Meanwhile in the Great State of Texas

Comments

1
Fuck yeah.
2
That's very impressive. Unfortunately I have to paste in a paragraph you neglected to include:

In complete but unofficial returns, Parker coasted to a comfortable victory with 52.8 percent of the vote to 47.2 percent for Locke. Turnout was 16.5 percent.


I don't know if such low turnout is the norm for mayoral elections in Houston, but you can be certain that the nation's (and state's) wingnuts will mobilize all their forces to increase that number, if not try to find some reason to petition for her recall (I can just see the fuckers trumping up some petty scandal for that reason).

But I'm hopeful. Houston may not be Austin, but it's still a city and thus intrinsically more liberal than most of the rest of Texas. It's more Texas than Austin but less Texas than almost every place else in that state.

Congratulations Ms. Mayor!
3
"the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city. "

Suck it, Portland!
4
@3, I was thinking the same thing.
5
Texas is much more liberal than a lot of people are lead o believe.
6
Oooh, burn, Portland!!!

I like Portland, but it is a small city relatively. I think that is why I like it though.
7
from Houston Chronicle:
"Was it the rainy weather? Apathy? Dislike for the candidates?
Whatever the reason, Houston voters shied away from the polls Saturday, leaving bored election workers reading magazines and hoping for a last-minute rush that didn't seem to materialize."

Parker collected 36,000 votes from a city of 2,200,000- 60,000 of whom identify as Gay, according to CNN.

underwhelming.
8
@3, 4,

Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, with a population of roughly 2.25 million.

Portland, lovely as it is, is roughly 0.5 million in population, and would barely make anyone's list of MAJOR cities in the US.

That, on top of the fact that Texas is generally a rabidly conservative state makes this a pretty big deal, I'd say.
9
Amazing.

Big horn, big hat, big full of shit, Texas amazing.

Nice, indeed.

And as reported, there was tons of anti gay stuff, which, apparently did not work.

Nice. Still amazed.
10
Houston has a somewhat solid history of rejecting overt homophobia (see the failure of the Straight Slate in the 1980s) and embracing diversity (see the 1990s vote to keep affirmative action). We are not perfect and would never be confused for a hotbed of liberalism -- much to my dismay -- but neither are we the backwards haters that many seem to assume.

Annise Parker has been an elected official here for a dozen years, serving on City Council and as the city's comptroller. Her opponent has a similar history of service but in less visible roles so he had little to no name recognition. He sealed his fate by seeking out the hate-mongerer behind the 1980s Straight Slate. I supported Annise prior to that but her victory is that much sweeter since it's yet another repudiation of hate. Even if all we Houstonians managed to muster was an indifference to the appeal, I'll take it in a time when voters elsewhere seem more open to such ugliness.
11
Democrats had to shove the blacks out to make room in the big tent for Parker...
12
Where's the commentary on how much the electorate is turning against Democrats in all of these articles? When Republicans won the governorships in Virgina and New Jersey, there was no end to the crowing that the tides had already shifted against the Democrats, and that 2010 would see a complete reversal of 2008's Democratic wave. Now Houston retains its Democratic mayor, electing an openly gay woman at that, and there's no comment on the issue at all? Some of the articles I looked at don't even mention she's a Democrat. Isn't my media supposed to have a Liberal Bias™?
13
Wait, is San Francisco not "a major U.S. city" or is Gavin Newsom not gay, or out? I'm confused.
14
This is just WEIRD. I think it's a triumph, but also an anomaly that I don't think you can read into to much.

Also I guess, it's reassuring that Houston, one of the most conservative psycho cities in the country, is not AS conservative as one would imagine. Obviously it's above and beyond anything rural America has shown and should be commended for it.

As for the diversity of Texas, the major cities ARE becoming diverse because they are seeing some of the best economic growth of any areas of the country. People are moving into Texas in droves for jobs and changing the demographic. Hell, Dallas lost it's conservative city identity, and now ... even Houston is starting to lose it.

I guess it's reassuring ...

What gives me the chills is how Texas takes a RIDICULOUS amount tax money from the government and gives so little back which I suspect leads to much of the growth.

I wonder for all of the highly educated "professional" jobs in science, engineering, etc. etc. being created in Texas, how many of them are given to actual Texans ... and dare I say, who the hell would want to move to Texas to raise their children in the Texas school system?
15
Houston may be in TExas, but it's hardly part of Texas.
16
Bizarre as hell.

