Color Me Purple

In the Christian tradition, today is Good Friday. I thought it would be appropriate to post this brief excerpt from the book. Enjoy!
 
“By 1978 I had made up my mind that purple was to be the color for body piercing. This had sprung directly from another of those products of gay creativity, the bandana or hanky code.
 
“Evidently, the hanky code dates back to Gold Rush days, when dancers in all-male mining town saloons would divvy up into “fellers” and “gals,” those taking the women’s parts wearing identifying kerchiefs tied around their arms. But in the hands of a few resourceful gay men, it manifested into a unique cultural phenomenon that is still with us today.
 
“According to the Chicago Leather Club, “The hanky color code originated in the early 1970s primarily to distinguish specific sexual interests when the original S/M (or at least D/S)-orientated leather scene was enlarging—and clothing alone didn’t reveal esoteric sexual interests. The first published hanky code was done by Ron Ernst who drew one up in collaboration with Alan Selby (the original Mr. S) for their San Francisco store Leather N Things; this code was published in the Bay Area Reporter in 1972.”
 
“The color of the bandana and the pocket in which it was worn signaled one’s particular sexual interest. Worn in the left back pocket, it meant you were a top or active participant; on the right, a bottom or passive partner. Over the years the list of color codes became quite long. Some have quipped that a color chart is needed to decode all the subtle differences of hue and shade. In the early days, the list was fairly short. Dark blue indicated an interest in fucking, light blue a taste for cock-sucking. Red meant you were into fist-fucking, a sport that had begun gaining popularity in the mid 70s. Black meant S/M; gray, bondage. Yellow and brown need no explanation.
 
Drummer, a magazine for gay men into S/M that had begun about the same time as Gauntlet, had published an article listing the common hanky code colors. I reasoned that piercing fans ought to have a color of their own. But what color? I didn’t have to look too far for inspiration—purple, the color associated with Jupiter, the planet associated in astrology with prosperity and good fortune; purple, the color draping Catholic and Anglican churches during Holy Week when they commemorate the day their deity got pierced. It seemed ideal to me, and so I fired off a letter to the editor of Drummer decreeing purple as the official color for people into piercing. My letter was published, and in time, by continually reinforcing the message, it stuck.”