Hanky Code

HANKY WORN ON LEFT WORN ON RIGHT
WHITE jerk me off I’ll do us both
WHITE VELVET voyeur will put on a show
WHITE w/MULTICOLOR Dots hosting an orgy looking for an orgy
CREAM cum fetish (mine) cum fetish (yours)
BLACK/WHITE check safe sex top safe sex bottom
BLACK/WHITE stripes kissing kissing
BLACK SM top SM bottom
BLACK VELVET has/takes videos will perform for the camera
CHARCOAL latex fetish latex fetish
GREY, Dark bondage – ties fit to be tied
GREY, Light stone – I’ll fuck you stone – just fuck me
SILVER LAME celebrity/titleholder starfucker
OLIVE DRAB military civil “servant”
GREEN, Hunter looking for orphan looking for daddy
——— GREEN (Hunter) W/ Green (Kelly) Stripe sugardaddy looking for sugardaddy
GREEN, Kelly hooker (for rent) trick (looking to buy)
GREEN, Mint looking for orphan looking for mummy
GREEN, Light dirty talk dirty talk
GREEN, Lime dines off tricks (wants food) dinner plate (will buy dinner)
AQUA watersex watersex
BLUE, Teal genital torturer genital torturee
BLUE, Robin’s Egg 69 69
BLUE, Light gives oral wants oral
——— BLUE, Light w/ light PINK stripe sucks dildo suck my dildo
BLUE, Navy fucking / TOP fucking / BOTTOM
VELVET, NAVY watches masturbation will masturbate for audience
PURPLE piercer piercee
LAVENDER X dresser / dragster likes X dressers / drag
MAUVE worship my navel has a navel fetish
FUCHSIA spanker spank me
MAGENTA suck my pits armpit lover
MAROON cuts bleeds
——— w/ MAROON stripe into blood into blood
RED, Dark 2-handed fister 2-handed fistee
RED fist fucker fist fuckee
——— RED/WHITE Stripes shaver shavee
RED CROSS HIV positive HIV positive
PINK, Dark tit torturer tit torturee
PUCE bruiser bruise me
PINK, Light dildo wielder dildo fuckee
YELLOW, Pale spits spit on me
YELLOW, Bright watersports – pisses watersports – drinks/wears
MUSTARD hung (carries) size queen
GOLD 2 looking for one 1 looking for two
GOLD LAME likes muscles likes muscles
ORANGE looking to lead open to suggestion
CORAL suck my toes shrimper (sucks toes)
RUST cowboy cowboy’s horse
BEIGE rimmer rim me
TAN cigarplay – Clinton cigarplay – Lewinsky
BROWN scat – gives scat – receives
GREY FLANNEL owns a suit likes suits
BLUE/WHITE GINGHAM milker milkee
PURPLE FLANNEL trans dude trans dude
PURPLE GINGHAM trans grrrl trans grrrl
PURPLE SEQUINS genderqueer genderqueer
PINK, Light w sparkles unicorn unicorn fancier
RED/WHITE GINGHAM parks parks
LEOPARD has tattoos likes tattoos (art critic)
HOUNDSTOOTH biter bite me
ARGYLE geek likes geeks
TARTAN, Caledonian fully clothed fully naked
w/ Flower Pattern romance –  

pitching the woo

romance –  

woo me

TIE-DYE hippie looking for hippies
WINE STAIN drunk drunk
BROWN CORDUROY headmaster student
TWEED (prof) hot for student hot for prof
FUR beastplay – zoophile beastplay – animal
CALICO new in town into tourists
BLANKET seeking massage masseuse
MOSQUITO NETTING outdoors outdoors
DOILY tea party dom  

(serve me)

tea party sub  

(server)

Teddy Bear cuddler cuddlee
My Little Pony rides ponies pony
TOILET PAPER public toilets  

(seeks service)

public toilets  

(offers service)

PLASTIC BAG likes trashbaggery likes trashbaggery
TAMPON menstruating likes menstrual blood
LEMON gives enemas give me an enema
CELERY expects brunch brunch included
TOOTHBRUSH lover’s out,  

my place ok

your place only
NAPKIN w/ my mobile no. dirty sms me dirty sms me
USB cord blogging about this afterwards write me up (you can borrow my laptop)
ROPE suspender suspend me
ELECTRIC TAPE electricutor  

electrify me

Not “Gay” Flagging: an index of our revisions to the traditional flagging code.