In a good way, though.
17
#12:Possibly the reason there's no commentary is because Houston does not have Democratic or Republican mayors. We run non-partisan campaigns for city offices, though obviously some candidates are more appealing to Democrats and others to Republicans.

Of the original candidates for mayor this time, one labeled himself as a conservative and he failed to make it into the run off. I don't believe any of our mayors in the last 3 decades would have been properly called a Republican.

#14: When declaring Houston to be one of the most conservative, psycho cities in the U.S., what in particular are you thinking of in forming that judgment? I'd grant that we might deserve that label when it comes to environmental issues but I'm lost on where else we might have earned that condemnation.
18
This is awesome.
19
Just as Obama defeated the right wing haters. Things really are changing, finally. It's history making and says the lies don't work anymore. And to those who say it's not a valid win because of the turnout, I say suck it.
20
@17- They may run with no party affiliation, but they all are members of one of the two parties, nevertheless. You haven't had a Republican mayor since the early 80's. That's really just further evidence that the media blitz about the Republican resurgence was just a bunch of bullshit, though.

21
#13, I don't believe Gavin Newsom (sp?) is gay at all. In fact, there was a bit of a hullaballoo a while back because he was involved with a married woman, or something like that. He's "straight but not narrow", as the bumper stickers say.
22
I read the part about the 16% turn out as well....that does tend to take some of the air out of the balloon I have to say...
23
@14 - I'm not sure why you think Houston is a "rabidly psycho conservative" city. Have you ever been here? Houston voters regularly elect Democrats to city wide offices - the outgoing mayor, Bill White, is one of the most popular mayors in the city's history, and is now the Democratic frontrunner for governor next year. Previous mayors like Kathy Whitmire and Lee Brown are anything but conservative. When conservatives ran a "Straight Slate" in the 80s because they thought the current mayor and city council were too gay-friendly, they lost big-time. The city is incredibly diverse- more diverse than Seattle or San Francisco - and the politics of the city are ultimately practical, pragmatic, and run moderate to slightly liberal.

Everyone is so surprised. As a New England native who calls Houston home, I'm not. Annise has won city-wide elections (as controller) time and again and is a well-respected public servant. One of the interesting things I noticed in the news, in online discussions, etc. was lots of people who were conservative or identified as religious conservatives saying they were voting for Annise because she was the better candidate. The end. They might not like that she is a lesbian, but ultimately, weren't voting based on it. And it reminds me of why I made Houston my home: it's a city with room for everybody, more so than the various liberal-mecca cities I've spent time in where along with progressive politics you got nasty infighting and identity politics trumping good government.

As for "pushing the blacks out" - well, Locke (who would not have been the city's first black mayor - that milestone was passed long ago) ran an ass-clown campaign and tries to cozy up to some really hateful far-right types, and lost a lot of votes that way. And frankly came into the race with a less solid resume for the job than Annise.

And so last night, the web site of Houston's daily paper featured a big photo of our new mayor embracing her partner while celebrating our victory. Y'all let us know when Seattle catches up to us, OK?
24
As for the turnout - yes, it was low. Runoffs are always tough to get people out for, a runoff smack in the middle of the holiday season, on a weekend, on a rainy day is also hard. (Although during early voting, which we have here, turnout was quite high - more than in November's general election.)

The main reason, I think, is that you had two Democrats running and a lot of Republicans just didn't care one way or the other. Which is kind of an achievement in itself, considering the barrage of anti-gay stuff in the last stretch of the campaign designed to get anti-gay voters out, warning that the homos were going to take over Houston and redecorate. People did not respond to it. That didn't get them out voting for Parker... but it also didn't get them out to vote against Parker.

I am perfectly happy to see people be told "OMG lesbian mayor! Scary" and say, "So what?"
25
@20: I don't think Houston is a good example of what's happening elsewhere. I pointed out the long history of not-Republican mayors because the changing fortunes of the national parties have not been reflected in our city elections during my lifetime. Strange as it may seem, that lack of a party identifier is meaningful. In the same 30 years, Harris County's partisan elections have removed virtually all Democrats from office.

If you want to read election tea leaves for signs of party politics, the better choice would be November's general election, in which 3 not-Republicans beat out the self-styled "conservative candidate," who came in 4th. I think that better shows the fallacy of the claims for a resurgent Republican party.

