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Because I Have Never Messed With Texas

By Amalah

Hi Amy! Welcome to my hell.
Hell consists of….
a. Spending your hard-earned Christmas vacay with your boyfriend’s never-before-met-family.
b. Being told that his best friend (Sara) is the “Gold Standard” of women that his mother measures all others against. That’s, no lie, a direct quote.
c. Having dinner with his ex-girlfriend and his best friend (who is also her new boyfriend) yeeeeeah, that one’s a little hard for me to follow too….
d. Doing this all in Dallas, TX with a family who (swear to God) does not drink. Who knew they still made those people?
e. All of the above.
So, my question, oh Advice Goddess Extraordinaire, is clothes related and multi-faceted.
1. What does one wear to meet a Judge? *Ahem*, I mean, his mother?
2. What is appropriate attire for the meeting of the ex-girlfriend? (No cat claws included, I promise.)
3. What the hell does a fun-lovin’ girl from Florida wear to meet a tee-totalling family in cold ole’ Texas?
Basically, I’m at a loss. Is a V-neck too revealing? What about *gasp* pantyhose?Are they required with a skirt? (Do people still wear those?) And, do people in cold states wear skimpy cute clothes to go out, or must I invest in frump-attire before hitting the club with his ex? (God this is SUCH a weird trip…)
Oh sweet baby Jesus please help.
Love from the sunshine state,

A few thoughts jumbled up in my head as I read your question(s).
1) Argh.
B) Helllll no.
Cheddar) It’s cold in Texas? Really? I had no idea. Do the tumbleweeds frost up and stuff?
Okay, so let’s break this all down.
First of all, what asshat told you that delightful direct quote from your boyfriend’s mother? Why in the world did they feel the need to dump THAT particular pile of meet-the-parents stress on you? Was it your boyfriend? Tell him to not tell you stuff like that ever again. Seriously. That was thoughtless and borderline mean.
Also, he has too many best friends for this advice columnist to keep track of.
I don’t know how long you’ll be visiting, but I know whenever Jason and I visit family for an extended period of time we ALWAYS come up with excuses to spend a little time away with just each other. We volunteer to go pick up fresh bagels for breakfast, and then we linger a little bit over coffee before going back. Mother-in-law can’t find her meat thermometer or forgot to buy rolls? We’ll go to the grocery store! No problem, it’s our pleasure. Even 10 minutes in the car alone together can be all the break you need sometimes.
At night, blame insomnia or the time zone and go out for a beer. Don’t sneak back home rip-roaring drunk or anything, but just give yourself a chance to decompress on neutral turf.
Oh, and have that dinner with the ex-girlfriend/best friend/love-triangle/headache out at a RESTAURANT. Again, I cannot overstate the benefit of neutral turf when it comes to situations like these. Go where you can have a glass of wine and offer to pick up the check. Restaurants are also great for imposing a bit of a time limit on your evening, eliminating the endless reminicising old friends tend to do in their own living rooms, completely forgetting about the new girlfriend who has NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.
Yeah, I’ve been there. And no, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Anyway! Clothes!
I think you should wear whatever you’re most comfortable in — don’t bring some patterned snowflake sweater because you think it’s more appropriate. You’ll feel weird and fake and your fakey weirdness will be obvious. So if your current favorite top is a v-neck, wear that. Put a little camisole or tank underneath it if you’re worried about cleavage. Pantyhose is most definitely NOT required, although if it is really cold (and really! no idea that Texas was cold! you are blowing my mind here!), you might want to want to look into some tights and/or boots to cover up a little. (Although since you’re from Florida I’m guessing you don’t have the problem with winter-white goose-flesh that some of us have to deal with.)
It gets pretty cold around here, and I definitely don’t see many people wearing frumpwear to the clubs. (Not that I’m a big clubber anymore, but…um. Sometimes I still go outside! And I see people! People who are going to clubs!) Just layer up — sexy-yet-not-trampy top or a dress, paired with a cardigan at dinner, and find out if the club has a coat check if you need something even warmer.
Or whatever it is that people in Texas wear. Cowboy boots? Ten-gallon hats? Fringed leather vests with gold sheriff badges? Seriously, I have a LOT to learn about Texas.
(I better figure some stuff out before March, I guess. Yikes.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Leigh

    December 1, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Oooh, I can help with this one! Last year I moved from Florida to Texas (to my husband’s hometown of Houston), and my in-laws also do not drink! And we keep running into ex-girlfriends! (Well, not literally.)
    It does get cold in Texas, more so in Dallas than here in Houston, so A is going to need a coat and tights. Snow boots are not needed, but cowboy boots would fit right in (yes, we really wear them). A cute top and jeans with any type of heeled boot would be *perfect* in any club or restaurant in Dallas.
    But the most important rule to remember about visiting Dallas: NO FRUMP! Texas women like to look good, with or without a drink in their hand.
    Good luck to A–sounds like she’ll need it with the Judge. Sheesh.

  • slynnro

    December 1, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Okay, I am from Texas and live in Dallas. For the record. we don’t wear boots or ride horses to work. And it is really freaking cold right now- it snowed in Dallas yesterday. (As a stylish Texan I am sorry, but I take serious offense to silly boots and hats comments). Dallas is full of incredibly stylish women- remember, we are the home of Neiman Marcus. But just last night I went to the grocery store in pajama pants.
    If I were you, I’d go a little dressier than maybe you had to just because it is always better to be over than under dressed. And err on the side of conservative, but conservative can be stylish. Think Anthropologie! Even at nicer restaurants here, you can get away with dressy jeans so long as you have fab shoes and a cute top. But since you don’t know your audience, I’d go with with black pants and camisole with a cardigan.

