It's 7 a.m. and you’re mind is dull with the first realization of hangover. Mascara chunks clog your vision. The guy lying next to—who you were really excited to dance with, make-out with, and go home with last night—breathes deeply, eyes closed. Okay, what now?
Girl, it’s time to get your butt back to your dorm room.
As a seasoned “shacker,” to use the moniker my college friends and I bestowed upon a gal who stayed the night at a boy’s place, I learned many a lesson as to how to navigate the walk of shame. Here's what you need to know:
1. You're not fooling anyone. Look, you’re going out in the daylight wearing a dress that might have been cute last night, but looks skanky out of context, with your panties balled up in your purse. Or you're wearing clothes borrowed from the guy you shacked with. Either way, you’re obviously doing the walk of shame. I say, tousle up that bed head, raise your chin and smile as you embark on your journey. Perhaps even make eye contact and wave to passerby. You are now following a long line of women who have made questionable hooking up decisions. Why not make it a strut of shame.
2. But still freshen up. Yes, you're obviously a shacker, but why not wash your face and brush your teeth with your finger before getting on your way? You may run into a professor on your walk home. Also you don’t want to be mistaken for a homeless person or prostitute if you can help it.
3. Don't leave anything behind. You may have the impulse to perhaps leave a key item for the guy to "remember you by," like your panties, for example. (Obviously, I've never done that.) But that's kind of creepy.
4. But do leave a note. If you don’t want to wake the guy up before you go (perhaps you’re already 30 minutes late for your bio lab or you don’t actually know his name), that’s okay. Mornings are awkward and the impulse to just get up and go is natural. Still, be courteous and leave a note reflecting the level of fun you had and how you’d want the relationship to proceed. “Thanks for a fun night” and your number will suffice.
5. Be honest with yourself about what happened. Spending the night at a guy's place doesn’t mean he's obligated to study with you at the library, take you out for frozen yogurt, call you or even acknowledge you in public. Which can really suck, especially if you've shacked with a guy you've been crushing on for a while hoping the experience will help take your relationship to the next level. (Oh, college, the lessons you taught me.) My advice would be to not waste your time wondering "what if" about a dude who doesn’t seem to appreciate having you in his bed. And definitely don’t waste your nights stalking his Facebook status updates. Shack, and learn.