1. Paul R says

    Kind of stupid but funny. I’ll always recall explaining the hankie code (not that I’ve ever used it) to a friend, and she couldn’t grasp it. I still recall the look of shock and confusion on her face, and she’s very gay friendly.

  2. says

    “…this better?”
    most funny….
    despite the minuscule fact that they got the code wrong-ish…
    Red = penetration
    blue = s&m / leather
    back in the day, anyway….
    just sayin’….

  3. Keith in SF says

    Actually Orange is anything/anywhere. Look around for the Gay Monopoly game, the Community Chest cards are the Hanky Code.

  4. anon says

    The hanky code has been somewhat defunct for years, and the unofficial list is so long there’s no hope anyone can remember the whole thing. It also never had anything to do with steam rooms.

  5. ratbastard says

    Society has come a long way since the ‘good old days’ of hankie codes.

  6. Matt says

    Has anyone even used the hanky code since the guys in this video were born? It seems as antique a signifier of gayness as marcelled hair and a green carnation in your lapel.

  7. Vin says

    A disgusting practice of an urban, gay male subculture that devalued love and intimacy and exalted anonymous, commercialized sex. The result of this and other practices of that urban was to lay down the conditions that made the AIDS epidemic possible. The sooner that Chelsea/Castro/WeHo subculture goes away, the better.

  8. wtf says

    Oh Vin. Get off your knees in the rest stop already, miss wide-stance. Kidding! not really.

  9. ric says

    ”back in the day”
    there was no internet ,cell phone apps,
    even many safe places to meet another gay person.

    there wasn’t an open society;
    there wasn’t a way to communicate sexual preference- the hanky’s were a way to find a partner quickly-about being upfront of who you are sexually …

  10. SayTheTruth says

    Wow. Labels, tags, marks, always useful. Especially for those who don’t know better.

  11. dex says

    The hankie code is still used, actually, but mostly in the leather/BDSM community. Benjamin’s are right, plus Black = heavy SM and gray = bondage, as far as the basics go.

  12. says

    Man, so wrong on so many levels… LOL

    But to the guy who posted: “blue = s&m / leather” — nope, sorry, no consolation prize for you, bucko. Grey was light SM / black was heavy SM.

    I used to know the whole damn thing… and its variants. For example, wrap anything in mosquito netting and you were saying you liked it outside.

    And dont even ask about the lesbian version.

  13. Jackson says

    While working at an apartment complex in a suburb of Mobile, Alabama I overheard a couple kids (like 10-14 year olds) explaining the Hanky Code to one of their friends. I didn’t know whether to be amused that something I’d barely even heard about (I’m 32) had somehow percolated to those kids or horrified that THAT was the bit of GLBT history they were picking up.

  14. Raymond Burgoon-Clark says

    Nobody really knows why the epidemic hit the urban leather/biker community so early and so hard. A great deal of “heavy” kink-play is relatively “safe” sex, compared to bareback anal sex.

    Raunch probably played a part, but *I* ALWAYS washed my hands between red-on-the-right partners (grin).

  15. Not_A_Slut says

    Now, how could anyone be scared of that incredibly cute boy with the rainbow hankie? He could convince me to do just about anything….

  16. Contrarian says

    Is it possible that back in the 70’s str8 men, in construction and heavy machine operators used that printed red hankie in all innocence? Watching that vid brought back vague childhood memories of men in those professions using that red style as both bandanas and hankies. Never thought they were secret gays or fetishists.

  17. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Jackson, Your reaction must have been similar to mine when while sitting in a Barnes&Noble cafe’ and realizing that the four mixed-gender 10th(?)-graders in the adjacent booth were reading quietly-aloud to their friends their favorite passages from the “Beauty”-series of gay/bi S&M novels by A. N. Roquelaure (Ann Rice).

    Tenth-grade straight kids reading gay prom???….YIKES.

    The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release.