For those concerned about the abysmal turnout, it's not as deflating as you might think. The policy differences between the two candidates were minimal. I think Annise Parker would have won even in a heavy turnout as she had name recognition and she has a proven record of accomplishment in elected office. Although it's true that few people were excited, that cuts both ways. Her sexuality was a non-issue and has been for the more than decade in which she has won election after election of varying turnout -- and I think that is a significant story about what kind of city Houston is.
26
@20 Whatever is happening with Republicans nationally, the story in Texas is a gradual shift toward Democrats. Dallas County is now majority Dem; you see similar trends statewide. It's not really driven by national issues; Republicans took over and have basically mismanaged the state ever since. They're also managed to alienate Hispanic voters in a big way, and that's not exactly a strategy for success in Texas. Things don't change overnight, but you will see Texas shift from red to purple on those electoral maps in the coming years.

Houston's current mayor, Bill White, is running for governor. As for any Dem it's a tough race, but people are really excited about him, and I think that will help build Democratic fundraising and operations up around the state, and whether he wins or not, will help make future races that much more competitive.
27
@13 Gavin Newsom is married to his second wife and they had a baby girl in September. If he's gay, that's one helluva beard.

People can be straight and support gay rights. I know, hard to believe with Mr. Fierce Advocate as the POTUS, but it does happen.
28
To everyone who is saying that the low turn-out means Houstonians aren't really supporting an out mayoral candidate:

Conservatives weren't banding together to vote against her, and that says something. They weren't upset enough to vote against her.

And seriously. All these comments about how Houston isn't really Texan or how it doesn't really count? Come on. Just like the whack-jobs who don't believe in climate change, you're not letting facts inform your opinions. You're letting prejudices form your opinion.
29
When will a totally tweaked out twink get elected? Or even worse, a big ugly butch dyke? Even in super permissive Texas you will not see either one of those.
30
@28 Houston is definitely pure Texas. Of course, what that means depends on whether you think of Texas as a gulf coast state with bayous and Mardis Gras celebrations (Houston), a prairie state with big hair and big Christians (Dallas), the deep south (the northeast part of the state), a western border area (El Paso).... etc. It's a huge place that straddles multiple cultural and geographic regions of the country, and Houston has more in common with New Orleans than with Lubbock or El Paso. (The number of LSU grads screaming "Geaux Tigers!" around here is a bit stunning.)

I always get a kick out of people who insist Austin isn't "really Texas." Austin is Texan to a kitschy extreme; I remember noticing on my first visit there that they appeared to have affixed a Lone Star to every object that wasn't moving. And it's much less liberal than it appears; it's a liberal college enclave surrounded by hardcore Republican suburbs and rural areas. (Think Michael Dell.)
31
DC's council has a few openly gay members. And since they are pretty much our only govt officials with any power until the system is changed, I think they count as "leading" this U.S. City.

That journalist missed the boat a bit.
32
@30. Agree with you that Texas is quite different from places to place and further note that Houston went for Obama. As for your Austin contention, you're a little off-base. Yes Austin is almost surrounded by more conservative suburbs/bedroom communities, but they are not Austin voters and wouldn't be considered Austinites by actual Austinites. It would be the same as me saying that Katy and The Woodlands residents are the same as Inside-the-Loop Houstonians.
33
#31 - DC is 27th in the nation in terms of population. Houston is 4th. Ergo, Houston = major, DC = not.
34
And if we were considering city council, Detroit (11th in population) elected a gay man to city council president in November.
35
@31 Houston has had an openly gay city controller for years (Annise) and has had openly gay city councillors (at the moment, Sue Lovell). No big deal.

I am a former Washingtonian (& love DC) but I can't imagine someone like David Catania - who has all the drive and qualification to be DC's first openly gay mayor - accomplishing what Annise did, because of the truly poisonous local politics of the District. That makes me very sad. (I'd love to be proved wrong.)

