In Guanajuato, Mexico, there is a place called “Callejón del Beso”, or “Alley of the Kiss”. It is an extremely narrow street that earned the name due to a legend: two secret lovers lived across the street, they once kissed from balcony to balcony, and they were discovered and promptly murdered. It is now a popular touristic spot in the city; you go with your partner up through opposite stairs, and meet at the balconies, where you kiss while someone takes your picture. El Universal reports that, according to a local tour guide named Mario N., people kiss all sorts of ways in that spot:
“…de monaguillo, hasta entrar y tocar la campanilla, de torero agarrando la oreja y el rabo. Los novios más penosos se lo dan de piquito.”
Which is beautiful Spanish that I can’t translate properly, but loosely means “…like a belfry boy, all the way in until they swing the bell, like a bullfighter grabbing the ear and the tail (of the slain bull, awarded for a masterful fight). The shyest just touch their little beaks.”
This week, the conservative mayor of Guanajuato passed a new bylaw banning, among other things, kissing in public. Other public displays of affection and offenses such as panhandling are also banned. Penalties go up to jail or 30 days of minimum wage. Apparently some people do miss the times of the Inquisition. Among the reasons offered in support of the new bylaw were the high pregnancy rate of teenagers (the Catholic church forbids contraception, so implementing a population control program that would actually work is unthinkable). Deservedly, the mayor was ridiculed last night on national television, even by the leader of his own party, and the bylaw was not published (which means it is not effective), pending revisions.
In other retrograde news, Latin American Archbishops and nuns blame rape victims for dressing too provocatively, and in my hometown’s City Hall a conservative Councillor asked journalists not to report violent events or anything that affects the morale of the citizens. Because, you know, if you don’t pay no mind it’ll all just go away.