WORN AROUND THE WRIST: curious

WORN AROUND THE UPPER ARM: into it

WORN AROUND THE NECK: adept & versatile

  • or, the position of a knot indicates that side: (L) top * (C) versatile * (R) bottom

WORN AROUND THE HEAD: extreme (usually around master or sub cap)

W/STRIPE: can be a single stripe, stripes, or trim.

  • stripes take on the left/right association of the base colour. ie, light blue with maroon stripe: (L) gives head to bleeder * (R) wants head, is bleeding.

Orifice disambiguation: (Black as neutral/standard)

  • in the butt flag = w/star
  • in the vag flag = w/ triangle
  • in the mouth or on the face flag = w/ circle or polkadots

84 responses

28 03 2010
adder

At home I have a black bandana with sparkly rainbow hairs on it. Wondering what y’all reckon it means?
Or should I just wear it out and see what happens?

28 03 2010
Lauren Riots

Not sure about yr black with rainbow hairs? it’s hard to imagine… Max said there are no ‘body hair flags’ but I think that could come close, if you can get flags with actual hair on them…

31 03 2010
adder

yeah it’s hard to explain online, it’s kinda black with sparkle glitter bits that make it hairy… erm… i’ll have to wear it around y’all sometime.

I tried googling ‘glitter hairy bandana’ just in case it was a super fashionable product from some time, but all i got was a pumpkin wearing a blue bandana around their ‘neck’, and a pirate keychain photo.
http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/c/processRequest.do?requestURI=processProductsCatalog&sku=OTCG804&tabId=6&cm_re=zone2-_-tab2-_-link10
(this is not what my banadana looks like.)

10 04 2010
adder

you know, since reading this blog i’ve started to see flags everywhere [especially where someone isn’t actually flagging, hah].

so thanks for new perspectives, and i hope you all keep writing.

12 08 2010
sam

Love your work. Also how about flags for tribadism? Also frotage?

15 08 2010
LC

totally! Though I thought that frotage and tribadism were the same act? We have thought about that act but are stuck on what colour/print to assign to it, do you have any ideas?

17 08 2010
sam

For some reason I always thought frottage was with clothes on and tribbing was without, like dry humping versus actual genitals touching, I’m not sure where I got that from though so it could just be me… and yeah you’re right it’s hard to think of what to assign to it as there’s nothing really obvious to use, or a similar one to take from. Will keep thinking about it.

21 02 2011
Michelle

I’m thinking denim, mostly cause I’ve always thought dry humping involved clothing.

16 09 2010
Mae

I noticed holstein (cow print) was missing. Some lesbians have a lactation/breast feeding fetish.

14 01 2011
29 05 2011
W

So the post you’re referencing explains better what the holstein cow print is for representing. And you’re saying it has to do with squirting or a mans ejaculate?

I’m curious about what @Mae was referencing. More specifically suckling breasts, wet (w milk) or dry (not producing milk). I LOVE to have my breasts suckled. It would be great to know if there was a flag for *that*.

16 01 2011
Busted

Do you have one for ‘untamed heart’? My good friend said that was me in her birthday book. I’d flag that.

16 01 2011
maxattitude

Orange with flower pattern, left?

26 01 2011
Busted

Do you think it will go with my eyes?

25 01 2011
unicorn starshine +

Ears! Oral Aural!

30 01 2011
Jules

Why no flags for cunt eating?

30 01 2011
maxattitude

opinicus rampant is a pan gender hanky code, where hankies signify actions without referencing body types (biological junk). ie light blue, left = “gives head”

1 02 2011
Jules

how is the term “head” anything but cock or dildo specific?

