American Weird Laws

25 05 2010

While chatting with a friend about the Niqab ban in France I remembered I once read about a silly american law about dresses. You see enforcing dress codes has been tried all over the centuries and it usually doesn’t work unless you have an unusual rigid and suppressive dictatorial ruling system. Which automatically means that there is no way you can enforce dress rules in America and European countries. And you certainly can’t discriminate against one specific religious group. Not on the street nor outdoors. In security sensitive areas it is different, but then nobody is allowed to disguise their identity in such places.

Anyway, while trying to recall that American law about which dresses men are allowed to wear, I found a site which mentions a lot of amusing American laws… And I really have to share these!

So, the best of American Weird Laws:


  • In Miami, it is illegal for a man to wear any kind of strapless gown.
  • Unmarried women who parachute on Sundays may be jailed.
  • In Sarasota, it is illegal to sing while wearing a bathing suit.


  • In Chicago, it is illegal to fish in one’s pajamas.
  • In Chicago, it is illegal to take a French poodle to the opera.
  • According to state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is “American”.
  • In Guernee, it is illegal for women weighing more than 200 pounds to ride horses in shorts.
  • In Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the name Joliet.
  • Nebraska:

  • In Waterloo, barbers are forbidden from eating onions between 7am and 7pm.
  • In Omaha, barbers are forbidden from shaving their customers’ chests.
  • If a child burps during a church service in Omaha, his or her parents may be arrested.
  • It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
  • Iowa:

    In Fort Madison, firemen are required to practice for 15 minutes before attending a fire.


    • Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
    • It is illegal to deny the existence of God.
    • It is illegal to whistle underwater.


    • It is illegal for restaurants to sell cherry pie a la mode on Sundays.
    • In Wichita, a man’s mistreatment of his mother-in-law may not be used as grounds for divorce.
    • In Lang, it is illegal to ride a mule down Main Street in August, unless the animal is wearing a straw hat.
    • In Natoma, it is illegal to throw a knife at anyone wearing a striped shirt.


    It is illegal for a woman to appear in a bathing suit on a highway unless she is: escorted by at least two police officers; armed with a club; or lighter than 90 pounds or heavier than 200 pounds. The ordinance also specifically exempts female horses from such restrictions.

    • State law stipulates that a person is considered sober until he or she “cannot hold onto the ground”.
    • It is illegal to remarry the same man four times.


  • In Portland, it is illegal for men to tickle women under the chin with feather dusters.
  • In Rumford, it is illegal for a tenant to bite his/her landlord.
  • Tennessee:

  • In Dyersburg, it is illegal for a woman to call a man for a date.
  • In Memphis restaurants, it is illegal to give any pie to fellow diners. It is also illegal to take unfinished pie home. All pie must be eaten on the premises.
  • Also in Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself; “a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists.”
  • North Carolina:

    • In Charlotte, women must have their bodies covered by at least 16 yards of cloth at all times.
    • In Ashville, it is illegal to sneeze on city streets.
    • Ironically, Hornytown has banned all massage parlors.
    • State law mandates that all couples staying in rooms for one night must be kept in room with double beds, kept a minimum of two feet apart, and making love on the floor between the beds is strictly forbidden.
    • It is illegal to have sex in a churchyard.

    New Mexico:

    • In Raton, it is illegal for a woman to ride horseback down a public street with a kimono on.
    • The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is banned in Carlsbad.
    • State officials ordered 400 words of “sexually explicit material” to be cut from Romeo and Juliet.


  • In Boston, it is illegal to take a bath unless one has been ordered by a physician to do so.
  • In 1659, the state outlawed Christmas.
  • Texas:

    • The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
    • A recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.
    • In El Paso, churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons “of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them.”
    • It is illegal to milk another person’s cow.
    • In Houston, it is illegal to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday.
    • In LeFors, it is illegal to take more than three swallows of beer while standing.
    • In San Antonio, it is illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands.
    • In Mesquite, it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts.


