This post is happening for two reasons. First of all, I’m seeing a new guy, Mr. Nice Guy, and it’s unclear precisely what the point is with him, but it may very well be that he’s just a “Netflix and Chill” kind of guy. On the other hand, I’m learning from my students that this is kind of ALL they think about. All. The. Time.
So what exactly is “Netflix and Chill?”
We’ve entered the culture of extreme casual sex.
Obviously I’m not one of those prudes who sees a huge problem with the idea of casual sex, but in actual practice? Yeah there are some pretty big problems that I have seen with my own eyes, and I can only imagine some worse ones are on their way.
I’ve talked before about the inherent confusion involved. Whether it’s because women are hardwired to want to be in a relationship (or in the more misogynistic way of saying it, a woman just needs a man), or because we as a society have forgotten what it means to actually be a part of something, this new way of dating leaves both parties in a nebulous zone of unknowing.
One that leads, as it did with the Boy and me, to a lot of assumptions.
Now, I’m an English teacher, so I totally understand the value of subtext, and I’m pretty good at figuring out a person’s true intentions because of it. This obviously goes against some of the Aspie stuff I’ve been trying to talk about, but that’s a discussion for another day (on the other hand, it could be because I fear surprises that I just work extra hard to figure out all the possible meanings of a thing… the world may never know!). For today’s purposes, we’re going to acknowledge that I am pretty good at reading most people’s subtext… up to a point.
I’m even going to admit that I think this is a valuable skill that most people seem to obtain throughout their youth. We’re designed to pick up on subtle non-verbal cues to keep us safe. Watch a group of teenagers react when a person in charge begins removing items from their person, such as earrings or a watch. This removal of stuff is a non-verbal cue that the person is about to fight, and the kiddos, especially those growing up in a tough urban area, will recognize it and adjust their attitudes accordingly.
Non-verbal cues are great for learning subtext.
But some non-verbal cues aren’t as easy to pick up on, not for all of us. Seriously, when I took a quiz over facial expressions, I confused lust for fear or some such. Not a good mistake to make…
And when you don’t know the person and are still getting to know their individual tells, it’s even harder to make certain distinctions.
Of course, for me, it’s difficult even when you know the person pretty well. Just today I had to delete the Boy out of my life. Again. He’s given me what I took to be some mixed signals about how he views my situation with Mr. Nice Guy. Signals that convinced me he was a little bit jealous. Things like he’d give me somewhat crappy advice when I told him my fears about the fact that Mr. Nice Guy is in ridiculously better shape than I am.
For the record, I am in a shape. That shape is round. Mr. Nice Guy has hip dips. You know, that gorgeous V that shows where the legs meet the torso.
Yeah… He’s so out of my league!
And yet he tells me that I’m stunning, and beautiful, and gorgeous, and that he just keeps staring at my picture because he desires me so much. I fear that if he actually sees me naked, he’s going to realize that I’m not that hot.
I told the Boy I knew I wasn’t stunning, because people don’t describe me as pretty. I’m hot, or sexy, or exotic, or (in the crudest sense) fuckable, but people don’t tell me I’m pretty. And stunning is more in the pretty category than in the purely fuckable category.
When I told the Boy that I feared such a thing, his response was “well, if you know you’re not pretty, just tell him.”
I’m not sure why he even considers this to be a nice thing to say. It hurt my feelings. A lot. After all, he’s seen all my faults. The thing he should have said was that I was being silly and that I was beautiful and shouldn’t be worried at all.
But every time I’ve even suggested that I’m nervous about how I look, he jumps straight to that sarcasm that I can’t handle. I think he’s trying to tell me that I’m being silly, and he’s doing it with his brand of humor. But it’s hurtful.
So if Mr. Nice Guy is really just looking to “Netflix and Chill,” I’m not 100% certain I’m cool with that. Or rather, I’m ridiculously interested in taking him for a test drive, but I’m fairly certain that would kill anything that might blossom because I’m not as attractive as he thinks I am at the moment.
Meanwhile, my students are convincing me that sex is the only motivation anyone cares about anymore.
My students are convinced (as we’re still in the beginning section of Fahrenheit 451) that Guy Montag is trying to “smash” with Clarisse, his not quite 17 year old neighbor. They think she wants to smash with him as well. Apparently, the fact that she wants to talk to him, that proves that she wants to have copious amounts of sex with him.
Like I said, it’s apparently all about the Netflix and Chill now. This is not a good thing for me…