What Is It About Cuffing Season Anyway?

What Is It About Cuffing Season Anyway?

by Margeaux Sippell

Ladies and gentlemen, don your hats and scarves, slip on your warmest booties and prepare to sip hot chocolate whilst ice skating with someone special.

As the great poet John Mayer once said, “Here comes the cold, break out your winter clothes and find a love to call your own.”

It’s cuffing season.

This colloquial phrase is tossed around by millennials in reference to coupling up in the interim between Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Urban Dictionary defines Cuffing Season as follows:

“During the fall and winter months, people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves, along with the rest of the world, desiring to be “cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

Further research on the origin of the word “cuff” lead me in different directions -- as a noun, Dictionary.com calls it, “a fold or band serving as a trimming or finish for the bottom of a sleeve,” or as a verb, “to put handcuffs on.” The latter seems to be the closest match.

The science behind this phenomenon involves a lot of moving parts but is logical at its core. From the outset, the idea is simple: one listens to Dean Martin’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” explains it best.

But what is it about the cold weather that triggers this instinctual urge to find a romantic partner? The most obvious answer would point to our evolution as a species. Millennia ago, before Tinder and modern society as we know it, our ancestors needed body heat from another human to survive in caves while outside threatened freezing temperatures. An article from Medical Daily questions, “Is ‘Cuffing Season’ Really Just Human Mating Season?” If this were the case, how does it have such a strong hold on us Millennials, a generation often accused of having lost touch with our ancestral ties?

It seems some things are just born in us, ingrained in our DNA. Perhaps the psychology of cuffing season stems from the fear of attending holiday parties alone or the dread of questioning family members at Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the smell of mistletoe that bewitches us. Or maybe there’s just something about warm fireplaces and cuddling up with someone we love (or can at least tolerate until Springtime).

Not everyone is affected by this phenomenon, nor is it something that should be expected of us in any way. Still, it’s a bonafide phenomenon that can’t be ignored. Though our winter love story may not last forever, it’s good to have someone to snuggle up with until the snow melts.

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