Hanky Codes

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The Hanky Code (also known as the handkerchief code, the bandana code, and flagging) is a color-coded system, employed usually among the gay male or practitioners in the leather subculture in the United States, Canada, and Europe, to indicate preferred sexual fetishes, what kind of sex they are seeking, and whether they are a top/dominant (worn on the left) or bottom/submissive (worn on the right).

The origins of the Hanky Codes dates back to American cowboy during the mid- and late-nineteenth century. It is thought that the wearing of bandanas which was a common partice for men, originated in San Francisco after the Gold Rush, when, because of a shortage of women, men dancing with each other in square dances developed a code wherein the man wearing the blue bandana took the male part in the square dance, and the man wearing the red bandana took the female part (these bandanas were usually worn around the arm or hanging from the belt or in the back pocket of one’s jeans). The modern hanky code started in New York City sometime in the late 1970 – early 1971 and has became a staple of the modern leather culture.

The first chart below shows the twelve most popular (as well as distinguable) colors in the Hanky Code, as well as their meaning listed just under the color name. The succeeding chart is the long list of colors and items.




BLACK heavy SM top heavy SM bottom
GREY bondage top fit to be tied!
BLUE, Light wants head cocksucker
BLUE, Robin’s Egg 69er anything but 69ing
BLUE, Medium cop copsucker
BLUE, Navy fucker (top) fuckee (bottom)
BLUE, Airforce pilot/flight attendant likes flyboys
BLUE, Light w/WHITE Stripe sailor lookin’ for salty seamen
BLUE, Teal cock & ball torturer cock & ball torturee
BLUE, Turquoise cathetizer catheterizee
RED fist fucker fist fuckee
MAROON cuts bleeds
RED, Dark 2-handed fister 2-handed fistee
PUCE bruiser bruise me
PINK, Light dildo fucker dildo fuckee
PINK, Dark tit torturer tit torturee
MAUVE into navel worshippers has a navel fetish
MAGENTA suck my pits armpit freak
PURPLE piercer piercee
LAVENDER likes drag queens drag queen
YELLOW pisser/WS piss freak
YELLOW, Pale spits drool crazy
MUSTARD hung 8″+ wants 8″+
GOLD two looking for one one looking for two
ORANGE anything anytime nothing now (just cruising)
APRICOT two tons o’ fun chubby chaser
PEACH bear cub
CORAL suck my toes shrimper (sucks toes)
RUST a cowboy a cowboy’s horse
FUSCHIA spanker spankee
GREEN, Kelly hustler (for rent) john (looking to buy)
GREEN, Hunter daddy orphan boy looking for daddy
OLIVE DRAB military top military bottom
GREEN, Lime dines off tricks (food) dinner plate (will buy dinner)
BEIGE rimmer rimmee
KHAKI wears a uniform loves a man in uniform
BROWN scat top scat bottom
BROWN LACE uncut likes uncut
BROWN SATIN cut likes cut
CHARCOAL latex fetish top latex fetish bottom
GREY FLANNEL owns a suit likes men in suits
WHITE beat my meat (J/O) I’ll do us both (J/O)




CREAM cums in condoms sucks cum out of condoms


safe sex top

safe sex bottom

RED w/WHITE Stripe shaver shavee


brander or cutter

brandee or cuttee

RED w/BLACK Stripe furry bear likes bears
WHITE LACE likes white bottoms likes white tops
BLACK w/WHITE Stripe likes black bottoms likes black tops
BROWN w/WHITE Stripe likes latino bottoms likes latino tops
YELLOW w/WHITE Stripe likes asian bottoms likes asian tops
BLUE, Light w/WHITE Dots likes white suckers likes to suck whites
BLUE, Light w/BLACK Dots likes black suckers likes to suck blacks
BLUE, Light w/BROWN Dots likes latino suckers likes to suck latinos
BLUE, Light w/YELLOW Dots likes asian suckers likes to suck asians


park sex top

park sex bottom

BROWN CORDUROY headmaster student
PAISLEY wears boxer shorts likes boxer shorts
FUR bestialist top bestialist bottom
GOLD LAME likes muscleboy bottoms likes muscleboy tops
SILVER LAME starfucker celebrity
BLACK VELVET has/takes videos will perform for the camera
WHITE VELVET voyeur (likes to watch) will put on a show


has tattoos

likes tattoos

TAN smokes cigars likes cigars
TEDDY BEAR cuddler cuddlee
KEWPIE DOLL chicken (under-aged) chicken hawk (likes them young)
DIRTY JOCKSTRAP wears a dirty jock sucks dirty jocks clean
JOCKSTRAP, Any color wears one likes jockstraps
DOILY tearoom top (pours) tearoom bottom (drinks)
MOSQUITO NETTING outdoor sex top outdoor sex bottom
ZIPLOC BAG has drugs looking for drugs
COCKTAIL NAPKIN bartender bar groupie
KLEENEX stinks sniffs
KEYS IN FRONT has a car looking for a ride
KEYS IN BACK has a home needs a place to stay
HOUNDSTOOTH likes to nibble willing to be bitten



likes sexy nerds

TARTAN, Caledonian

fully clothed

fully naked

UNION JACK skinhead top skinhead bottom


new in town tourists welcome
CHAMOIS rides a motorcycle biker groupie
TERRYCLOTH bathhouse top bathhouse bottom
WHITE w/MULTICOLOR Dots hosting an orgy looking for an orgy