Shacking is basically a rite of passage in college. I think it’s something most girls choose to ignore having done, but admit it. We’ve all woken up in a cold dorm, or on a futon in a fraternity house at least once during our college careers. Shacking is glorious, because it’s so much more acceptable during college than it is in the “real world.” It’s basically routine for some girls. You wake up half naked on a Thursday morning to “Born in the USA” blaring from the bathroom that your hookup’s roommate is showering in, you stare down at the floor at your tiny excuse for a party dress, and you desperately search the room for some non-alcoholic form of liquid to comfort your hungover self. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Every night that we go out, there are two options after last call. You either go back to your own house with whichever sisters remain, order food, die on the couch in some form of sweatpants and your dress, and watch recorded episodes of Real Housewives until your pizza gets there, or you go home with a gentleman suitor. Whether you choose the former or the latter, you will wake up horribly hungover the next day with the same feeling of regret, either from consuming way too many calories in your drunken binge, or from being penetrated by a sexually inventive man-boy. There’s no way around it. Shacking happens to everyone. It’s how you deal with it that matters, really, and there are various degrees of shacking that directly relate to how much you’re covering your face on your way home in the morning.
Level 1: “I’ve never done this before.”
I told this lie about 26 times my freshman year. It worked until I made midnight visits to repeat offenders, and realized this story would no longer hold up in the court of law. The Level 1 Shacker always has a trademark air of shame, confusion, and regret about her the morning after her wild evening. We’ve all been there. You wake up with a pounding headache and a dry throat, and open your eyes to discover you’re not in your perfectly comfortable bed with a thousand pillows, and are instead, lying next to the guy who kept buying you shots last night. Once he sees that you’re awake, he tries to initiate morning sex, which is ridiculous, because at this point, the only thing you want inside of you is two aspirin and a coconut water. After politely denying his advances, you have to hammer out the details regarding how you’re getting home. You awkwardly pretend to text your friends for a ride, while waiting for him to motion that he’ll bring you back. Finally, you break the awkward silence by saying, “So…can you take me home?” You leave in your heels and dress from last night because you refused to accept shacker clothes, and you try your best to make it out of the house without being seen.
Level 2: “Damn it, again?”
You’ve hooked up with this guy a few times, and last night was one of those times. You’re not in a state of shock waking up in his house after your blackout, but you’re not exactly thrilled about the decision you made while in your vodka-induced state of mind. You don’t find it that awkward to make your way down the hall in a pair of his shorts and a frat tee to use the bathroom, even though it totally becomes awkward when you’re washing your hands and that guy from your mass comm lecture walks in to take a shower. There’s no need to tell him he needs to drive you home, because he’s already got his keys in his hand within about thirty minutes of waking up. He doesn’t have to ask where he’s bringing you, and he’s ok with the fact that you’re not one for conversation in the morning, especially when you’ve got a vicious hangover. This stage isn’t necessarily awkward, but it’s not totally comfortable either. It’s just familiar.
Level 3: “Who are you, and why does this house look familiar?”
This stage comes when you’ve finally accepted that monogamous relationships aren’t necessarily your thing, and you’ve resigned to being okay with the occasional post-bar hookup. You’ve woken up in frats before, and it’s actually not that awkward to help yourself to one of the t-shirts in his clean laundry pile before you wander the halls searching for a composite to identify which house you’re in. It’s not even that big of a deal when you text your bestie to figure out her location. Coincidentally, she is in the same house as you are about 50 percent of the time, anyway. You don’t really worry about waking the object of your drunken affection to let him know he needs to get a move on. You have a lecture at 1:00, and you’re considering going to it (you’re totally not going to it). You’re past the level of trying to pretend this is awkward, because why should it be? YOLO, or something?
Level 4: “Stride of pride.”
At this point, your sisters just laugh when you show up every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning in heels and a huge t-shirt, with your hair looking like you played beauty shop with Ke$ha. You’ve become so accustomed to shacking you don’t even shack to hook up anymore. At this point, you’re just so used to passing out wasted somewhere that you can’t really imagine coming back to your own house after a night of inebriated debauchery. Quite simply, you just don’t go home anymore after the bars. You either pass out on the couch at your gay bestie’s because he always provides the best post-bar party favors, or you wind up at your favorite fraternity with your only straight guy friend, because you weren’t ready to stop drinking when the bartenders rudely said the worst two words ever: “last call.” You’re usually a senior by this point, which only enhances your attitude of not giving a fuck. You’re over being embarrassed by your outfit at Starbucks in the morning, and you’re over feeling hesitant about
asking demanding last night’s hookup drive to Starbucks before he drops you off in the morning. It is what it is, and you literally only get one more year of acting this ridiculous, so you’re milking it for all it’s worth.