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Did you scroll all this way to get facts about gay hanky? Well you’re in luck, because here they come. There are 187 gay hanky for sale on Etsy, and they cost ₪73.31 on average. The most common gay hanky material is soy. The most popular color? You guessed it: black.
Flagging for some hanky panky – The gay handkerchief code and its unusual origins
Have you ever noticed a guy with a coloured bandana or handkerchief sticking out of his back pocket? Bless you for not knowing how wearing one became the symbol of a secret sex language. Here’s how to decipher what it all means.
The hanky code has been a part of underground gay culture for over 40 years, and if you don’t know what it’s all about, we’ll get you up to speed in no time.
Perhaps more prevalent in the leather community, you might still find a few practitioners of this means of secret communication. But what’s it all about?
It’s pretty straight forward. Wearing a coloured handkerchief or a bandana in a particular location on your body can be a way to indicate to somebody else what kind of sex you enjoy. Each colour or pattern represents a different sexual activity, while the positioning indicates your preference of role.
The bandana is often on display sticking out of a back pocket, or occasionally tied around the upper arm. Typically, the top role is worn on the left and the bottom role is worn on the right. To indicate a versatile preference of role the bandana can be worn around the neck.
This practice is referred to as “flagging”. So you could say that someone is “flagging red”, which would mean they’re into fisting. Worn on the left would mean they’re the fister, and worn on the right would mean they’re into getting fisted.
Fisting might seem like an extreme practice to some people, but fear not — the hanky code caters to a very broad spectrum of tastes. Here are some of the more common and widely known colour code meanings:
The list doesn’t stop there by any means. There are plenty of other colours to choose from, though sometimes the precise shades and hues of green, blue and pink are tricky to interpret. Before pouncing on anyone, it’s worth having a chat to ensure you’re not mixing your magenta with your fuchsia, or your teal with your light green. As always, consent is important, so consider the humble hanky an invitation to discover more about its wearer.
The code isn’t just limited to plain coloured bandanas either. Other types of printed patterns, materials or objects can be used to indicate particular sexual preferences. Some of the more interesting ones are: celery, rope, leopard print, electrical tape, a teddy bear, toilet paper, tie-dye print and a plastic bag!
But don’t worry… If it’s too much to remember what they all mean, here’s a handy hanky reference guide
If you’re wondering how all of this came about, why don’t we delve back through time to investigate one theory about the origins of this curious cultural phenomenon.
Let’s go back to old San Francisco circa 1852. Nearly 35,000 people were making a living as cowboys or miners during the California Gold Rush, and most of them were men. The stress and loneliness of the work would have been crippling, so to provide an outlet for having some fun there was a lot of dancing and singing in among the camps.
With a lack of females, each man had to play a role of male lead or female follower during a dance. To signify which role they were willing to play each man would wear a coloured bandana: blue to dance as a male lead; or red to dance as the female following role.
Now let’s shoot forward 120 years to the 1970s in New York City. Members of the leather community were already wearing keys on their belt loops. Wearing them on the left belt loop meant they were a top while wearing them on the right belt loop meant they were a bottom.
A journalist from The Village Voice — the first alternative weekly newspaper in New York — wrote as a joke that instead of using keys on the left or right pocket to indicate top or bottom in the bedroom, colourful handkerchiefs could be used to signal more specific interests. Perhaps he was inspired by California’s bygone times.
It seems as if the community were serious about adopting the amusing suggestion, and thus the hanky code was born… or at least that’s how the story goes.
Usage of the hanky code was rife amongst gay and bisexual men in the 1970s, but waned in the early 1980s. As today’s digital technologies rapidly replace face to face cruising, the profile details and search filters on our apps are perhaps the modern day equivalent allowing us to locate our perfectly matched partners remotely.
Though fans of fetish wear may or may not be aware of the coloured trim that occasionally adorns leather, rubber or neoprene gear such as harnesses. Black, white, red, yellow, green and blue seem common at some of the edgier dance parties and cruise clubs around Australia, but maybe their historic meaning has now been substituted for a fashion statement instead.
As for the digital world, perhaps there’s an opportunity to keep this tradition alive by including a rainbow of coloured dots on the left hand side, right hand side, or even centre of mobile app profiles to give a quick visual clue as to what’s on offer. What colour(s) would you choose?
