Hand signs appear to be fairly common in college sports. Arizona State has the awful-looking trident, Miami makes a U with two hands, nearly every school that starts with an O just makes a circle with both hands and Florida fans decide to get a two-arm workout while attempting to look like an Alligator chomping. Possibly no other state does hand signs quite like Texas however. Attempting to look like the least scariest gangs, all the students of any Texas school that has a football team knows exactly what colors to wear and what hand sign to throw up during a game. This should help you better understand the Longhorn vs Houston Hand Sign difference.
Texas Tech uses the classic finger pistol, Baylor attempts to look like a bear claw but ends up looking like they are trying to grab a boob (likely without consent) and like practically everything else they do, SMU just copies TCU’s already awkward hand sign. Some have surprisingly gruesome origins such as Texas A&M’s family-friendly thumbs up that happens to refer to gigging (Northern translation: spearing something with a prong; commonly a frog). Or even the University of Houston shocker hand sign that was derived from their old SWC rival Longhorn fans making fun of the live cougar mascot getting one of its toes ripped off its paw in the cage while on the field, hence the missing finger. None are quite as common as the Texas Longhorn’s Hook em horns hand sign. Everyone from George W. Bush to Matthew McConaughey likes to toss up the horns every now and again. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion revolving around this hand sign that I wish to clear up once and for all.
Not only in Austin, but if you live anywhere in Texas, outside of College Station of course, you will likely see the hook em horns gesture regularly, especially during football season. This is to be expected of course and although it might trigger all the unappreciated Tech fans, the Longhorn is a common gesture in the Lone State between two burnt orange shirts, like a head nod. In fact, with how big both the state of Texas and the university are, the longhorn hand sign may be the most recognized college sports gesture throughout the world. This wide popularity is unfortunately what has led to this confusion that I am about to bring to light.
“It’s a backwards hook’em horns. Trust me. I went to Grace MS with Jay Prince’s son. I’m the vanilla face about that life.” – Random comment on a forum.
Other than Atlanta, I feel like cities usually don’t have a hand sign that is regularly used (I’m referring of course to peace up, A town down, obviously). Unless you’re some SoundCloud rapper from the suburbs that tries to rep a city you live an hour outside, most people leave the hand signs up to college sports. That is not true for Houston however. Through the deep-rooted rap culture and Texans’ bull logo, Houston has adopted its own hand sign. Sadly, it looks very similar to the longhorn. If you turn the horns around so your palm is facing in instead of out and straighten up that pinky and index finger a bit, those horns start to look like the top of an H.
The Houston rap culture is so predominant in the community that it is accepted and praised throughout nearly every demographic. Not only inner-city kids, but suburban kids and frat guys all bang screw and slim thug, and it’s actually considered normal. They don’t try to dress like rappers and live a wannabe thug life either. They can look like the most private school rich kid you have ever seen and yet they will know every word to Z-Ro’s legendary freestyle, Mo City Don (which is practically a requirement for any true Houstonian). That’s just Houston though. The hip-hop culture is embraced. The University of Houston even has a Houston rap collection in the library featuring pioneers such as DJ Screw, Big Moe and UGK. While other cities may have a divide in culture between demographics, this significant cultural blanket in Houston causes things like a hand sign to become much more popular. Not only in rap, the H hand sign is used for the Houston Texans as a bull, much like the longhorn for UT.
It’s no surprise that these hand signs get confused for each other. Due to the Longhorn’s popularity, most people outside of Texas would see a Houstonian throwing up the H and just assume it’s a backwards longhorn. This usually isn’t the case. Of course, when celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey decides to be an individual and do the longhorn hand sign backwards, it further confuses my argument but he lives in Austin, not Houston. So next time you see a non-UT Houstonian throwing an H up, don’t assume it’s for the Longhorns because it’s likely for Htown.
Here’s a great example of an H Town hand sign. If you’re HouSTONian or just love reppin’ H Town, checkout the Chairgatin’ merchandise store for some great, original merch.