Good News, Ladies! Now You Can Wear Pants In Paris

Are you a woman planning a trip to Paris? Well, now you can pack a pair of pants without fear of running afoul of the law. The BBC reports that it is now legal for women to wear pants in the City of Love.

The city government has finally struck a law off the books dating back to 1800 that required women to get police permission before “dressing like a man.” Around the turn of the past century, concessions were made to ladies riding horses or bicycles but in general, fairer sex had to stick to skirts.

The law, of course, has not been enforced in many years. It isn’t the only odd law on the books. Every state and city has a few antiquated regulations that the local government doesn’t remember existing, let alone trying to enforce. There are a bazillion websites on the Internet listing weird laws.

Many of these are apocryphal, however. One I heard while living in Arizona stated that it’s illegal to wear suspenders in Nogales. The law supposedly dates back to Prohibition. Nogales, being a border town, was full of gringos heading south of the border to get drunk. It still is. Back in Prohibition days, the story goes, some tried to smuggle bottles back over the border into the U.S. and wore suspenders to keep their pants from falling down from the extra weight. The bullshit-cleaning website Snopes actually checked and found that no such law ever existed.

For every old weird law that gets eliminated, a new one crops up. Live Science has a great list of weird state laws that took effect at the beginning of 2013. In Oregon, for example, it’s now illegal for employers to post job openings if they won’t consider hiring someone who is unemployed. Perverts will be disappointed to learn that it is now illegal to have sex with a corpse in Illinois. It used to be that if you got caught with a cadaver the worst you could be charged with was criminal damage to property.

Um… since when are corpses considered property? Whose property?

[Photo courtesy Procsilas Moscas]

Philadelphia cracks down on texting and walking

Philadelphia has taken what most savvy travelers would call a “safety” issue and turning it into a legal one … sort of. The city is issuing warnings to pedestrians who walk down the street and text or play on their smartphones.

The practice, while annoying to other pedestrians and motorists who may suffer from your lack of paying attention, isn’t illegal, but highly discouraged.

“Pedestrians may be reminded to be more aware of their surroundings; however, there are no citations issued by the PPD for texting while walking,” said Rina Cutler, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Public Utilities, in a statement obtained by NBC Philadelphia.

The only offense for which one can receive a ticket is jaywalking.

The city is using grant money to fund the cost of increased enforcement.

What do you think, friends of the City of Brotherly Love? Should texting and walking be a ticket-able or warn-able offense? Will you be more cognizant of your texting behavior when you next visit Philadelphia?

[Flickr via Ed Yourdon]

Top 10 stupidest laws you may encounter abroad

We’ve all heard about the ridiculous, archaic laws of the United States, stuff about shooting bison from trains and grazing your cows on Boston Common and so forth. But it’s imperative to be aware of completely useless laws in other parts of the world, in case you should happen to travel there and find yourself in a really, really unlikely situation.

Here they are, the top 10 stupidest laws you may encounter abroad:

  1. Australia – It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burglar.
  2. France – Between the hours of 8AM and 8PM, 70% of the music in the radio must be by French composers.
  3. Thailand – It is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear.
  4. Italy – It is an offence for women of ‘ill repute or evil looks’ to enter a cheese factory in the area of Ferrara.
  5. Scotland – It is illegal to be a drunk while in possession of a cow.
  6. France – It is illegal in Antibes to take photos of police officers or police vehicles, even if they are just in the background. (I hope the photo at right isn’t from Antibes!)
  7. Lebanon – Men are legally allowed to have sex with animals so long as the animals are female. It is illegal to have sex with a male animal.
  8. China – Women are prohibited from walking around a hotel room in the nude. A woman may only be naked whilst in the bathroom.
  9. Hong Kong – A woman is legally allowed to kill her cheating husband, only if she uses her bare hands. The husband’s lover however may be killed in any manner desired.
  10. Switzerland – A man may not relieve himself while standing up, after 10 P.M.

BONUS: In parts of Tuscany, it’s illegal to put something into a minibar.
BONUS 2: We’ve got 10 more stupid laws.

Laws got these women in trouble. What’d they do wrong?