Thanks to Santa Claus and the Pillsbury Dough Boy, we all share the delusion that fat people are jolly. Ever heard of Chris Christie? Let me tell you, if you happen to live in his glorious Garden State and don’t make at least $750,000 a year, you should be worried about one day finding yourself beneath the heel of one of his extra-wide Gucci loafers.


But while all fat people might not be jolly, they may still be, well, cool. Everyone knows that every time Men’s Health comes out with another one of its studies of the fattest/fittest cities in the nation, the name “Houston” appears (after stopping every 30 seconds to catch its breath and panting) near the top if not at the top of the dubious side of the ledger. You’d think that for such a, uh, big-boned city, offering the kind of cultural and commercial phenomena essential to attracting and keeping hip, young, and assumedly svelte residents would be difficult. But The Bayou City, according to a new study by Forbes, is not only keeping cool but out-cooling every other city.



From assorted data, including entertainment options and racial diversity, Forbes’ writers arrived at the startling conclusion that Houston is the coolest city in the nation. No, they aren’t kidding. The main criterion propelling H-town to the top of the list is jobs –– Houston has ’em. The city experienced 2.6-percent job growth last year, attracting nearly 50,000 folks, especially young professionals.


As a result, Forbes says, Houston’s cultural profile has changed dramatically, for the cooler, an influx of new (non-chain) restaurants, art galleries/spaces, and watering holes manifesting the new wave. Dallas ranked fourth on Forbes’ hip barometer and Fort Worth 13th. (Austin ranked *gulp* 19th.)


Of course, this is all crazy talk. We’re not saying Houston isn’t hip –– Montrose was gay-friendly before gay-friendly was cool, and the local music scene has always been dynamic and fertile. But c’mon. Ever been to downtown Houston on a Friday or Saturday night? Two words: Douche Central. Plus, a highway runs right through downtown, not a single square foot of the entire city is unencumbered by some gleaming, skyscraping monstrosity or bodega, and perhaps spurned by Dallas –– and Dallas –– envy, finely coiffed blue-hairs run everything.


Oh, yeah. And everyone’s fat.


Just kidding. Not everyone, of course. Only the poor people, which does nothing but throw into relief the sobering fact that the gap between Houston’s haves and have-nots is expansive (the fourth worst in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau).


Where’s THAT Forbes study?


  1. One thing they didn’t measure is the number of couples riding around in the car while the wife sings Spandau Ballet’s “True” and the husband loses his mind. It’s usually in a Chevy Malibu. Said to be the leading cause of domestic violence, even in Denmark.

  2. Actually, the center of Houston is pretty cool. Great restaurants, clubs, parks, etc. While “outside the loop” might be a different story, Houston’s set up is probably no different than most other cities (ever venture outside Manhattan, or downtown San Francisco?–not so pretty, if you ask me).

    • Though I haven’t been in a couple of years, the center of Houston, at the time, was pretty glitzy and cheesy (with SOME exceptions). The more down-to-earth neighborhoods were Washington Ave, The Heights, and Montrose. I’m assuming much hasn’t changed since 2010, but I could be *gasp* wrong. Anyway, thanks for your comment, canamar.