Nobody likes Houston.
It’s an oil-crazed, sweaty city with more cars than people; ugly and chaotic; crime-ridden and polluted; just too damn big and always, always, always under construction.
But Houston doesn’t hide its flaws coated in shiny paint or behind gated communities (except you, River Oaks). We’re all aware of this spit-cup of a swamp we call home, and here are just a few things we love to hate about it.
Houston’s a blue pimple on the face of a very red, very angry state. We’re a political collage, roughly made of quasi-liberals and neo-conservatives, glued together by a shared hatred of Hillary. We’ll scream out our diversity and inclusivity, but it falls short of voting in HERO and ends with our great selection of Vietnamese restaurants and taco trucks. We’re trying, America, but Greg Abbot might be close to popping us.
Southern hospitality really picks up on the freeways, with Houston drivers pulling out all the stops—even at a green light. For all of you moving to our great city without a ladder, don’t worry, some kind spirit has left one for you in the middle lane of 45 North. Show your gratitude by sharing our endearing salute of raising your most prominent finger. Some drivers might even return the gesture by showing you their most prized possession—a shiny pistol.
Depending on who you ask, Texas might be comparable to Hell. No, not because we fry butter on a stick, but because it actually feels as hot as Hell. Between average temperatures of 100 plus degrees, over-familiarity with the word “ozone” and really bad humidity, our weather is awful. Entire months of summer are mostly spent shuttling yourself between one air-conditioned container to the next and admiring the inside of your fridge. It’s OK, though, because we like to brag to outsiders about how tough we are and wear our blistering badge of honor proudly.
This one’s simple. We just love to love to hate on our teams. No, we don’t actually want them to do well; it would take away our complaining rights. As a city, we’re too self-involved to be more than fair-weather fans, barely able to do more than casually toss around a “Turn down for Watt” drunken yell. And even then, we have to be drunk. James Harden had a great season this year, but we bash him since the team played poorly. In our defense, it’s hard to get your hopes up. Our teams are good, but just not good enough. Astros 2005, anyone?
There are actually three coasts in this country: There’s the windy east, the California west and then there’s us down here in the Gulf. Here, the water is made of feces and oil, the sand is mostly seaweed and the flesh-eating bacteria is threatening to come on land—some say it already has in the form of bitter retirees who couldn’t afford something better. But at the end of the day, it’s our beach, and we’ll take the trip down 45 South every summer to sightsee the factories and dirty water.
Unlike other cities, the holy grail to developers is our lack of zoning laws. Beyond downtown, our skyline bounces from discount motels to car dealerships and a crap-ton of vacant housing. No matter how oil prices are actually doing, we’re totally happy about our economy. We celebrate new strip malls and keep our bulldozers running. While it may make for a city run by suits and greasy businessmen, we appreciate the cheap cost of city-living while we can get it.
Houston’s sprawl is a rebellious love-child from the monster of development and our city’s overzealous reliance on cars. Houstonians love their polluting metal contraptions. The sprawl of Greater Houston’s footprint that covers about 10,000 square miles forces us to rely on the very thing that keeps our economy pumping—gas. But at the same time, it gives us picky, never-pleased Houstonians a breadth of options, since anything within a 45-minute drive seems reasonable.
Hating change takes on multiple forms, depending on who you are. In Houston, either you hate gentrification as it weeds out the local culture or, if you’re particularly snooty, you hate the Ashby high-rise is ruining your neighborhood. But the hate of change unites us. We’ve lost our cowboy, bastion of Texan independence look and our Space City identity. Now, as oil crashes, we are coming upon another time of change, which we will inevitably hate. But maybe we can love to hate it—along with whoever we are next.
Despite the occasional Wild-West-wannabe-city-dweller wearing a 10-gallon hat and the fact that we all unanimously appreciate the word “y’all,” Houston (luckily) lacks a lot of the characteristics that make up Texas. But outside our lovely state, we’re lumped into the BBQ-praising and horse-wrangling Lone Star crowd. We kind of love being the misfits: we’re able to appreciate the authentic Tex-Mex and great sweat tea you only get in the South but disown some of the “Texas Secede” types.
We might rag on our swamptown, but there’s nothing we hate more than Dallas. There’s no explanation needed. Our unabashed, and somewhat unfounded, distaste for the snobby city is universal. It’s also aggravating, temperamental, off-the-cuff and oh so necessary, ingrained in us like dirt rubbed in a cut.
Nobody likes Houston, but everyone hates Dallas.