Cuffing Season
It's time to find that special someone to cuddle up with and end family pressures. (Illustration by Andrew Moghab, School of Visual Arts)

Cuffing Season: The Ultimate Guide to a Relationship Phenomenon

With the beginning of October comes changing leaves, cold weather and a desire for dating. So, are you ready to be a couple?

College /// Thoughts x
Cuffing Season

With the beginning of October comes changing leaves, cold weather and a desire for dating. So, are you ready to be a couple?

It’s October, which means it’s time for cuffing season. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what cuffing season even is. Is it related to hunting? Perhaps it’s a baseball term? Maybe it’s a “Fifty Shades of Grey” reference? A quick Google search pulls up a wide variety of websites attempting to answer the same question.

Surprisingly, it’s not related to hunting, baseball or “Fifty Shades.” Cuffing season is the time of year when more people want to be in a relationship to resist the seasonal blues that come along with colder weather.

Is Cuffing Season Actually a Thing?

Twitter is the suspected culprit for the origin of this phenomenon, so it’s fair to question if this really happens. In theory, it makes sense. In the summer, it’s easy to meet other people when we’re frolicking outside in the beautiful sunshine. However, in the winter, it’s less inviting to leave the house when snow and ice make the streets impossible to navigate. So, people are more likely to feel lonely and want to have a cuddle buddy to “Netflix and chill” with them to pass the time.

Social pressures of the holiday season add to the fire. Thanksgiving is the prime time for family members to question one’s relationship status — somebody has to continue the family bloodline. People have to kiss someone when the ball drops for the new year. God forbid someone be single for Valentine’s Day! Holidays can be a happy time of reunion and celebration, but also an unfortunate reminder of social expectations.

What About Places That Don’t Have Snow?

If cuffing season is weather-dependent, then surely warm, sunny climates are exempt from it. Unfortunately, the connotation of winter and the pressures of the holidays affect everyone. Summer is a more carefree time, especially for students, but fall and winter is “grind time, prime time.”

And, though there may not be snow and ice, temperatures can still drop to the 40s and 50s in the warmer states, which is not an ideal outdoor temperature. On top of the added stress of the new school year, this sweater weather is also more ideal for a cuddle buddy.

What Should I Be Doing to Prepare for Cuffing Season?

Nothing, if that’s what you want. Though there may be a biological reason for cuffing season, it doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship. But, if you do want to couple up, the fall season is the perfect time to do so. Put yourself out there and meet some new people.

Strike up a conversation with that person you thought was cute. Take some risks — what is there to lose? If anything, cuffing season serves as a good reminder: People should get out of their comfort zones to experience exciting change and growth that does not happen within them.

While it’s totally possible for people to find a long-term relationship during cuffing season, people should be wary of being used as a “cuff” if they don’t want to be. It’s really nice to have someone to snuggle with in the colder months and be a token to ward off the family pressures of finding a future spouse.

However, if you don’t want to be used in this way, or want to have a more meaningful relationship, be careful of people’s motivations, especially as they may not even realize how the pressures of cuffing season may be getting to them. Be honest with your partner about what you want from the relationship, whether that be more dates besides cuddling and watching TV or not wanting to meet their family quite yet. Cuffing season is an opportunity to reflect on what you want.

I Have Nobody, Should I Feel Bad?

Absolutely not! Romantic relationships are given an unfair amount of significance. Why does society care more about significant others as a determination of how someone’s doing? Why aren’t amazing friends or cool hobbies talked about as much? Marriage is a hegemonic institution and part of the reason for social pressures to find “the one.” However, you are not any less of a person just because you don’t have a partner.

With the nature of social media, it’s easy to compare yourself to other people. If you find yourself with some major FOMO (fear of missing out) when you scroll through your feed full of couples posts, a break from social media may be a good idea. Social media is a bubble of peoples’ most perfectly crafted moments; the grandeur takes away from the beauty of the small moments in peoples’ everyday lives that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

If you do feel bad about not having somebody, that is a valid feeling as well. Take some time to take care of yourself. Remember that you are the most important thing in your world and nobody can take that away from you. Immerse yourself in the things that matter to you. Do things you enjoy for the heck of it. Binge-watch “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for the umpteenth time. Buy yourself those shoes that you’ve had your eyes on. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner. You are a star that only deserves the best.

So, Why Does Cuffing Season Matter?

Well, it matters as much or as little as you make it. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known that cuffing season existed until I randomly stumbled upon it in a headline of an article. But it’s helpful to have this knowledge so I can choose how I want to respond to the pressures and implications of cuffing season.

I know it’s another factor that makes the colder months a potentially tumultuous time, so I can intentionally invest more time in self-care, spending time with friends and family. I may see more peers around me coupling up with each other, but I can attribute some of it to cuffing season instead of feeling anxious and left out. Most importantly, instead of investing the effort into cuffing somebody, I can just add another blanket if I’m feeling cold. Feel free to join me in adding blankets this cuffing season.

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