In a landmark judgment with far-reaching social implications, Italy’s highest appeals court has ruled it is a criminal offense for Italian men to touch their genitals in public.


The judges of the Corte di Cassazione stressed that the ban did not just apply to brazen crotch-scratching, but also to what might be termed superstitious pre-emption. Anyone who has seen a hearse go past in Italy, or been part of a discussion in which some terrible illness or disaster is mentioned, will know it is traditional for men to ward off bad luck with a quick grab at what are delicately called their “attributi”.

The practice has become increasingly frowned on, but “io mi tocco i … “, which translates as “I touch my … ” is still a common phrase, roughly equivalent to “fingers crossed”. The judges helpfully suggested that those seeking reassurance should wait till they had returned to the privacy of their own homes before letting their hands stray trouser-wards.

The third penal division of the Rome court, agreed and was having none of the “grabbers” defense. It said that public genital-patting has to be regarded as an act contrary to public decency, a concept including that nexus of socio-ethical behavioral rules requiring everyone to abstain from conduct potentially offensive to commonly held feelings of decorum.

Harv’s Comment: Oh, brother! Here, in the U.S., we definitely need some laws like that one, especially for our major league baseball players. This was pointed out by a friend of mine while we were at a game last week. He said, “Watch the third baseman, he’s a helluva ballplayer.” I think he meant ‘crotch-player.”

Source: The Guardian U.K.

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