Rethinking The “Walk Of Shame”

It has been almost a year since I made my first and thus far only “Walk of Shame”. For those of you who haven’t heard the term before the first definition on Urban Dictionary says “the walk across campus in the same clothes as yesterday after you slept with someone and spent the night in their dorm room.” Or for those who want something more reputable, the online Oxford English Dictionary defines it: “n. slang (orig. and chiefly U.S. College slang) (with the) the walk home (from another person’s dormitory, etc.) in the morning after a sexual encounter, etc.


I remember getting funny looks from all of the people that I passed on the street that day and realizing that this must be the “Walk of Shame” I had heard so much about. I also remember being puzzled about why I was supposed to be ashamed. I have to confess that even now the whole concept of the “Walk of Shame” still makes no sense to me. I think it is silly to try to make someone feel ashamed for having a sexual encounter.

What’s the big deal, anyway?

I understand that sex is still a taboo subject for many, but having sex seems to be a fairly standard practice, particularly on the average college campus. I don’t understand why college students who ostensibly want to engage in this activity would want to make it seem like an embarrassing or shameful thing to do. I may be completely off base here, but I feel like making the activity have an unpleasant conclusion the next morning would make it less likely to occur again. Sure it won’t stop everyone from having sex, but it will certainly make some individuals think that it just isn’t worth it. And I don’t think that is a good thing, people should have no reason to be ashamed of their sexuality.

Another question worth considering is: Do we want the people we’ve had sex with to be ashamed that they had sex with us? I think not. I’m sure it’s a huge ego boost to think that someone is now ashamed because they had sex with you. I think it would be much more desirable for someone to feel awesome that they had sex with you.

Time to Rebrand

Thus, we come to my proposition. I think we should reframe the “Walk of Shame” as the “Walk of AWESOME” or some other positive feeling.  Someone doing the “Walk of AWESOME” would easily be able to make eye contact with people on the street and would be able to feel good about their decisions. If you don’t like this particular reframing Dinosaur Comics came up with a few alternatives not too long ago. I think that having an alternate mindset about the whole thing makes for a more sex positive world, and I’m pretty sure that’s a winning scenario.

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  • Lionmml

    I think the Walk of Ice Cream is my new title. :) Or maybe the Walk of Yum.

    And I find that this applies to women and not men and that sexist double standard really makes my blood boil.

  • Garnet Joyce

    Maybe because I always did this walk on other people’s college campuses (I was a commuter student at a big city college), but I never felt ashamed. It was more like “the walk of ‘hell ya I just got laid bitches!’” I usually had a smile on my face and a spring in my step even if I was wearing my halloween costume from the night before.

  • Jeana Jorgensen

    So true about the double standard, especially when we take into account sexist standards about beauty–it’s okay for guys to look casual or even a little messy, whereas women are supposed to look immaculate, pristine, and beautiful ALL OF THE TIME. So for a woman to be walking around her college campus looking bedraggled means that either she doesn’t care about performing her proper gender role, or, perhaps worse, she just had some illicit sex.

    (yes, I’m aware that there are some generalizations in this comment–business students of both sexes, for example, are expected to be neatly clad without fail; but I think women who are disheveled-looking tend to be treated/regarded worse than men in a similar state)

  • Stephenie Lazarus

    I always refer to it as the Stride of Pride

  • TheSpecialLadyFriend

    I also think it’s not that girls look disheveled from the night before, but their clothes are clearly not what you would see in the morning or during the day (clubbing shirts, miniskirts, high heels, etc.) Guys’ going out clothes are generally more subtle than women’s, so if they’re doing a “walk of shame,” people probably can’t tell by what they’re wearing, but with women you can definitely tell that they haven’t changed from the night before. And there isn’t a really good way to fix this, because no club-friendly purse can fit jeans and a pair of tennies.
    I agree that we need a change of attitude; call if the “stride of pride,” and ladies who walk it, walk tall with a great big smile on your face! :)