Such is the case for North Texas’ cities, which have been christened with organically spawned nicknames such as Fort Worth’s “Panther City” and the obviously chosen and focus-grouped ones such as The Colony’s “City by the Lake.”
Other terrible city nicknames include Arlington’s “The American Dream City,” Gainesville’s “The Front Porch of Texas,” Denton’s “Little Austin” (a name that sounds like if Verne Troyer played Austin Powers’ Mini-Me instead of Dr. Evil’s) and the Hurst-Euless-Bedford tri-city area’s nickname of “HEB.” (We don’t need two entities named “HEB” in Texas.)
And just like children, nicknames can develop into a source of great pride or immense shame for one’s legacy. For better, worse or neither, below are five of DFW’s best nicknames.
City of Champions (Duncanville)
Kurt Vonnegut once wrote a book called Breakfast of Champions, and whether this had any hand in it or not, the phrase has been so heavily ingrained into American English that people who post a picture of a hearty breakfast on Instagram frequently caption it “Breakfast of champions.”
There’s not much by way of literature or public record that can answer for the nickname's origins. But if we were to guess, we would wager that it has something to do with Duncanville’s athletic presence. We say that due in part to the fact that a cursory Google search for “Duncanville city of champions” finds sports-related stories saying something to the effect of “Duncanville defends its ‘City of Champions’ title in the latest game.”
It’s certainly a fitting moniker, too, as a who’s-who of athletes graduated from Duncanville High, including NFL players like retired running back Barry Foster and MLB pitcher Mike Bacsik (who later encountered a fall-from-grace lesson that the Internet is forever after tweeting a racially insensitive remark).
Either way, the name "City of Champions" has bravado, even if it comes off a little too cocksure for a city where Gov. Greg Abbott spent his formative years.
FloMo (Flower Mound)
FloMo rhymes with “FOMO” and sounds like a collaborative project between rappers Flo Rida and SoMo. Sure, neither rapper has moved the needle at all lately, but Flower Mound’s abysmal street cred makes them look like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in comparison.
Funkytown (Fort Worth)
The name “Funkytown” has a nice ring to it, but above all else, there’s no denying that the moniker has cultivated its share of mystique over the years.
Really, how is a city that has more than earned its nickname “Cowtown” become “funky?” The titular hit song by Lipps Inc. certainly doesn’t capture its essence, and the city hasn’t been a stomping ground for funk legends like George Clinton or Chaka Khan.
So what caused the nickname “Funkytown” to be coined in the first place? Was it a marketing gimmick city officials took part in decades ago to jump on the funk music bandwagon? Did the entire city smell like a dorm room trash can filled with tissues at some point?
We’ll probably never know for certain, but in 2017, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy gave a fascinating account of how the city was first dubbed “Funky Fort Worth” in the 1980s. The legend goes that the nickname came about as a response to the slogan "Keep Austin Weird," and first appeared on a T-shirt as a joke. While the origin of the nickname is backed by sturdy anecdotal evidence, its development over the years has been scantily documented and further propagated by radio hosts and musicians such as Fort Worthian Leon Bridges.
And so an aura of mystique surrounding “Funkytown” remains. And that’s how you know a nickname kicks ass.
Big D (Dallas) / Little D (Denton)
These nicknames may apply to different cities, but they convey a similar theme that hits on the same beat. As the names imply, the cities are relatively different in size.
And speaking of size, the nicknames have given residents countless opportunities to make the occasional dick joke. Chances are, you giggled upon reading “Big D” and “Little D” just now.
Penis jokes truly are the universal language that reconstructs the Tower of Babel and breaks down language barriers. As Werner Herzog once said, “It’s funny to say they are small; it’s funny to say they are big.”
To that end, Pilot Point needs to be given the nickname “PP” to expand North Texas’s Rolodex of phallic nicknames.
City of Hate (Dallas)
We all know the story of why Dallas has been given the nickname “City of Hate,” from the John F. Kennedy assassination to the racism.
While it’s by no means a flattering name, it’s nonetheless a visceral one that comes to grips with the ugly aspects of the city’s history. Nicknames don’t always denote something favorable about their subject, and sometimes in life, we’re due for a sober reckoning of the past.