I’ve always secretly wanted to be from the South. Ok, maybe not always, but at least since Freshman year of college when I got really, really into Friday Night Lights (Tim Riggins? SWOON.) and decided life in Texas looked a whole lot better than what I was used to in the North East.
The weather down there is beautiful, the guys are super hot (they somehow pull off the cowboy-boots-and-jeans look when they go out at night, and look fine while doing it — in Manhattan, they would get laughed out of the bar) and the pace of life is a lot more manageable than what I’m used to (well, at least what pre-unemployment me was used to).
Plus, there are places where you can get actual, fresh out of the oven, homemade pie, which I can pretty much guarantee you can’t find anywhere in New York City (RIP PieFace).
Luckily for me and my Texan aspirations, my boyfriend grew up in Dallas. He also happened to have been a high school football star (*the 2004 high school Athlete of the Year, thank you very much) so all of my Friday Night Lights dreams have officially come true, despite the fact that 17-year-old me was captain of the debate team instead of captain of the cheerleading squad. Last week, he invited me to come home with him for a visit.
I was thrilled, mainly because it was going to give me the chance to finally whip out the very, very expensive cowboy boots I bought five years ago and have never worn. Of course, TSA at Laguardia tried to confiscate them at security because the rhinestone crosses on them looked like they could be used as weaponry (yes, I’m Jewish, but lets agree to look past it because the boots really are sick), but I convinced the airport gods they were absolutely essential to my vacation outfit aesthetic and they let me go.
Things were off to a good start.
On Friday morning (as in, for brunch) we went to what my boyfriend claimed to be the “best barbecue in Dallas.” I haven’t eaten barbecue since senior year of #college, when we used to have our pre-games, and inevitably late nights, catered by Rockland’s BBQ. We would avoid cleaning up the mess for a week (as in, would leave half-eaten rib trays out on our coffee table), so our house smelled like pulled pork for an entire semester, and the experience pretty much scarred me for life.
This place, though, was worth getting over it for.
The line wrapped around the whole building, but we were able to cut (#swag) because we ordered something called “The Trough,” otherwise known as 5 SOLID POUNDS OF MEAT. Everything you could ever imagine or dream of: Pulled pork, brisket, beef rib, pork rib, sausage (I also happen to be a jew who eats pork, don’t worry about it.) Plus, there was mac and cheese, cole slaw, and something called “fried okra” that was freaking unbelievable.
The food was so good I couldn’t stop eating until I got the “meat sweats,” which I had always thought were an urban legend. Let me tell you, they are very real and very uncomfortable
After the BBQ brunch, we drove to the Fort Worth Stockyards, which was pretty much exactly what I had imagined Texas would be like — lots of custom boot shops, men with mustaches in head-to-toe denim and signs in shop windows that said “please don’t bring your guns in here.” I was officially in heaven.
We bopped around the boot shops and the country music bars, and J, his sister (who happens to be one of my best friends and the reason we were in Dallas to begin with) and I all bought authentic, matching cowboy hats so we could take authentic, matching Snapchat and Instagram pictures. Then we went for margaritas and Tex-Mex, and I decided my unofficial goal for the weekend was to see how much meat and alcohol I could consume in 48-hours (spoiler alert: it was a lot.).
The next stop was THE RODEO, which I was absolutely adamant about going to (though apparently it is not something my boyfriend and his family, or most other regular people in Texas, attend on a regular basis). We had front row seats for the action, and looked right at home in our new cowboy hats.
I can honestly say it was one of my favorite experiences of all time. Things I witnessed included:
- Multiple men and women get bucked off of, but somehow not trampled by, an 800 pound bull
- A 3-year-old “rodeo clown” functioning as the event’s #hypegirl
- A very, very large man in an American flag costume doing lasso tricks
- People capturing and hog-tying baby calves in a race against the clock (I HATED this part, and it really made me rethink my meat mission)
- An old woman blindfolded and dancing alone in the middle of the stadium to Flo Rida’s “Apple Bottom Jeans”
- A group of 8-10 year old children full-speed chasing a sheep — the first one to catch it won a t-shirt
After the rodeo we went to the world’s largest honky-tonk to hear a very, very old man sing whatever “honky tonk” is and watch couples our age dance whatever the “Texas 2-Step” is. I learned more about a new, fascinating culture in the hour we spent in that bar than I did during my week-long trip to Europe last year.
On the way back to Dallas, I drunkenly ripped into the Tex-Mex leftovers in the backseat of the car, which at the time seemed like an appropriate thing to do in front of J’s mom, but looking back on it probably wasn’t great.
We then went and met J’s friends out in “uptown” (long day, I know) where I later insisted on riding the mechanical bull. Most of the girls at the bar were underage and were doing all kinds of sexy-looking tricks on the bull, and blacked out me thought I could definitely compete.
In 0% surprise to anyone but myself, I did not look sexy, cool or cute when it came my turn to ride the bull, and ended up soaking wet after I got thrown off of it into a pile of spilled beer.
…. I definitely made a killer first impression on the people I was meeting for the first time.
The rest of the weekend was lovely, and included bopping around all of Dallas’s cute little neighborhoods, eating more meat and drinking a fuck-ton of tequila.
The only hiccup was when I drank a few too many margs at Tex-Mex dinner round 2 and nodded off (read: fell completely asleep) at the table. At least the people I was with (who, again, I was meeting for the first time) got some funny Snap story content out of it.
Some people (me) just can’t handle Texas I guess.
After an absolutely amazing weekend, it was time for my body and I to get back to New York — I had gained at least 8 pounds and am pretty sure was experiencing minor artery blockage.
And BTW? I never even wore the cowboy boots.