Early last year, I was given the opportunity to “fly my colors” for the first time. Meaning, Master walked me through how to properly fold my two bandanas, so they would lay comfortably against my jeans, to express my interests to the other 1800 people in attendance at a kink convention.
Wearing colors had never crossed my mind. Do not misunderstand, I wear my pride with my patches and my pins. I am proud of my positions, as both a submissive and a Daddy.
But, the Bandana Code, also known as the Hanky Code, had become a relic of our past by the time I was in the scene. It was used predominantly in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. From talking to others in my local community, it is scene occasionally nowadays but is most often used more as a party theme.
I do wish it were still part of our community today. I have hearing loss in both my ears. I have lost around 30% of my hearing on each side. I also struggle with hearing certain tones. This means that during parties, my partners use hand signals for check-ins. Since I cannot hear them properly, and they may be facing away from me, we built a rudimentary set of four signals to express our current state of mind. When trying to mingle with others, I find it very hard to be able to talk to them, and hear their answer, which makes pick up play difficult.
Flagging, or hankies, were not used during play. However, they were used to express what you were looking for at that time. You could look out across a sea of people, and hone in on who was into what, and what role they were.
It was known to have been used in Canada, Europe, and the United States. It was used in the gay Leather community but has since been opened to all genders and sexualities. Back then, hankies were used to denote a sexual fetish, what kind of sex they wanted, and whether they were a Top or a bottom.
Left side flagging indicates a Top. Right side indicates bottom.
Keys were a predecessor of hankies. The Left/Right indications were still the same. Finding that out was amusing. Especially since I have, and probably always will, hook my keys to my right belt loop. Who knows that invitations I would have been subtly sending out if the key code was still actively used today?
Maybe I am impractical, but I wondered what happened if you had multiple interests. At that point, it feels like I would have a rainbow hanging out of my pocket to express it all. It was clarified, through a whole lot of laughter by Master, that you typically picked one or two colors and may swap them out depending on what was desired that night.
He expressed that he always wore his black hankie, since he is a Sadist above all else. His secondary color changed as needed.
The colors have been added to over the years. I’m going to include the basics from Larry Townsend’s 1983 Leatherman Handbook II. If it spikes your curiosity, google Hanky Code colors and watch the lists grow exponentially.
Dark Blue- Anal Sex
Light Blue– Oral Sex
Orange– Anything Goes
*As notated, the giver and the receiver were determined based on the side you put your Hanky/bandana on.
I have never been the most outgoing individual. I am unsure if I ever would have been brave enough to wear orange. Then again, I believe it probably led to some unforgettable times between individuals.
We may never see a resurgence of the Hanky code, it would be nice to have an easier way to find my people when I am faced with the loud, rambunctious environments that surround both parties and kink conventions.Attachments area
My name is Joji. I am 29 years old currently and I have been in and around the kink community about 15 years.I am a collared submissive to Magick42. I am also a Daddy to a wonderful babygirl, and have been for more than three years now and I find it very fulfilling. I am being mentored in and being taught electroplay. I am a masochist at heart and thoroughly love impact play, especially caning. I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on and am a die hard Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan. I am also the secretary for a group in Idaho called Moscow S.P.A.R.K.E (Simply Providing Another Route to Kink Education). It is our mission to teach safe practices to those new to the community and give them a safe haven to ask questions and learn without judgement. We accept all kinks and all we ask in return is respect between all our members.