The walk of shame: where girls have mascara dripping down to their armpits, a pair of heels in hand and a miniskirt, lacking their long-lost panties. But here in Isla Vista, male or female, the walk home should be appreciated much more than it is. The residents performing the walk of shame are not the ones to shake our heads at in disgust at – by laughing, pointing and yelling, of course – but rather, it is those that stick around too long who long wear out their welcome.

I remember one time when my cottonmouth swooned for hydration and my head felt like Chris Farley was using it as a trampoline. I blurrily opened one eye and was shocked, impressed and proud to see my own array of pictures and posters plastered to the wall instead of the Tupac shrine or the hanging Chargers jersey I have awoken to see too many times before. Yes, I was in my very own bed.

Yet as I groggily fumbled around with my feet to grab some drunkenly thrown-off pants with my toes, I felt it… the morning bang. There he was, breathing obnoxiously heavily next to me in my bed: the shady man at the center of last night’s bad decision-making. Boys, when it’s 8:15 in the morning and you have not been ramming me for at least a few weeks straight now, the last thing I want is your beer-stained pointer finger looking for Thailand in my vagina. In fact, if my eyes are closed, that is your chance to gather your shit and leave.

Maybe it’s just because my mom taught me to use good manners at all times. But, when my eyelids fly open and I’m not in my own heavenly bed, and am instead cramped next to a naked, drooling male counterpart, I clasp my bra and bone the fuck out. Cuddling is earned. It’s either grounds for shy and awkward foreplay, or a reward for a good blowjob. When that morning light hits, however – and you are not my boyfriend or anywhere near that standing – no hand around the tummy, no stroking my leg and absolutely no talking! I thought that after squirming and wriggling and squeezing my thighs together so his lovely carpals felt like they were stuck in a Chinese finger trap, Mr. Happy Fingers would finally give up and get out of bed so I could peacefully snooze off my hangover.

Oh, how wrong I was. Exploring my hole like Gilligan’s Island is one thing… telling me to actually get up and come see something “amazing” outside is quite another. As if Pam Anderson was shaking her stuff out on my balcony, he excitedly dragged me out of bed. And you know what fucking Casanova pointed out to me? The ocean. The same seaweed-strewn, seagull-infested body of water that borders the lovely street of Del Playa at all times – even at 8:30 a.m., as he so chivalrously pointed out. Needless to say, I shrugged off his pathetic attempt at the balcony cuddle sesh, foregoing my opportunity to have a real “moment” with whatever his name was. Twenty-five minutes later, he got the picture.

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, there is something to be said for those bearing the harsh journey that is their walk of shame. They are walking, which means you are not stuck with the headcase gaping at the Pacific Ocean, the girl lacing her fingers through yours and circling your nipples, or worst of all, the deluded one who thinks you guys might be “going somewhere.” What meshes and escalates throughout a drunken night does not carry over to an early morning giggle fest. As a well-traveled morning bird, I have gone through everything from a T-shirt made out of a bandana to a mesh skirt with nothing on underneath. I know I can hold my head high through each walk of shame, as long as I’m cruising the streets of I.V. while my bump buddy from last night sleeps soundly – and more importantly, alone.

So heed my advice next time you wake up somewhere other than your own humble abode: Quietly peel off the disheveled sheets, use your fingers as a quick comb rather than utensils prodding about someone else’s jewels, and don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you!