if you can’t touch yourself, who can you touch?

Contro-malocchio hornDid you know that it is now illegal for Italian men to touch their genitals in public?

So ruled Italy’s highest court, which wrote that such touching “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 collectively held feelings of decorum.”

Such big words for a simple act!

As all of us living with Italian men know, a man’s touching of his, ahem, nether regions is a well-established and time-honored method of warding off malocchio.

And I don’t just mean someone giving someone else the Evil Eye–I’m talking about the mere mention/implication/thought of death or other bad things happening (I can see P “protecting” himself even as I type this!).

So, Italy’s highest court, until you’re willing to outlaw bad luck, I’m thinking gratuitous crotch-grabbing in the Bel Paese is here to stay.

I’m just sayin.

And speaking of cannoli . . . hah!

Buon weekend!

P.S. Thanks Carol for the tip on the news piece!


[tags]malocchio, italy, italian men[/tags]

32 Beans of Wisdom to “if you can’t touch yourself, who can you touch?”
  1. This post was hilarious!

    I wonder if that is why Madonna and Michael Jackson used to grab their crotches, to ward off the evil eye?

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Flashback Friday – Michael Jackson – “Thriller”

    Hey they of all people definitely could use it…all the envy coming their way!

  2. 02.29.2008

    Huh! The things I learn at Bleeding Espresso! 😉

    Karina’s last blog post..Follow-Up Friday – Leap Year Edition

    Always aiming to broaden your horizons!

  3. 02.29.2008

    This is so funny! The guys we have working on the house with marito are at ‘it’ all the time, ‘protecting’ themselves and each other! Marito explained to me that it is a sign of extreme confidence in your manly prowess to ‘protect’ a fellow worker. Yeah right!

    amanda’s last blog post..Cold and luckless

    Hah, they are just so “protective” aren’t they?!

  4. 02.29.2008

    Over here, it’s crotch scratching that keeps the malocchio away! I feel so secure now that they have come up with this new, ever so important, law.

    Giulia’s last blog post..Murdered

    Good to know in case I find myself in Campania 😉

  5. alexmom

    You’re so welcomed!!! I was dying to share that article with those of you who I knew would totally appreciate it!!! It’s more fun when you can share the joy!!! :>) And I love the title of your post. Too perfect.

    Glad you liked the title; I struggled with it, actually, trying not to get too many wayward hits on the site you know 😉

  6. 02.29.2008

    uh-oh. we baseball players here are screwed. talk about time-honored traditions of the game…

    fortunately hardly any fans show up… it would be hard to offend the empty stands!

    lango’s last blog post..Which window level of the Duomo should be a triple?

    Oh I hadn’t even thought of the baseball angle. You watch yourself, Lango (just don’t, you know, touch yourself) 😉

  7. 02.29.2008

    You know, since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen men grabbing their own genitilia as much as I’ve seen them grabbing women’s. And not in an unwelcomed manner. Rather in a “let’s make-out and touch each other’s hooha’s in public” kind of way.

    I suppose it’s cause there is no hooha grabbing at home since everyone I know still lives with their parents…


    Maggie’s last blog post..What makes a woman, a woman?

    Oh my, I’m glad I’m in my little corner of Calabria then, oblivious to all the hooha-grabbing elsewhere 😉

  8. 02.29.2008

    LOL@ maggie’s “hoohas”. Funny post. Italians never cease to amaze me with their laws and newsworthy articles. I mean, I understand if its grabbing of the hoohas not covered in clothing but clothed? I don’t know if they do that in northern Italy to ward off the malocchio – I will have to ask my Italian. Ive only seen him do normal male type adjusting.LOL

    stacy’s last blog post..have you tried this?

    Too funny Stacy. Yes! We need answers! Please report back 😉

  9. 02.29.2008

    That thump you heard was me landing on the floor in a fit of giggles… I’m okay.
    I think.

    SO funny… aren’t there any men serving on this court? Isn’t that a basic …uh, characteristic of ALL men? Isn’t it just part of the male genetic makeup that they must scratch and shift regularly?

    So, what’s the penalty (giggle) for breaking this law?

    (blushing) Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..4 x 4 Squared

    I’d love to know the penalty (hah!) too. It’s all just so silly isn’t it?

  10. Sharon

    I am laughing so loudly that the men all over town are covering themselves fearful of an evil eye. I can see plenty of pocket action if this law gathers legs.

    Gathers legs! Hah!

  11. Jen

    That’s so funny–it would never have occurred to me to grab… THAT to ward off bad luck. I always go for four-leaf clovers…

    Jen’s last blog post..Questions That May Help You Find Your Purpose

    And four-leaf clovers are so pretty too!

  12. 02.29.2008

    Interesting post! Is malocchio, huh? Is that like mal de ojo or something? Thanks for the education! 🙂

    Waiting for Zufan’s last blog post..Cutting it off

    I think it’s probably just about the same thing, yes. You can click on the pink link to malocchio to read what I’ve written on it before 🙂

  13. Linda

    Good one! And have you ever noticed how much furious “adjusting” goes on whenever an Italian man is in close proximity of a nun? And no, it’s not what you think (get your filthy minds out of the gutter!). They think that nuns “porta sfiga” – have extremely bad mojo. Excuses, excuses!

    So true Linda! And yes, there’s *always* an excuse 😉

  14. 02.29.2008

    Yeah, it’s funny how governments in trouble start focusing on the big things like crotch self-adjustment and guys who throw baseballs for a living. At least they give us plenty of blog fodder.


