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‘Tis the most wonderful time of year: Cuffing season

Anthony Gilét ponders whether those needy winter months really can lead to true love.

By Will Stroude

We’re sold Christmas on the premise that it’s the “most wonderful time of year”, but as joyous as it is to have twelve different family members ask us why we’re still single, perhaps the real gift of the festive season is that roughly 70% of single people* are more likely to seek a relationship.

Cuffing Season – used to describe those cold winter months between October and March – refers to otherwise happy single people and their sudden desire to settle down; ah yes, sluts of summer are no longer deluded that – as the memes we like and share every day, state – ‘hoe is life’.

This is partly due to the societal pressure we feel to be coupled over the holidays: nobody to show-off to our cynical parents, the romanticism of fairy lights and snow, and of course, the lack of spooning on cold nights. Yes, a boner in the back is far more comforting in the winter.

To be honest, I’d never felt ‘pressured’ to be with someone over the holidays… Not more so than the rest of the year. If anything, the idea of ‘cuffing season’ only adds to the pressure. But maybe that’s because S.A.D had been my winter bae since I could remember.

It is interesting though that our neediness may only ever rear its head when – effectively – we’re just cold. Eskimos must be triple-texting and moving in together at lesbian-speed. Imagine spending the rest of your life with somebody you don’t really like because your continent doesn’t have central heating.

So instead of retreating into my yearly hibernation of early bedtimes and cancelling plans, perhaps I had to get out and pull more than a Christmas cracker if I didn’t want to be doing it alone.

While I wasn’t aroused by the idea of meeting a mate based on the weather conditions, much less trawling the gay bars to the nub to find a temporary one, I assumed the chances of meeting a permanent one would be ultimately higher too. Surely people who are needy all-year-round would be extra so in cuffing season?

I contemplated the idea, as I cancelled all my plans. And then forgot about it entirely when I realised how many episodes of I’m A Celebrity… I had to catch up on. Stepping outside at this point, truly felt like a Bushtucker Trial.

Perhaps I’d made the schoolboy error in not cuffing my man at the start of the season, leaving only the unprepared daters I’d ultimately lose to Netflix, and the hoe, hoe, hoes.

I’d had precisely one experience of cuffing before, and he didn’t even wait until the New Year to uncuff. I think it was a nice idea in theory, until he realised that the bars and clubs were filled with men that wanted to empty their sacks. He went on to do whatever it is guys do after they ghost you, and I spent about a month dwelling on it.

The idea of cuffing pits summer as a season of flings, and winter as one for settling down; and maybe men are more serious about cuddling up in cuffing season, but if cuffers flee their relationships before the seasons change – isn’t that just a fling dressed up in a bit of tinsel?

Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for cuffing after all. Having a different kind of Christmas stuffing and someone to snuggle up with may sound like a gift, but the thought of an inevitable break-up felt like the emotional equivalent of a lump of coal.  

What one gets out of cuffing season is often reflective of their dating life in general: Those who have had numerous relationships, are partial to friends with benefits, and run back to their ex ‘cause of a little chill, are more likely to cuff a temporary winter boyfriend.

While those of us who get attached easily and seek something more permanent would rather cuddle up to hot water bottle than a man who wasn’t right. (Sure, it can’t fuck you, but it can’t fuck you over either).

Although – when 38% of men agreed they were more likely to look for love in winter – it would be stupid of us not to put on an ugly Christmas jumper and capitalise off of their good intentions.

After all, a man is for life, not just for Christmas.

Anthony Gilét is a London-based writer, blogger and YouTuber – follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

To read more from the Single & Fabulous? series click here.