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Among gay men, piercing the left nipple only or tattooing an armband on the left upper arm only, can be perceived as a statement that the wearer is a top or dominant, meaning that sexually he is anally insertive and orally passive (he receives oral from his partner). In the context of someone who is into B&D or S&M, it means that they are the dominant partner in sexual activities and function as the master, daddy or sir. A gay man who has pierced his right nipple only or has tattooed an armband on only his right upper arm, can be perceived as the bottom or submissive, meaning that sexually he is the anally receptive partner and orally active (he gives oral to his partner). In the B&D and S&M subculture, it means that they are the submissive partner in sex, and function as the slave or boy.

The origin or left/right can possibly be attributed to the following:

The wearing of various colored bandanas around the neck was common in the mid and late nineteenth century among cowboys, steam railroad engineers, and miners in the Western United States. It is thought that the wearing of bandanas by gay men originated in San Francisco after the Gold Rush, when, because of a shortage of women, men dancing with each other in square dances developed a code where the man wearing the blue bandana took the male part in the square dance, and the man wearing the red bandana took the female part (these bandanas were usually worn around the arm or hanging from the belt or in the back pocket of one's jeans). The modern-day version of this Bandana Code or Hanky Code actually originates back to the 70s when the New York City newspaper, the Village Voice, published an article suggesting that it would be easier for gay men in the Village to pick each other up if they didn't only have to rely on wearing their keys in their back pockets, left to denote active, right passive. The feature suggested that they should all get down to the surplus store at the intersection of Christopher and Washington Streets where they could buy color-coded Levi's bandanas. Although it was originally said in a sarcastic manner, the gay community took the recommendation to heart, not only in New York, but eventually across the globe. Although the code isn't as strong as it once was, it still exists in some circles.

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2008-03-22 01:32:58
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Q: What does it mean to have an armband tattoo on your right arm?
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