    I was just thinking of writing on the US government’s obsession with the small stuff as well; it *is* funny isn’t it? Mah.

  15. Gil

    I had written up something, similar to what James wrote, and it got lost. Again with all of the trouble in the world why worry about professional junkies and a guy adjusting his underwear in public. Time to keep hands in the pants aka “pocket pool”!

    Hah! Until that’s outlawed too Gil!

  16. 03.01.2008

    Your post and everyone’s comments totally cracked me up. I didn’t realize that nun’s porta sfiga!

    Debbie Egizio’s last blog post..IF: Multiple

    They do indeed Debbie. Learn something new every day 😉

  17. ROTFL! Brilliant post!
    Would that they should implement something like that here – though it would be a start if they could just get men to stop peeing all over the place like dogs suffering territorial overload!

    Absolute Vanilla… (and Atyllah)’s last blog post..The Unremembered Gate

    Yes see now that’s a law worth enforcing!

  18. 03.01.2008

    Great leading titile. Makes me smile before I even read the post.

    Pasticcera’s last blog post..An Artichoke for You and Me

    Thanks 🙂 So happy to make you smile.

  19. 03.01.2008

    That was funny. I don’t think the news has made in CZ just yet. They will be very disappointed! lol

    BTW – I wish I had one of those cannoli now!

    Cherrye’s last blog post..Madonna of the Letter

    I found myself longing for a cannoli (ahem, the pastry to be clear) this morning as well….

  20. 03.01.2008

    LOL! That is too funny! Thanks for the, er, insight. 😉


    Christina Arbini’s last blog post..Take My Breath Away

    Anytime Christina 😉

  21. anna l'americana

    I almost had a heart attack reading the title – after all, I can’t imagine Italians without the shifting, grabbing and scratching that is really part of the overall “fabric” over there… So who is going to enforce this, what is the penalty (pardon the pun) and what will they use for evidence? And I do agree with your commenters, with taxes at 50% or more, medical care on overload, criminals in parliament and on and on and on….THIS was the thing (pardon the pun again) that needed touching on (ooops!) again?????

    I know Anna, I know. Seems rather insane in light of all that’s happening…particularly when there is *no* hope of this law being obeyed.

  22. 03.02.2008

    Oh, I’d love to see the enforcement for this! Now if they’d only make it illegal to stop groping women …

    anno’s last blog post..Sunday Scribblings: When I Was 7

    I know, right?!

  23. 03.02.2008

    Gotta shout this one out to the group now.
    Too funny.
    A great Leap Year 2008 post.
    Much bloglove,

    Frances’s last blog post..situations that totally irritate me…

    Thanks Frances 🙂

  24. 03.02.2008

    Well, no wonder Italy doesn’t have a basbell team!!! They would all be arrested!!! 😉

    My Melange’s last blog post..Video Endorsements

    Aw the soccer players do a pretty good job too 😉

  25. 03.02.2008

    Whoops…BASEBALL 😉

    Gotcha 😉

  26. 03.02.2008

    Hey, My Melange, funny you should say that, because the first time I ever watched a baseball game with my Neapolitan fiance, I made some smirky comment about all the crotch grabbing, and he was like, ‘Oh really? I hadn’t even noticed. Guys do that all the time in Italy.’

    I had also heard/read something last year, shortly before coming here about how ‘butt pinching’ was not illegal in Italy, or… gosh, I can’t recall the particulars now. I will have to hunt for it, because it was the source of a lively conversation with my Italian bf and a lot of relentless teasing on my part …

    mentalmosaic’s last blog post..New Look for mentalmosaic.com

    Ooh I hope you can find it! Too funny, especially in light of the new “law” 😉

  27. 03.03.2008

    Oh dear, if my 4-year-old twin sons were in Italy, they might end up in jail every day or so!

    bonggamom’s last blog post..Let’s Party!

    Hah! There’s *probably* an age limit or something, but who knows when the law is so crazy to begin with 😉

  28. 03.03.2008

    Too bizarre for words.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Music Monday – “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” – the Beatles and William Shatner

    I can second that!

  29. 03.04.2008

    You know, it might be because I grew up in a house full of men, but I’m hardly even AWARE of crotch grabbing.

    Nnna’s last blog post..“List”en to this.

    Hee hee….

  30. 03.05.2008

    Oh poor you! I don’t believe you! That’s printed in my mind as such a manly gesture, tied with men sitting al fresco in the summer. All right, I was shocked at first, but i didn’t mind after a while because it was not malicious, just a time honored tradition. Men here used to do that. I suppose we are getting corrupt by the West , and they don’t do that all that much, now. They also used to do that gesture when they saw a priest. Am I right to suppose that Italian men are too Catholic to do that? DH calls himself the Antichrist and repeats the movement every time he sees one!

    Irene’s last blog post..Time Travel Tuesday-Easter

    Um actually I don’t know an Italian man that I’d say is “too Catholic” but I think it’s only the nuns that bring bad luck as opposed to the priest….

  31. Paula

    interesting!!! it’s now illegal to send text messages while driving in the state of new jersey…. people just love sitting around making new laws…..

    OK well at least that one has some kind of logic since it would be dangerous to have no hands on the wheel 😉

  1. [...] 1943), Messina has been the victim of an enormous amount of malocchio. See, and you wonder why guys grab... bleedingespresso.com/2008/03/touring-sicily-messina.html
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
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