Posts Tagged ‘googoo eyes laws’

Houston and the Goo Goo Eyes Law

June 21, 2011

Keep those goo goo eyes in their sockets, Lads! This is Houston, Texas USA!

Fellow Houstonian J.R. Gonzales writes a most educational and entertaining blog called Bayou City History at

We need to give J.R. Gonzales credit for unearthing Houston’s early 20th century attempt to protect women from sexual leering by men through the passage of an ordinance that forbade men from lewd “goo goo eyed” suggestions to women on the streets of the city.

Passed by Houston City Council in 1905, the “Goo Goo Eyes” ordinance decreed:

“That hereafter any male person in the City of Houston who shall stare at, or make what is commonly called ‘goo-goo eyes’ at, or in any other manner look at or make remarks to or concerning, or cough or whistle at, or do any other act to attract the attention of any woman or female person upon or traveling along any of the sidewalks, streets, or public ways in the City of Houston, with the intent or in a manner calculated to annoy, or to attempt to flirt with any such woman or female person, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor…”

The fine for conviction of a goo goo eyes law violation in 1905 was $100.00, an amount today equivalent to a financial penalty far exceeding $2,000.00. Interestingly, as well as unbeknown to the cultured and gender respectful members of my own adolescent and young adult generation of male Houstonians, these early century goo goo eyes laws stayed on the books in the city through the 1950s.

And nobody told that poplar singing group of the time, The Four Lads. Are you old enough to remember The Four Lads and some of the lyrics from “Standing on the Corner,” a popular song from 1956, the year of my graduation from St. Thomas High School?

Standing on the corner – watching all the girls go by 
Standing on the corner – giving all the girls the eye 
Brother, if you’ve got a rich imagination 
Give it a whirl, give it a try 
Try standing on the corner – watching all the girls 
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls – go by 

Brother, you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking 
Or for that wolf – look in your eye 
Standing on the corner – watching all the girls 
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls – go by

The Four Lads obviously had not heard about the Houston goo goo eyes law.

Sure am glad we solved that problem. Now we are well on our way as a society to punishing all people who hold onto unfavorable thoughts and suggestive non-verbal communications, even those expressions of discomfort that emanate from drug and chemical addiction withdrawal.

Concerned Citizen (staring down and pointing at a man curled up in a ball on the sidewalk): “Oh, Officer, come over here please. And make it quick! This man says he’s thinking about lighting up a cigarette!”

HPD Uniformed Officer (running over hurriedly to his call for help and also pointing at the now purple-faced man in the sidewalk ball): “On your feet, sir! We have a law against that kind of thinking and I am hereby placing you under arrest for same. – You have a right to remain silent. …”



Houston, 1959

 Jimmy Menutis Party, Featuring the Platters, Sept. 3rd: Don’t forget to contact Ruth Ann Menutis, asap, to make reservations for the big rock n roll birthday party in Lafayette, lA on Saturday, Sept. 3rd. Admission is free to fans, but only to those with advance  reservations because seating is seating is limited to about 250 guests.

Contact Ruth Ann Menutis at

at your earliest opportunity for party reservations and her advisory on your best hotel/motel rates in Lafayette. The Menutis family will do all in their power to help make your trip plan into this wonderful weekend experience both easy and as much fun as possible.