For Californians, the Folsom Street Festival activity comes as no shock.  Take all the skin, the leather, and the dangling genitalia of a pride festival, multiply it by 100, and then you can imagine the true experience of the fetish festival in Folsom.  If it were a book, Folsom would make 50 Shades of Grey seem dull and tame.  At the festival as a newbie, seeing the cages, the nudity, and the displays of S & M, I was taken aback.  Such freedom. Such wild behaviors and quirky fetishes were new to me.

There were many straight people, a Dominatrix with her whip and harnessed, gagged naked man in tow seems to stand out in my memory.  But there were many gay men and lesbians afoot.  I was stupefied at the display of skin and sin, and was thrilled that it was accepted, and no one got arrested!  I spent my time gawking, collecting handouts and magazines, condoms for my girlfriends and boyfriends, just soaking it all in.

Hanky Code
via: deviantart

Unfortunately the most interesting thing I put in my bag that day, I didn’t get a look at until I got home the next day.  A small card, multi-colored, with the title “Hanky Code” at the top.  I looked at it quickly, and brought it over to the gay boys I was closest to.  There I learned that this “code” was universal in the United States, and all gay men are aware of it.  True?  You tell me!

Following the Hanky Code shows how guys can share whatever their sexual interest is by putting a certain color handkerchief in their right or left back pocket.  Fascinating!  Brilliant!  Lesbians would never get that creative!

Hanky Code
via: blogspot

So, I started to pay close attention in public, at pride festivals and the like.  Sure enough, I saw Hanky Code all around.  The most obvious example I saw at San Francisco Pride.  One big well-built guy with an eight pack and jean shorts had a gold lame kerchief in his back left pocket. Seriously, GOLD LAME! Hanky Code says this means he “likes bottom musclemen.”  Of course I brought the card and had to look it up!  Then I saw another hard body, he was a bit shorter, but with rippling muscles everywhere. As he turned around, I saw a gold lame kerchief in his back right pocket!  Hanky Code told me he liked “top musclemen,” and I watched the two disappear behind a big tent.  It was real!

Hanky Code
via: wikipedia

Skip to the next year at Folsom. This time I was ready.  We walked past the S & M tent. Outside the door there were two drawings, one holding a black bandana against his left butt cheek, the other holding a black bandana against his right butt cheek. Card in hand- Hanky Code said, left was “Heavy S & M top”, and right was “Heavy S & M bottom”.   We could hear the whips and chains, wails of pain, and moans of ecstasy from the street.

Hanky Code seems to be a simple way to communicate with strangers from afar.  Lesbians don’t have anything like this.  I have to say, if I was single, I would be jealous of all my gay friends!  Don’t know how to get what you need?  Check out the Hanky Code and your wishes will be displayed on a need to know basis!  No rainbow flag waving, just simple placement of a $1 bandana.  I would put a brown and white striped hanky in my back right pocket!  Now you are in the know! Go get your hanky panky on with a hanky!!!!

So, let’s watch video where two guys are going to teach us some definitions of “Hanky Code” colors :