Before apps like Grindr existed, the Hanky Code was used by queer men to cruise for sex in a time when it was impossible to do so openly. In today’s world, it is easier to be openly gay but harder to do nearly anything else. These simple changes to the hanky code will meet the new needs of gay people in the sex positive age.
Lime Green worn in the left pocket
Formerly: I am looking for a long term relationship.
Now: My ex paid for Hulu and HBOMax and I’m super behind on The Handmaid’s Tale. If we aren’t a good match, that’s okay! Just stay with me until the series finale.
Aqua worn in the left pocket
Formerly: I am interested in having sex in a hot shower.
Now: My water heater broke. I would love to use yours, whether or not you are in it with me.
Light Blue worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I am interested in having oral sex.
Now: I am interested in someone using those same skills to siphon gas from cars because my fuel tank is empty.
Gray worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I am interested in bondage and would like to be tied up.
Now: I dislocated my shoulder but can’t find any doctors in my health insurance network. I figure that you have a pretty good sense of the human body since you tie people up often. Maybe you could tie me up in a way that pops my shoulder back into place?
Gold worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I am looking for two people.
Now: There’s a fantastic apartment that I found but the other people I was going to sign with decided to join an artist’s commune that is squatting in an abandoned doll factory. My landlord is giving me a few more days to find new roommates because no human person could afford the rent on their own. But it’s in a really great area that makes the fact that we will all be sharing a bedroom worth it.
Kelly Green worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I would like to hire a hustler.
Now: I found a vintage record holder/furniture piece described as “Mid Century”/lamp that looks like a carrot online. I need to pick it up from the seller but that sort of manual labor is far removed from the “blue collar” skills I have of latte art and screen printing, so I am in need of someone to help move my oversized tchotchke. Or more likely move it while I watch.
Keys in the back right pocket
Formerly: I am unable to host someone and would therefore need to be invited into your home.
Now: My roommate is having a group of people over for the screening of an un-subtitled Polish film that follows a balloon for four hours, and normally I can stomach the pretension but tonight I would like to sleep in the company of someone I can eat a Hot Pocket in front of.
Silver Lamé worn in the left pocket
Formerly: I am most interested in celebrities
Now: I’m going to be honest. I will have sex with you and then sell the story to a tabloid magazine and use it to kick start a brief stint as a pop culture correspondent or my fifteen minutes of fame, whichever lasts longer. And besides, it’s the most lucrative job for someone underneath mountains of student debt for a BFA in Musical Theater.
Orange worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I am not looking for anything now, just cruising.
Now: I am writing my dissertation on queer history. That’s why there is a notepad in my other pocket. Continue like I’m not even here!
Leopard Print worn in the left pocket
Formerly: I have tattoos, if you’re into that.
Now: I have tattoos, and I think they may be infected. They were all done with a sewing needle on the floor of my friend’s studio apartment. They were supposed to be Keith Haring-style figures but instead they look like melanoma. So I’m looking for someone who is into tattoos, specifically treating them for skin diseases.
Black Velvet worn in the right pocket
Formerly: I will perform for a camera.
Now: My agent sent me some scenes to read for a commercial and I think that I could book it and capture the hearts of America as Brian the Gay Fast Food Eater. It’s also the first role I’ve been asked to audition for that doesn’t ask me to speak with a lisp. This could be my stepping stone to a featured extra role once casting directors see that I can talk like a real person. So yes, I will perform for a camera but only in a costume that Brian the Gay Fast Food Eater would wear.
Air Conditioning Bill in the left pocket
Formerly: N/A (air conditioning was not in as high demand in the 1970s).
Now: I have air conditioning, so if you’re one of the poor saps who lives in a dwelling that is legally considered a steam room at this stage of the climate crisis, you probably want to come home with me.
Green Carnation on the Front Lapel
Formerly: I’m indicating to you that I am a homosexual in the way that Oscar Wilde and his close friends did in the late nineteenth century and I’m doing so because I am either very old or completely insufferable.
Now: I’m indicating to you that I am a homosexual in the way that Oscar Wilde and his close friends did in the late nineteenth century and I’m doing so because I am either very old or completely insufferable.
T-Shirt with a slogan pandering to gay people
Formerly: N/A (large corporations did not think that gay people had purchasing power and therefore did not regard them as people who wanted to buy things).
Now: I came out late in life and have yet to learn that these shirts are super tacky.
Robert Vetter is a humor writer based in Chicago with pieces of himself scattered all over the Internet. His writing has been featured in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Hard Times, Functionally Dead, Slackjaw, and more. He has dreamed of being a cultural critic since birth and is thrilled to be living out his lifelong dream.