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Where have all the cowboys gone?

Byline: LucySweet

EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, apparently, and now I'm back from my rock 'n' roll tour of America, I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

Everything in the best (small) country in the world seems so tiny.

My flat is the size of my room at the Holiday Inn, the local shop is stocked with one tin of beans and a banana and I'm so used to eating portions of food that are bigger than my head that even a KFC bucket looks woefully small.

America may have its low points, such as George Bush and the death penalty, but the land of plenty knows how to show you a good time.

Don't get me wrong, I love Scotland. But when it comes to service with a smile, a surly woman in a hairnet chucking a cheese pastie at you in the local baker's just doesn't match up to a waiter who introduces himself as your personal food slave, explains the menu in loving detail, plies you with trays of delicious steak fajitas and whitefish tacos and tops up your margarita every 25 seconds.

"Have a nice day" was ringing out all over the place and, if you weren't having one, the measures were so big there was every possibility you'd be having one momentarily, just before you passed out under the table. But there are things that Texas doesn't score well on, and that's men.

For an avid attractive boy appreciator like me, the pickings in the Lone Star state were very slim.

Me and Kristina, my New York pal, were under the impression that rock festivals in Texas would harbour hot indie cowboys waiting to charm us with their southern drawl.

But no. Although we developed a code to alert each other to the possibilities (the nice ones were "crepe suzette" and the others were "meatballs"), there were more meatballs than the a la carte at DiMaggios restaurant.

At one gig during the South by Southwest festival, we found ourselves standing beside a man with a terrifying mullet, a moustache, a denim waistcoat and a T-shirt featuring a full-size cartoon of a woman in a bikini.

"Is that guy for real?" a drunken guy asked us, almost falling backwards off his chair.

"I think so," we replied, as Billy Ray Cyrus turned round to reveal the back of his T-shirt - the bikini-clad cartoon woman's bottom in a thong.

"Would you ladies like a drink?" slurred drunken man, staggering to his feet and nearly falling over.

"Er, no thanks." Urrgh. Meatballs two, crepe suzettes nil. Fortunately, on day four, our luck began to change. We found ourselves in Allen's Boots, an amazing emporium of country and western paraphernalia that would make Roy Rogers fall off his horse.

Unfortunately, the shiny red and white cowboy boots I was coveting cost more than a mansion in Nashville, so I consoled myself by buying a place mat instead.

At the counter, there he was. The Texan totty we'd been waiting for. A blue-eyed, floppy-haired cowboy in a checked shirt and jeans, manning the cash register as if it were his own personal cattle ranch, with a price gun slung low on his hip.

Never has one person made the world of retail seem so enticing.

But as I ran up there with my place mat, I was accosted by an older man before I could even get a good look at my cowb oy's chaps.

"Hey, have a look at this," said the man, handing me a brown packet.

"What is it?" I asked.

"That there's a box of rattlesnake eggs," he drawled. "Open it."

I looked at my hot cowboy, but he was too busy working the till.

Tentatively, I opened the packet and put my hand in.

"Arrrgh!" I screamed, as a metal spring almost snapped by finger off.

"Hur hur, gotcha!" he hollered.

As I winced in pain, I just had time to notice that hot cowboy was laughing like a drain at the gullible tourist, and I had to stagger off and pretend to look at a cabinet of belt buckles to recover my composure.

Yep, everything sure is bigger in Texas - such as my beam er.

l.sweet@dailyrecord.co.uk

We found ourselves beside a man with a terrifying mullet and a T-shirt featuring a full-size cartoon of awoman in a bikini
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 27, 2006
Words:726
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