Kristen Kovatch gives us three surefire ways to distinguish real cowboys from cowboy wannabes.
Halloween’s coming up, folks. Do you have your costume picked out? I’ve got to admit that more often than not I totally cheat at this holiday, wear my normal day-to-day attire and tell people “I’m a cowgirl for Halloween!” (Nine times out of 10, this works.)
But for the rest of the year, how can you tell what’s costume and what’s authentic? How do you know you’re talking to a REAL cowboy?
Three warning signs:
1. The Hat.
Anything that curls like this is labeled “Fashion Cowboy Hat” and should be worn ONLY by girls on spring break. (Kenny Chesney is also an acceptable answer.) If it has seashells on it or fake conchos and appears to be tie-dyed, be alert; you’re talking to a fake. A real straw hat with the cutter, cattleman or Congress crease are green lights (in the summer only–after the temperature drops, better be felt.) Braided raffia? Straw fringe? A Corona logo? Not legit. Not a real cowboy.
2. The Boots.
Pointed-toe boots are up for debate, to be fair. Traditionalists will claim that the pointed toe is the original boot style for cowboys, since they harken back to a boot that was easy to slip into a stirrup. Add the harness straps, however, and you’ve lost me. Popular boot styles today on the rodeo and show circuits include round and square toe. Save the pointed toes for dancing. Tucking jeans into boots is acceptable ONLY with extra-tall cowboy boots (and even then, only if you’re Aaron Ralston.) Talking to a tall drink of water with pointed toes, slanted heels AND a girls-gone-wild-spring-break hat? Look out, ladies, this is not a real cowboy.
3. The Buckle.
This one’s easy. What’s on the buckle? If it doesn’t include an event, date, or title, then he didn’t win it. Does it sport a longhorn cow, NRA logo or whitetail deer? You have found a distant cousin of the cowboy known as the “country boy.” Country boys often know their way around the hayfield, pitchfork and pickup truck and can make a suitable alternative to cowboys, especially for practical use on the farm.
Keep this field guide handy for cowboy identification.
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