You better bite your tongue when you visit Middleboro, Mass. Last week, residents voted in a town meeting to impose a $20 fine on any publicly uttered swear words.
While this may catch some travelers to the community by surprise, it’s not the only place the uttering of curse words is illegal. Here are some of the wackiest local laws that visitors should be aware of before venturing out.
1. Be careful what you wear
Laws governing clothing are common and should always be checked before traveling abroad. Qatar forbids indecent or revealing clothes, defined as “not covering shoulders and knees, tight or transparent clothes.” The Vatican City requires shoulder coverings and skirts or shorts to the knee in order to enter museums and churches. And, Castellammare di Stabia, south of Naples, has outlawed mini-skirts, low-cut jeans and too much cleavage, with violators risking a 300-euro fine.
Thailand has a law demanding that you wear underwear at all times – also a good idea in general.
In Italy, where foreign beach-goers can offend the local sensibility, laws often require cover-ups over swimsuits. In Lerici, on the Italian Riviera, you’re not allowed to walk the streets in just a swimsuit. That’s also true on the island of Capri, which has gone further to protect the serenity of the vacation spot by banning noisy shoes, such as clogs or wooden-soled sandals.
2. The shoes on your feet
Carmel, Ca., where Clint Eastwood was mayor, has a famous historic ban on woman wearing high heels. Though the law isn’t enforced, tourists can purchase a commemorative permit allowing them to wear the shoes.
But, you won’t get away with that in the historic sites around Greece. After many of the country’s landmarks, like the Acropolis, were damaged in recent years by visitors, the government banned people from wearing high heels at the ancient locations.
Urban legend also has it that the city of Blythe, Calif., bans people from wearing cowboy boots unless they own at least two cows. However, even the city manager of Blythe has never heard of that rule being enforced, so you’re probably safe in those boots.
3. Pull up your pants
While fashions change, one thing hasn’t. People wearing their pants sagged below the top of their boxers has had public officials up in arms for years. Five metro cities around Atlanta have banned saggy pants, skirts and shorts – specifically those more than three inches below the wearer’s hips. In Forest Park, Ga., violators can even face a $1,000 fine.
Montgomery County in Alabama levies a $100 fine against juveniles and $150 fine against adults with the slogan: “Raise your pants, raise your image.”
Delcambre, La., was the first town to make it a crime to “show your underwear in public.” There you can face six months in jail for a violation.