How To Survive the Halloween Walk of Shame

Maybe you spent days working on your costume. Maybe you picked it up on the way to the party. Either way, walking home from a sexcapade in a costume is like wearing a flashing neon sign that reads, “I HAD SEX WITH A STRANGER.”

Thankfully, avoiding this situation only takes a bit of planning – and if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry, we have you covered.

  1. Plan your outfit ahead of time.

That tight nurse’s outfit that would get you kicked out of any hospital might look amazing at 11 pm on the 31st, but will scream your sexual experiences to the world at 6 am. on 1 November.

Before you leave for your Halloween party, ask yourself, “How can I wear this tomorrow?” Sometimes, it’s as easy as bringing along a long coat for the chilly morning or choosing an outfit with removable accessories. If you can, bring a decent-sized purse with you containing new underwear, makeup-removing wipes, and a pair of leggings for the next day. This way, you can simply pass as a tired commuter the next day.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.

Few things are worse in life than walking home, hungover, in heels. When choosing your footwear, think about practicality before appearance.

Look for a pair of flats or thick-wedged heels – but make sure they’re worn-in enough to avoid blisters! If you must wear those stilettos, try to pack a thin pair of flats in your purse before you leave. Your feet will thank you, and you’ll look less conspicuous on the street the next day!

  1. Choose ridesharing over public transportation

Maybe you didn’t plan ahead (we’re not judging) or you got so drunk that you lost your carefully packed bag (hey, it happens). If your bank account isn’t depleted from your night of partying, splurge on an Uber ride to get home. You’ll still have to awkwardly walk from the car to your flat, but you’ll be in the public eye for much less time.

  1. Plan your escape early

The last thing you want to do when you’re hungover is wake up early, but it can be worth it. Try to leave before the morning commute starts around 6 am to avoid the traffic and judgmental stares. Look for what night buses are running and just go – most people who are awake at this hour are either too tired to care, or in a similar situation as yourself. Plus, you can sleep in your own flat much more comfortably, anyways.

  1. Don’t care what people think

Maybe you woke up mid-morning in that skin-tight catsuit, no spare clothes to be found and a pair of stilettos by the door. You’re skint, your Oyster is depleted and you know any Uber request would be declined. But you need to get home.

Sometimes, there’s no option but to walk and wear that make-believe “I HAD SEX” sign around your neck. In this case, you need to rely on your confidence – or fake it until you make it.

Everyone has sex. There’s nothing wrong with being a sexual being – you just happened to do it on Halloween. Even if people look, stare or comment on your outfit, it doesn’t change the fact that you have nothing to be embarrassed about. They might have been in the same situation before, or jealous, or any other combination of situations.

Just hold your head high and make your way home. They’ll forget about you in a few minutes, and you’ll be home soon enough anyways.

The Bloody Truth Behind Menstruation

Menstruation – It’s painful, bloody, and downright annoying. The unpleasant yet necessary cycle of menstruation affects nearly 50% of the world’s population — yet the topic is incredibly hush-hush and deemed taboo to speak about.

Anyone with a vagina has been there: you need to ask a friend for a sanitary product, but you’re uncomfortable saying the words out loud. But why is this? What is it about periods that make women feel uncomfortable to speak outwardly about them?

Depictions of menstruation in media – including film, advertisements, video games, social media, etc. – have always been particularly problematic. The media’s representation generally does not convey what menstruation is actually like, but rather demonstrates a glorified version that seeks to make audience members more comfortable with a manipulated version of menstruation.

Ads are especially guilty of adopting this sugarcoated image of menstruation. These advertisements are usually selling sanitary products and, in order to boost sales, depict the women on screen as being happy and physically active, conveying the idea that if you buy these tampons, you will also be happy and active!

This image is particularly absurd to most period-having humans; when you’re on your period, all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is painful and uncomfortable and ugly–and no matter how effective a tampon is, women on their period typically don’t want to perform a ballet recital or go rock climbing.

Advertisements are also notorious for specifically not showing period blood, despite the fact that their products exist for the sake of combating menstrual bleeding. Rather than the standard colour of blood – red – advertisements use a mysterious blue liquid to represent period blood.

The use of this blue liquid isn’t only found in sanitary product commercials; indeed, it can be seen in advertisements for toothpaste, diapers, paper towels, and more. Why do advertisements do this?

This sterile blue colour is often used in advertisements to denote cleanliness. The blue liquid elicits images of pure, clean water, and directly opposes any unsavoury thoughts of blood or bodily fluids. 

The use of this blue liquid also stems from quite problematic origins, some of which are deeply rooted in cultural norms. This allusion to cleanliness perpetuates the notion that menstruation is unclean and impure, a belief shared by the texts of many cultures and religions. This idea is also often seen in mainstream media and films, such as Carrie (1976), in which Carrie’s mother believes that her period is a symbol of sin.

While menstrual product advertisements do not necessarily mean to imply that periods are impure, companies tend to portray menstruation in a veil of beauty and happiness.

This perpetuates the notion that menstruation should be a clean experience, as a means to combat the inherent impurities of menstrual bleeding. This depiction is particularly effective as advertisements are ubiquitous and accessible, and therefore viewed by larger audiences, which subconsciously perpetuates these ideals without audiences knowing it.

The depiction of menstruation extends past advertisements. Not only is it misrepresented in mainstream media, but it is often actively censored.

A photo that poet and activist Rupi Kaur posted to her Instagram account of her bleeding through her pants was flagged and removed from the Internet. Since the photo technically met the official Instagram guidelines, it was eventually reuploaded; however, Kaur did not go quietly into that good night.

rupikaur-period1-454x341 Photo credit: Rupi Kaur

In response, she wrote, “I will not apologise for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak.  When your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified.”

This, and sanitised media depictions, are just some of the many ways that menstruation is stigmatised and stereotyped and deemed gross or offensive, ultimately making it a taboo subject.

While this information can be disheartening, it is important to remember to celebrate companies that are attempting initiatives to end stigmas surrounding menstruation.

For example, Libresse is an international brand of feminine hygiene products that has recently initiated a campaign called “Blood Normal” that seeks to “banish the blue liquid that conventionally stands in for period blood in ads and instead shows real-life scenarios of young women dealing with their periods.”

The hope is that more mainstream companies will adopt similar ideals, ultimately working to collectively end stigmas surrounding menstruation. In the end, perhaps someday, women may not have to whisper about their periods and treat them like they’re secrets.

Watch the Blood Normal campaign video here.