I Need to Celebrate Go Texan Day Next Year!

February 26th, 2012

From the Times!

For decades, this city has celebrated, as it did on Friday, a tradition called Go Texan Day, the one day of the year on which people in Houston dress the way people outside Houston think people in Houston dress. On the Friday before the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo gets under way, tens of thousands of Houstonians head to their schools and offices in newly purchased cowboy hats, cowboy boots and jeans. They dress, in other words, as if they’re from Texas, which they are, though it is easy to forget that simple fact in the state’s biggest city.

Houston is as cosmopolitan and traffic-snarled as Los Angeles and as diverse as Queens, with parts as wealthy as the Upper East Side. It is the fourth-largest city in the country, with a world-class symphony orchestra and opera. Its voters in 2009 made Houston the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor, Annise D. Parker, a Democrat who has since been re-elected. You can go days without seeing anyone in a cowboy hat, but not a minute without seeing a BMW or a Starbucks. As Don B. Graham, a former president of the Texas Institute of Letters and a longtime observer of Texas culture, put it in a recent essay, “Here’s a rule of thumb: Any time you read a novel set in Houston and there are tumbleweeds tumbling through the city, you know you’re in faux Texasville.”