What Does a Pineapple on a Porch Mean? [You’ll Laugh!]

If you’re like most people when you see pineapples you probably think about something tropical. But if you’ve ever walked through a neighbourhood and seen a pineapple seemingly out of place on a porch, you might have wondered, “does that mean something?”. The answer might surprise you!

What Does a Pineapple on a Porch Mean?

I’m just going to come out and say it: A pineapple on a porch (sometimes) means that the residents of that household are swingers. 

Pineapple outside on a porch

You’re probably thinking… “What? That can’t really be a thing!” Let me assure you that yes, yes it absolutely is. While it’s a little bit less common nowadays (we have other ways to find communities with the internet), it has absolutely been a signal for swingers for quite some time.

This is something that’s near and dear to me, at least sort of. We purchased our home from an elderly couple who never had children. There was talk in town that it was a party house, a fact backed up by the fact that when leaving us the contents of their kitchen they also left behind at least 20 ash trays.

But more importantly, we keep finding pineapple themed things all over the house. Most noticeably a keychain with a pineapple on it. Maybe it was free from Dole at some point, or perhaps…

Anyway, I shared this story with a neighbour recently and explained the connection between pineapples and swingers. She came to the sudden realisation that her pineapple themed porch lights might have been giving off a different vibe than intended! 

Don’t be like my friend, read on to learn all about pineapples, swingers, and how all this came to be.

The History of Pineapples

We live in a world where it’s possible to eat almost any food we’d like, regardless of season or climate. Prior to the late 15th century, the only people who got to eat this popular fruit were residents of South America. 

There, pineapples grow naturally in the warm climate. When Christopher Columbus visited and brought these strange fruits back to Europe it took the world by storm – yet, due to growing conditions, acquiring one became an elusive feat only possible for the rich.

The problem with pineapples is that when picked at the optimal time, they only last for about a month. But, as you’re no doubt already aware, sailing during the 16 and 1700s took much longer. So long, in fact, that of all the pineapples Christopher Columbus brought back just one survived.

Fruit trees and herbs on Java, 1596
Fruit trees and herbs on Java, 1596 (from Eerste Schipvaert, the first Dutch expedition to the Indies)

Pineapples Were Very Expensive

The challenge of importing naturally caused scarcity, which meant that the only people who could taste pineapples were typically royalty. This started a trend of sharing pineapples with other rulers, mostly as a symbol of wealth.

Consider in 1668, for example, when Charles II had a French ambassador and served him pineapple. This wasn’t just a gesture of good will, but a flaunt of England’s success, as in “look how far our power reaches.”

Charles II receiving a pineapple, 1675
Charles II receiving a pineapple, 1675

Things didn’t get much better for Europeans who wanted to taste the tropical fruit. It would take another century or so for greenhouse technology to grow pineapples domestically, and even longer for the price to drop.

By the Georgian era, Pineapples were valued at around 60 pounds (over $6000 USD in today’s dollars). It seemed a waste to eat such an expensive fruit, so instead folks would simply display the pineapple, even passing it around from party to party.

Folks would even carry them around under their arms to flaunt their wealth!

Budding Pineapple Industry

This pineapple craze prompted a bunch of pineapple-related sub industries. Most interesting were the pineapple rental services where someone who couldn’t afford to cultivate their own pineapple could simply rent one for an upcoming party to appear more wealthy than they were.

These shops popped up all over, and suddenly more and more people were reaching for pineapples as their party centrepiece.

An array of pineapple stand designs quickly became available for purchase too.

Hedemann pineapple field, circa 1880s
Hedemann pineapple field, circa 1880s

In case you’re wondering, yes, this was also happening in North America around the same time. Groceries would rent pineapples to people who couldn’t afford it as table centrepieces and then, once returned, sell them to someone wealthier.

What Did Pineapples Symbolize?

Pineapple shaped building

As the availability of pineapples, at least rented ones, became more widespread it began to shift from a symbol of wealth to hospitality. A pineapple on the table meant your host went out of their way for their guests! 

But even when pineapples were out of reach people still tried to bring them into their home. They did this through pineapple themed decorations, wallpaper, and even dinnerware. 

Even once pineapples became accessible to most people during the Victorian era (thanks to steam ships and canning), the idea that pineapples were welcoming stayed with society and continues today.

From Wealth to Sex: How a Pineapple on a Porch Can Mean a Swinger Party

OK so now you’re like, hey, I want to show my guests I’m a nice hospitable host. I should put some pineapples out, right? Wrong! 

Pineapple tropical drink on the beach

Somehow we went from hospitality to swingers, and the actual details on that are a little bit murky. Swingers have been around since at least the 1950s, but it’s unclear when the pineapple became a known symbol for this group.

It could have started sometime in the early 1990s, but there aren’t any clear trends to support that. Probably since it was one of those things meant to be kept a secret.

Regardless of how we got here, it’s generally known (although perhaps not mainstream) that pineapples symbolise swingers in some way. But how does that work, exactly?

Does a Pineapple on a Porch Mean a Swingers Party?

Not always, but if someone goes through the trouble of putting a pineapple on their porch then there’s a good chance that something sexy is going on behind that closed door. 

Besides the porch, the other place swingers may put a pineapple is on the mailbox. This means the same thing.

Upside down pineapple

What Does an Upside Down Pineapple on Your Porch Mean?

The upside down pineapple is actually another major indication that that person is a swinger. Maybe even more so than a regular pineapple on the porch.

