I remember the first time someone attempted to turn me into a booty call. I was 19, home from college for the summer and looking to have a bit of fun. My friends and I would go to the lakefront, and towards the end of the summer, we randomly met these guys there one night. Initially, I wasn’t interested in “D,” because he was loud, cocky and seemed like an A-hole. But being young and impressionable, I gave him my phone number anyway.
Our phone conversations were average, but I figured I’d give him another chance to impress me in person. After a few chats on the phone, we decided to link up for our first date. The plan was for D to pick me up, take me to dinner and go bowling.
Twenty minutes before he was scheduled to arrive, D called me. He told me that he was “held up,” and would not be able to make it until around 10 p.m. Our date was for 7:00.
D showed up around 10:30 drunk, and looking like he’d been in the streets. He never told me what held him up. We ended up going to some fast food restaurant around my house and to the lake where we first met. He promised to make it up to me the following week before I went back to college.
Each and every time we were supposed to go out at a respectable hour for a date, D got “held up.” We never got the chance to actually get to know each other outside of the confines of the lakefront, a car, my parent’s living room or a fast food restaurant in the ’hood. It didn’t take long for me to realize that he was on bull, so after he tried to take me to I 57 Rib House for the third time, I told him I was cool on him. But some women wouldn’t have a problem with D’s idea of “courtship.” In fact, it seems like it’s becoming more and more acceptable these days.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with the phrase, or shall I say, the “practice” of “Netflix & chill.” The terminology is new, but the act is pretty much the same as it’s always been. It involves someone who is interested in you sexually at the very least, who has the idea that coming over, watching Netflix and “chilling” is a great first, second or forever date. If you “chill” enough, eventually, you will grow close and it increases the pursuer’s chances of getting laid… and it usually works.
“Netflix and chill” is damaging to relationships for a number of reasons. Instead of someone properly courting you, they speed things up to get to the desired destination. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you wish to do, then by all means indulge in the “Netflix and chill” philosophy. But if you want to establish a long-term, substantial relationship, then it’s best to avoid it.
You shouldn’t be able to put a price tag on a respectable human being, but “Netflix and chill” does exactly that. By allowing someone the privilege of your company, your time and most likely your body with very little effort, you’re communicating a message of cheapness, and worse, being easy. Spending money on a date is not a requirement. Taking time to invest in an activity that your potential partner likes is.
In college, it was cool for a guy to come and chill with you in your dorm. Living on campus made it seem like you knew everyone a lot longer than you actually did, and the fact that most of us are broke while pursuing our education made hanging out in the dorm room an alternative that made sense.
Now? Not so much. Someone who never takes you out in public? Unacceptable. The one who truly values you beyond a romp in the sack knows the importance of setting a proper tone when pursuing you. They’ll take you out at a decent hour for your first, second and third date, and it will not just be to a Redbox station.
A lot of the excitement in a relationship comes from the first few encounters. You’re not only hyped about the opportunity to get to know someone romantically, but both parties usually put their best foot forward. Usually, the initial stages of courting are when a love interest spends more time thinking about how to amaze you. They put their best foot forward and want to make the finest impression possible. They should be absorbing anything and everything they can about what you like so they can make it happen, not sitting on a couch watching old seasons of Being Mary Jane in hopes of getting laid.
“Netflix and chill” is a very limited, low-bar way of pursuing someone romantically. It involves the bare minimum, which is a small amount of time spent together, comfort, alone time and entertainment in the form of a movie. All of these elements make for a great date, but they’re missing one important thing. Effort.
You have to require a man to meet your expectations. If he really values you, he will.
Call me old-fashioned, call me whatever, but you will not call me easy.
Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.