I was headed to work from a house — from a bed — that wasn’t mine. I had no toothbrush, no deodorant, and no time to go home. I was in ‘yesterday’s clothing,’ including yesterday’s underwear, and it was firmly my intention to take a shower at the gym like a homeless person.
In the vernacular, we call this ‘the walk of shame.’
Really. This is the word that we ascribe to physical intimacy — ‘shame.’ Ashamed. Like, from the Bible and Original Sin. Like, Adam and Eve eat the Fruit of Knowledge and then both of them realize they’re naked and feel this — ‘shame’ — and humanity is punished for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.
So you fold your arms real tight into your body and you hurry up the street with your head down while people whisper from behind their newspapers at the diner, maybe. Old men and women in the flower shop? In the corner store? They are stopping, and they are staring. ‘Look,’ they are saying out of earshot, ‘look at the dirty sex-having person. Nasty.’ Cab drivers will not pick you up. The bus driver will not wait for you. Colleagues will be uncomfortable in your presence, because what does one say? What can one possibly say to a person who just — no! — ‘did it’? And omfg 10x all of this (at least) for visible bite marks on your neck.
Because we are still living in a society that fears sex. This is our language. These are the words that we use. That we choose. The phrasing is accepted as not serious because most people in the Western World aren’t being persecuted for sex anymore. It’s just this funny thing we say. It’s accepted in that same way that calling someone ‘gay’ when you mean ‘lame’ is accepted; the reasoning is, you aren’t really homophobic. You’re just using this word! That other people use! You think gay people are great and Ellen especially and you would never dream of insulting all gay people alive by, for example, making synonymous the word for them with ‘awful thing.’
Duh, of course not. The genesis of the language was purposefully offensive, and it’s still a part of us for a reason. These words did not simply arrive here by accident. This is not Athena from the skull of Zeus. This is not the birth of Venus. This is not Kim Kardashian’s celebrity. We attach the word ‘shame’ to sex because we feel it. Or, many of us do. Or, enough of us do that it is a thing. It is a thing that exists in this world and it shouldn’t, because, people, let me tell you something. My walk? My walk to work from the bed where the sex happened?
It was awesome.
I wanted to see a person naked who also wanted to see me naked. We took off our clothes and hung out. While still naked. Ashamed? I’m sorry, are you clinically insane? Is this Arkham Asylum? I want to tweet that shit at the top of my lungs. It is: natural. It is: beautiful. And it is: AWESOME. It is a technically awesome thing.
Get out of my face with this weird, puritanical sex baggage that we are somehow still carrying around in a world where crazy people are playing with nuclear weapons like they’re Tonka Trucks and we are teetering on a global economic meltdown that could plunge us into dystopia. Where famine and lethal obesity can exist on the same planet at the same time. Where genocide is still a thing. Sex is meant to be the shameful part?
I left the house smiling, found a café, and ordered coffee with my bed hair and yesterday-shirt. I nodded at the lady at the counter. Like, ‘guess what I just did?’ Like, ‘guess where I’m coming from?’ She didn’t ask me or seem to care or even to like me very much, or anyone, but if she did? If she said, ‘morning, sunshine, what are you so happy about?’
I would have lowered my voice, sort of, so as not to brag, and I would have told her, with a little fist shake, like, ‘I know, it’s so good!’ —
“I just got laid.”
I paid and left and took my walk to work with coffee on the street that morning, looking out at the marina, at Alkatraz, at Coit tower. This was the world. This was my world. Hello, world! I flashed the ‘what’s up’ nod to construction workers, to crossing guards, to this one really bad driver who almost hit me but stopped at the last second and had this look on his face like ‘oh, shit, I totally almost killed you and I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m having the worst day.’ Was I mad? No way. I was alive, and I felt alive. Mine was the kind of morning that couldn’t be disturbed. I laughed and moved along, because these are the new rules, guys. You just had sex and you are happy, and we are happy for you. It’s Munchkins singing on a sunny day, with rainbows. It’s a crowd on their feet for you; hands up, they do the wave! Three cheers for the disheveled morning after, and a gold star. You just had sex, and the world loves you.
Now go take your walk of awesome.