It’s been on everyone’s minds and lips since November 1st: cuffing season. Yes, the time when people feel the panic of not surviving winter alone so acutely that they start swiping extra hard on Tinder and actually meeting up with people in real life until they find someone they can temporarily tie down as a partner for all things cuddling, snuggling, and snow-frolicking-related. Plus sex. That was obvious, right?
So yes, people talk about cuffing season all the time, half-jokingly it seems. The most intriguing part about cuffing season is the expiration date: the term essentially implies that all romantic connections will be severed upon the return of warm weather. It’s kind of this unspoken social contract that we all have where we’re in agreement that things are just different in the winter time. There must be some reason why we seek out more steady partners in the colder months, however. Of course, seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing and can lead us to seek extra outside help in feeling normal during the darker, colder months. But it turns out that there’s more to it than that.
One brave writer for VICE did some research to find out whether or not cuffing season is a legitimate phenomenon or just a symptom of a meme culture that loves to laugh about being “forever alone.” What he found is that, according to Michelle Couto, a Toronto-based psychotherapist, cuffing season is a legitimate term borne of legitimate, biological impulses in the winter. She states that people tend to get much lonelier at this time of year, leading them to seek more serious relationships. This writer also emphasizes how, during the summer, going outside—let’s say, to meet new people or to, like, buy groceries—is much less of a burden because there’s little risk of freezing your nipples off; whereas, when it’s cold, who really has the time to leave their apartment? Ever?
Options are limited, depression is rearing its ugly head, and the warmth of another human body next to you is the only thing keeping you alive this winter. What a romantic story to tell the grandkids that you’ll never have because you’ll be broken up by April.
Written by Emma Glassman-Hughes