  • queenann

    December 1, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    As a child of the south, here’s my advice:
    ABSOLUTELY wear tights if you wear a skirt- always err on the side of girlish (as opposed to whorish). A knee-length black skirt with black tights, holiday-color sweater set or blouse & cute shoes will always work. I also second the black pants…
    And don’t forget pajamas. Big cutesy printed flannel ones that don’t say Victoria’s Secret on them. Ones that (subtly) say VIRGIN.
    Also, I would personally pack one of those teeny airplane vodka bottles hidden in something just in case you get so uptight you want to scream at someone. You probably won’t open it, but you’ll feel better knowing it’s there.
    (Not that I’ve ever done that. No sir. Not me. NEVER!!! God.)

  • Amy H

    December 1, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    ok. lots of trouble to post a comment…but here goes.
    I live in Austin. Dallas is the worst. Everyone has big hair and big jewels. (ok, generalization, but c’mon!) And there are…wait for it…dry counties in Dallas! (for those of you that don’t know, dry counties don’t sell alcohol)
    The good news is that jeans are pretty much the standard in bars no matter what. You can wear jeans with sweaters (v-necks, even), tanks, whatever. Seems that people are wearing wrap-around shirts here still. not sure if that is popular everywhere…
    As for the cold, I guess you can say we get cold weather, but not very often. Dallas is more likely than Austin to get cold weather but it usually happens only once or twice a year so come prepared for anything. You won’t need a heavy coat no matter what.
    Amy–Austin in march is warm. Our pools are open. Don’t worry about the cold. Also, if you are coming for SXSW, make sure you have a hotel room already. They all book up. The best hotel in the city is the 4 Seasons, but the Driskill is very nice, too. We have a friend who is a writer that comes to Austin every year for SXSW and stays with us. We can tell you where all the cool people go during the festival if you want…
    OH–and A–are you sure about this guy? Sounds a little messed up…but we aren’t really getting the whole picture. Don’t put up with any ex-girlfriend crap, though.

  • brandi

    December 1, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    It may have snowed in Dallas last night, but it could still be 80 degrees at Christmas. My family lives there, and last year I packed up all my sweaters and boots and when I got there I had to buy almost an ENTIRE SUMMER WARDROBE because I was melting. It’s hard to plan in advance for the weather there… working around the weather report about a week out will be your best bet.
    Also, I’m pretty sure dry counties in Texas (or at least the ones I’m familiar with) just don’t have liquor stores – you can still booze it up in restaurants (that are a certain distance from the interstate). Party!

  • ihopeyoudontmind

    December 1, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    I live 30 minutes from Dallas, and yes, Texas is cold. My grandparents live in northern Kansas, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed when visiting, it’s that it’s colder at 40 degrees in Texas than it is at ten below in Kansas. But that’s because it’s a lot dryer up north.
    I know someone said not to bring a heavy jacket, but do it anyways. Today, it was warm enough to go without one, but yesterday it was snowing. And the day before that I was wearing shorts. You never know what’s going to happen out here.
    Black pants and a dress top are always great for anything out here. Skirts are fine (no hose!), but bring an extra pair of pants just in case (like I said, you never know whats going to happen).
    Hitting the club – this is more about what you’re comfortable in. Wear what makes you feel confident, but keep the weather in mind.
    As for alcohol? I did a google earth search, and I found no less than 10 liquor stores in the city. So it’s certainly not a dry city.
    One last tip before this comment gets any longer: don’t get overexcited at the “ya’lls”. We get that from so many non-Texans (including my own Kansas relatives) and trust me, that’ll be the one thing they remember about you if you do.
    Hopefully, it won’t be so bad, and you’ll get to experience the southern hospitality we’re known for.

  • LifeAgift

    December 2, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    Yes you need hose on in Texas not ’cause it’s cold, thought it will be chilly, but because it’s frickin December and hose with a skirt are the rule after labor day!
    The points you brought up today are the same points you’ll revisit in 20 years if you marry this guy. Only difference is you’ll be on hubby #2 or 3, probably a former coworker or “best friend” of your hubbies, the children from your divorce will never compare with the new “Gold standard” set by the kiddos of your hubbies new wife, SARA, who mama said he should have married in the first place, and you’ll still be sneaking out for a drink cause your afraid to loose you kiddos to hubby and Sara if the mother decides you’re an unfit drunk.
    Merry Christmas and keep your dress down and panty hose up!!!
    PEACE and Mistletoe

  • Ali

    December 4, 2006 at 9:33 am

    Ladies!!! Thank you so much for all the helpful advice. I took all your info and hit the mall. I am now fully armed with great jeans, fabulous boots and some seriously cute sweaters.
    Today I’ll be returning the sweaters, though, because ya’ll, Amy was right. He IS an asshat. I realized two things this weekend: I never WANT to be Sara, and I love my drunken fun life just the way it is. On that note, I will NOT be going to TX, but instead, will be using the money I get back today to buy a ticket to Key West on a booze cruise with my girlfriends. HA HA!
    So, thanks again for all the advice, clothes-related and otherwise. Merry Christmas, ya’ll.

  • Leigh

    December 4, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    Enjoy Key West, but do come visit Texas sometime!

  • Jezer

    December 6, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    OK, for the record, it’s y’all–apostrophe after the y and before the a. Sorry, I have a thing about that.
    And thanks to all you other Texas girls for dispelling the cowboy-hat-and-boots myth and for clarifying the fact that hell yeah, it gets cold here from time to time.
    Praise be to all that is Holy and Good that you came to your senses, Ali. Have a fabulous time in Key West!

  • loriborealis

    December 7, 2006 at 4:30 am

    It could be ya’ll depending on what you think it represents. If you think y’all stands for ‘you all’ then you’re correct, but if you think it means ‘ya all’ then it could be ya’ll. 😀