Lyle Lovett can’t be trusted. The man has been writing strange lyrics since the ’80s, and although he’s one of my favorite long, tall Texans, he now owes me a beer. But we’ll get back to that.
You see, Lyle was my first. It was the summer of ’93, and he had just made front-page news by marrying America’s sweetheart, Julia “Shelby, take your juice” Roberts. I was a Julia Roberts fanatic and spent my high-school days quoting her films and hoarding memorabilia like a weird stalker. When I found out her peculiar new husband was going to be in concert nearby, I convinced my mom to be my date, because none of my friends knew who this odd-looking “Cowboy Man” was, and I didn’t want to admit I was just going so I could scan the sidelines in hopes his new bride would be there cheering.
Well, she wasn’t in attendance, but that being my first concert and all, I fell in love with the live music experience and was especially enamored of the crooning singer-songwriter. He sings about being on boats with ponies (“If I Had a Boat”), the importance of accessories (“Don’t Touch My Hat” — You can have my girl but don’t touch my hat), and the sanctity of marriage (“She’s No Lady” — She’s no lady, she’s my wife). And he’s not afraid to stand up for his belief that fat babies have no pride (“Fat Babies”).
But back to the beer. I took him at his word when he says in “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)” that Texas men will buy your beer for free. When I booked my flight to Austin last month, it’s the first thought that crossed my mind — I’m going to be showered with free beer! I’ve been trying to get to the Lone Star State ever since he revealed that secret in 1996, and after my younger brother recently took up residence in Austin, I had a reason to.
Well, I was there four days, and no man other than my brother bought me a beer. Perhaps I was in the wrong place, the wrong city. Perhaps Austin is too big to find true Texan hospitality. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Austin and all of its taco shacks, but I really just wanted one free beer so that I could high-five Lyle in my mind and know he wasn’t pulling my leg. Maybe the recent recession has forced Texas men to buy beers for only straight, available ladies. I surely wouldn’t blame them. But what if everything Lyle has said has been a lie? What if fat babies do, indeed, have pride?
Austin is like the Highlands multiplied by 312. There are cute little dive bars tucked away in alleys, there are huge live music venues on every block, and there are more taco stands than coffee shops and pizza parlors combined! The food was amazing; the nightlife was as exciting as you wanted it to be, or as low key as you liked; and the residents ranged from ornery co-eds and hippy hipsters to two-steppin’ cowboys and countrified bohemians.
They love their barbecue, they love their tacos, they love their beer — and they love it all to be as local as possible. The bar district on Sixth Street is reminiscent of Memphis’ Beale Street, with as much debauchery on the street as inside the honkytonks. And there are numerous pockets of neighborhood bars scattered about the city — like, say, if a Nachbar or five existed in every zip code in Louisville. They love their craft cocktails, and they love a Lone Star tallboy, and they love drinking both on a patio with a smattering of picnic tables, food trucks, friends and dogs.
I ran into comedian Brian Posehn (from “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “New Girl”) in the bathroom line at one of the bars on Sixth Street and fired a round of dick jokes at him for no particular reason other than my brother bought me too many shots of Jim Beam. Brian laughed, and a member of his entourage shared his favorite dick joke, which made my Drunk Text of the Week list below.
I may not be from Texas, but as my friend Lyle Lovett would say, Texas wants me anyway. Or is that a lie, too?
Drunk Texts of the Week
• You have a kind chin — the kinda chin I want to set my nuts on
• You can’t hump a flat football
• Don’t make me laugh, I gotta poop!
• Did you just say suck a dick?