houston really will be bigger than the Metroplex in all the measures that count, and then Houstonians really will have something to say.

But we still probably won't have an NHL team. :(

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