Cheryl Seligman, Features Editor

The walk of shame — the name says it all. If you’ve ever stumbled out of a semi-stranger’s room in nothing but your disheveled, way-too-short dress from last night, hurricane-blown sex hair and makeup smeared halfway down your face, chances are, you have probably taken a trip down shame lane.

If you’re lucky, you can bolt for the door and slip out unnoticed. However, if you’re carrying around my kind of luck, there’s a full blown walk of shame obstacle course that lies ahead of you — roommates, parents, crazy pets and remembering where the hell the exit is among all of these roadblocks.

Before you figure out how to survive this walk of shame, you need to ask yourself three questions:

1. Were we safe?

Finding evidence that you played it safe can cut your anxiety in half. Also, it will help you regain some much needed confidence as you make your big exit. If, to your horror, you realize that you didn’t wrap it up, fight your first instinct to freak out. Try your best to wait until you’re back in your comfort zone to work through the consequences.

2. How am I getting home?

Usually, the guy will be willing to get you a ride home. However, if you want to avoid an awkward car ride, if you’re left with no money for a cab or if the sketchy promise of, “Oh, one of my roommates will take you home” doesn’t interest you, then you might want to start thinking about plan b.

Cue incredible friends. Your best girlfriend will come pick you up, laugh with you about how ridiculous you look and share a story of her own to try to make you feel better, which almost always works.

3. Where are my panties?

If you have the weird drunk-girl habit of ripping your panties off and whipping them around your head like a cowgirl, then you’ve probably misplaced them before. You might feel a little ridiculous looking all over the place, but trust me, you’ll be a running joke if you don’t take the time to find them. Hey, maybe you can even recruit him to help you look and get a good laugh about it — on your terms. Remember, it could always be worse. It could be your NuvaRing.

Now that you’ve taken the time to gather your thoughts, it’s time to turn your walk of shame around. Some of my friends like to bring a little walk of shame kit with them, including a pair of sunglasses, a hair tie and a compact mirror. While it’s always beneficial to freshen up and hide behind your shades, your attitude determines everything — if you follow the advice below, your walk of shame won’t be so, well, shameful.

Rock it like a runway.

Resist the urge to borrow one of his t-shirts — I bet you looked damn sexy in your little black dress the night before. So what if you’ve accumulated a couple stains, a little dog hair and a few bruises? Rock that dress with the same confidence you rocked it with last night. It’s likely the same little number that snagged his attention to begin with, so why not give him a show on the way out?

Pleasure to meet you.

This might sound ridiculous and awkward, but introducing yourself will show his roommates or parents that you’re not ashamed to tell them who you are. Even though you might not want to say, “Why yes, I was the girl rocking your son’s world last night. It’s nice to finally meet you!” make sure you introduce yourself with that same poise, as if those were the exact words coming from your mouth. It’s all too tempting to make a run for it — instead, just slow down and say hi.

He’s not embarrassed.

So, why should you be? Remember that the two of you are in this together and there is absolutely no reason why you should feel any more ashamed of what you’ve done than he. Even if you never plan to see each other again, try your absolute best to make him feel at ease so that you feel more comfortable, too.

Walk of shame, who?

Howcroft is a member of the class of 2014.

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