    • In Saco, women are forbidden from wearing hats that “might frighten timid persons, children or animals.”
    • In St. Louis, it is illegal for an on-duty firefighter to rescue a woman wearing a nightgown; in order to be rescued, a woman must be fully dressed.
    • While children may purchase shotguns in Kansas City, they are not allowed to buy toy cap guns.
    • Missouri considers drunkenness an “inalienable right.”


    • Women may face up to 30 days in jail if they impersonate Santa Claus.
    • Every man in Brainerd is required by law to grow a beard.
    • It’s illegal to tease skunks.


  • It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
  • In Eureka, men who wear moustaches are forbidden from kissing women.
  • Ohio:

  • In Cleveland, women are forbidden from wearing patent leather shoes, lest men see reflections of their underwear.
  • In Columbus, it is illegal for stores to sell corn flakes on Sunday.
  • In Oxford, it is illegal for a women to disrobe in front of a man’s picture.
  • Pennsylvania:

    • “Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes”.
    • In Morrisville, women need a permit to wear cosmetics.
    • Ministers are forbidden from performing marriages when either the bride or groom is drunk.


  • Pocatello, “It is prohibited for pedestrians and motorists to display frowns, grimaces, scowls, threatening and glowering looks, gloomy and depressed facial appearances, generally all of which reflect unfavorably upon the city’s reputation.”
  • Boxes of candy given as romantic gifts must weigh more than 50 pounds.

  • Actions


    12 responses

    25 05 2010
    Personal Failure

    I love these! The funniest thing about them is that at some point, somebody thought these things were important enough to make illegal!

    25 05 2010

    yes, especially the details are so funny!
    My favorites are the man having to walk in front of the car waving a flag, and a woman in bathingsuit always having to be guarded by armed police men!

    25 05 2010
    Yo' Momma

    Great post. I was especially troubled by the man in the pink dress, but also turned on. Is that wrong?

    25 05 2010

    No, it was not a strapless dress, so that’s perfectly within the law…
    Welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

    26 05 2010

    They’re all seem so funny now but surely that wasn’t the case when these laws were made.Can’t decide which is the funniest of them all πŸ™‚ Never realise that America had or still has such laws.

    26 05 2010

    “Boxes of candy given as romantic gifts must weigh more than 50 pounds.”

    Aw heck yeah, Idaho!! Make mine chocolate, please! πŸ˜€

    (Though I suppose this could cause a substantial weigh gain…hmmmm.)

    These are great! Glad my country could make you laugh! I find weird laws like this so funny. I’m glad you compiled a list! πŸ™‚

    27 05 2010

    I never knew Americans could be funnier than the fatwas I once posted πŸ˜€

    Haha! This is hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

    28 05 2010

    Hopefully these laws are not enforced. πŸ™‚

    4 06 2010

    Aafke you forgot New York!
    Its illegal to sit on plastic milk carts.
    Its illegal to cross between train bunks.
    Its illegal to cross the street when its a red light- aah but New Yorks, we are notorious Jay Walkers!

    8 06 2010
    Rob F

    Most of these loony laws are probably spurious or exaggerations of real laws; for example, Snopes debunks a bunch of Arizona ones. In any case, many are certainly unconstitutional (such as the Vermont law making it illegal to deny the existence of God).

    Of course, some loony laws are real. I think this Australian one takes the cake:

    Commissioner may disregard scheme in making declarations

    For the purposes of making a declaration under this Subdivision, the Commissioner may:

    (a) treat a particular event that actually happened as not having happened; and
    (b) treat a particular event that did not actually happen as having happened and, if appropriate, treat the event as:


    (i) having happened at a particular time; and


    (ii) having involved particular action by a particular entity; and
    (c) treat a particular event that actually happened as:


    (i) having happened at a time different from the time it actually happened; or


    (ii) having involved particular action by a particular entity (whether or not the event actually involved any action by that entity).

    14 06 2010

    These are so hilarious. I had read many of them years ago – it’s incredible that most of them are still on the books and people could technically be arrested for committing these “crimes.”

    26 07 2010

    In one state I believe it is still illegal to harm or threaten a butterfly. Or in any way destroy a tobacco plant.

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