Q: I recently gifted my boyfriend a bespoke guayabera made by a Texas shirtmaker, and it didn’t go as planned. He has a couple of guayaberas, but they’re the cheap polyester kind, so I thought he’d like one made of nice end-on-end broadcloth in a beautiful shade of light pink. Problem is, he won’t wear it because it’s pink! He says a real Texas man doesn’t wear pink. I say he’s crazy. And kind of rude. Am I wrong?

Cile Benedict, Houston

A: A bespoke guayabera! What a thoughtful and generous gift. The Texanist’s own special lady friend, who is familiar with his fondness for this shirt style, has been similarly bighearted throughout their coupledom, treating him to what has amounted to a colorful rackful of guayaberas and earning the Texanist’s boundless gratitude. But even when the Texanist springs for such garments on his own dime (he once bought three in a single trip to the H-E-B plus! in Flour Bluff), he counts himself a lucky Texas man. He just loves guayaberas. Even pink ones!

For the uninformed, a guayabera, sometimes known colloquially as a Mexican wedding shirt or a Yucatán shirt, is one of those snazzy tops, usually but not always short sleeved, that typically features four patch pockets and two rows of pleating that run in line with the pockets down the front from the shoulders to the hem. Sometimes there are rows of pleating on the back of the shirt too. And sometimes the rows of pleating are embellished with intricate embroidery. And sometimes they come in pink! They’re predominantly but not exclusively worn by men and are a staple of wardrobes across Latin America and the islands of the Caribbean.

Guayaberas are also quite common in the wardrobes of Texans. The Texanist has noticed that the fancy custom jobs crafted of nontraditional materials—seersucker, gingham, end-on-end broadcloth—have seen an uptick in popularity over the last few years. The Texanist even has a couple such beauties (compliments of the missus) from the San Antonio–based shirtmaker Dos Carolinas. He’s also been the focus of targeted social media marketing  from the upscale likes of Houston’s Paris Texas Apparel Co. and Austin’s Texas Standard brand and has eyeballed goods from both. 

As the Texanist opined in a column about the guayabera a decade ago, “the combination of elegant pleating and abundant pocketry (as well as the blousy fit, which can easily cloak an extra ten to fifteen pounds at the midsection) makes it a favorite.” Ten years on, this remains his view. Even when the shirt is rendered in pink!

Which is why the Texanist is sort of flummoxed at your boyfriend’s reaction to your kind gift. Just what sort of person is this significant other of yours anyway, Ms. Benedict? Is he stuck in a bygone era when it was common to assume that a fella who wore a pink shirt was “kinda funny” or “light in the Luccheses”? Is your beau not aware that one of the most important traits of a “real Texas man” is an abundance—an overabundance, some say—of self-confidence? Does he lack such confidence? 

The Texanist will have him know that all sorts of “real Texas men” wear pink shirts. Just recently, in fact, the Texanist saw a photo of legendary bull rider Tuff Hedeman in a pink Western shirt—under a pink floral-print jacket. With a gold bow tie! Other professional athletes—and not just golfers—wear them too. As do good ol’ boys, doctors, plumbers, lawyers, restaurant maître d’s, rappers, barbers, chefs, roughnecks, and at least one famous Texas-based magazine advice columnist that the Texanist is aware of. Yes, the Texanist’s own wardrobe happens to be enlivened by several pink shirts, including one of those H-E-B plus! guayaberas. And the last time he checked, the Texanist was a real Texas man. 

Simply put, Ms. Benedict, the Texanist believes that you have sized up the situation aptly. Yes, your boyfriend is crazy (your word); yes, he is kind of rude (also your word); and, no, you are not wrong. 

Now with that taken care of, the Texanist has a question of his own: does your boyfriend happen to wear extra-large shirts? The Texanist asks because he’d be happy to add yet another guayabera to his kaleidoscopic rack. Especially one delivered to him by a real nice Texas lady such as yourself. 

Have a question for the Texanist? He’s always available here. Be sure to tell him where you’re from. 

This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “The Texanist.” Subscribe today.