By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
You can spot her at dawn — a rumpled remnant of a woman making the long, teetering trek down Michigan or Meridian or Collins. She sports raccoon eyes, lacks an earring, and walks in stilettos as if they were six-foot stilts. She emits an unidentifiable stench. Maybe it's Doritos, cigarettes, stale perfume, or Astroglide. In any case, if you look closely, it's killing nearby plants. Not long ago, a toddler who brushed against her hand was airlifted to Jackson Memorial.
But don't be alarmed. She doesn't crave brains — just a cheeseburger, running water, and maybe a Walk of Shame Kit.
The new $34.99 product — yes, Loon has sold her soul to Lucifer and become a saleslady — is the perfect gift for the Blanche Devereaux of your crew. It includes a pair of sunglasses, one-size-fits-all flip-flops, and a T-shirt dress. There's also a small bag for the prior evening's skank gear, a pre-pasted toothbrush, "makeup" wipes (uh-huh), and a note card to leave behind that reads "Call me" on one side and "Thanks for nothing" on the other.
"The world doesn't need to know what you just did," says 25-year-old Lindsay Goldstein, vice president of Shame for Clubsmerch, a Miami company that makes products and apparel for the entertainment industry. Goldstein and partner Buzzy Sklar began selling the kits March 1 and claim to be having great success.
Though some W Hotels now stock it in their minibars, I question this assertion. So I head to the lounge area of RA Sushi (5829 SW 73rd St.), a black sheep of a place nuzzled within the laid-back, pub-heavy South Miami bar scene, to gauge demand. It's the kind of place that blares house music mixed with a few nuggets of early-'90s nostalgia tunes such as K7's "Come Baby Come." And though the motif is chic, plastered with Asian flair like red paper lanterns and a sushi bar backed by a color-shifting screen adorned with floating fish, it attracts the kind of gal who thinks it's stylish to wear Lady Gaga woman diapers.
The first person I run into is Vivi, a 20-year-old South Miami native wearing jeans and a halter top. She has overtly styled side-swept bangs and a cute button nose. She'd pay $50 for the Walk of Shame Kit. "It would've been useful this one time I slept over at the Four Seasons," she says.
Looks like someone has an appetite for tourist tail.
"I went down to the concierge's desk to call a cab, and he kept on giving me dirty looks. I was in a revealing dress and it was 10 in the morning, but I felt like he thought I was something that I wasn't. After about five minutes of cold stares and rude remarks, I shouted, 'I'm not a hooker, OK?!'"
I can't blame Vivi for being upset, though. Most hotel employees in Miami should know by now that if your face isn't busted and splattered with blood from biting a ShamWow hawker's tongue, you're probably not a prostitute.
Elle, a 20-year-old classic beauty with long, straight brown hair and glowing skin, has a slightly more mortifying tale. "I once slept over at a guy's dorm. In the morning, I snuck out of his building undetected, but as soon as my toe touched the lawn outside his dorm, a fire alarm went off. Suddenly, out ran a ton of people in their pajamas. I was the only one wearing heels and a push-up bra. So of course they all knew what I had done. One person had the bright idea to clap, so everyone started to clap, applauding me for my great accomplishment. It really sucked."
The whole idea of the Walk of Shame Kit is rather sexist, so I, being the equal-opportunity cynic, decide to seek a guy's opinion. The first encounter is with Zack, a clean-cut, heavily hair-gelled 28-year-old Kendallite sitting at a high bar table and drinking a Heineken. "For me, this is pointless. And I wouldn't think very highly of a girl who had this in the trunk of her car. It's just some silly thing you might see for sale at Urban Outfitters or something. I come from the school of going to a girl's place and sneaking out before they wake up. I like to think of myself as a dream, and I avoid all uncomfortable situations."
A dream indeed. And what if Zack is forced to bring a young lady back to his own place, she sleeps over, and then she demands a T-shirt?
"I'd give her one of my shirts that I don't care about. Like the one I got from a corporate 5K or my friend's failed smoothie business. It's not like I'd give some random fuck my Dave Matthews shirt."
Time to flee. So I pick up the kit — which is about the size and shape of a large Quaker Oats canister — and head to RA Sushi's tranquil outdoor patio. Soon I spot Heather, a fit blonde in her late 30s who's sparking up a stogy. After perusing the kit, she lets out a very natural laugh. "It's a cute idea, but it's not practical. I'd never pay more than $15 for it. I mean, what are you supposed to do with all of that when you're out on the town? Play it like a bongo?"
Or she could beat men over the head with it and drag them back to her secret love shack.
"Ever have a need for something like this?" I ask.
"Only if it included morning-after pills and one of those 20-minute AIDS tests," she coughs. "Or Claritin. I once slept over at someone's house who was filthy and had a dog. My allergies acted up all night long. Plus his dog wouldn't stop sniffing my crotch the morning after."
Well, the kit does include wipes.
"And another time, I stayed over at the place of a much younger guy. I was 36 at the time, and he was at least 15 years younger than me. I should've been suspicious when we drove up to a large, four-bedroom home in the suburbs, but I was drunk and didn't feel like talking my way out of a DUI, so I slept over. The next morning, I tried to sneak out but was confronted by his mother in the kitchen."
Did Heather feel ashamed?
"No!" says the cougar, her eyes bugging out and then quickly squinting closed. "Why would I feel bad for scoring with a hot, young guy? That's the problem with products like this. It's all good for laughs, but it perpetuates that double standard that women feel shameful while men are proud of their conquests."
But, I explain, there will soon be a Walk of Shame Kit for men.
"And what will theirs have? A disposable camera so they can snap a quick shot of the latest notch in their belt? I'm sure the creator of this product thinks the concept is liberating, but being liberated is wearing the clothes you had on the night before and not giving a shit what people think of you."
Not giving a shit what people think of you? Are you from Miami?
She takes a long draw of her cigar.
"No, I'm from Connecticut."