The top tier of major US cities includes NY, LA, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and a couple of others. DC is wonderful but it's not a "major city," though it's part of a major metro area.
36
Now you just need to get rid of your freakshow Republican governor (who's from Austin of all places).
37
Great to have all the thoughtful and detailed comments from Texas. Thanks for the info!
38
It's great that an American city has an openly gay mayor, but let's put it in context, shall we? Iceland repealed its anti-gay laws in 1940 (vs 2003 in the US); has had equal age of consent since 1992 (still no uniform age of consent in the US); has had same-sex civil marriage since 1996 (currently available in only 5 of the 50 states); intends to introduce a new, gender-neutral marriage act, and the Church of Iceland performs same-sex marriages; allows gays to serve openly in the military (such as it is); has equal adoption and anti-discrimination laws; and has an openly gay Prime Minister (Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir). Iceland may be exceptionally progressive, but the US has long, long, long way to go.

39
@36 Working on it!
40
#29 Austin voted for a "big ugly butch dyke" for Travis County Sheriff a few years back. The only reason she isn't still sheriff is because she wanted to leave. People were very disappointed - she was a good sheriff.
41
@ 38, that's all very impressive, but comparing Iceland to the US is like comparing a tomato to the moon.
42
Texas has almost always been way more tolerant of dykes than gay men.
43
On the other hand, Iceland legalized beer in 1988 or 1989... so yin, yang, etc
44
Not to bring Houston down, as this is definitely great news -- however, though Harvey Milk wasn't mayor of SF, him being elected to the SF Board in 1977 being ignored in context is slightly disingenuous.. dare I say Milk did more for the SF we know today than Newsom has done... I think Newsom would admit this.

Anyway, yay for Houston, and congrats!
45
How have the droves of ex-New Orleanians changed Houston?
46
Yay for Houston, and congratulations to the new mayor.

Oh ... And Fnarf and DavidG exactly what should we suck? I'm just curious if you have anything in particular in mind.
47
Beers, steers and queers.....
48
The sherriff of Dallas County is openly lesbian, an openly gay man was in the run off for Dallas mayor in 2006, now Houston has an openly lesbian mayor. If Rick Perry was smart, he'd be nervous. Good thing he's not.
49
The kneejerk reactions people have when they hear the word "Texas" in the PNW are hilarious. They are also ignorant, prejudiced, and therefore deeply ironic.
50
@45 Not that much. Right after Katrina it got crowded, rental housing was in short supply, etc. You saw lots of Lousiana tags on the roads, and there was a funny thing where you'd see someone obviously lost driving around and think, "They're new. I won't get mad." Some people went back, some left, and a whole lot of people stuck around (it's not at all unusual to meet someone who moved here from N.O. that year, and you pretty much know what the story was). A lot of people stayed because frankly their economic prospects were a LOT better here, it's much safer, the schools are a lot better, etc. Better place for a family, though we don't have the charms of New Orleans.

Bill White, our outgoing mayor, did nothing short of miracle work right after the storm, getting resources in line, getting landlords to take tenants on the promise of getting money that no government had approved yet later on, etc. And the sense of people here was, "That could have been us," and to just accept the influx. It was a time when I was really, really proud of this city. Other places were trying to figure out how to get the refugees out of town, and Houston just accepted them as the latest arrivals. Later there were some grumblings about crime, etc. from "the Katrina people" but most people knew better. And lots of people (including us) had N.O. friends under their roofs for months.

The overall feel of the city didn't change much, though; we have always had plenty of Louisiana natives here (it's just up the road) and culturally, there is a fair amount in common - the Gulf Coast is not really the deep south (which is north of us). People from southern Louisiana and Alabama will tell you how different those places are from the other parts of the states, which are probably more like what non-Southerners picture. (I remember someone from a tiny town in Cajun country telling me how much he hated the time he lived in Alexandria, LA, "up with all those bible-thumpers.")
51
@36, Rick Perry is not from Austin. He is from a small town in West Texas. He is also a former Democrat.

Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson are going to have a dirty battle for the primary next year. Bill White is in a good position to mount a persuasive campaign for Governor.
52
@23 FtW
"Y'all let us know when Seattle catches up to us, OK?"

A lot of cities Dan looks down his nose at could say that...
It is nauseating to endure Dan and his Seattle hipster fanboys lecturing Texas and the "South" on Gay and progressive issues-
Openly gay city council members are old news in Atlanta, where the Atlanta Journal-Constitution estimates 15 percent of all Atlantans are members of the LGBT community, and gay men and lesbians are believed to represent at least 10 percent of the city's registered voters. Atlanta has a hugely gay-friendly city government and business environment.
Last week Atlanta had a runoff for mayor between a white woman and a black man (Atlanta has had black mayors since Maynard Jackson in 1974). It was a close hotly contested race decided by only 700 votes, and 10,000 MORE voters showed up for the runoff than had voted in November. Former state Sen. Kasim Reed won over city councilwoman Mary Norwood but there was no bitterness, Atlanta has always had remarkably civil race relations, an aspect of "progressiveness" than doesn't earn much respect on Slog. Even Loser Norwood supports gay marriage and has a lesbian step-daughter.

