wrote in to ask about our Bandanna Color Chart, or as
we refer to it, the Hanky Code. It seems we've were running
the description for light blue (cock sucking) in reverse
order. "Isn't the color code the same nationwide?" he
how much I pay attention to the hanky code, doesn't it?
I'll get the editors to fix it, since the dominant partner
should be wearing his hanky on the left. On the other
hand, if the cocksucker is really aggressive about his
sucking, maybe he's the top.
asking a question like that is a typical Rinella diversionary
tactic. We all have this idea that cocksuckers must be
bottoms, so they should be "advertising on the right."
gray handkerchief hasn't been out of my top dresser drawer
for years. Somewhere along the way, I gave up on hankies,
keys, and codes. In fact, if you go into most leather
bars you will find that to be the case with many leather
folk. It's a fad on the wane.
noticeable exceptions, of course, are among fisters and
pissers. Here and there a few people will still show their
fetish with a hanky and that is really the benefit of
hankies: they allow very specific notification of what
you're looking for. As I said, this is most evident with
those into red or yellow signals. Those folks are usually
quite intent to get what they want and so when you see
the appropriate color in their back pocket you can make
a pick-up decision rather quickly.
met Gary that way, when I was first coming out. His red
handkerchief attracted my eye, we sat and talked for about
90 seconds and then grabbed a cab to my place. I know
the timing because my friend Ed was watching us and later
commented that he couldn't believe how quickly we had
gotten out of there.
called several guys who might have known the origins of
hankies but the only one who came to the phone and so
answered my question said that the hanky thing started
on the West Coast. Originally there were only two colors:
red and blue. They were the simple bandannas that farmers
wear. Blue was for bottom, red for top. It was only later
that the colors evolved.
began to come into usage at this time too, though there
was confusion as to which side was which. It seems that
the East Coast picked one side for tops, the West Coast
the other. The two merged, of course, in Chicago.
informant remembers one guy who made a belt of keys so
that they encircled his waist. That way, he had both coasts
covered. There are several reasons why I don't favor the
use of hankies anymore.
of all, the color list is arbitrary and much too long
to remember. What you see on these pages [of Gay Chicago
Magazine] is only enough to fill in space not sold to
advertisers. Believe me, if the areas filled with hanky
codes were sold to some bar owner every week, you'd never
see any part of the list.
have a list that is thirty-one colors long. Forget it!
Besides, what real leatherman is going to wear fuchsia?
or pink? Get real.
of course, I challenge anyone to be able to tell me what
color most hankies are when you're cruising the back corners
of a bar. The single light over the pool table isn't going
to help you distinguish black from navy blue.
of course, the hanky that you think will attract the man
of your fantasies may, in fact, dissuade him from talking
to you. We both know that in the end, the person, not
the fetish is what is most appealing. If I'm wearing a
hanky, I send a signal that I'm not interested in anything
else, when in most instances such isn't the case.
remember a bartender in Corpus Christi who took me out
one night wearing keys on the left. As we chatted amiably
between sips of beer, he asked me all sorts of questions
about who I was and where I was from and what was I doing
in the South. "What do you say we go back to my place
and party?" he said sometime during our second dance.
"I bet I could show you a real good time."
don't think so," I answered, looking at the position of
his keys. "We're too much alike."
can be flexible," he said.
not flexible enough."
shook my head "No" and glanced at his keys again. As long
as he wanted the dominant part, he'd have to find it somewhere
else. He looked at my eyes and saw whence I stared. He
paused a minute in his step, grabbed the key ring, and
switched it to the other side of his waist. "I can be
flexible," he said again.
can be flexible," he repeated. It wasn't that I hadn't
heard him, so I said "What?" again. He looked at me a
bit perplexed and then said, "I can be flexible, Sir."
smiled, "Then let's go find out just how flexible you
much for signs. But then, I speak as one who can be fairly
versatile. That position is where most people find themselves
as well, so the placement of keys and hankies can get
problematic. I have seen hankies in both back pockets.
I've also seen pockets so stuffed with colors as to say
"I'm game for anything."
in my earlier days I used to look for yellow hankies because
I had come to the conclusion that a guy who'd take a golden
shower from me would do most anything else. I'm eclectic
and love variety, a little bit of this and little bit
of that, so I keep myself wide open for all sorts of possibilities.
That attitude is what makes me feel the way I do about
codes and keys: "Don't fence me in."
on the other hand, you're dead serious about one thing
or another, color codes are one way to establish contact.
The best way, though, is to say a simple "Hello". Time
and time again, guys ask me how can they meet people.
The answer is always the same: "Break the ice." Go ahead,
say the first words, and let the conversation go where
it will. Keys, colors, the way we dress, the way we stand,
and where we go are all parts of the formula, but without
the first "Hello" or "Hi" or "How are you?" nothing will
ever happen. So, Walt, enjoy those cocks and suck them
carefully. And if you find a "real big one" that's not
wearing a mustard hanky, go for it anyway. Thanks for
to be Fisted
8" or More
S & M Top
S & M Bottom
to be Jacked Off
to JO others
& WHITE CHECK
1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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