6 10 2011
gordie

Giving head or getting head is a euphemism for oral sex, not just fellatio. Head being in reference to your own head, being given, or your partners head, being gotten.

19 06 2012
lee

Because the ‘head’ is in reference to the giver, not the receiver of oral sex. The person recieving oral sex is not ‘giving head’, they are ‘getting head’, ‘head’ is not in reference to the head of a penis or a dildo.

1 02 2011
gauchesinister

I hear “giving head” used for cunnilingus pretty commonly but I guess “eating out” is probably more specific – I’ll change it to “gives oral sex” and “wants oral sex”?

8 04 2012
ginfortune

hey your using my tumblr icon! you know thats actually a girl.😀

27 04 2012
gauchesinister

Oh, you made it! Hot! Do you want me to credit it to you somehow?

And yeah, I am a girl.

15 06 2011
lemon

Please explain the lemon.
🙂

27 07 2011
Bowtie Roll Call « Eff to Em

[…] tan colouring just screams, “versatile for cigarplay”, doesn’t […]

26 10 2011
viv

Can you clarify the trans*/genderqueer flags – is one side “is trans/genderqueer” and the other side “is looking for/is into” or are both sides flagging identity and then where they are a Top or a bottom?

Also changing Navy from “Anal” to “fucking” seems confusing. “Anal” is a specific kind of fucking while fucking can be many different things to different people. Could this be changed back to “Anal” and add other flags for other kinds of fucking (there is already dildos, is a flag needed for missionary hetero sex? I dunno, not my bag)

I have some other ideas for new flags. will add these to the Flags, we wrote page

18 11 2011
flagging opinicus rampant

Both sides of the trans* & genderqueer hankies flag identity and then top/bottom orientation. We aren’t into fetishisation of trans identities. If you click the hanky name, it links to the discussion: https://flaggingopinicusrampant.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/trans-flagging/

There was this discussion of navy blue but I don’t know where it’s gone – it was related to making hanky code pangender. You can’t flag “missionary hetero sex” because you can’t flag for gender. We didn’t want orifice disambiguation except on one’s own body. I can see your point though, seeking anal sex doesn’t imply anything about one’s gender whether flagging giving or receiving, it’s no different to rimming or scat in that regard, so maybe we should rethink that.

29 10 2011
Mae

A while back, female ejaculation was listed as blue/white gingham and milking was listed as cow print (holstein). Now blue/white represents lactation and female specific ejaculation is removed. I am not sure why milk is associated with cum or ejaculation in the other article listed. The difference between the two fetishes seemed to be more clear before the changes. But that is just my opinion.

Another list where holstein is listed as milk http://user.xmission.com/~trevin/hanky.html

29 10 2011
Mae

I am also confused by association of blue and white gingham with milk. I thought it chosen because blue is fucking and white is ejaculation. So the gingham print would the combination of the two activities. Most of the people I know associate the cows print with milk and lactation.. udders, breast, etc.

But I understand that the cow=female would be offensive. That part is really clear.

20 08 2012
Cindy Baker

I think the gingham is a reference to what we think of as a traditional milk-maid’s outfit. The 2 main gingham colours are red/white (which looks more like a picnic blanket or tablecloth) and blue/white (white is reminiscent of Dorothy Gale’s dress).

29 10 2011
Mae

Maybe it’s just me, but I suppose it would make more sense if B+W gingham were female ej. and cream was lactation. That would remove the cow reference but still have the milk association. But this is queer/pan flagging, so I suppose a body-specific activity such as lactation would be removed.

5 12 2011
Ha'Sara'Ka

ha ha ha sorry, stupid question… is left MY left, or the viewer’s left??

8 12 2011
flagging opinicus rampant

not stupid at all! YOUR LEFT>

Traditionally, the hanky was situated in the back pocket. Therefore, when viewing someone’s flagging – ‘on the left’ was BOTH your left and their left.