An upside down pineapple usually signifies that someone is looking for other swingers to hook up with. This symbol might be found on clothing, door signs, and some people even get it tattooed.

What Does an Upside Down Pineapple Mean on a Cruise Ship or Hotel Room Door?

If you’re on vacation and you see an upside down pineapple on someone’s door it doesn’t just mean there’s some great hospitality inside. It’s relatively common for swingers to gather in places like hotels and cruise ships (sometimes they even arrange “takeovers” so there’s large gatherings at one place.

An upside down pineapple on a cruise ship door (or hotel room door) means that the couple inside are swingers and they’re looking to meet other like-minded individuals.

What do Pineapple Tattoos Mean?

Getting a tattoo

It really depends on where you live and what your culture is. A pineapple tattoo usually means hospitality and similar feelings like warmth and welcome. Other people liken pineapples to joy, and feel tattoos represent that.

Another reason why you might want a pineapple tattoo is if you like tropical things. 

Upside down pineapple tattoos, on the other hand, generally mean you’re a swinger.

Of course, not everyone knows that symbolism with pineapple tattoos: this woman accidentally got a tattoo of an upside down pineapple without knowing what it meant.

What Does Pineapple Mean in Slag?

Pineapple wearing sunglasses

Slang is always evolving. Some of the top ways Urban Dictionary, for example, defines pineapple as are: Spongebob’s house, a code word for the phrase ‘that’s what she said’, a verbal punishment, and an awkward moment. 

While a few of those are self explanatory, the ‘that’s what she said’ one is becoming quite common. Basically someone would add a pineapple emoji to replace that phrase in a conversation or innuendo. In short, it implies something sexual is afoot.

Another popular slang use of pineapple, usually involving the pineapple emoji, comes from TikTok. It’s when a boss is being upset with their employees. The act is called, “giving them a pineapple”. 

Finally, a $50 Australian note is often called a pineapple due to its yellow colour. 

What Does the Pineapple Mean Sexually?

Woman in a bikini holding a pineapple

Usually upside down pineapples mean that the person sexually identifies as a swinger. But that’s not the only sexual connotation with pineapples!

As mentioned before, a pineapple emoji can imply something said (online) has seuxal undertones. It can also imply that you have a complicated relationship status, especially when used in your profile on apps like Snapchat.

What do Pineapples and Teal Mean?

Pineapple with teal background

Honestly, we’re not sure! There isn’t any conclusive information about this one that we could find in our research.

The colour teal is often associated with clarity and it’s generally considered to be calming. Perhaps the combination of pineapples and teal symbolises relaxation? You know, like the kind you’d get on a nice tropical vacation where you’re well taken care of.

What Does a Pineapple on Doorstep Mean?

Pineapple on a porch staircase

A pineapple on the doorstep can mean hospitality is found in the home, that the person likes pineapple decor, or that swingers live there. Those are all very different things, so heres’s some ways to figure it out.

If you see a bunch of pineapples on the doorstep and entrance area it’s probably that they just like pineapples. Decorative pineapples that feel welcoming are probably symbolising hospitality. And a single pineapple sitting on a doorstep placed out there by the homeowners likely means a swinger party is happening inside.

Leaving a Pineapple on a Doorstep

Man delivering a pineapple while carrying a skateboard

Pineapples as gifts, on the other hand, usually mean that you’re welcoming them into the neighbourhood. Including a pineapple in a gift basket is traditional in some areas. Likewise, leaving a pineapple as a gift on a new neighbour’s doorstep will probably be seen as an act of generosity.

Is a Pineapple a Symbol of Swinging? (AKA: Will People Think I’m a Swinger if I Like Pineapples?)

Pineapple swinging

So going back to my friend and her lights; does everyone in town think her and her husband are swingers now? Not necessarily. 

First of all, it’s not exactly mainstream to associate pineapples with swingers. People often don’t realise what they mean; 

That means there’s a good chance everyone in your area just thinks you want tropical vibes or, if they do read into it, that you’re hospitable. 

The second thing to remember is that the symbol is typically a single pineapple on the porch. If you’re just adding some decorations, they probably won’t be misconstrued. Especially if you leave them up most of the time.

One thing you may want to shy away from is anything pineapple related on the mailbox, though. That seems to be a stronger signal for swingers in general.

Finally, an upside down pineapple almost always means swingers. It’s used not just as an invitation, but also a dog whistle; basically it’s a way for swingers to subtly identify each other in public. 

What Does a Pineapple on a Porch Mean? – TL;DR

What Does a Pineapple on a Porch Mean - Pineapple on concrete porch steps

If you’re a swinger this is your sign to get out there and start adding pineapples to your porch or mailbox. For everyone else, though, you’ll probably want to stay clear of explicit swinger symbols like the upside down pineapple when you’re decorating publicly visible spaces.

When you see pineapples around town and online take some time to scrutinise the deeper meaning. Are they using it for slang, or is the person posting about meeting up on a cruise ship with the pineapple emoji in the text actually looking for other swingers? 

The pineapple as a swingers symbol is fun but it doesn’t serve a deep purpose. It’s a lot more common for swingers to find hookups online or through special events than calling out to passers by with their decorations. 

So, unless you’re interested in joining in on the fun, it’s best not to bother trying to figure out if your neighbour is a swinger or not because they have a pineapple on their porch. 


Everett hates writing bios but loves writing other things. He's really into geek culture, travelling, and books. When not raising 5 kids, you'll probably find him blogging over at thebestnest.co or wasting way too much time on Twitter (@EvvyWrites).