Screengrab from walkofshame.com.
There was an innocent time, long ago, when the phrase “now they’ve truly thought of everything” applied only to that weird machine that makes popsicles-shaped fried eggs, but in the neverending quest to turn every “life event” into a marketing opportunity, a new titleholder has emerged.
Step right up and claim your championship belt, Walk Of Shame™ Kit!
The tube, available for the low, low price of USD$34.99, contains all you apparently need in order to hide your wickedness as you trudge home from a night of premarital fornication, you dirty stop-out you: a basic dress, thongs, sunglasses, a toothbrush (“pre-pasted”, mmm!), vag wipes, and cards that indicate whether or not you’d like your conquest to call. Oh, and a breast cancer awareness bracelet.
The Walk of Shame kit ready for sale.
(Because while you’re busying yourself with pretending you didn’t just spend the night reenacting 9 ½ Weeks, a charity bracelet is the perfect way to throw the casual observer off the scent. Well, so are the vag wipes.)
Though it’s pitched primarily to female consumers, Walk Of Shame™ Kit’s product copy (sorry, I am unable to cease referring to it by its trademarked name) suggests, in alarmingly flat affect, that men are also a target market: “And for you guys, aren’t you tired of her taking your favorite tee-shirt the morning after to walk home in. Your problem is now solved, keep a Walk of Shame™ Kit in your house and you don’t have to worry about calling her to get your favorite tee back again.”
As the Daily Mail notes, “hip” hotels such as the W South Beach have snapped up Walk Of Shame™ Kits, which can be branded to suit any business, and offer them in their minibars. Stats on how many actual human adults have purchased the kits, on the other hand, are slim - perhaps because the very notion of the “walk of shame” (no ™ this time) is en route for the linguistic scrap heap.
The Walk of Shame kit ready for sale.
Are we really, in 2014, still that coy about the idea of a one-night-stand’s immediate aftermath? I have a 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan in front of me that is more advanced - it actually promotes one-night stands (“For the young or sexually inexperienced girl who lacks confidence in her lovemaking abilities, the one-night stand can be wonderful practice” and “if he promises to phone, interpret this as tact, rather than truth” being my personal highlights).
Look, there’s no denying that there are times after the moment when a man and a woman (or a woman and a woman, or a man and a man, or seven consulting adults of varying gender identities) love each other very much and you could do with a few Wet Ones and some sunglasses. But while a part of me is inclined to applaud the mercenary tendencies of a company determined to cash in on outmoded moral outrage and shame about s-e-x (capitalism: if you’re gonna do it, do it right), for the most part the Walk Of Shame™ Kits make me sad in my heart.
And that’s precisely because I think more of us should take the Lonely Island approach to casual sex. If you’re anything like me and regularly, say, talk about World Of Warcraft in public or have ever worn a costume based on a comic book character, the occasion of sexual congress is enough of a seeming miracle that far from being an event riddled with shame, it should be a cause for celebration.
Contents of the Walk of Shame kit include matching thongs, a shirt-dress and bag.
The last time I can recall being aware that I was, to the casual observer, on a “walk of shame” - high heels in hand, sparkly ‘after 5’ dress at 11am, in broad daylight - my trudge home was met by copious car honks, thumbs ups and and mile-wide grins from passersby. Pay USD$34.99 to avoid such a real interaction with my fellow humans? That’d be a crying shame.