3 04 2012
Nyarg

Are paisleys considered to be their base color, or do they mean something special?

27 04 2012
gauchesinister

Paisleys are just the base colour because the standard hankies used for flagging are paisley. It doesn’t matter if the print is black or white or another colour.

12 04 2012
Bargain

I have a black hanky with white jolly rogers on it, which I’ve been using under the assumption that it would serve dual purpose S&M/handjobs (or else butt pirating)… but some of my friends disagree. I have heard the opinion that it should be for “shivering the timbers” but that leads to confusion about what, exactly shivering someone’s timbers entails. What are your thoughts?

25 04 2012
Queer | Pearltrees

[…] Hanky Code « flagging opinicus rampant fit to be tied GREY, Light bondage – ties […]

30 04 2012
Flagging for femmes and other people who need an alternative to the back pocket « Stuff Queer People Need To Know

[…] This is an expanded hanky code chart, building upon the traditional meanings. (A screen reader friendly version of this chart is available here.) […]

9 05 2012
tatterednotes

Hmmm…guess I need to find both navy blue and light pink to flag on the right…or navy blue with a light pink stripe if I read that correctly.

Of course, it’ll only work if others know the code…

9 05 2012
tatterednotes

I wish this was more widely used/accepted in the lesbian/ftm world. I identify as lesbian, but am often wrongly pegged as a butch top because of my short hair, tattoos, and sense of style. In reality I am a versatile bottom who’s never really been able to enjoy being a bottom. I also am extremely into wanting to be topped by someone with a strap-on. Also, I female-ejaculate…so I’ve got 3 very different, specific things about me I would like to be made known if I’m at a gay bar/club.

What do you suggest? Navy layered with light pink on the right? Finding a navy blue with a light pink stripe to flag the right? What about the female-ejaculation? Also, where does one find all of the colors these days anyway, or does one just go to the fabric store?

26 05 2012
Femme Flagging | Queer Fat Femme

[…] Here’s a great synopsis of the very vast hanky code from the awesome blog Flagging Opinicus Rampant. I also highly recommend a read of that blog’s about page for a more feminist read on the hanky code, and I am highlighting this quote from their about page for the good basic reminders of what flagging does and does not do: Basic Rules of Flagging Flagging is not consent. Flagging means being cool with being propositioned, being rejected, and having the capacity to reject. Flagging is pan gender (you can’t assume someone’s junk from a flag). There are no anti-flags. Flagging is slut pride. […]

11 06 2012
Taste: A Coming of Age Story « crunchingsandmunchings

[…] who might share your values and tastes before any of you even opened your mouths—it was like a hanky code of taste. Of course, this shorthand disappears the older we get and, of course, it’s a code […]

14 06 2012
Femme Flagging II: The Glitter Strikes Back | BINARYTHIS

[…] Nail polish. I feel naked without it. So you can imagine my JOY when I read this post about femme flagging using the stuff, on the Queer Fat Femme blog. The whole “flagging” thing is meant to be a sexual code that lets your prospective partners know what you are into, and was traditionally practiced with strategically coloured hankies in your back pocket (e.g. fuchsia worn on the left means you’re more of a spanker than a spankee). There’s a pretty elaborate guide to the whole hanky code available here. […]

5 07 2012
Femme Flagging (with nail polish) « syrens

[…] but I’ve been poking around a few femme blogs of late and I keep coming across this idea of flagging with nail […]

19 07 2012
George

What about a hanky code for someone looking for a long term monogamous relationship possibly ending in marriage or someone who likes to take it slow before jumping in the sac

18 08 2012
maeinmaryjanes

That might be floral patern “pitching the woo”

26 09 2013
Del

I appreciate the delineation here. In my circle of friends and lovers, “woo” refers to energy/magic, IE, “After that ritual I could fee the woo in the room” or “Kyle does a lot of that pagan-y stuff, he has the woo”. Curious if there could be a flag for “sacred sex” or “sex magic”? Also for spiritual kink?

