PHOTOS: Cakeboy Magazine

The beach is the perfect spot for so many things: swimming, sunning, surfing, barbecuing, building sandcastles, and, of course, taking romantic walks along the surf.

One thing it’s not so great for? Letting people know your sexual preference. By which I mean: top, bottom, or versatile.

Throughout the ages — even before the dawn of apps! — our exceedingly efficient queer forebears have devised a number of systems not only to help gay men to find each other, but also for us to let each other know exactly what we’re looking for… sexually.

Even if you’ve never been inside a leather bar, you probably know that a guy wearing an armband on his left biceps is signaling, or flagging, top — and if the band is on his right arm, bottom.

But are you familiar with the “hanky code?” That system — part semaphore, part fashion craze — took sexual sorting to a whole ’nother level in the 1970s.

Guys would advertise their sexual preferences by stuffing hankies into the back pockets of their jeans. As with leather armbands, the position, left pocket or right, would indicate whether the wearer preferred to be the (so-called) dominant or submissive partner. But the hanky color also conveyed critical information, identifying the particular proclivity being sought: light blue for oral, dark blue for anal, red for fisting, yellow for watersports (natch), gray for bondage, and brown for… well, you get the picture. Anything goes, really.

No, really. Anything goes. That’s what an orange hankie meant.

Unfortunately, our ancestors’ brilliant systems of nonverbal communication are not foolproof (as anyone who, over the years, has taken home a statistically valid sampling of guys flagging top can probably attest), and the beach is one place where these methods break down.

Speedos and square-cuts don’t have pockets for hankies. And leather armbands can leave unsightly tan lines.

So, what can a practical gay do to avoid s-s-sexual confusion at the beach?

Cakeboy magazine is here to help. Or, more to the point: Bottoms, Cakeboy’s got your back.

Just in time for summer, the feisty little zine — described by founder Sean Santiago as “a breeding ground for disruptive faggotry—a space for the fiercely femme-forward to dialogue about beauty, fashion, sex and toppling the patriarchy” — has unveiled the season’s must-have accessory, the “Waiting to Be Filled” tote bag.

Snatch up one of these eco-friendly, cotton carryalls, toss in a beach towel, sunblock, your cellphone, a bottle of Vita Coco, a coupla condoms, and some reading material — we recommend the latest issue of Cakeboy, which features erotic fiction from Brontez Purnell, essays on the end of men by Mitchell Kuga, Grace Perry and Sean Santiago, a bevy of international cuties, and all the latest summer-ready fashions — and you’ll be all set for the beach.

And no one will doubt for a minute what you’re all about. Feel free to wait until the first date to tell ’em your drag name is Sandy Bottoms.

To pick up your tote, or the latest issue of Cakeboy: cakeboymag.com.