How to be a Transplant Texan (Bless your Heart)

by Mike Cheney 

              It’s amazing how a phrase said in one part of the country can mean something totally different in Texas.  The one phrase that immediately comes to mind is “bless your heart”.  When growing up, my grandmother would tell me that when I did something good. Be it eating everything on my plate; clean my room without being told or holding the door for my sisters, I was sure to hear “bless your heart” as a term of endearment from that dear woman.  Little did I know that in Texas, it usually means something totally different that if you don’t know what it really means is a compliment whereas those that really know what is implied will make everyone in the room snicker under their breath.


                To a Texan, saying “bless your heart” to someone is usually associated with “you’re a meathead, aren’t you?” or something very similar to that effect.  Being that Texans are polite, they have an amazing ability to know when to use tact and when to come out and say what they are thinking without holding punches back.  If a Texan tells you “bless your heart”, they have already decided that in the company they are in, the tactful approach was the best avenue to use.  Odds are, it’s a lady that will tell you this phrase.  And most ladies here seldom swear in public, so this phrase is used frequently.

                I remember an incident where I was at a friend’s mama’s house and she used the phrase.  I had just learned what it really meant to a Texan.  As we were sitting their talking to mama (who was an absolute picture of what a Texas lady was mind you; she has since passed away) my friend said something that actually drew the phrase out of mama.  As she said it, I was drinking something and nearly spit it out across the room laughing.  Needless to say, mama knew that I knew absolutely what she was getting at and she gave me a smile that meant the world to me.



3 Replies to “How to be a Transplant Texan (Bless your Heart)”

  1. I have friends who say I can slap you up side your head without ever touching you and you will go away thinking that I just gave you a compliment! lol Texan thru and thru, y’all.

  2. Another couple of ways to translate “Bless your heart!” are: 1. “You’re just a special kinda stupid…aren’t ya honey?” or, 2. (With a sypathetic frown) “Your mama smoked and drank a whole lot when she was expecting you…didn’t she?”

  3. OMG!!! My big grandma was so amazing. if you did something deserving of a scolding she would talk to you for bout 5 minutes and say “now, i love you”. at this point you reply in kind and leave. Well i would be feeling all good and loved and in about 20 minutes it hits me, “i just got my butt chewed and did’nt realise it”. i loved that woman. may she rest in peace.

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