23 08 2012
maeinmaryjanes

Flower pattern might work (romance fetish)?

15 12 2012
maeinmaryjanes

I think that would be flower pattern, for courtship. Then if there is a flower of specific colors, that adds dual meaning. But if you are marriage and/or courtship minded, begin with flowers pattern and clarify with dialogue.

15 08 2012
Eddie

What does unicorn/unicorn fancier mean? What is meant by unicorn? Like… is it a joke, or is unicorn slang for something?

26 09 2013
Del

At least from my understanding, “unicorn” is a slang for “single/available bisexual woman who is interested in finding a het couple to fuck/play with”, which is why I thought it was odd on a list that was trying to uncouple the flags from gender.

23 08 2012
Pleasure

@ George, That’s what everyone without a hanky is doing!

27 08 2012
Alice

I’ve heard that baby blankets can be used to flag for Ageplay or ABDL. Why wasn’t that included?

7 12 2012
CC

What about virgin? And shaved/waxed bush vs full bush?

13 12 2012
Laura

Nothing for pain… I coulda sworn there was a sadist/pain slut or pain pig hankie.

13 12 2012
Laura

I guess there’s the black, but I was thinking there was one that was either for “beating” or for “extreme” pain…

13 12 2012
Asura Dasel

Was thinking a skull bandanna would be appropriate for necrophilia until I realized the unlikelyhood of seeing a corpse walking around back pocket on show, maybe Zombiephilia, does that exist yet!?

9 02 2013
ian c.

first off, thanks for all your work & thoughts here, it’s been super helpful as a personal reference (and for the hanky project that I am working on: http://www.secretdoorprojects.org/updates/2013/02/07/practical-tools-for-shifting-reality-snapshots-statement/) …. and it’s great to have a hanky code on the internet that is non-body-part specific that I can refer people to who ask about flagging!

second — any thoughts or knowledge on what it means when a bandana is edged with lace? at the thrift store (here in Providence, RI, u.s.a.), I recently came across what was obviously some individual’s collection of hankies that had ended up there in a group: many of them the classic “paisley” bandanas with matching-color-lace hand-stitched around the edge. what would one use that to signify // what will I be signifying if I flag with them??? all the best to you!

13 02 2013
Heather

Why did you decide to go with the top/bottom def’in for switch over the looking/not looking? Just curious, because i’m always pushing the opposite😉

5 03 2013
Sam

Dear y’all,
So I got a new one for you we are starting up here in Portland. Tiny polka dots is flagging femme for femme. Add it to the list! We want it to get around. Thanks!

23 03 2013
Heather

Hey, that’s a new orange definition! I still like it… but the one i was familiar with was anything/nothing right now and I really liked being able to flag that. Plus, what other colours lets you flag switch? booooooooooooo

26 09 2013
Del

Most switches I know wear the bandana around their neck or in the center of their pants; the idea being halfway between left and right.

26 09 2013
Del

Also, at least from my experience, flagging is more of a “what I’m looking for right at this moment”, so a switch could flag right if ze was interested in bottoming to something on Monday, and then flag left on Tuesday if that was zir preference that day. Although I understand that sometimes a switch is open to either topping or bottoming, whichever opportunity presents itself – and that’s when they usually wear it around their neck.

28 07 2013
Mel

This extension to the hanky code is awesome! Not just cis gay guys may be interested in respectful kinky sex.

Awesome with hankies I mean, I find the proposed extension to nail polish a very bad idea and I hope it does not catch up because I don’t want to spend the night telling people that no, I’m afraid I’m not versatile at heavy fisting😦 And there’s no way I paint my left nails white and my right ones grey, any queen (bio- or not) knows the importance of color coordinated nail polish! Why not just tie hankies to your handbag strap, on either side, if you’re femme or queen?

26 09 2013
Del

I think this is amazing and important work. I frequently teach a class on leather traditions, and talk about the hanky code. Would it be okay for me to include a link to this in the bibliography – and if so, how would you like to be cited?

