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Romance is dead, well sort of.
Face-to-face interaction is on its last limbs, and the process of hooking-up has gone from charm and wit, silly dates, and awkward moments, to well-lit and Photoshopped photos.
Start swiping, because asking someone out in real life is becoming less socially acceptable, and hoping on the fiery world of Tinder is where it’s at.
If you are unfamiliar with this geo-location, often shallow, but overly effective dating app, you should start indulging in some options.
If you are familiar with Tinder, you are even more aware of what many people toss into their Tinder profile. People fill their short Tinder bio with tidbits of information on how much they love dogs, the bar, or cosplay. You may also be aware of the infamous tidbit, “Netflix and Chill.”
Netflix and Chill: it’s a phrase, it’s a slogan, it’s an internet meme, and it’s officially capitalized in the Excalibur cannon now and forever.
But more often than not, students and single-folks are throwing around a new breed of code for sex, whether it be casual or not.
What does it really mean when we say “Netflix and Chill?” The general internet consensus is that it’s a euphemism for sex. We might equate it to the new-era “hot coffee.” You know, that time after your lovely date, you invite someone in for a coffee. Not normal coffee, but really fucking hot coffee.
When you throw down this line, are you really looking forward to the coffee or is something else on your mind? Who drinks coffee at night? C’mon, we’re talking about sex.
“Usually in the context I’ve heard it, Netflix and Chill means coming over to hook-up,” says Sarah Flicker, York professor who has done research on youth and sexuality.
“It’s really not all that different from 20 years ago when I was dating,” she says. “The idea was to have someone come over, cuddle up on the couch, and see what happens. It has, for quite a while, been code for ‘I’d like to make out with you and spend some time together’.”
For those using online dating, Flicker says it has certainly made the process of finding a ready and willing partner much easier.
“For better or for worse, it’s made sex and casual sex easier to access for some people. But depending on where you are posting or fishing, you might be looking for different things.”
She notes that those using Tinder might be after something different as opposed to those using longer-form dating apps like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.
“Folks looking for a relationship, a connection, or something deeper might be interested in putting in a little more effort into presenting themselves, as well as scanning potential partners,” says Flicker.
Hooking-up or not, she encourages everyone to be safe and highlights the importance of consent, asking questions, and telling either friends or family where you are going and what you’ll be up to.
“Being safe also means to plan for sex and sexual activity,” she says. “Do you have your condoms? Are you prepared? And are you making sure you have all those resources that you might need to have a good night?”
Kaylee Cameron, a sexual health team lead at Student Community Leadership and Development, says that these sexual codewords have always been around.
“It’s an easier way to say what folks would say otherwise in person,” she adds. “It’s like ‘hey would you like to step out for a moment?’ Those kind of phrases will get the idea across.”
Cameron, who is a sexuality studies major, works as the deputy coordinator of outreach and communication at TBLGAY.
She notes that Tinder takes a lot of the pressure off different forms of online dating, but users shouldn’t assume that being invited over for Netflix and Chill will necessarily mean sex.
“You always have the right to ask for clarification,” she says. “You should continue to ask until you know what that person is trying to say to you. If you think someone is trying to get you into bed, ask.”
“I don’t think anyone should assume that someone will have sex with them just by having them in their house or by going on a date,” she adds. “That is something that has to be talked about and it has to be very clear.”
“Folks have the right to say no to going over to someone’s house, no to having sex once they are at someone’s house, and the right to ask and make sure every situation they are getting themselves into is as clear and consensual as possible.”
Shannon Tebb, a matchmaker and dating consultant working downtown Toronto, explains that the term Netflix and Chill is a major turn-off.
“When people log onto online dating, they want to have a positive experience. It’s almost like saying you like to hang and bang.”
“These code terms aren’t very good, if anything they should just pick up the phone and call the person, rather than use code words,” she says. “You don’t know how people will react. It’s negative, it’s forward, and there’s not much effort in thinking of a date.”
Tebb works with people who have moved past online dating and are now willing to use a matchmaker to help make that important connection.
“I never tell women to go over to a guy’s (or girl’s) home, until at least date five or six, or until they are comfortable. A lot of times when a guy (or girl) comes over they think they are sleeping over.”
She acknowledges that Tinder is being used by a lot of young people, but suggests it’s not the best approach to dating.
“If you don’t have a lot of time for online dating then it’s faster, but it’s all based on outer appearance and I don’t think that’s fair,” she says.
“Some people don’t look good in photos. But Tinder is like you’re shopping for someone, like you are going down an aisle and looking at the different types of salad dressing, and you’re picking the best one. It isn’t fair to everyone else who would be a totally cool and awesome partner if you’re going for the hottest one you see.”
She also notes the importance of representing yourself properly on online dating sites. After all, using creativity and having a plan can go far beyond a Netflix and Chill experience.
“Men and women have stopped asking each other out. It’s this hookup culture,” she says. “Whatever the name, these sites are all the same.”
And I’ll be honest, I’ve explored the deep dark underbelly of Tinder. It’s an awful place in my opinion, full of awkward first messages and judgement, but that’s just dating.
I’ll be even more blunt. I’ve been invited over to someone’s house for some Netlifx, and some aforementioned, chilling. Netflix and Chill was discussed in some casual flirting and I was excited to do just that. Watch some Netflix and chill out.
The honest truth is that I was under the assumption that I was actually going to partake in some Netflix watching. Was I out of the loop? Did I not read the code correctly? Did I disappoint my Tinder match when I became emotionally invested into the ending of Prometheus?
But nothing happened other than an awkward hug and some snacking. It was many weeks later that I learned about the possible underlying meaning of this new codeword, “Netflix and Chill.”
Frosh Week actually had an event that hopped on this internet sensation. Game Cinematics was the title of movie night at Winters College, but Peter Howie, a fourth-year film production student claims that a handful of the bosses nicknamed the event Netflix and Chill. He attended the event and explained it was a light-hearted movie night with large amounts of popcorn.
“That’s what I heard it being called as a joke every now and then,” he says.
“I think the term has gained a rather unfortunate second meaning as a euphemism for sleeping with someone. I’m not sure how it happened, or even when, but that it seems to have turned that way overnight.”
Howie adds that the causal nicknaming of the event was a great tongue-in-cheek way of bringing attention to how the term has changed so much from its literal meaning.
So are we talking about sex or can we as young adults actually enjoy some Netflix and chill out while doing so? I don’t see why not. But the internet is demanding that Netflix and Chill is code for sex.
I’m here to suggest that Netflix and Chill doesn’t always have to associate with sex.
Maybe I had the wrong assumption, maybe I was in the dark, but when did we stop Netflixing, and start “chilling?”