Tis the Season to be Cuffed
As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to drop, seemingly so do our standards when it comes to dating. Although the winter sun is usually hidden behind clusters of thick grey clouds, it’s not uncommon for singles to put on their rose-colored glasses anyways and wind up in relationships with people
whom they would’ve never even considered before.
This phenomenon is the fault of none other than cuffing season, introduced by Urban Dictionary as the period of time during fall and winter when people start feeling the need to find someone they can stay in, cuddle, and spend the cold nights with. A Netflix and chill buddy, if you will. Although the term itself is a derivative of “handcuffing,” it doesn’t actually suggest that you chain someone, unless of course, that’s what you’re into, in which case, you do you.
The idea behind cuffing season is simply that no one wants to be alone during the wintertime. As a native of sunny Southern California, however, where it was pretty much summer year-round and the temperature rarely ever fell below 60 degrees, the idea of winter was basically foreign to me and I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of this so-called “cuffing season”. But after moving to Boston and experiencing the dramatic shift in weather for myself, I now know that despite what I had previously thought, cuffing season is very much a real occurrence.
According to Match.com’s chief scientific advisor, Dr. Helen Fisher, there is actual science behind all of this. She says that “With the shortening days of autumn, melatonin elevates in the brain — making people more sluggish and eager to lounge at home, preferably with a sweetheart. Then, testosterone rises in November triggering even more desire to snuggle with a lover, and by then, 'cuffing season' is in full bloom.”
Here’s the catch though: relationships that start during this lesser known fifth season of the year are typically expected to end just as quickly as they began, usually around the time when the temperature starts warming up again. Junior Visual Media Arts major Taylor Zavala’s first relationship was no exception. “I met the guy in late September and we started dating in October. I wasn't necessarily looking to be cuffed, but I suppose at the time he was cuff-worthy,” Zavala says. “He actually introduced cuffing season to me and said that we were right on time for it. I’ll admit, the beginning of being cuffed was rather nice and I enjoyed the cuddles and companionship.” Unfortunately, as predicted by the trend, the couple called it quits after a few months.
Despite the ephemeralness that comes with relationships ignited during this period, there are still many who continue swiping right and navigating their way through endless dates in search of someone to cuff. Although I used to low-key judge those who felt the need to have a significant other by their side during these colder months, I can totally relate now, but my situation is a little different.
While this phenomenon is most commonly felt by and associated with single individuals, those in relationships can feel the effects of cuffing season as well. Personally, with bae living thousands of miles and two time-zones away, I can attest that the struggle for snuggles is twice as real not only because I don’t have a cuddle-buddy here with me, but also because I can’t go looking for one (nor do I want to). Thus, I’m left to brave through freezing temperatures alone, and it’s horrible. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very much still an independent woman who don’t need no man, but cuffing season sure has me wishing that I had mine here with me even more than I usually do. Being in a long-distance relationship is difficult enough, and those of us in one can confirm that the drop in temperature doesn't make it any easier.
Senior journalism major Ana Beatriz Goncalves is currently doing a program in Washington, D.C while her boyfriend of two years is in Boston. Though they will be reunited come January, they are apart for most of the winter months. “I especially miss being with him when it’s cold because he has a high body temperature and is like my personal space heater,” Goncalves says.
Freshman Visual Media Arts major Gabriel Shapera, who is also doing long-distance says, “When it’s cold and I get into sweatpants and a sweatshirt and snuggle under my blankets, I always wish my girlfriend could be here to cuddle with me. Though long distance has been difficult at times, it’s still very worth it.”
Ultimately, cuffing season affects everyone, whether they want to admit it or not: The weather outside is frightful, and it’s in our biological nature to want to feel warmth through love. Over the years, the phenomenon and those who participate in it seem to have garnered somewhat of a bad reputation, but honestly, there’s no shame in giving into it. So, regardless of if a beau is all you want for Christmas, or if the cold never bothered you anyway, brace yourself, because winter is coming and so is cuffing season.
hotography by: Jessica Munroe