The walk of shame is a worldwide sexual institution. For women, it’s usually characterized by tangled hair, make-up smeared eyes, men’s clothes and a throbbing headache. However, only here in Buenos Aires did I get the unique experience of riding the colectivo home at nine in the morning, trying to ignore the judging eyes of the respectable work-bound passengers so I could figure out where the hell I needed to get off.
It all started when after a five a.m. night at the boliche (night club), my man-friend and I decided to go back to his place in Almagro (my porteña host mom would not exactly have been pleased at the sight of a 6’2” gringo in her kitchen in the morning). After a blissful few hours of fun and bad decision-making, we finally fell asleep. However, little did I know that he had class at eight, meaning I needed to navigate my way home to Las Cañitas on 30 minutes of sleep, a liver full of booze and a delightful endorphin high.
He kissed me goodbye and hopped on the subte, leaving me with a few directions on how to catch the 55 that promptly went in one ear and out the other. With my Guia-T in hand, I decided to take in the cool morning air and explore my options. After walking several blocks, the sex endorphins began to wear off and I realized I was attracting stares due to last night’s booby shirt and the telltale tousled hair do. I needed to get home, fast. A smirking policeman was more than happy to point out where I could catch the 15 back to Luis Maria Campos, and I easily found the parada, or bus stop.
The next obstacle in my long journey home was cramming onto a colectivo stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with morning commuters. Feeling like quite the gringa slut, I shuffled apologetically through the standing passengers in their work clothes and ear buds. A kindly middle-aged woman offered me her seat when her stop came, and I collapsed gratefully into it, never having felt so thrilled to sit down. At this point I decided to check my phone, and to my surprise I had a text from my hookup that read,
“OMG I just realized that its 8 not 9. I set my clock wrong after the battery went out. I’m gonna be early for the first time this week.”
Well fuck me sideways! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, attracting even more scrutiny from my fellow 15 riders. After what seemed like an eternity of alternately craning my neck out the window to see the street signs whizzing past and avoiding eye contact with the young professional sitting across from me, I finally disembarked in Las Cañitas. My first colectivo ride of shame had come to a gloriously embarrassing end.