What’s your colour? – The Handkerchief Code

Image has a black background with the Geared Logo (a stylised G in a circle surrounded by spikes) and the words Geared Ireland followed by leather rubber and fetish. Click on the picture will take you to gearedireland.ie
Geared Ireland in Dublin

A few days ago my Dom (not sure if I should refer to Him as Master or Sir, rather than Dom. That’s a conversation!) invited me (I’m calling it “ordered” but he’s a good guy so it was an invite really) to a Fetish Gear night in Dublin and once clearing it with my husband (who Dom calls my “handler” – nice!, I love it!) I accepted with excitement. 

Geared is Ireland’s largest and longest running fetish gear club night for the kink community and offers a full, late bar, a private smoking area and cloakroom facilities. This is a volunteer run not-for-profit night and all “kinksters” are invited, and all fetish gear is welcome.

So I had to start planning my outfit. Deciding I’m going to wear my black or rainbow kilt, some boots and a harness I was quite happy. But then I started shopping. I found a pair of bracers (or suspenders depending on where you’re from) that have four different layouts and I just had to have them. But then I had to decide on the colour. Red was my first choice so I sent a pic to my husband and he sent me a very positive reply.

I hadn’t even thought about the colour choice! Going by the handkerchief code red would say I was in to fisting. Now, as you’re aware from this blog I’m sex positive and fisting definitely has it’s place in sex. I’ve done it, both giving and taking, but it’s not something I’ve done in quite some time and at my first time at Geared I don’t think it’s something I’d want to advertise. I can’t (and won’t*) say no to my Dom but fisting is a process and I’m not ready for him to order** me to go through with it

Image shows a text message conversation discussed in the post.
He likes me in bracers!

But it made me think about the handkerchief code. Years ago I saw it actively working in bars and clubs I’d go to but I haven’t seen in ages, and I wonder do people actually know about it? Do young LGBTI+ people understand it’s significance and importance in queer culture? Or even where it came from and how it developed. If they saw someone in a bar with a handkerchief in their back pocket, on the left or right, would they know what it means?

The theory is that it started with bandanas around the neck. These were common accessories in the mid- and late-nineteenth century among cowboys, steam railroad engineers, and miners in the Western United States. The wearing of bandanas by gay men allegedly 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.

As this trend spread across the country (and world) it replaced keys. In case you didn’t know a bunch of keys clipped to you belt told people if you were a top or a bottom. Clipped to the left meant you were a top, and the right denoted you were a bottom. 

A chap called Alan Selby, the founder of Mr. S Leather in San Francisco, claims that he created the first hanky code with his business partners at Leather ‘n’ Things in 1972, to help them sell more bandanas, but in1964 Bob Damrom published a book of all the gay bars he knew from his travels across the USA. He called it “Bob Damron’s Address Book,” and in it he listed various bars, bathhouses and cruising grounds across the country, and covered all 50 states. In this book he listed the handkerchief code as he’d observed it so I’m calling bullshit on the claims from Selby. 

I’d love to know, did he experience each of the codes or or did he ask the wearer what they were into? Either way it would have made for an amazing conversation and been a great opening line!

In 1980 his code looked like this:




Greek Active

Dark Blue

Greek Passive



FFA Receiver

Has 8”+


Wants 8” +


Light Blue

No 69




Golden Showerer


Receives G.S.

Has Uniform

Olive Drab

Wants Uniform




Scat Top


Scat Bottom






Give J/O




The modern code isn’t much different with regard to the colours and their means but the variants have expanding greatly. In fact some of them aren’t even colours!

Do you use it? Would you? What would be your colours?

Me, well mine would be an absolute rainbow of colour and textures and both pockets would be full!  How about you?

Left Colour Right
Heavy SM top Black Heavy SM bottom
Bondage top Grey Bondage bottom
Safe sex top Black with white check Safe sex bottom
Light SM top Grey with black Light SM bottom
Owns a suit Grey flannel Likes men in suits
Likes black bottoms Black with white stripes Likes black tops
Latex fetish top Charcoal Latex fetish bottom
Has/takes videos Black velvet Will perform for the camera
Wants head Light blue Gives head
69’er Robins egg blue Anything but 69
Is a police officer Medium blue Likes police officers
Top Navy blue Bottom
Pilot / Cabin crew Airforce blue Like pilots and cabin crew
Sailor / Navy Light blue with white stripe Looking for sailors / navy crew
Cock & ball torturer Teal Cock & ball torturee
Likes to fist Red Likes being fisted
Shaver Red with white stripe Shavee
Is a bear Red with black stripe Likes bears
Cuts Maroon Bleeds
Two handed fister Dark red Likes being fisted with two hands
Fucks with a dildo Light pink Likes to be fucked with a dildo
Nipple torturer Dark pink Likes nipples to be tortured
Worships the naval Mauve Wants naval worshipped
Spankee Fuschia Spanker
Likes arm pits licked / sucked Magenta Will sick / lick arm pits
Piercer Purple Piercee
Likes drag queens or fems Lavender Is a drag queen or fem
Wants trans Pink with blue and white stripe Is trans
Watersports top Yellow Watersports bottom
Spits Pale yellow Like spit
Is 8”+ Mustard Wants 8”+
Two looking for one Gold One looking for two
Like asian bottoms Yellow with white stripe Likes asian tops
Likes muscle bottoms Gold lame Wants muscle tops
Anything, anytime Orange Nothing now, just cruising
Chubby Apicot Chubby chaser
Wants a toe sucker Coral Sucks toes
Cowboy Rust Horse
For rent Kelly green Looking to buy
Daddy Hunter green Son
Military top Drab green Military bottom
Sex for food Lime green  Will buy food
Rimmer Beige Rimmee
Scat top Brown Scat bottom
Is uncut Brown lace Like uncut
Is cut Brown satin Like cut
Likes latino bottoms Brown with white stripe Likes Latino tops
Wank me White Will wank you
Milker Holstein Milkee
Cums in comdon Cream Sucks cum from Condon
Likes white bottoms White lace Is a white bottom
Likes to watch White velvet Likes to be watched
Like white suckers Light blue with white dots Likes to suck white people
Likes black suckers Light blue with black dots Like to suck black people
Likes latino suckers Light blue with brown dots Likes to suck latino people
Likes asian suckers Light blue with yellow dots Likes to suck asian people
Park sex top Red and white gingham Park sex bottom
Headmaster / teacher Brown corduroy Student / Pupil
Bestialist top Fur Bestialist bottom
Wants to fuck celebrities Silver lame Is a celebrity
Has tattoos Leopard Likes tattoos
Smokes cigars Tan Likes cigar smokers
Cuddler Teddy bear Cuddlee
Wears boxers Paisley Like men in boxers
Skinhead top Union Jack Skinhead bottom
Outdoor sex top Mosquito netting Outdoor sex bottom

*We have an amazing Dom/sub relationship and he knows my limitations and I trust him implicitly. I know that if I say no he’ll respect that and he asks before doing anything new. What I like is that he asks in a way that makes it sound like it’s order or demand but has the very clear definition of respecting my answer.

**He wouldn’t. See above.

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