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FRIDAY TYRANT - THE MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS OF THE HANKY CODE

by VICE Staff
May 27 2011, 5:27pm

My nose has been running a lot lately so I have been forced to carry a handkerchief to wipe the snot from my face. After jamming a lavender plaid hanky into my back pocket today, I found myself wondering what kind of dudes would hit on me if it were hanging out for all to see. If you don't know what I’m talking about, it’s probably time to introduce yourself to the Hanky Code. A long time ago fags figured out how to cut any bullshit that might get in the way of shooting one off by letting different colored handkerchiefs hang out of their back pockets in order to show their sexual proclivities to others aware of the code. There are two theories about how this trend began. One theory says that the hanky code began at square dances in San Francisco (that’s weird) after the Gold Rush. Due to the shortage of women, the men had to dance with other men (disgusting). The dancer who took the male role wore a blue hanky and the dancer who took the female role wore a red hanky. The second theory says that a journalist from the

Village Voice wrote that instead of wearing keys to indicate if someone was a “top” or “bottom,” gays should be more subtle and just wear different colored hankies. The chart below is the basic guide that comes from Larry Townsend's The Leatherman's Handbook II (’83). It’s simple and easy to learn.

Genuinely interested in where this whole thing began, I asked the two most knowledgeable homosexuals (besides myself) whose emails I happen to have. Writer-God Edmund White wasn't sure, but thinks it began with The Leatherman’s Handbook as well, while Project Runway’s Chris March had this to say:

"I don’t know, but one of my college professors was a creepy older guy who kept giving me these lascivious looks all the time. Then I found out why—he had an orange hanky in his left pocket, which means 'anything, anytime, anywhere—just clean up afterward.' Ew."

Thanks for nothing, guys. So it looks like the genius who thought this whole thing up will forever remain unremembered. I’m sorry about this, whoever you are. You were a true trailblazer. Now, are you ready for the fully comprehensive, mind-blowing list of how fags let other fags know, in great detail, just what they want in the bedroom without ever speaking a word? Feast!

Click to engorge


GIANCARLO DITRAPANO