Dan has a surprisingly uninformed parochial and bigoted worldview.
Dan and Seattle could learn a lot about diversity from a lot of places.
53
You think that the prohibition of beer (not all beer, but beer with an alcohol content over 2.5%, by the way) until the late 1980s is somehow akin to denying civil rights to LGBT people into late 2009?
54
53
worse.
55
@53.. I think that using Iceland as a political comparison point is just silly, is all. I've been there, and like it, but much of the people there are neither "left" or "right", but "very north". The political scale just doesn't apply there. Not to remove the underscores of your points, but in the end, saying much of the world will always be behind Iceland sounds awkward?
56
I don't think it's silly; Iceland is a great example for other countries. But if you prefer, then look to your immediate neighbours. Canada has had equal age of consent laws since 1988 (16; although the age of consent is 18 for anal sex, which is stupid, there is no distinction based on the gender of the participants); anti-gay laws were repealed in 1969; "sexual orientation" was read into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1995 and added into the federal Human Rights Act in1996, but had been the law in several provinces prior to that time; gays have been serving openly (and permitted to live on-base with their same-sex partners) since 1992; same-sex couples have had common-law marriage rights from1999, and same-sex marriage has been legal throughout the country since 2005 (it had already been legal in various provinces prior to that); there have also been, and continue to be, a number of active, openly gay political figures.
57
@52 It's not a Seattle thing; when I told friends in DC that I was moving to Texas, I got shocked and horrified looks. ("Have you ever spent time there?" "No, but...") And when I visit family in SF I get some funny, "Oh... Texas" looks. I am by no means blind to the faults of Texas, but having grown up in the northeast, lived in a several liberal-enclave cities and spent lots of up time on both coasts, I am really happy to call Texas home. Perfect? No. A good place, with a ton of good people in it? You bet.

(And despite my little crack - Seattle is a very lovely place.)
58
Good. That's confusing. I like being confused. Yay Texas.
59
"It's not a Seattle thing; when I told friends in DC that I was moving to Texas, I got shocked and horrified looks."

That's because you were eating your roommate's brains when you told us that.
60
@50: Thanks, man. When I first visited New Orleans, in fall 2006, it seemed people were fleeing in droves to Houston. And the arts people still around were just dropping in after experimenting with e.g. Paris and Brazil, like Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott. Diaspora.
61
As a native Texan, this thread is funny to me.

"Let's wait to see Seattle catch up!" -- Cal Anderson.
"Houston is a lot more liberal than you think!" -- It's a big city, congrats on doing what big cities do.
"Atlanta is full of gays!" -- And that's why it's #3 behind SF and Seattle in Per Capita gay population, no big shock there.
"Seattle has liberal arrogance!" -- Right, because trumpeting about how liberal your city is and screaming "in your face, Seattle!" isn't arrogant.

And Texas is a surprisingly liberal state that's currently going through a serious fit over political identity caused by immigration and fears of a brown menace. Give it about, oh, I'd say 3 more general election cycles. Even the "oh my god, I moved to Texas, I'm so speshul" out-of-staters are blind to the fact that Texas was the root of pretty much all the federal level liberalism they held so dear before it was chewed up by Pelosi-Reid.
62
61fuckyou;)
63
@62: Bless your heart.
64
Nobody is as hip, tolerant and diverse as Seattle people think they are...
65
texan ... I'm not deliberately dissing the demographic of texas ... as a scientists ... I'm told that Texas is like the promise land to use my degree, where like NOWHERE is happening now in the states.

The result? The demographic of Texan major cities is changing, like Dallas ... my thing is is ... I'm just surprised it happened to Houston SO SOON!

as for the environment ... Houston to Corpus Christi more or less "takes a hit for the team" It's where the major U. S. refineries are ...