Whatever you’d flag on your profile or pack in your pocket, there’s always room for some condoms and a sachet of lube or two. Even if you opt for a highly effective HIV prevention strategy like PrEP or if you’re living with HIV and managing an undetectable viral load, you might still get lucky with someone who prefers to rubber up — fortune always favours the prepared! Happy flagging.
Gay hanky code
Ever wondered why a rainbow is the gay symbol? Is it because it shows that God still loves them? Is it a reflection of their colorful characters? Or is it because the rainbow is the universal signal of hope?
A brief history of gay signaling, from hanky codes to that ‚what gay guys are actually like‘ video
Maybe you’ve seen the recent video that purports to show „what actually happens when gay guys see other gay guys and straight people aren’t around.“ While I can’t confirm or deny the accuracy of the clip’s subject matter (still waiting on clearance from the Gay Agenda), I can say that its comedy is rooted in a rich history of signaling, flagging, and other forms of non-verbal communication between gay men.
The video finds actors/comedians Brian Jordan Alvarez, Stephen Guarino, and Mitch Silpa running into one another in their apartment building’s stairwell.
Upon recognizing one another’s gayness, and realizing they’re in a space utterly devoid of heterosexuality, the three men launch into some light runway…
The underlying tension of the scene stems from the idea that these men are only free—or perhaps safe—to unleash their purest gay selves in the company of others like them. Feminine mannerisms might be accepted within the confines of the stairwell, but those pursed lips, popped hips, and fingers allongés could compromise the guys‘ safety in the outside world.
„As a rule, any activity that can be construed as ‚performing‘ will turn out to be risky business as a man,“ David M. Halperin writes in How to be Gay. Because masculinity is the only „natural and authentic identity“ in a patriarchal society, expressing one’s femininity is viewed as a performance on top of that state of being. A feminine „performance“ can prove dangerous for men, regardless of sexuality, just as failing to sufficiently „perform“ femininity can prove dangerous for women.
(Actually, a woman’s feminine „performance“ can also be used against her—see knee-jerk questions about rape victims like „What was she wearing?“—so I guess the world’s just a hostile place for women, or anyone who invokes femininity, period.)
The need to navigate one’s identity through different social situations, mixed with the desire for recognition, has led gay men (and women, obviously, but this article is focused on the male side of this phenomenon) to develop subtle, often wordless methods of communication with others in the know.
Some of these systems have been historically used to broadcast sexual desires, like the hanky code, which saw its peak usage in the 1970s and ’80s. Men who participated in this form of flagging placed differently colored handkerchiefs in the back pockets of their pants: the left side for dominant sexual partners (tops) and the right side for submissive sexual partners (bottoms).
Here’s an example: let’s pretend that the red hat in Bruce Springsteen’s back-right pocket on the cover of Born in the U.S.A. is actually a red handkerchief.
According to this hanky-code chart, the color red pertains to fist-fucking. And a handkerchief worn in the right-back pocket connotes a submissive sexual role. Therefore, on the cover of his 1984 album, Bruce Springsteen would be flagging that he wants to be fist-fucked; Q.E.D.
Gay men have historically used clothing to signal identities outside of sexual contexts, as well. In Gay New York, George Chauncey cites red neckties as one of the major „fairy“ signifiers of the 1890s, and in the 1930s there was „practically a homosexual monopoly“ on dark brown and gray suede shoes in the 1930s.
Hairstyles and slang have also been used to similar effect. Physical mannerisms, too.
So, why do gay men continue to create and cultivate these systems of mostly non-verbal communication with each other?
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that gayness doesn’t come with inherited physical traits or other visible identifiers on the body; we’re forced to create our own. These signals allow us to recognize one another in a crowd full of straight people, and, on the flip side, they allow that crowd to recognize us, to see us in the full Na’vi sense of the word.
In closing: brunch. You know what I’m talking about. Oel ngati kame. I see you.
GAY HANKY CODES
The Hanky Code is a traditional form of signalling to others what yoursexual preferences and interests are. Gay men used this code to communicatewith each other in the noisy and distracting environment of gay bars. Althoughnot as widely used these days, it is still a worthwhile resource and is,among those who know, a great conversation starter.
