Houston is a transient city. Every day it becomes increasingly difficult to find a Houstonian from Houston. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, net migration accounts for 49 percent of Houston's population growth since 2000. Yet with all of this diversity and constant movement, there is one thing that Houston seems to agree on and it's not barbecue: We really don't like Dallas. Ask any newbie or life-longer and they will agree. "Houston is way better than Dallas."
It's difficult to put a finger on what our issue is with the Big D. It's a nice city, good restaurants, museums, all that Kennedy history, so what is Houston's damage with Dallas? Our fierce clash finds justification with the Bravo network's latest of non-real reality shows, Most Eligible Dallas. The show is about a group of hot singles "living it up," mixing and mingling at clubs and social affairs. No one can say Most Eligible is anything new in the awful-concepts department, it's just Jersey Shore in Texas. The characters aren't more loathsome than any number of real housewives in any number of horrible cities. So, what is it about this show that hits a nerve?
Most Eligible Dallas is the epitome of everything Houston wants to hate about its obnoxious cousin city, big hair, fake boobs, an air of Southern snobbery and using charity events as hook-up spots. Is this the way Dallas wants to be represented in the national media?
Art Attack stomached episode one of the show and found that each character represents a distinctive Dallasite rationale for why Houston is the best place to be in the Lone Star state.
Character: Neill Skylar Neill is a single mom who ran away to Hollywood to hit it big as a singer, but made an eventual return to her hometown. She continues to pursue her aspirations as a musician, just now in Dallas. Why We're Better: Our Music Scene Destroys Dallas's Meat Loaf? Usher? What has Dallas done to contribute musically to society? Stevie Ray may have been born in Dallas, but he high-tailed it out of there right quick. Maybe Houston has not spawned the alt-rock groups of Austin fame, but we'll take our Queen B over Ashley Simpson any day.
Character: Drew Ginsburg Drew is the show's token homosexual, yet he describes himself as being not that gay. He works for his family's high-priced car dealership, and he talks a lot about his love of cars and his non-love of flamboyancy, "You want to talk carbon fiber, you want to talk fuel injection, you want to talk horsepower, then I'm your guy. You want to talk Armani, you want to talk Versace, you want to talk the arts, go find another queer."
Why We're Better: We Are LGBT Proud Houston certainly prides itself on its open-door policy when it comes to the LGBT community and why shouldn't we? We have the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city and our pride parade is the largest gay pride event in the Southwest.
Character: Tara Harper Tara considers herself to be the quintessential Dallas girl. She loves being a workin' gal for her daddy's company. Tara, with her big, glossy hair and caked-on makeup, has strict rules on dating, she likes to talk about the "good stock" she's from and in two episodes she's knocked the female gender down to pre-suffragette days. Why We're Better: Houston Women Have Brains Houston women are leading the charge in every area of business in the city. Ladies such as University of Houston's President and Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator, who is taking UH into Tier 1 status, or Catherine Mosbacher, the CEO and President of local think tank The Center for Houston's Future, or the nationally recognized, award-winning chef Monica Pope or Houston's Director of Sustainability Laura Spanjian, who is out to make every light bulb in the city an LED -- our women have the goods. Character: Glen Pakulak Glen is a punter for the Oakland Raiders. There doesn't seem to be any particular reason why he is in Dallas, but while he waits out the potential football lockout (we're guessing this was filmed sometime in the spring), he models and designs clothing and models some more. Why We're Better: Our Athletes May Be Bad (in sports and life), But At Least They Man Up Take Houston Texan Kareem Jackson's Twitter fail when he posted pictures of himself at a cockfight. He may have also done some porn. He said sorry.
"I'm man enough to say I made some bad decisions," Jackson told the Houston Chronicle. "(One) wasn't my fault. I can admit when I'm wrong. At the same time, I'm able to accept (responsibility) and learn from it.
Character: Courtney Kerr Courtney is a fashionista. She loves clothing and "regularly attends fashion shows." She describes her style as "unique," like how Neiman's is unique.
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Why We're Better: Houstonians Really Are Fashionable You name the style, someone in H-Town is wearing it. If you like your clothing to stand out, head to Montrose for the never-ending sea of thrift, vintage and boutique clothing shops. Houston has got your upscale, too; littered throughout River Oaks and the Galleria areas you can find couture to off-the-rack high fashion items. We even have our own version of New York's Chinatown in Harwin where knockoff bags are a dime a dozen. (And we'll get that H&M soon enough, Dallas!)
Character: Matt Nordgren Matt is a stereotypical guy's guy who likes his ladies with big hair and lots of alcohol. He seems to have little to no redeeming qualities except his association with The Leadership Foundation and Gala -- which helps underprivileged children develop character and strength through sports and educational programs. We're guessing he's into the sports/gala part.
Why We're Better: Houston Is Serious About Its Charities Last year Charity Navigator, an independent guide to all things nonprofit, rated Houston as the number two most charitable city in the country. We have thousands of nonprofits and we keep them going with excellent individual and corporate support, as well as the generosity of the city's foundations and endowments.
Does Houston need its own reality show? Nah, we don't need to be on TV to feel good about ourselves. We can just blog about how great we think we are.