The Handkerchief Code‘ (most commonly referred to as ‘The hanky code’) is a colour-coded system used commonly by gay and bisexual men. The bearer of the handkerchief uses the coloured handkerchief, in order to flag and indicate a sexual interest or fetish. The earliest act dates back to as early as 1970, but is still widely used to this present day. In retrospective, the act was (and is) used to be as bold and efficient as possible.

A breakdown of some of the main colours used:

  • Red – Fisting
  • Yellow – Watersports
  • Dark Blue – Fucking
  • Orange – Into Anything
  • Brown – Scat
  • Black: Heavy S&M
  • Grey: Bondage

So, what does hanky code have to do with Pup play? In essence, the subject has left a lot of pups, handlers, owners and trainers scratching their heads in wonder. While some companies may have personally designed their pup hoods to work as an added addition to the hanky code, its important to remember that not every company has or even tried to put the two in comparison with each other. In fact, Recon and also a number of other fetish companies have distributed their own set of handkerchiefs specifically aimed towards human pups wanting to flag their fetishes.

So, if we have flagging coloured hoods, why the handkerchiefs? It’s not a question that I’ve personally come across, more one that’s struck a cord with myself. Is that a market tactic? Just an excuse to buy extra products? Maybe. Or, maybe it’s the fact that pup hoods are not handkerchiefs and may not entirely be related to the hanky code? Perhaps.

Despite misconceptions that Pup hoods are all coded, a recent survey took place, which showed that only a low percentage of pups (25%) used the hanky code when choosing their pup colour, leaving a larger 75% of Pup’s wishing to display their favourite colour preference. Figures show it all falls down to the individual wearing the hood. However, it is far less popular to flag a fetish colour using this method.

The only way we can move forward with the subject is to respect that a pup hood means a lot to the individual and whether they are flagging or not, you choose to act on your own initiatives. Remember, there is no official rule or statement to suggest that pups must comply to a form of code and there is no rule to say they can’t either. Just be considerate of others and next time you see a yellow or red pup, please try and remember that it may not be an indication they like being fisted or pissed on.

I left my favourite quote till last –
Always ask and never assume.