It is more than likely that when you were young and there was some disorder in your home, your mother or father told you that of “this looks like the house of Tócame Roque”. And it is also very possible that later yourself, living that same situation, you would repeat this popular saying.
Well, as is often the case, most sayings and expressions have an origin and in the case of the house of Tócame Roque it could not be different, since said house (set of them rather) existed in Madrid, specifically in the intersection of Calle Barquillo with Calle Belén, one of the busiest spots today in the Justice neighborhood and where you can even find a commemorative plaque on this fact.
But what is this expression used for?
As many of our readers will know, when we say that “this looks like the house of Tócame Roque”, we are referring to that it is a house with a lot of bustle, confusion, uproar, and fights. That is, a home where a certain chaos begins to reign.
And it is that, in a way, this property, inhabited in the 18th and 19th centuries by sparklers, or what is the same, blacksmiths, was characterized precisely by being a place where voices, parties, noise and the aforementioned fights were frequent. After all, some 72 families lived there and many of them carried out their blacksmith work in the courtyard of the corrala. If we add to that that in the middle of the 19th century his eviction was ordered and that it took more than a year to evict all the tenants, since they did not make it exactly easy, the house of Tócame Roque would always be synonymous with bustle.
And this Roque?
Of course, none of them was named Roque, but this man – whose name was now immortal – had a brother named Juan. They both started a lawsuit for taking over the property, since the inheritance that the building left them did not clarify too well who it belonged to. So the arguments were constant and the neighbors did nothing but listen to Juan say “Touch me, Roque”, while the respondent responded with “no, touch me.” The local joke caused it to be called the house of Tócame Roque. And the repercussion was such that it even appeared in plays What Petra and Juana by Ramón de la Cruz, or The House of Tócame Roqueby Ramón Ortega y Frías.