Whether you’re a new One Direction fan or a veteran, we’ve all witnessed the varying phases of fashion the boys went through while in the band. Frat boy chic, Harry’s head scarves, Louis vests, Vans, Adidas, a Gucci suit…we could go on for quite a while. One trend that often gets overlooked as just another fad is what we’ll be touching on a bit today: Liam and Zayn and their bandanas.
Fair warning: the subject matter referenced in this article is on the spicy side. We’ll try to keep it generalized, but even watering it down may pink the cheeks of some readers. Proceed with the utmost awareness and caution!
Beginning in about 2013, we started seeing Liam sporting a bandana in his back pocket during shows, meet and greets, and casually on the street. Occasionally, Zayn would be seen taking part in the “trend” and fans were, as usual, enamored with the look – some even wearing bandanas of their own to emulate their idols. While wearing a bandana in one’s pocket may seem to be just a cool fashion choice, there is a little known, and rarely discussed, subtext that many fans believe the boys were using to code some of their…let’s just say, private bedroom inclinations. It’s called the Handkerchief Code (or hanky code, bandana code, or flagging).
The modern Hanky Code became widely used beginning in the 1970s, but some believe it likely came into existence 100 years before then. It is a way for queer men to signal to others their sexual preferences and fetishes in a discreetly casual manner. Bandanas of varying colors are typically worn on an arm or in a back pocket either on the right or left side of the body. The specific color of the bandana and the side of the body it is worn on is what announces the individual’s sexual focus. If you want an in depth guide on what the colors and sides mean, we encourage you to inquire of the internet gods. Right now, we’ll just present you with some general scenarios.
Say you wore a black bandana in your left pocket. The hanky code may say you were a top into heavy BDSM (a range of sexual preferences focusing on control – physical and/or psychological – and pain).
If you were to switch it up and wear a red bandana in the same left pocket. You may enjoy pleasuring your partner with your fist (yes, as in fisting).
However, you may prefer the color white and wear it in your right pocket. In this case, the code says you love to give a good hand job.
And finally, let’s say you were devoted to your partner and wanted to show everyone that you were set in your role as a submissive bottom. In that case, you’ll probably just get a black bandana tattooed on your right arm.
Flagging is a real thing, regardless of whether or not you believe that Liam and Zayn used the hanky code to signal their sexual preferences. There is a lot about Ziam’s bandanas and how/why they wore them that can’t be explained. The Larry fandom widely accepts that Harry wears a blue bandana specifically for Louis. Some consider it a way he shows who he belongs to…a day collar in a sense. Is it too much of a stretch to consider Liam and Zayn may do something similar? We may never know the truth, but we do know that these boys are smart and have been known to use some unique resources to communicate with fans. Couldn’t this be one of them?