The Netflix & chill phenomenon

Netflix & chill is a term coined for casual dating

Back in 2012, when “Gangnam Style” was dominating the Top 40 charts and I was beginning my first year at Queen’s, Netflix became a way for me to escape the dreariness of my day-to-day school life and avoid yet another night out at Stages. 

For me, there was nothing quainter than kicking back on a Friday night with my four-piece and curly fries from Lazy and marathon hours of Gossip Girl. And while this remains one of my indulgences to this day, the phenomenon of “Netflix & chill” deeply changed that over the years that followed.  

Flash forward three years later: Netflix has fully immersed itself into the dating world. There’s nothing better than having a more-than-friendly companion to join you on a binge of your favourite TV shows. But as the power of Netflix and streaming media evolved, so did the language in the phrase “Netflix & chill”. 

A seemingly innocent phrase, “Netflix & chill” — or to hook-up — has blurred the line between the desire for hooking up and dating. 

It can lure individuals into a false sense of security by misleading them. If a guy is inviting you over to his place to watch a movie and hangout, you can be lured into the idea he wants to make you his girlfriend. If he wanted something more serious, he would be making a bigger effort. 

So, if you’re being asked for some Netflix & chill, please be real with yourself and understand it may not mean what you think. Just because someone wants to have sex, doesn’t mean they want a relationship out of it.

People have been coming up with excuses to have sex for generations — whether it coming over “for a cup of coffee” or “to watch a movie” — making “Netflix & chill” no different from other excuses that came before it. 

The phrase calls out our generation’s transparent attitudes and attempts to get someone into the bedroom. These days, I can’t peruse through my friends’ updates on social media without seeing a generally unfunny meme about the clichéd phrase.

“Netflix & chill” is inescapable in its newfound meanings of sexual connotation. It’s become engrained in our societal norms and indicative of a larger hook-up culture that celebrates casual sex over traditional dating. 

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