The walk of shame: an instance of walking back home on the day after an unplanned casual sexual encounter, typically dressed in the same clothes as the previous evening. (Google definition)
As a society we place social restrictions on what we feel a woman or man is allowed to do. Sexual, political, athletic, artistic just to name a few. This stems from a patriarchal mindset that has been instilled upon the western world for years. The question is…when does it end?
I spent the night in my friend David’s apartment across campus after a long night out with friends. We stayed awake for hours watching t.v, listening to music, and hanging out with people who came over to visit. Eventually people left and I passed out on the couch next to David. We slept great.
David was a senior whom I had been friends with since my freshmen year of college. I used to call him my future best friend and we basically hit it off great.
I woke up the next morning to awkward stares from his roommate and his roommates girlfriend. The “why is she still here” stare. The “does she understand protocol” stare. The “when is she leaving” stare. Of course this didn’t bother me.
I believe in being your own person and not letting the opinions of other people affect you. This was a mindset that I eventually developed throughout my sophomore year because if you keep worrying about what other people think than you won’t get anywhere.
Regardless of their opinions I had football practice to attend to so I rushed out the door heels in hand. Have you ever attempted to walk in heels after a night of drinking? It’s not fun and I highly do not recommend it.
As I crossed the pavement barefoot I could hear the murmured remarks of the old men sitting outside the pizza spot by David’s apartment. Judgmental remarks spilled out of their mouths but one stood out. “She must be making the walk of shame” stated one particular older gentlemen and the others laughed.
Now normally I would have stayed quiet but this really threw me for a loop. What gave these older men to judge my behavior?
I don’t quite recall what I looked like that morning.I could have been a wreck or beautifully crafted. However, I imagine my make-up was smeared, my skirt was too high for a morning stroll across campus, and my hair resemble a Van Gogh (not in a good way).
Therefore, I understand where their opinion stems from. Not to mention I was walking barefoot from someones apartment in very little clothing. But does that make it right?
“I just wanted to let you know that this isn’t the walk of shame. I actually just spent the night at my friend’s apartment if you must know.”
I responded to the men with something on the lines of that. End story here.
The rest of my day is rather irrelevant. I went to work and went about my day. What I did I feel and still do was a sense of accomplishment. For a split second those men were embarrassed. They didn’t expect for me to say anything back. Women and men alike are always being chastised for their behavior. When in reality it doesn’t affect anyone but the people performing the action.
Even if I was taking the “walk of shame” why is it shameful? If anything the walk should be empowered. We should feel empowered when we do something we want. There is nothing shameful about waking up and realizing that you had an amazing night. Unless of course it didn’t make you feel great but even so that isn’t as shameful for you as it is for the other person (story for another time?).
I might not have actually made a difference in their lives. They could still be judging women walking around in mini skirts at 10am. Every now and then though…I imagine they get ready to talk about a girl who is walking barefoot across campus and they stop. They stop because they realize that it isn’t their business, they don’t know her story, and just maybe the walk of shame isn’t so shameful after all.