September 6, 2006

Who Does The Walk of Shame in a Suit and Tie?

Posted in Lessons Learned at 1:01 am by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

We have all been there. It’s too early, and you are over-dressed, and as you are leaving a building that isn’t yours, you run into someone who knows you don’t belong there. For whatever reason you are looking for another job and you didn’t want anyone else to know about it.

Wait, what did you think I was talking about? Dirty, readers. I’m 28 years old now; I’m too old for those sort of antics.

A while back I had a meeting at The Legal Intelligencer’s office. I dressed nicely in an effort to make a good impression. I scheduled the meeting over my lunch hour, so as to not take any time away from my boss or my regular work.

I was on my way back to my office, out the front door of the building when I ran smack into the chest of our copy services vendor.

My eyes grew wide, my mouth went dry and my armpits started sweating. Immediately I searched for a reason why I was in this building, but before I could do or say anything, Copy Service Vendor asked me if I was cheating on my firm.

Why did I feel guilty? My boss knew where I was. And meanwhile, my dentist is in the same building and I could have been coming from there. Still I felt guilty.

Now, back when I was still a dirty little stay out, I did my fair share of long walks home in the cold, bright light of morning. However, one such walk was not a walk of shame, okay possibly more than one, but one I distinctly remember.

I was coming from a friend’s house. We were all out late the night before, and as it sometimes does, it seemed like a really good idea to go back to her place and continue drinking. I fell asleep on the spare bed and the next morning, Sunday morning, I awoke, yawned, stretched, wiped the sleep from my eyes, looked at the clock and cursed.

I was seven blocks from my house and I could not think a single route between my home and my friend’s place that did not involve a restaurant that was already serving all of my neighbors brunch.

The route I opted to take home had only one open restaurant, and really was the least likely place for any of my friends to be brunching. I walked up the opposite side of the street, my head down, my hair a mess. Then, I heard a shout that made my head spin and my stomach turn.

“Sarah, I know you are not trying to sneak by here without saying hello.”

Our resident gay hairdresser, who was holding court outside the café with his life partner of nine years, was waving over his head frantically, indicating that I needed to report to him.

I forced a grin, looked both ways and crossed the street.

The outdoor dining area was crammed with couples that didn’t close any of the local bars. The Hairdresser and his Life Partner immediately start pressing me for details as to how I spent the prior evening.

I looked around at the smiling faces that were trying not to pay attention.

I tried humor first, “What do you mean; I’m on way back from mass.” I looked down at my black tube dress and then back up at the Hairdresser and shrugged my shoulders.

He eyed me incredulously.

“It’s not what you think; I’m coming from my friend’s place. A female friend. But not like that. I slept on her couch. Alone.”

But the more details I tried to leave out the deeper the ditch I was digging. Finally I just threw up my arms and said, “I need coffee.” I pulled up a chair and join the Hairdresser and the Life Partner for coffee and eggs.

Outside the building, facing down our copy services vendor with his knowing grin and my sweaty pits, I tried to play cool but goddamnit my face got in the way.

His smile just broadened and he said, “Don’t worry your secret is safe with me.”

Every ounce of me wanted to protest, wanted to tell him the whole story in the shortest way possible. But I knew it would just sound made up and make the whole situation worse. So I walked away, letting him believe whatever he wants.

See, I’m learning.


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