Next time you plan to go fishing, wear a dress, put on false facial hair or murder your husband's Hong Kong-based mistress with anything other than your bare hands, you had better think again. There may be an oddball law prohibiting it.
Wacky laws are alive and well and on the books in most American states and in many international destinations. Although it is rare to find oneself under arrest for driving more than 2,000 sheep down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles or throwing out anything but water and chicken feathers from a car in California, the law is the law and it could happen.
To prevent getting tickets, fines or spending time in the clinker, here are the top ten of the wackiest laws you need to know about as you head off in your travels.
1. In Alabama, it is unlawful to wear a false mustache in church and cause "unseemly laughter." The state also keeps a law against driving while blindfolded on the books, just in case you are in a hurry to get to church and do not want to be sidelined by even the possibility of seeing someone with a false mustache and risk breaking into a gale of chortles.
2. In Phoenix, Arizona, the law states that every man who enters the city limits must wear pants. Maybe this was aimed at Scottish bagpipe players, but the law has ensured the city stays clean of men in skirts from wherever they hail.
3. In Hawaii, coins may not to be placed in one's ears. You can wear them in your nose, on your toes and under your arms but the ears are definitely out. Magicians take note.
4. In Montana, it is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays. And it is illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all. This law is so critical to the upholding of ethical behavior in the state that the Billings Convention and Visitors Bureau featured the tidbit of information on its website.
5. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. But a note from hubby should make it all ok again no matter where the spectacle occurs.
6. In Australia, you'll never be far from a comfortable bed of sorts if you are in a taxi. Taxicabs are required by law to carry a bale of hay in the trunk at all times.
7. In Singapore – a country where caning is not an act reserved for wicker furnishings, and mandatory death penalties are handed down for many narcotics offenses – take care of what you do with that plastic water bottle. A litter law dating from 1968 states if you drop trash on the ground you can pay up to $1,000. Do it again and you might be forced to do community labor and pay another fine. Even worse you'll have to wear a bright fluorescent jacket that says in so many words, "I am a litter lout." Similar statutes are in place for relieving yourself in an elevator. Better keep that plastic water bottle handy.
8. In Switzerland, it is illegal to flush the toilet after 10 p.m. in most apartment houses. Polite as always, this considerate population would rather suffer a build up in the toilet bowl than a row with neighbors over the roar of flushing through the midnight hours.
9. In Thailand, it is illegal to leave the house without wearing underwear. Perhaps it's a public health issue or a law aimed at the ladies of Patpong who might be practicing their amazing feats while walking through the supermarket or seated on the bus. It is not clear how the law is enforced, however, nor what the penalty is and whether a note from one's spouse will make everything right again.
10. In Connecticut, it is illegal cross the street while walking on your hands in Hartford, Connecticut.