Sex on Friday

How to Do the Walk of Shame Like a Boss

Illustration by Jason Hoffman of woman doing walk of shame
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Your cellphone's alarm is going off: 7:30am. Last night's tequila shots pulse painfully in your temples as your eyes blink against sticky Maybelline. You yawn and roll over, and it hits you. This is not your bedroom... Although, the naked man snoring to your left does have rippling back muscles. So that’s a plus!
But, what now? Ahead of you is a long, daunting trip back home. And even before that, you must devise a graceful exit plan that takes into consideration last night's cocktail dress and this morning’s dinosaur breath. With that in mind, I present to you tips for making your walk of shame, a walk of pride.

Plan ahead

Sometimes, you just know. You can feel it in your loins before you even leave for the bar that circa 12:18am, he’s going to send you that “hi want to meet up?” text. And you’re unapologetically thrilled because, well, you’re horny. But planning ahead for this get-together takes more than sexy undies and shaving your big toe (oh, I have a friend who does that...) It’s about what you don’t do to ensure your morning voyage home goes seamlessly. For example, don’t spend all your paper at the bar in case your 8am cab is cash only. Don’t wear your Lady Gaga heels, or at least stuff a pair of flats in your bag so come daylight you’re not mistaken for working the corner. And skip the hair extensions -- a snarly swamp monster hanging out of your purse while you order coffee will alarm fellow Dunkin' Donuts patrons.

Freshen up on the fly

The morning after an impromptu adult sleepover is when you praise yourself for channeling Mary Poppins. As women, we’re used to lugging around excess crap in our bags. So make that crap serve a purpose by always carrying around travel sizes of the following: makeup wipes, hairbrush, toothbrush, bobby pins, fresh undies, and concealer. This way, you don’t leave his place looking like you starred in a remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Also, always have Altoids (or be brave enough to search his medicine cabinet for Listerine) because a spearmint-fresh kiss goodbye just makes a good impression.

Rules for borrowing sweats

If you are regular hookup buddies, it’s OK to ask if he’ll lend you sweats for the trek back to your apartment. But if you just met 12 hours ago, don’t request his clothes unless he offers -- a man knows he’ll never get his favorite hoodie back. And fellas, you’re better off heading home in what you wore last night... because wearing her Lululemon yoga pants will raise more than just red flags.

Commit to your craft

I’m not saying the walk of shame is enjoyable, but hey, rocking stilettos and a messy bun at 9am tells the world you had a great time last night! You can’t hide it, so you might as well own it. It’s the same concept as passing gas and saying “my bad” before someone can exclaim, “What’s that smell?!” -- it’s not embarrassing if you beat others to the punch. So strut your stuff on your stroll home; make eye contact with each passerby, maybe even offer a smile and a “Good morning!” Otherwise, grab a pair of sunglasses and a scarf to channel your best Jackie O.

Office MVP

If “just one” wine spritzer at Thursday happy hour escalated into five (and accepting someone’s “let’s get out of here” invitation), I partially applaud you. But before heading to the office Friday morning, there’s damage control to do. Your professional reputation is at stake! Set your alarm early enough to either a) go home first for a shower and change of clothes, or b) have time to run to H&M for a new outfit, Sephora for a makeup touch-up, and CVS for deodorant. Don’t let your insatiable sex drive be the reason your boss laughs in your face, especially if your end-of-year review is coming up.

Plain piece of white paper on bedside table
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Leave a note

In the age of technology, the bedside note has become a lost art. And if you were far too busy tearing each other’s clothes off last night to exchange contact info, come sunrise, there’s something quaint about leaving a short-and-sweet note before you slip out the door. Don’t write a novel, though -- a first name, phone number, and smiley face will get your point across.

No panties left behind

Ugh, don’t be that person who pulls the Cinderella trick. It's the oldest one in the book. Forgetting something important like your grandfather’s watch on the table tells your “date” that you’re either scatterbrained or setting the stage for a reason to come back to their place. Surrendering an article of less importance like underwear or socks says that you’re leaving your mark the same way a dog pees on the curtains. None of these gestures are attractive. Be an adult and make sure you have all of your belongings before departing. If the night went well -- forgotten clothing or not -- they'll text you back.

Don't social media stalk (yet)

Riding the subway home basking in a strange combination of indignity and pride is NOT the time to find a pocket of cell service and Facebook friend the person whose house you JUST left. She’s not even awake yet! Don’t even risk scrolling through Instagram -- you're likely hungover, so a slip of the finger due to sub-par motor skills could lead to an accidental “like,” which will earn you the “stalker” label. Play it cool and abide by the three-day rule -- if you’re the impatient kind, at least wait until after 5pm that night.

Surviving All Saints' Day

Maintaining your self-worth the day after a Halloween sexcapade is its own animal. My friends and I have actually made a brunch game out of THIS spectacle: on Nov 1, post up by a diner window and sip your mimosa every time a slutty devil/slutty cat/slutty Crayola crayon hobbles by like a wounded fawn. The double standard is this: we’ve all done it (probably in college), but we’re still going to laugh at your misfortune and mangled Katy Perry costume. Don’t give anyone that satisfaction. Request an Uber to get you door to door. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, do not stop at Starbucks, and go straight to jail (I mean, home).

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Brooke Sager is a contributing writer for Thrillist who lives in NYC, but is on a first-name basis with the Dunkin’ Donuts employees in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hopefully that has nothing to do with the hair extensions hanging out of her purse. Follow her clothed adventures on Instagram and Twitter @HIHEELZbrooke.