Educating the world about Texas one Yankee at at time.

Educating the world about Texas one Yankee at a time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Don’t mess with Texas women: Love, lipstick, tools sum up fortitude of Lone Star ladies

Someone once asked me why Texas women get dressed up and put on makeup just to go to the grocery store.

I was floored.

You mean there are women who DON’T get dressed up and wear makeup to the grocery store?

REALLY?

I’m still shocked.

Texas women are taught from birth that if you look good, you generally feel good. So why not feel good all the time?

We’re also taught that if you go out in public looking less than your usual perfect self, you will run into the garden club gossip in the produce section and she WILL choose that moment to engage you in a lengthy conversation about how her child’s name ended up on this six weeks’ honor roll and she didn’t happen to see your child’s name on it this time. So, in a way, makeup is more than a tool to help you look your best; it’s a weapon of defense.

Texas women are a curious combination of femininity, grit and vanity.

Betty Sue Flowers is the director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and a professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Somewhere deep down, I really feel that every Texas woman ought to own a pair of red boots—even if she never wears them,” Flowers has been quoted as saying, and red cowgirl boots would certainly be appropriate to symbolize us.

“Are Texas women really that proud?” you might ask. Oh honey, I swear on the soul of Mary Kay Ashe, we most certainly are. Texas women are Southern Belles on steroids.

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including our generosity, hospitality, creativity, penchant for drama and, of course, our competitive natures. If you were to pick one of the seven deadly sins to characterize a Texas woman, it would be pride…and we’re the first ones to admit it.

But don’t let the flawless makeup and perfect hair fool you. Texas women also are tough as tanks and about as subtle.

Just this month, 65 year-old Val Renfro of Fort Worth had finished shopping and was getting into her car when a man shoved her, grabbed her purse and ran off.

Val pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911.

On the 911 tape, Val can be heard shouting, “Put it on the hood, now! You give me my purse, right now.”

She then hit the purse-snatcher with her car.

Also heard on the recording, the man says her he’ll return the purse if she rolls down her window.

"Like hell I will,” she responds.

At one point, the purse snatcher got away, but other people joined the chase and eventually cornered the man near a movie theater.

“I was madder than hell is what I was,” Val said. “I didn't think about anything else except, ‘He’s not going to get away with this.’”

Don’t mess with Texas women.

But do love one if you are lucky enough to know her.

In the film, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid as Jimmy Morris, a Texas baseball coach who makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the state playoffs. He has to leave home for awhile and he’s worried about leaving his wife and children alone.

“Jim Morris, I'm a Texas woman, which means I don't need the help of a man to keep things running,” Lorri tells him without so much as a tear.

If there was ever a line that summed up a Texas woman, that’s the one. But don’t let that fool you either. “Need” is very different than “want.” We might not need a man, but we sure love having one around. And the love of a Texas woman is a powerful thing. If a Texas woman loves you, you know it.

What Lorri Morris actually was telling her husband was this: “Go. Live your dream. I can hold down the fort until you get back. It’s okay. I wouldn’t want less for you and you’d do the same for me.”

A Texas woman knows her relationship with the man in her life is a full and equal partnership. She knows what all the tools in your tool box do. She knows which one to hand you when you’re fixing the car, hanging a ceiling fan or re-roofing the house even before you ask. She’ll know which gun you need to take hunting and what hunting season it is, too. And she’ll know how to cook whatever it is you bring home. But you better clean it yourself. And that’s the unwritten code, by the way. If you go hunting, you kill it and clean it; she’ll cook it. The End.

My father always said, “It’s not enough for a woman to be pretty. She needs to have substance to back it up. Beauty without grace, grit and intelligence is worthless.” And that’s pretty much what every little girl in Texas is taught…or at least, that’s what she should be taught.

If you cry on the shoulder of a Texas woman, she not only will let you, she’ll bring you the tissue box and hold you until you pull yourself together. And she will never think less of you for having done it. In fact, she’ll just love you more. She knows life is hard, especially for men, and she’s not gonna fault you for shedding a few masculine tears. Again, she knows you’ll do the same for her, which brings me to my next point: if you love a Texas woman, you had better be pretty tough yourself.

Sheryl Crow’s song, "Strong Enough" had to be written about a Texas woman, especially the song’s following lyrics:

I have a face I cannot show I make the rules up as I go It’s try and love me if you can Are you strong enough to be my man? When I’ve shown you that I just don’t care When I’m throwing punches in the air When I’m broken down and I can’t stand Will you be strong enough to be my man?

Yep. That’s definitely a Texas woman.

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