The top Urban Dictionary definition for “cuffing season” states, “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.”
I’m not “cuffed,” and I just happen to be cool with it.
I came to college single. I have also lived most of my eighteen years single. I dated people on and off throughout high school, but rarely seriously. And I came to Wellesley without any romantic connections.
Some of my new acquaintances had boyfriends, girlfriends and one “boy toy” who has since been upgraded to boyfriend status. I saw it and I wanted it too.
I casually tried Bumble and Tinder. I went on one absolutely mind-numbing date that ended with me running to a nearby boba shop as soon as I could pay for my tea. I had planned a date with someone else the next day, but cancelled with the age-old “my professor is giving a lecture and I can get extra credit” excuse.
“On a Saturday?” he asked. I answered yes and deleted my account.
For some people, cuffing season means latching onto the first single stranger that catches their eye. Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, this works. You’re a couple months into a new relationship and January feels a little warmer. Then, the snow thaws, and often you find yourself single again. Sundresses are cute for a reason.
You might spend hours scrolling mindlessly through dating apps. They’re mindless games, and they should stay that way. The thing is, there are so many better uses of your time. Actually going out, maybe to a party off-campus with friends, is a much better way to meet people, including potential romantic partners. Or, actively bonding with people you’d like to befriend. You got this. Delete Tinder.
Sometimes you really do find someone you want to be cuffed to, and that’s great. Maybe you find the “one,” a concept that feels a little outdated, but hey, it’s more fun to be optimistic, and you can make it through the thaw. There’s something really great about that. However, there’s a difference between dating someone just to have a warm body near yours when it’s convenient and dating someone because they complement who you are.
Cuffing season, a new name for an old concept, is really about not wanting to be alone. Wellesley can be isolating, but there are so many lovely people here who want to make you less lonely. Make friends with the people in your hall. Talk to the quiet girl in your class. She might be dying to have someone to complain with about the problem set too.
I spent the first few weeks of the semester — New city! New people! New me! — trying to find someone to spend time with. I ended up forgetting about the people down the hall from me who also needed friends, and instead went on crappy app-facilitated dates. Cuffing season feels inevitable when you’re single, but the real people you should be bonding with are the friends you have yet to make permanent.
My brief foray into forced romantic interactions was just that: forced and brief. Just as it should be. Give Bumble a shot if you’re looking for a time-waster, but give the people around you a shot first.