Friday, April 15, 2011

What Colour is Your Hanky?

Everyone knows that Montreal is one of the gayest destinations in the world. And it's a fact that Tourism Montreal is very eager to promote. 

When I was a young homosexual-in-training and gays had yet to march out of the closet twirling batons and blowing trumpets, I was educated in the refined skill of "code-reading". Upon meeting someone for the first time, there were ways to discern whether your new acquaintance was also "on the bus". 
Was there a copy of Oscar Wilde on the bookshelf?  Does he wear a pinky ring? 

These were the days before decriminalization, before rainbow flags and pink triangle pins. Before the state was kicked out of our bedrooms.
Coding is a common way to show affinity to a group or tribe, i.e. secret handshakes, passwords, Louis Vuitton bags.

In the seventies a subset of gays very ingeniously used a hanky colour code to signal their sexual activity preference. Surprisingly, it was one of the few things that straights hadn't appropriated.

In this article, Alex Dunphy who is waaaay too young to remember the original codes, comes up with some new ones of his own in this Tourism MontrĂ©al article.
  • BLACK HANKY – INTO S&M: For all those interesting in the black hanky, sounds like your kind of place would be L’Aigle Noire on Sainte-Catherine. Full of all the leather and chainmail you could wish for, it’s definitely the place to get your kink on.
    GREY FLANNEL HANKY – LEFT: OWNS A SUIT, RIGHT: LIKES MEN IN SUITS: Grey flannel means you love a nice crisp suit. Worn in the left pocket means you own and like wearing suits. 
    Hanky Code - Peaches


  1. so cute in the age of gay411 and such... on the street, nobody cruises anymore... too busy tweeting and yammering on the fucking phone.

  2. Fun post, and yes I think tweeting and texting has replaced any and all symbolism.

    A few years ago, a straight female friend of mine made me a beautiful patchwork quilt out of hankies. She was shocked and yes entertained when we started interpreting what all the colours indicated to us!


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