The United States is a kissy culture. Sure, we don’t always kiss in greeting like some places, but we still kiss hello and goodbye. We kiss on the cheek affectionately, kiss boo-boos for children, and kiss passionately on the lips in a new romance. With kissing such an ingrained part of our culture, you might be amazed to discover there are some outright strange laws regarding kissing here in the U.S.
For example, Blackstone School of Law and Business shares that it is illegal for a man to kiss a sleeping woman in Logan County, Colorado (via Facebook). In general, one shouldn’t be kissing sleeping strangers at all and a kiss goodnight to family doesn’t seem legislative-worthy, so we definitely wonder how this highly specific law came about. There’s also a widespread rumor that it is illegal for mustachioed men to kiss in Iowa, but the government library of Iowa says this is just plain false — and perhaps part of an Iowan inside joke (via State Library of Iowa).
Kissing laws extend beyond couples
Kissing laws cover more than just couples (and humans for that matter). Did you know that in Illinois, pet store owners must warn buyers: “Don’t nuzzle or kiss your pet reptile” (via Illinois General Assembly)? Pet store owners must post notice warnings that include this exact language — so watch those lizard lips. Historically, there were all sorts of simply ridiculous laws regarding kissing.
Take the 1902 Missouri case of Gus Rowland and “pretty Lizzie Lewellan” (via Kristin Holt). Joining Lewellan on a porch swing, the young Rowland was said to lean in close to her face. According to both parties involved — nothing even happened — but scandalized neighbors testified before a jury trial. Young Rowland was fined for $25 and ended up spending the night in jail, although the exact crime was unlisted. And as a reminder that we aren’t alone in being weird, in France, a law has been on the books since 1910, forbidding passengers to kiss on train platforms (The Culture Trip). It’s uncertain whether it was ever enforced, but technically kissing is illegal at the train station too.
And for our thoughts on these silly rules — as the Violent Femmes would say, “Kiss off!”
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