Everything is bigger and better in Texas, and Dallas-Fort Worth, the largest metro area in the South, is a hip, happening place, no matter what those people from Austin say. Here’s what you need to know if DFW is about to become your new home.
1. Barbecue is a noun, not a verb.
We love to eat it as often as possible, not just in the summer, when we like to cook out in our backyards. Ask the locals where to go. Beef brisket and ribs are DFW favorites.
2. Melting pot.
Here’s a dirty little secret: A lot of people living in Dallas aren’t from here — we just got here as quickly as we could. So, you’ll fit right in. We are a melting pot and proud of it.
3. We’re not fixin’ to do anything.
We don’t all say “How ya’ll doin’?” and “Fixin’ to.” Many of us hate the name “The Metroplex,” which was coined to describe the DFW metro area. Don’t force yourself to use the local idioms if they don’t roll off your tongue naturally. There are plenty of Northern transplants walking around saying “you guys.”
4. Are your boots made for walking?
Fort Worth is where the West began, and Justin Brands CEO Randy Watson goes to work every day in cowboy boots. That doesn’t mean you should. If you aren’t a regular wearer of boots, break in a pair on the weekends, and watch to see what your boss wears before donning them from 9 to 5 with a suit or dress (acceptable attire in many workplaces here.)
5. D vs. FW.
On the subject of Dallas vs. Fort Worth: Yes, there is a rivalry, and both cities are distinct. Don’t you forget it.
6. Hooray for Tex-Mex.
We’ve already talked about food, but we seriously love Tex-Mex, and we hope you will, too. There are no shortages of restaurants, and you’ll still find a wide variety of good food and even a few celebrity chefs
7. Dress to impress.
We get dressed up and go to parties — often. Charity balls and formal events are a big deal. You’ll find plenty of reasons to own your own tux if you’re a guy, and to shop for formal or cocktail dresses if you’re a gal.
8. ‘I live in Dallas’
People always say they live in Dallas, even if they live in a suburb of Dallas. So you can claim to live in Dallas even if you’re way out in McKinney or Frisco. (Just don’t call it Big D.)
9. Cultural mecca.
DFW has world-class museums and cultural amenities. You might think New York City, NY, has the lock on that, but it’s simply not true.
Just because it’s the Bible Belt, don’t expect everyone to be nice. There’s plenty of judgment going on, but you’ll get invited to church. Generally, people are friendly, though, and often they’ll wave as they pass you in their cars along neighborhood boulevards or country roads, whether they know you or not.
11. Play ball!
This area is crazy about sports — professional and youth. Parents fork out thousands of dollars so their kids can play on competitive teams that practice nearly every day and travel out of state for tournaments. If you’re a parent of school-age children, prepare for your life to be over.
12. Hot and cold.
Enjoy the outdoors between October and April because you’ll live in an oven from May to September. During the winter months, you’ll shiver and begin to think 45 degrees is the new freezing point, even if you grew up in Wisconsin. We are very fond of saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. It’ll change.”
13. Water ways.
Take a summer vacation and escape the heat, if possible. If you choose to vacation nearby, check out the boating, skiing and fishing available on the numerous area lakes.
14. Spheres of influence.
If you graduated from a large or well-known Texas school, you’ve got it made. The state’s elite schools have well-established DFW networking groups that will help you meet influential people and climb the career ladder.
15. No sticker shock.
Real estate remains a bargain here compared with many other large metros. So if you want to own a home or condo, this is the place to do it. Even 20-somethings can afford a piece of DFW.
16. Put a ring on it.
Bling is taken to a whole new level. Enough said.
17. Name that road.
We name our highways after people we want to honor or memorialize. This initially confuses the heck out of newcomers because every highway goes by two names, which are used interchangeably.
18. Life is a highway.
We love our cars (and our pickups). You’ll notice this when you try to drive anywhere during rush hour, which lasts several hours in the morning and several hours in the late afternoon and evening. Public transit has improved but isn’t available in every suburb. Get used to spending a lot of time in your car, and don’t bellyache about it until you’ve lived here at least 20 years. Then a bit of complaining about the traffic is considered OK.
19. Tune out ‘Dallas.’
Don’t bring up “Dallas,” the TV show, in any conversations. The sequel just doesn’t have the mystique of the original. Let us not speak of it again.
20. Fly away.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the area’s economic engine, and an awesome one at that. The good news for business and leisure travelers is you can get nearly anywhere from there, and often on a nonstop flight.