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The hanky code is a color code system that men can use to indicate preferred fetish or sexual preferences by wearing one or more color handkerchiefs in their left or right pockets.
In gay culture a man will often wear his keys on his left to indicate he prefers to take the top or dominant role, or on the right to indicate he prefers the bottom or submissive role. In the leather community an armband worn on the left or the right arm is used to indicate the same preference.
During the 1970’s the hanky code developed to further define the wearer’s preferences. While there is not a universally agreed on code, most codes do agree on the most common colors. Wearing a hanky in a back pocket is also referred to as flagging. Popularity of the hanky code declined during the 1980’s, only remaining popular in the Leather Community.
Larry Townsend’s The Leatherman’s Handbook II, 1983 second edition, included the following table which is generally considered authoritative. Implicit in this list of hanky color codes is the concept of right/left polarity.
|Dark Blue||Anal sex|
|Light Blue||Oral sex|
|Orange||Anything, anywhere, anytime (but not necessarily anyone)|
|Pink (light)||Dildo/anal toys|
Other colors have been added over the years, the more common include:
|Gray with Black||Light SM|
|Charcoal||Latex / Rubber|
|Robin’s Egg Blue||69’er|
|Teal Blue||Cock & Ball play|
|Dark Pink||Tit play|
|Hunter Green||Daddy / Boy|
|Olive Drab||Military Uniforms|
|Black / White Check||Safe Sex|
|Red / White Stripe||Shaving|
|Red / Black Stripe||Furry Bears|
In some cases meanings can differ. More inclusive lists can be found at:
Please note that wearing a bandana in a back pocket has also become popular among rock ‘n’ roll musicians in more recent years. Asking can avoid misunderstandings.
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