The Bridge: The Walk Of Shame

By Darryl James

Traditionally, men were hunters and gatherers and held the sole responsibility for initiating the mating ritual, which included marriage proposals, asking for the first dance and initiating first contact.

First contact.

That’s the dreaded first “hello” or the first smile. And it used to be fairly simple.

Men did it.

Until society was turned on its head.

Society was turned on its head partially by the world becoming smaller, thanks to the Internet, where a great portion of relationships begin in online dating.

But society was also turned on its head by the hoax of a sexual revolution and by women beginning to tell the world (and men were listening) that they wanted to be something different. The problem for women, is that this requires that they also DO something different.

You see, it’s a dicey proposition to declare yourself equal to men (which for some women, means becoming men), and then proclaim a portion of life and love that will remain untouched by this equality.

The question is asked: “Who decides what portions of life are equal?”  The answer is: anyone, everyone and no one.

And therein lies the difficulty. Some women subscribed to the equality program and some men followed, but many men and women either made no such subscription, or simply stayed somewhere in the middle where confusion lives.

My point?

At this stage in the game, many men have no idea how to approach women because there is too much uncertainty.

And so, the “Walk of Shame” that has always been difficult, has become increasingly more difficult to the point of perceived impossibility by some men who simply refuse to initiate first contact.

The “Walk of Shame?”  Oh, that’s the walk a man takes when he leaves his comfort zone to move into a woman’s comfort zone in order to initiate contact. This walk can occur in any setting, but is most popular in group settings, such as clubs and parties.

The man typically walks over to the woman’s comfort zone and if he is met with disinterest or worse, disdain, he must then take the infamous “Walk of Shame” back to his own zone, which carries a stigma of shame—the shame of being rejected, which is just a tired, silly notion of “manliness.”

Of course, some women are quick to dismiss any sensitivity to this shame by pointing out that “a man should be man enough to take such a risk.”

Really?  That sounds like women who have been thinking like men, and frankly, that never turns out well, contrary to the comedian’s best-selling book.

My advice to women is to act like a lady and think like a wife. That’s if the goal is to actually become a wife.

You see, thinking like a wife means that a woman is doing some choosing based not on silly social signals, but on primary personal signals (looks, posture, etc.) and secondary personal signals (morals and standards revealed by discussion), which may be contrary to the signals relied on in the ever-changing society of the new century.

You may think you’re being open, but the man you’re attracting may see the same signs in you that he saw in the last few women who rejected him and he just may decide not to take the risk with you.

The elevator is broken, so I’m suggesting that you take the stairs.

Does thinking like a wife mean that women become aggressive? No. in fact, the fake sexual revolution ushered in aggressiveness amongst women, and that hasn’t really worked out very well.

It’s really not that deep.

All that is required in many cases is for a woman to smile at a man, or even to say “hello.”  The coy routine, in which the woman pretends not to be interested typically backfires. The game has changed too much for that.

What will happen is that you will likely waste time waiting for men to take the sole risk of initiating contact when they have no idea whether the risk is worth taking.

And, that is a huge risk these days.

Really, a grown woman has no business playing games and sending confusing messages to men who have been sent far too many confusing messages anyway.

In the age of “Independent Women,” its good sense for women to actually display some independence.

My overarching message to women is that it is pure folly to wait for men to do what you as an individual have accepted as “traditional,” because nothing truly is traditional anymore.

Changing times call for change.

That means that you may either have to make that walk less risky, or take a walk yourself.

The risk of shame must be shared or released.

I’ve quoted Will Smith as “Hitch” before and I’m not ashamed to do it again.  The film was very cool, but more importantly, it touched on a portion of men’s perspective that just isn’t often heard.

“Does it ever occur to women that maybe a guy might like to have a plan?  Because he’s nervous.  He’s not sure if he could just walk up to you and you’d respond if he said: ‘I like you. I like you.  I like you’…This is exactly why falling in love is so God Damned hard.”

–Will Smith as “Hitch”

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


2 Responses to “The Bridge: The Walk Of Shame”

  1. Great post and I have been thru it before . Which is why I gave up the club scene. To much wack music,plus this stuff.It was time to leave this scene alone. I was glad that real Hip Hop came out like it did because certain songs made a big difference.One like
    ” She said ” by the Pharycyde. I think they touched upon this subject a little.

  2. im not a man ….neither do i want to be one…im not american either im from the african continent….i have read all that you wrote above.

    a grown woman has no business playing games and sending confusing messages to men who have been sent far too many confusing messages anyway.

    in my culture where i come from ….if i walked to aman and i told him i want him or say wink or look him directly in the eyes..EYE CONTACT. boy he would run for his dear life .
    i will be labeled a whore and many more words .

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