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Today’s the first official day of fall, which means summer Fridays are about to be a wrap, summer wardrobes are getting packed up and you’re likely looking at your bank or credit cards statement balances and shaking your head.

Summer is the time for excess. Between day parties, happy hours and getaways, folks tend to spend a grip mixing and mingling. Thinner pockets prevail when things get cooler, which means bar hopping and pricey dates get downsized if you aren’t cuffed and getting ready to fine tune your roster. While colder climates and cheaper sentiments make Netflix and Chill nights a popular alternative to doing it big when dating today, it’s important to remember—especially if you’ve been off the market for a while or in full summer savage mode—that there are rules to this ish. Here are a few.


Don’t Forget: The “N” Word Is Still Code for Sex

If you really like a woman, inviting her to Netflix and Chill at your place may not be the move—at least until you’ve had at least three-five real dates. Why? It’s the other “N” word.  No matter how pure your intentions, whenever you tell someone to come to your house, cultural norms, which set expectations, arise. And what do cultural norms tell us about a potential sexual partner visiting his or her paramour’s home? That sex is highly desired. That means that a woman may have her guard up, or even feel insulted, if you tell her to come to the crib—and your mind may be on everything but getting a**. Avoid this faux pas by waiting a few weeks before extending the invite, making your intentions clear from the jump and going the extra mile to keep the vibe PG if you’re feeling the lady.

Do Clean Up

While it’s fair to say that the “men are messy and women are neat” stereotype persists—and we know that’s not the case—no lady wants to come to your place and smell a week’s worth of a**. Clean your damn house. That means do all the crap your mommy, nana or foster mom told you is appropriate to live like a civilized human being (scrub toilets, change sheets, mop floors, etc…). If you’re already part of #TeamTidy, use the time to wipe the house clean of all traces of former flames— this includes pictures and gifts that require you to talk about an ex to avoid stumbling and seeming like a liar.

Don’t Wait ‘Til the Date to Pick

Women loathe lazy dudes. You also don’t want to spend 30 minutes debating what to watch—inevitably someone has seen one show and another hasn’t—because it will kill the vibe. Dodge the urge to focus on the “chill” and put in the work to determine what you both will watch ahead of time. Do it over the phone. Talking will be a good indicator of how you vibe and problem solve— plus you can get a sense of what she likes and use it for future dates.

Do Turn Off Your Phone

Checking your smartphone sends a message that it isn’t an official date. If you like the person you don’t want the individual to think otherwise and cast you into the situationship zone—this will happen without you being notified. Stay present. Act like you are really in the movie theater by only interacting with her. This lets her know that it’s a real date and your feelings are on point.

Don’t Netflix and Chill Too Soon

Lets say you think a woman is hot, the feeling is mutual and she’s down to watch the flick, bone or both. There’s just one catch: you invited her up after one date. After the night, you realize that ya’ll don’t really vibe or worse. Now “Ms. You’re Mine” knows where you live, has access to your neighbors and may have even scoped some of your info while you were nodding off (a whole new meaning to “don’t sleep on her”). You’re really screwed. No house calls until someone is properly vetted.

Do Have Food

You are hosting. That means you’re responsible for entertainment and food for the night. It’s up to you to provide drinks, snacks and an appropriate meal for your date—no buts about it. You’ll get gold stars for having her favorites…and demerits for an empty fridge.