Now that Halloween is dead and gone, it’s time for the second scariest holiday of the year: cuffing season.
Cuffing season, according to UrbanDictionary.com, is a period of time during which “people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous” desire to be “cuffed” i.e. commit to a more serious relationship.
It’s a phenomenon that’s been around for a while but has come to mainstream attention in the last few years, when people on the internet collectively likened the seasonal desire for romance with “getting cuffed” or tied down in a committed relationship.
Whether it’s the festive spirit, or the daunting prospect of spending the long winter nights alone, something about the period from the beginning of November to the end of December sparks off an intrinsic desire to couple up like never before.
I should know- I fell for it.
Take it from someone who has learned the hard way- whatever is calling you to tie yourself down this holiday season: don’t listen to it. Cuffing season is not your friend, it is a temporary enemy.
Cast your mind back, gentle reader, to 2016. I was 19 years old, and about three months deep into my first identity crisis, when I met the man at the centre of my cuffing experience. Let’s call him George.
George and I shared a mutual friend and met at a musical theatre-themed birthday, where we were both dressed as characters from RENT [Red Flag #1- Two theatre fans are, famously, a terrible mix.]
It was the middle of November and the festive season was just beginning. I was starting to succumb to the stress of exam season, and most importantly, I was lonely. It was that particular part of winter when you go to college in the dark and come home in the dark, and this, combined with my penchant for chick lit novels, instilled in me a quiet desire for a romantic relationship.
Normally I had no time for them whatsoever. I had, and still have, a chronic desire to keep my life in order and being tied to another person seemed antithetical to this. But loneliness and cold, dark nights are a powerful persuader, more so than any of us really give them credit for.
George seemed a perfectly good fit. He was nice, he dressed well, we had a lot of similar interests, but most of all, he was conveniently accessible. George had his own motives in pursuing me too, but I can hardly say mine were pure and innocent.
George began to ask me out on dates, and every time I agreed. They were perfectly fine dates, to see Christmas lights and go ice skating and back to his house to watch movies in his kitchen. It was lovely in its own way, and the feeling of experiencing a season based around joy and togetherness with another person who likes you is a wonderful feeling, not to mention it gives you the excuse to attend every holiday-related attraction out there.
But the problem with basing your relationship on seasonal urges is that when spring comes and brings better weather and longer days, your need for that person, and therefore your feelings for them, come into question.
Without the cover of winter and the joviality of Christmas, George and I began to realise that the only real connection tying us together, was our shared desire not to spend the holidays alone. It turned out we had just as many differences as we had things in common. Where I had used George to fulfil some sort of Hallmark movie fantasy, George as it turned out, had recently broken up with a long-term girlfriend and was terrified of spending his first cold winter alone since the breakup. They got back together by the end of February.
Of course, I’m not advocating a blanket ban on getting into relationships in winter, nor I am saying that absolutely everyone that wants to settle down in the “cuffing” season is only doing so because of temporary winter loneliness.
But take it from someone who succumbed to the “cuffing” spell and ended up watching 10 hours of the Fast and Furious movies: it isn’t worth it. Get a hot water bottle instead.