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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It’s that time of year when the couples abound and so do the accompanying eye rolls from me watching them. Yes kids, it’s cuffing season again. For those of you new to the term “cuffing season,” let me shed some light on this desperate, I mean magical, time of year. Although there are some differing opinions on when cuffing season starts and ends officially, the general idea has been mutually agreed upon. Cuffing season occurs in the fall/winter and its primary purpose is to find someone to be in a relationship with during the holidays and cold months. Like many of the “seasons” occurring around this time (deer season, etc.) cuffing season can be classified as a hunting season as well. These people are not here to mess around, they are looking for that special someone (at least until warmer weather sets in). Cuffing season typically starts in August or September and ends around Valentine’s Day, although you could shorten or extend it as needed. According to my research and personal observation, the general schedule for cuffing season is scouting, drafting, tryouts, preseason, cuffing season, playoffs, and the championship game.

Cuffing season begins in August or September with a big round of scouting. This is the time when everyone has to sort through all their prospects from their #hotgirlsummer or quickly jump on the bandwagon and find some prospects before moving into the next stage of cuffing season: drafting.

Drafting is the time for everyone to put the pedal to the metal and get serious about their pool of candidates before they “put a ring on it” so to speak. The candidate pool narrows as people get more serious about a specific prospect and start thinking more seriously about a relationship with that person.

Once a specific person has been drafted, the tryouts begin. Before committing to this person, you have to get to know each other on a deeper level and make sure your values align. At this stage, there should be an obvious level of mutual interest, but there are still some things to accomplish before committing. 

The next stage is the preseason. This typically happens in November as the chaos from scouting and drafting settles and the weather gets colder. This is the weird gray area between casual dating and a relationship. You still need to date this person a little more before officially committing to them, but it definitely goes beyond a casual affair.

If the relationship becomes official and makes it past the gray area of the preseason, you’ll have officially entered cuffing season. This usually happens in December as people nail down their date to Christmas dinner at grandma’s and their New Year’s Eve kiss. 

However, don’t get too excited just yet. Just because your relationship has made it into cuffing season territory doesn’t mean you’re safe. There’s still the playoffs to go. During the playoffs, the honeymoon phase begins to wear off, the holidays end, and it’s back to reality. You have to test the waters and see if your relationship can withstand the wear and tear of everyday life. 

Once you’ve made it through the playoffs, you have one more milestone in the cuffing season marathon: the championship game aka Valentine’s Day. Now, this is not to say that if you make it to Valentine’s Day you’re guaranteed to be together forever, but it is a nice landmark occasion for a relationship. It provides a nice conclusion to cuffing season and becomes a nice gateway into the land of spring flings and summer lovin’ (Grease, anybody?). 

Whether you follow the schedule of cuffing season (either intentionally or unintentionally) or couldn’t care less about its rules, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is different and we all have our own way of doing things, so don’t feel pressure to follow an arbitrary schedule. I hope you all find happiness this cuffing season in whatever way suits you.

Fourth-year marketing student at James Madison University and aspiring Disney princess that's obsessed with the Bachelor franchise, my cats, and iced vanilla lattes.
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