20 01 2016
gauche

Hey sure! Sorry we all stopped checking the comments. Fine for the link to be shared, however you like. There’s a whole team of us so no author name necessary.

1 11 2013
Spinner

How about a hanky code from bb?

11 11 2013
MilkMan

Greek Active / French Passive are top roles and flag left side, this graphic has the oral roles reversed. The top carries the tool regardless of what hole its being delivered to.

14 11 2013
Cali

I haven’t heard anyone mention feltching… I mean it’s not my cup of tea, but they deserve a spot I think. It would be kinda neat if we all had like a flash mob, flag party mixer meetup at like a open public place…

18 01 2014
Hanky Code: Folklore, Language, and Leather | Beyond Hanky Code

[…] definitely spread outside of cisgender gay men’s spaces, to the point of variations including commentary on that (see also that site’s extensive and elaborate hanky code). And here’s some awesome ideas on […]

18 01 2014
Don’t Call Me Babe: Queers Shaming Queers | di drew

[…] that is deemed visibly queer. Of course it is all about queer visibility, and things like the handkerchief code are quite important. This is all fantastic and I don’t want to deny anyone the right to make […]

19 01 2014
The Secret Homo-Handshake | Barely Gay

[…] Code or Bandanna Code that was a way of letting other guys know what one was into. Some of the Hanky Codes were quite […]

9 03 2014
Hanky Code | diatribeboytc's Blog

[…] Hanky Code. […]

14 03 2014
Sirs_Nasreen

I am surprised that I cannot find one for medical play

27 03 2014
Derp

Is this a set palette of colors by an international organization. Or is this like average joe trying to set a standard? Because honestly, there’s way too many codes going on up there. It’s like, “hang on, that guy is wearing x color hanky, let me look that up In my manual to know what he wants? Oh, he has a toothbrush in his right pocket, some rope around his arm, a piece of celery taped to his short, and a red hanky. …..” Firstly, that would look obscene and out of place. Second, there’s just too much going on with those codes. Too many specific meanings and colors. Should I assume that so and so female walking down the street with a lemon wants their tits to be tortured? No, fuck no.

30 03 2014
The Secret Homo Handshake | Masculine Homo

[…] Code or Bandanna Code that was a way of letting other guys know what one was into. Some of the Hanky Codes were quite […]

13 07 2014
cindy railton

Is there a flag for newbie?

13 09 2014
Teri

Camouflage ?

16 04 2015
In the wilds of Berlin. | Mz Jane Wild

[…] phenomena, most well developed heights in the gay men’s scene with all of the complexities of hanky flagging codes and non verbal signals. I have to say it’s one of the things I enjoy in wandering about a new […]

30 04 2015
little panda

Hello all!
I’m just new in all that hanky code stuff and really try to figure out what my friends are wearing. sometimes I get confused, because they are wearing earings, hair´clips, nailed finguers, scarfs etc. or only a shirt to show it. Unfortunately I’m making mistakes on my own.. so, please, is a white shirt with light blue dots something specific? and what can I wear when I don’t want to sign anything, just be normal?

2 06 2015
Silverthonre2015

I am really really good at sucking a gay man’s nuts as long as they are shaved or waxed and the lovely soft area right behind his scrotum is my G spot. What color of hanky would represent my expertise in a gay bar setting.

3 06 2015
Dmnsqrl

tickling?

28 08 2015
Pirate

What does all red nails with a black accent fingernail stand for on a girl? Nail is half black and half red – black from the tip to almost at the top there is a red horizontal line close to cuticle. What does it mean if it is on both fingers or right or left?

3 02 2016
Colour Coding: Creating Queer Bonds with Nail Art – Emotionally Nauseous

[…] have to lead anywhere. Flagging does have basic ground rules, which are outlined on the blog Flagging Opinicus Rampant. The first two are: “Flagging is not consent” and “Flagging means being cool with being […]

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