Slasher Hanky Code

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Title: Slasher Hanky Code or Slash Hanky Code
Creator: zvi
Date(s): 2004
Fandom: slash
External Links: Slasher Hanky Code History
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notes taken during 2004 Connexions panel

The Slasher Hanky Code was developed at a 2004 Connexions convention panel.

Origins of the History

It is a reference to the gay community's hanky code, a method dating back to the 1970s (but similar to earlier dress codes) of using hankerchiefs in pants pockets to signal a desire for sexual partners along with type of sex that is preferred. [1]

Another reference to a similar "code":

h/c and/or Romantic Sadism, there's a new topic devoted to such matters on GEnie's Science Fiction Round Table bulletin board. (I don't think anyone else in the apa is on GEnie, but just in case, it's SFRT3/43/23.) It's called "The Torture Chamber — BSHS HQ," where BSHS stands for Black Silk Hankie Squad, a term invented by I believe Doris Egan. The idea was that if handkerchiefs of appropriate color and placement indicate one's sexual kinks to the like-minded, then those of us who like to torture Avon, Mulder, et al, should perhaps be sporting black silk hankies. The topic has been very active and very amusing, and sure enough, the consensus of opinion is that comfort is important too. But somehow it's always the hurt that gets talked about at length. [2]

A fanwork with much reference to "hanky code" is the Starsky & Hutch letterzine Hanky Panky.

front cover of Hanky Panky #2, artist is Ruth Kurz (1982)

About the "Slasher Hanky Code"

According to its creator zvi:

The code was created in response to a panel at Escapade 2004, Slashing the Slashers. The panel concerned the homosexual underpinnings to much slasher interaction, in that there are women, often straight, creating sexual experiences for other women, also often straight. I sat in the panel and thought, "All y'all hos are teases." It's very difficult to know, in the homosocial, homoerotic atmosphere of much slash interaction, when a sexual or romantic proposition would be welcome. The code was designed to alleviate some of that confusion. [3]

The code answers five questions:

  1. Are you seeking a sexual/romantic connection or something platonic?
  2. How intimate a level of touch are you comfortable with?
  3. How serious a relationship are you looking for?
  4. What's the preferred gender of potential partners?
  5. What is your current relationship status? [4]

The development of the code signaled, according to some fans, a shifting of the primarily all female slash conventions away from a non-sexual to a more sexualized meeting space. Others have argued that in spite of its heterosexual origins, slash conventions have always contained a sexualized element. [5]