Elle magazine has a less-obnoxious-than-you-would-think feature in which writer Jo Piazza reminisces about a memorable “walk of shame” after a Halloween party at which she’d dressed all Britney Spears schoolgirl. Of course the cool people on Twitter are advocating to call that ritual “the stride of pride” these days, and I’d say Piazza reaches a similar conclusion in her piece:

The Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time” video was still all the rage in the fall of 2001. Only a couple of years earlier, I had attended an all girls academy that mandated the wearing of plaid kilts, which facilitated my dressing as a precocious and sexually sophisticated school girl for a Halloween mixer in the basement of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania. Following the celebration of Halloween, I decamped to the off-campus apartment of a handsome swimmer still clad in said skirt (shorter now after I experienced a growth spurt following my freshman year), thigh-high stockings, six-inch platform heels, and a too-tiny white button down shirt that bared three inches of belly. There were pigtails. There was a lollipop.

And so on the balmy morning of November 1, I found myself contemplating theft as I hunted for a T-shirt amidst the shockingly neat apartment of the gentleman I spent the evening with. Any T-shirt, clean or dirty would have sufficed, but I managed to shack up with the one college boy who regularly put away his laundry. It was 7 a.m. I had a mandatory 8 a.m. calculus recitation and no choice but to venture the five blocks across campus dressed as I had the night prior. I rolled my knee socks up into a ball and slipped my feet bare into the heels, wincing at the blisters they carved during a particularly spirited dance to Chumbawamba “Tubthumping.” I tried in vain to tug my button-up to cover my belly, but there simply wasn’t enough material. I pulled the pigtails into a bun because that made it all more respectable and ventured out onto Chestnut Street. The four-story apartment complex exited on the very edge of my college campus. Across the street the real Philadelphia began, starting with a topless GoGo bar called Wizards. I nearly ran smack into two of the young employees, maybe my age, maybe younger, leaving their very late shift.

“I’ve done Britney before,” the blonde one said. “The old farts love it.” She offered me a Marlboro Red. I took it. There we were on a street corner, a few ladies of the night just sharing a smoke.

Without even sunglasses to create the illusion of privacy, I made the turn onto campus proper and began my journey, stubbing out the cigarette…

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