A chill runs up your spine as that new fall breeze you’re not exactly accustomed to yet catches the nape of your neck. You twitch spastically, nervously, hoping no one around you was paying enough attention to catch that embarrassing spiel. They did. And it was bad. Get a grip bro. But of course, you couldn’t help it. The vernal equinox has unveiled for our hemisphere; Shorter days, longer and colder nights, and alas the perfect season to, how you say, “Netflix and chill.”
The phrase of the century, perhaps? Not too much of an exaggeration for a sexual innuendo of which has captivated what seems to be the nation. Meme (an ever popular way for this cultural era to make fun of newly acclaimed societal trends) after meme, has been generated by innumerous social media outlets, joking of the act that was once characterized by such an innocent connotation; a connotation, of course, now tarnished by a generation governed by the explicit content encompassing it.
So much has this occurred that now a condom even bears the bold name of, yep you guessed it: Netflix and Chill. Kevin Rose, of the site Fusion, coined it as a “classic case of social media-fueled semantic drift.” But how did we get here, right? According to a chronological map also supplied by Mr. Rose’s column, it’s been a long journey from the world debut of Netflix without the chill. We have eight years to speak on behalf of it all, most years with characterizing events to go right along with. Let us indulge.
2007, a year not exceptionally memorable in any particular way. Aside from the last Harry Potter book, oh and the iPhone introduction was somewhat of a big deal, but who cares about actual words and innovative technological advances when a streaming video service has just been born unto a nation.
From here, we travel a little further down the timeline to 2009 and find ourselves at the first ever recorded use of “Netflix and chill” on twitter. Mind boggling, I know. From there, in 2012 an actual compounded phrase begins to unfurl and then, ha! Summer 2014 brings about a wink, not just any wink either. You know what wink I’m referring to, that wink you send only after 10 PM and before 5 AM with the hopes of an expedited response befitting the occasion. The Netflix and chill starter pack trends with that same wink emoji attached and this is where we crash land into our brand spanking (no pun intended) new Urban Dictionary addition under the preconceived title “Netflix and chill.” I won’t disclose what lovely strung together phrases make up that wonderful definition, but I will say … it is readily available to the public via any internet source.
Digressing, I remained curious, still in what within a society could cause such an evolution of a term. So, of course, I did some research. Black twitter, what a woman by the name of Feminista Jones, describes in the editorial “Salon” as “a collective of active, primarily African-American Twitter users who have created a virtual community,” seems to have been the origin. Which makes sense in light of the fact that jokes are typically formed on the basis of just about anything within it. Could simply a light heart and a sense of humor be the culprit, or perhaps a more grand scale conceiver?
The consistent desensitization of sex in the media definitely plays a vital role in this process of sexual innuendo conception. Think about it. Every day, what wasn’t okay, days or years before, becomes the new social norm. This doesn’t just happen sporadically, no there seems to be a more gradual breakdown, a more slow-moving and unguided tendency within it. I don’t tie a negative base, nor a positive one, to all of this but rather an enlightening one. Think about the small things you find yourself on the front row seat of the bandwagon for and question them. You, like me, may very well find yourself on a road less traveled, accepting what catch phrases or new trends are dealt to you as cool, and just be conscious of it. Things make more sense that way. For instance, when you have to explain to your dear parents why you would prefer they not refer to family movie night as a “Netflix and chill” event.