You know you're flying over the second largest state in the union when all you can see for miles and miles are open plains littered with cattle and dissected by rivers and streams. Texas is big. Texas is proud. Texas is unique. All in all, Texas can offer thousands of experiences of a lifetime - only one of which this entry covers.
Austin is not only the capital of Texas, but it's also the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the world. It boasts hundreds of venues providing music of all genres accompanied by hot Tex-mex cuisine and lazily chilled margaritas. Lest we should forget, this is Texas and country music is king and two-stepping its queen. This entry aims to provide the Researcher with the basics, the very basics, that will allow them to two-step in Texas with pride while maintaining a modicum of dignity. The two-step is a very simple, yet very graceful, dance that can accompany almost any country music track at almost any speed1.
Two-stepping for Gentlemen
Circle your partner's waist with your left arm and grab their left hand with your right hand.
Place your right foot in front of your left foot.
In time with the music, move your right foot forward in two quick steps.
Sweep your left foot forward to establish your starting position.
Repeat ad infinitum while gently moving in circles.
Two-stepping for Ladies
Grab your partner's left shoulder with your right hand while grabbing their free hand with your left.
Place your left foot behind your right foot intertwining with your partner's legs.
In time with the music, move your left foot back in two quick steps.
Sweep your right foot back to establish your starting position.
Repeat ad infinitum while being gently led in circles.
The following is this Researcher's unique experience of two-stepping in Texas:
You may be thinking that you can learn the basic two-step anywhere, but Austin provides a unique experience for gay men. For a one off experience, you must head off to the Rainbow Cattle Company on 305 West 5th Street in Austin. Take identification with you - it's a warming experience being asked to prove you are over 21 but an annoying one if you can't prove it.
Once inside, the British tourist will be struck by the decor and its uncanny resemblance to a grotty British Legion bar. It has a sticky, beer sodden floor, two bars, two snooker tables and faux-wood panelled walls. However, the unique feature of this bar is the rather large dance floor.
Actually, that's a lie. The unique feature is the sight of dozens of very masculine men in hats two-stepping in perfect synchronicity with other very masculine men in hats without a caring who's looking or what they are thinking. This is a welcome contrast to the stereotypical image many of us hold about the Texan Urban Cowboy.
Having taken in this sight and toe-tapped to 'She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy' by Kenny Chesney2, I was ready to head on home. That was until I was tapped on the shoulder and was asked;
'Excuse me Sir, would you like to two-step? I can teach yuh.'
How could I possibly refuse? Gobsmacked, flustered and delighted, I headed to the dance floor and two-stepped the next three or four minutes away with a Texan. The only twinge of embarrassment came when we had to decide who was to lead. If there's one thing guaranteed to make the British stiff upper lip quiver, then it's being led in the two-step by a Texan.
Thank you Jack...