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'Mad Men': January Jones and the so-called 'walk of shame'

June 11, 2010 |  4:58 pm

Jones280 Thursday night around 9 p.m., "Mad Men" actress January Jones allegedly lost control of a Range Rover, slammed into three cars and fled the scene. According to TMZ, Jones told the LAPD that she was being pursued by paparazzi and instead of dealing with what she characterized as harassment at the site of the crash, she decided to walk a half-block away to her own residence to call 911.

On one hand, for "Mad Men" fans, it's a little exciting to see one of our stars being chased by the same long-lens squad that's been all over Lohan and that notorious bracelet. (Not that this following is new -- the show and its stars have been Emmy bait for a while now.) But it wasn't the standard varietal of celebrity stalking the photographers were engaging in -- turns out Jones had been part of a scandal le petit earlier in the day.

As TMZ puts it, Jones was all over the Internet for doing a "walk of shame," i.e., she arrived home in a taxi wearing the same BCBG frock she'd worn to an event the night before, where she hobnobbed with David Arquette, Jakob Dylan and GQ Vice President and Publisher Peter Hunsinger.

Plenty of blogs had fun with it, including our own Ministry of Gossip, but take away the teasing and there's still the term "walk of shame" to mull over. For anyone not familiar with the term, it's applied to women (and occasionally men) when they're "caught" in a tell-tale sign that they never went home the previous night. The implication is that they likely had a one-night stand or at least partied like a lady Dionysus and now they're slinking back to their homes to shed last night's outfit and climb into the shower, with possibly a shudder or two emanating from their beleaguered guilty conscience.

Though bloggers like Perez Hilton have applied it to guys, it's by and large targeted at women. Glamour Magazine asked its readers recently if they'd ever done it; a few websites even sell "kits" to women for how to deal with this shameful morning after. A few years ago, a now-defunct comedy website even filmed unknown women walking in the morning in Manhattan in cocktail dresses with an interviewer getting up in their faces about whether they were shame-walking or not. I can't help but think that packed into the kits (one includes a toothbrush, dress and hypo-allergenic wipes) and the joking is a big heaping of puritanical, judgmental ick. Hmm, it must be the word "shame" that's tipping me off.

So what's there to be ashamed of? Jones is a single, beautiful, 32-year-old starlet on a career upswing -- she can't sleep at a man's house, if that's what we think happened? Maybe she was playing chess all night in the lobby of the hotel after the party -- does it matter? Why do we have to call this a "walk of shame"? It's the kind of snide, sniffing conclusion Jones' character Betty Draper would come to about some woman walking down her Ossining street in a fancy dress, heels and pearls at 9 a.m. and not on a Sunday. But Betty's at least got the excuse that she's living in the far less feminist times of the late '50s and early '60s. In 2010, what's our excuse?

It would be great if Jones teamed up with "Mad Men" creator/writer Matt Weiner and the two of them issued a perfectly coquettish, noncommittal "maybe I was at a man's house and maybe it's none of your business" kind of rebuttal to the media chattering, but it's doubtful that will happen. We can only hope Jones was having fun doing whatever she was doing. And if she was enjoying the unchaperoned company of a young gentleman, we most of all hope that, like a proper lady, she left a calling card on the young man's bedside table before she left.

--Margaret Wappler

Photo: Jones in the dress at the GQ, Nautica, and Oceana World Oceans Day Party at Sunset Tower. Credit: John Shearer / Getty Images for GQ Magazine