Other Gay Symbols
Now that the essential distinction between masculine, dominant heterosexual manheterosexual woman has begun to fade thanks to Leftard Womens‘ Studies majors, we need a whole new set of symbols to properly describe a person’s gender, sex and sexual preferences:
Gay Gay Homosexual Gay or I Can Still Hear His Voice is a catchphrase often paired with images of characters from popular media, in which one character reminisces another character mocking them. Starting on Tumblr in 2018, the meme gained popularity in January 2021 and spread to other platforms. Members of various online fandoms – particularly LGBTQ+ communities – use the meme to create fan art and poke fun at ships or general relationships between characters.
On November 19, 2018,  account relateablepicturesofyuugi shared an edited panel from the manga series Yu-Gi-Oh!. In the panel foreground, the character Yugi Muto remembers the character Pharaoh Atem, saying, „I can still hear his voice…“ In the edited background, Atem says, „Gay gay homosexual gay,“ creating the impression that the memory of Atem is mocking Yugi. The post received more than 630 notes in less than three years (shown below).
Over the next few years, the image spread on Tumblr and TwitterYu-Gi-Oh! communities. But in January 2021, use of the image and phrases, in particular „Gay Gay Homosexual Gay,“ began to grow in popularity. Members of various fandoms began sharing imaginary dialogue between characters within their respective media.
Artists began creating original fanart of characters in the style of the Yu-Gi-Oh! panel. On January 19th, 2021, Twitter user @cactuskhee shared the first known redrawing of the meme featuring characters from the video game series Danganropa,. The post received more than 20,000 likes and 4,900 retweets in less than two months (shown below, left).
Variations of the meme soon appeared on DeviantArt, where fans recreated the format with different characters, including original characters. On January 30th,  user Coksii posted a version based on their original characters, which received more than 1,000 views (shown below, right).
Voiceovers began appearing as well. On February 2nd, the earliest known video version of the meme appeared on YouTube. YouTuber Wioll uploaded a voiceover of a comic by Twitter  user @gogopri, featuring characters from the video game series Metal Gear (shown below, right).
by Michael Musto
I’m so sartorially clueless that when I spot a gay guy wearing a brown hanky in the left pocket, I usually think, “Fashionable!” But of course what it really means is “Scat top!” Prepare to run as far away as possible–unless you happen to wear a brown hanky in the right pocket.
To clarify things, here’s a “Gay Hanky Code” chart which tells you in amazing detail what which color means on what side–that is, if you still subscribe to the old-school gay hanky thing in the first place. And if you don’t, you’d better learn it anyway just in case someone else does.
After absorbing all this intricate info about fetishy fashion choices, you’ll know, for example, that light pink on the right will have people coming at you with a large dildo and yellow on the right means…well, I’m pretty sure you can figure that one out yourself. (No, it doesn’t involve lemonade. Per se.)
As a bonus, there’s a “Twink Code” link at the bottom–just in case you thought all twinks were alike!
Pocket Square Gay Raspberry Red Stripe Hanky Handkerchief
Naughty Pocket Square. Dirty Words, Hanky Code. LGBTQ, Gay Pride, Flagging. Vegan hanky. Queer, Butch, Fruit Fly. Pink pocket squares & more
Let’s Recycle – Gay Men’s Yellow Hanky Code, Piss Humor Men’s Short-Sleeve T-Shirt, Rude, Funny, LGBQT Graphic Tees
Fisting Humor, Nothing Says I Love You Quite Like Fisting, LGBTQ Pride Tank Top, Gay Pride Apparel, Red Hanky Code, Men’s Rude Graphic Tank
Let’s Recycle, Piss Humor, Gay Men’s Yellow Hanky Code, LGBTQ Friendly Tank Top for Men
Vintage Gay Porn Film Art Stickers
SADIST Gay Men’s Fetish Club Black T-Shirt with BDSM Hanky Code details
Gay Art Porn Star Throw Pillows Ramrod NYC Times Square The Deuce Gay Erotica Hanky Code Porno
EXHIBITIONIST PIG Gay Men’s Fetish Club Black T-Shirt with BDSM Hanky Code details
DADDY Gay Men’s Fetish Club Black T-Shirt with BDSM Hanky Code details
Pocket Square Gay Raspberry Red Stripe Hanky Handkerchief
HORNY Gay Men’s Fetish Club Black T-Shirt with BDSM Hanky Code details
BDSM Humor, Safe Word, LGBTQ Friendly, Gay Hanky Code Men’s classic tank top
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