Hanky Code? Flagging? What’s that?

“You want to do WHAT?!?”

I’ve seen, and had, that conversation starter a few times while out at Gear Nights. While many in our community pick colors for their hoods and related gear that are what they like, there are those out there in the greater BDSM world that can associate those colors with the Hanky Code. So…just what is the Hanky Code??

The Handkerchief Code (also known as the Hanky Code, Bandana Code, and Flagging) is a traditional form of signalling to others what your sexual preferences and interests are. Gay men used, and still do use, this code to communicate with each other in the noisy and distracting environment of gay bars. Although not as widely used these days, it is still something that should be known and that we should be aware of and is, among those who know, a great conversation starter at times.

Wearing a handkerchief on the left side of the body typically indicates one is a “top” (one considered active in the practice of the act/fetish indicated by the color of the handkerchief), while wearing it on the right side of the body would indicate one is a “bottom” (one considered passive in the practice of the act/fetish indicated by the color of the handkerchief).

So now that you know the basics of the what, let’s get into a bit of details on what these colors and patterns could be interpreted as. Also, as you will see in the charts below, some of the colors could be interpreted in different ways depending on the people involved.

“So…does this mean I should ONLY pick colors based off of things on these lists I’d enjoy?”

NO!!! The whole point of us pet players is a way for us to have fun and be ourselves!!! You should never let anyone else determine what makes you happy and what you wear….unless you have negotiated and consented to that of course!!

This post is more to make sure that everyone is educated and aware of what SOME people may assume. And truly, if they assume and act on that assumption without a discussion happening first, that is something that would need to be raised amongst the greater community anyway. So take a once over of the lists below, use them to know what you may be asked out at events, and then go with that color of hood and gear you just love anyway!!!

ColorMeaning
     BlackS&M
     Blue (Dark)Anal sex
     Blue (Light)Oral sex
     BrownScat
     GreenHustler/prostitution
     GreyBondage
     OrangeAnything goes
     PurplePiercing
     RedFisting
     YellowWatersports
Credit to user.xmission.com
Credit to the Leather Archives and Museum