If you were lucky enough to be a teen in the '90s, well, you were lucky enough. You feel me? Being a teen during that golden decade couldn't have been more fun if it tried. Admittedly, we didn't have all of the modern luxuries teens today have — let's face it, what Netflix and chill in the '90s would have been like is a far cry from the reality of technology-enabled teen hook-ups today. Still, that isn't to say we didn't do a darn good job working with what we had.
The etymology of Netflix and chill itself is an interesting exploration of how time and culture cause semantic evolution. When the phrase first began showing up on social media a few years following the 2007 start of Netflix's instant streaming service, it was pretty cut and dry. People were quite literally using it to relay their intentions to go home, curl up on the couch, and marathon something... typically by themselves. It wasn't until 2014 that any sort of innuendo attached itself to the now-common phrase (remember the ol' Netflix and chill "starter pack"?).
So really, if you think about it, we may not have been saying "Netflix" and chill in the '90s, but we definitely had our own versions that are basically the predecessor of this hookup hashtag. Here's what Netflix and chill would have been like in the '90s.
1Nailing Down the Destination
Is it my imagination, or do teens nowadays seem to have the whole "getting your parents to let you have your crush over" thing figured out in a way we definitely didn't in the '90s? If you were one of those lucky '90s teens whose parents were cool with letting your crush chill in your bedroom, count your blessings. If you weren't, you would have to be much more strategic. A few favorite makeout spots in the '90s? The local movie theater, a house party, the backseat of your date's car (probably parked in the mall parking lot). Ah, good times.
Texting, schmexting — that technology was scarce in the '90s. If you wanted to communicate with your crush during the confines of school-going hours, you did what any self-respecting '90s kid did: You folded a note into some intricate paper-football-style shape and discreetly passed it to the object of your affection between classes.
3Making a Mix Tape
It wasn't until the early '00s that CD burning technology made hookup soundtracks a cinch to create. Back in the '90s, we rolled old school by making mix tapes. This would have been a must if the Netflix and chilling was going to happen at your house or in the car. An ideal makeout mix would probably include some K-Ci & JoJo, Keith Sweat, All 4 One, Goo Goo Dolls, Usher, and Marcy Playground.
In the '90s, getting ready for any date that had the potential to turn into a makeout sesh involved certain precautions, and Netflix-and-chilling would have been no exception to the rule. You would undoubtedly have made sure you had a tube of Lip Smackers or tub of Carmex on hand to ensure extra-kissable lips, picked out a bangin' outfit (probably overalls, since that whole one-strap trend made it easy to cop a feelsky), and stripped your room of any embarrassing pics and/or the decrepit Puffalump you still slept with.
Let's be real — dates require energy, and you get energy from sustenance. If you were going to Netflix and chill at the movies, this entailed budgeting enough money for popcorn and Milk Duds. If your hookup was going to be at home, you relied on easy freezer food like Bagel Bites and the rush you got from sweet '90s snacks like Gushers.
6Choosing What to "Watch"
Fortunately for us, there was no shortage of great movies to watch — whether we were headed to the local cinema to see 'em or swinging by Blockbuster to pick up a few VHS tapes. For those of us who liked a good excuse to get closer to our dates, scary movies like The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Scream would be top picks. For the hopeless romantics among us, we're talking Titanic, Drive Me Crazy, She's All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Romeo + Juliet.
7Making the Move
This part would pretty much be the same, no? Once you hit that 20 minute mark into your night, giving "the look" would be fair game. What look? You know the one. We've all got a come hither stare tucked into our repertoire for Netflix and chill nights, and some of us have been perfecting ours since the '90s. JS.