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Cuffing season is over, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you are without bae. Here’s what you do.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this week, which apparently means that spring is coming early this year.

I’m still not sure why we let a small furry animal give us the weather forecast, but I guess that’s white culture for you. More importantly, the convergence of an early spring and Valentine’s Day looming right around the corner really only means one thing: Cuffing season is about to end.

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Getting boo’d up for the cold winter months is a time-honored tradition for young people. If you live somewhere other than the pit of bipolar weather that is Texas, it’s probably too cold to go out, and the weather is too gross to meet new people.

Even in the South though, we get enough cloudy days with frigid wind that the idea of staying in bed watching Breaking Bad with someone who won’t judge you for wearing a Star Wars onesie seems appealing.

Sexually promiscuous yuppie millennials aren’t the only ones getting in on the cuffing season craze. The Huffington Post has written about cuffing season so much that they have a whole tag for it on their site. There are several online stores with shirts or sweatshirt designs featuring the phrase.

Depending on the kind of person you are and what kind of dating success you have, cuffing season can either be a time of loneliness and desperation or relative content. You can either embrace cuffing season for what it is and have fun with it, or vehemently oppose it while everyone around finds a winter boo. Either way, much like the temperature outside, it’s going down.

If you are successful in finding a winter cuddle buddy, cuffing season is for Netflix binges, online shopping and finally having someone to try out the Pinterest recipes you’ve been saving up. If you’re not down for the winter boo hustle, the season is still meant for all of those things.

The thing is, many people don’t go into cuffing season with the intent to keep Netflix and Chilling with that person for the rest of the year. The minute the days start to warm, people start losing their damn minds.

Step number one to surviving the post-cuffing season lurch is to not freak out. If you find yourself suddenly bae-less after or around Valentine’s Day, fear not. You’ve still got about a month before Spring Break to shed that layer of flab people in relationships usually don when they pin someone down and no longer have to try.

For a single person, the end of cuffing season heralds a new selection of possible mates. Tinder is imbued with a fresh round of swipers, people start running outside again and working out at the gym.

The cold, lonely winter is basically made for answering those “hey you” texts from people that should have stayed exes.

Once it passes, go back to ignoring those last mistakes and move on to better mistakes.

Step two to surviving is realizing that other people are also going through this. It’s basically a rule in the national “I’m young and not ready to settle down” guidebook that no one knows what they are doing and we’re all just fumbling around on this giant space rock together.

If you didn’t have luck finding a winter bae this time, don’t be discouraged. Casual flings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and sometimes that’s just because you’re a coffee person. There are always more fish in the sea, but sometimes the fish aren’t biting.

Step three is work what you’ve got. The time in between the end of cuffing season and Sundress Day is a pivotal moment for those trying to get chose. If you want to work out, get on it. If you’re fine letting your freak flag fly as is, do that.

The last and final step to making it in a post-cuffing season scene is to be safe. Millennials get such notoriously bad reputation for being young, dumb and sexually promiscuous, it’s almost like the 60s didn’t happen.

2016 is a time of sexual awakening and freedom for both men and women. Many people are decidedly more pro-hoe than they were in previous generations. That being said, there’s nothing that can bring your Square moves to a screeching halt faster than a raging case of the Bobcat Bumps.

Protection is always a must. An unfortunate amount of students’ knowledge of sexual health education sounds like Donald Trump was their teacher. In 2013, Texas was ranked 11th highest rates of reported STDs.

It’s hard to lock down which cities have the highest reported rates of STDs because it’s the internet and people lie, but Austin and Killeen were both mentioned in the top ten of several different articles.

None of this is to say to shade the people who don’t participate in the hot mess of cuffing season. Winter can be a trial by fire for people already coupled up. Surviving the winter is kind of like fake moving in together.

Will you still love them through their ashy lips and cracked hands? If you still find your significant other attractive while they’re buried under a mountain of blankets and sweaters, you can survive anything.

No two cuffing seasons were created equal, and this one isn’t any exception. Being young is about having the freedom to make mistakes your grandkids will be impressed by when they’re in college.


Guest Contributor

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