66
Whatever ... I'm not ready to take the Texas kool-aid, for starters I can't stand the climate ...and being from CT, I can't imagine having CHILDREN be raised in Texas schools where the teachers make ...what ... 24 grand a year? if they are lucky?

As a scientist, I also it is my job to not have sex and live alone to come up with weapons, pesiticides, drugs, and fertizilizers so everyone else can have sex and fuck wrecklessly.

Texas, the sort of pro-family state that it is ... it's hard pill for me to swallow for someone who ended with a career that makes me a perpetual transient. Given the cultural trends of the states and the riduculousness profamiliness of it all ... I'm all for legalizing prostitution as a way to get off every so often while I'm married to my shit career, and not have to drag some embittered woman and my children around the country (and at this rate world) keeping my chemistry degree alive and pay of my student loan debt.

Or I can live in a more liiberal city where women have careers and agendas and understand the life I've been suckered into ... (the northeast gets it ... but the drug jobs are leaving there)

If i have to go Texas, so be it ... but I won't be happy about it.
67
@66 - well howdy - I am a CT native (Bridgeport area).

You may be shocked to find that women in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin do indeed have careers. (Like, um, for example Annise Parker, and her partner, who owns an accounting firm).

The schools statewide aren't nearly as good as CT. In Houston they are pretty good. Down in the Rio Grande Valley...well, not so much (as is true of most rural areas in the US).

I'm not saying Texas is some kind of wonderland. It is a good place to live. The major cities of Texas are major American cities, with all the good and bad that includes. I miss the beauty of New England. I don't miss the racial polarization of New England. I miss the walkability of Washington. I don't miss the toxic "let's fail no matter what" city government of Washington. Etc., etc.

It's a place, with good and bad features, like all others. There is a real sense of progress happening quickly, which is refreshing; I first set foot in Texas (not to live) 20 years ago, and the changes in Houston are nothing short of stunning.
68
maybe it doesn't exactly qualify as a "major" U.S. City, but the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island is openly gay and was when he ran for office. It isn't a huge city, but it is a the State's capitol.
69
68
sorry
The whole state of Rhode Island wouldn't qualify as a "major" U.S. City.
70
@52

Yeah, ATL gets props for being the city too busy hate, but it is still a shithole. And not trying to say it is the only gay friendly place in the South (even Mobile has a gay bar) but to try and compare the region as a whole to the PNW is ridiculous. And I say this as someone that grew up in S. Alabama, went to HS in Rome GA, college in Auburn and Mobile, then moved out to Seattle and now am sentenced for 3 to 5 years to Fayetteville NC. So I've been around the South a little bit.
71
I'm not saying I miss CT all that much either. The people are ok, the Northeast by far away seem to embrace their 20's much much better than just about any other region of the country I have ever been in (I haven't been to Southern Cal yet.) It's the only thing that makes having an aggressive career more bearable. (Thanks to the recession just about everyone's career is on hold, but well ... whatever).

As far schools go, children would be the only reason I would move back to CT. The public schools have some of the best teachers I have ever seen, and well ... it's because they are paid rather well. In fact, most school districts in the Northeast know their economy is dependent on having an educated mass.

And Texan ... I'm sure you know of many Texas vs. CTism. The Bushes aren't really from Texas at all, GB actually spent most of his residency in Greenwich, while GW was technically the first CT born U. S. president! He took contracts away from Sikorsky for Marine 1 and gave them to Houston aviation company that has NEVER MADE A HELICOPTER BEFORE. Not to mention his honorary degree from Yale in his first year their. (I mean really wtf was up with that.)

There may come a day when I have to go to Texas for a job, Texas receives a stupidly disproportionate amount of federal money ... but damn ...

My biggest gripe about living in Texas has less to do with Texas and just the lifestyle of living in sprawled desert cities, the smog, the traffic (although i hear Houston does have great roads). The wide open expansive plots of pavement, the small buildings, nobody walks anywhere. I always felt like New Haven gave me an adaquite break from suburbia, just to have a place to walk around, have a cup of coffee and relax. You can bar hop without begging for a DUI etc. etc.

Even I can find the Texan jackassery cute after a while, I seem to do surprisingly well with rednecks, because even though I have the long hair, I'm tall and build like a football player.

Hell, my only gripe with the Northwest is that they have a hard time coming to grips with non-androgenous looking men unless they already have children. Seattle seems to have enough people to play the numbers better and make it workable.