Dear Cuffing Season, We Meet Again

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Once the temperature outside falls, your daily diet evolves from an iced coffee to pumpkin spice everything, and you find yourself wishing that the sweater you’re wearing wasn’t yours, it’s clear that cuffing season has made its grand entrance once again.

For those unfamiliar with the term or have the blessing to relax on a beach rather than trek through snow, “cuffing season” became a trendy vocab word just a few years back, (alongside others such as “ghosting”, which ironically has no connotation with Halloween’s return as well). It references the tendency among single people to (at times uncharacteristically) seek a relationship during the fall and winter months rather than summer or spring, and gives us the the chance to actively practice the concept of “Netflix and Chill,” as couples often find themselves indoors cuddling rather than outside on a romantic picnic in the park. It also serves as a constant reminder of your relationship status, as if you didn’t already have enough from the pressures that media imposes on single women on their requirements for a happy, healthy life.

However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t single people out there who wish to remain so in the midst of a blizzard, or look forward to binge-watching the newest season of Stranger Things alone in their dorm. In fact, cuffing season on a college campus shouldn’t be a concern to those who are already enthusiastic of the common hookup culture found across campuses. Yes, it’s understandable that since there seems to be an increase in relationships surrounding you in the cold weather, you may feel lonelier (and colder) than usual. But there’s a surprisingly large amount of prospective hookups left over for anyone who is looking, and if you aren’t trying to partake in a “booty call” from the person in your morning lecture that you matched with on Tinder, there’s no reason to worry either.

I admit that I don’t particularly welcome the season with warm arms (no pun intended), but I don’t find myself scrambling to cuddle with someone before it’s fashionably acceptable to wear white denim again. I’m very lucky to not have the pressure of invasive questions surrounding my love life from my family to return to for the holidays. Perhaps they’ve gotten used to me alone every year, where my hands are holding a piece of pie rather than another person’s hand under the table, or my father would threaten to murder anyone who walked through my front door. It may seem that love is truly in the air and leaves with the iciness in it, but the truth this, the overall concept of “love,” even a casual fling, not only means a commitment to another person, but one to yourself as well.

So, let’s say you’ve come prepared to fight this annual apocalypse, where everyone’s in a relationship and it feels like you’re the only one left out. You’ve savored the last bow and arrow in a 50 mile radius, found a target, aim, and then completely miss, because you realize there’s another person left unaffected by the romance epidemic and has finally come out of hiding. You are aware that they are your best weapon against the zombie lovers breaking down your doors, and after being coerced to join them, you realize that the only way to survive the season is tackling it together. But it doesn’t feel right… how come? Surely the writers of your love story knew you were a perfect match. How else would it end without you walking down the aisle as the snow melts and birds begin singing?

Sadly, relationships are not like romantic comedies. The thought of having someone to go on an ice skating date with may urge you to accept an offer, but that shouldn’t be the only motivation to introduce a new beau in your life. Confronting a crush is always a good idea regardless of the time of year, but if the holidays cause you to feel more confident in yourself, then that’s great as well. But once given the opportunity to share a kiss under the mistletoe with someone who has doubtful intentions and unguaranteed stability, you will always find yourself asking an age old question that even our ancestors asked before entering their own romantic adventures; to cuff or not to cuff?

No matter how much it may seem as, no timing is perfect. The end of the year also signifies the end of a term, and as most colleges are wrapping up midterms, the preparation for finals will kick in even faster. You may feel like this is your knight in shining armor, and they definitely could be, but if you’re questioning the spark between the two of you, you are allowed to take things slow or cut them off completely. You can remain cautious and curious at the same time, or stay solely one or the other. Distractions will remain distractions until you find something or someone who truly makes you happy. Then they won’t feel like distractions anymore, but rather beneficial (but never vital) to your happiness.

We constantly tell each other that one of the most important priorities is to love yourself. However, we can all also agree that it’s certainly harder to put this truth into practice. We often feel the pressure to market ourselves as the ideal woman, with a healthy relationship and a balanced life, but the ideal woman is subjective and varies from person to person, and isn’t only obtainable depending on the season.

So before surrendering and being cuffed, cuffing another, or refusing to do anything differently in your life, you must remember to ask yourself: is love really in the air?