Nicole Mailhoit / Gavel Media

Cuffing Season

As the cold moves in, couples are turning the heat up.

Get ready to pull out those handcuffs you used for your sexy police officer Halloween costume, cause guess what time of year it is? CUFFING SEASON.

Not familiar with the term? Cuffing season is the time of year occupying the cooler months where people are highly motivated to get into relationships, and couple up with a certain someone. Cuffing season is known to start in October and typically ends in March.

You may have noticed that recently there has been an exponential increase in public displays of affection. Honestly, it is a nice change of pace from the typical hookup culture on campus.

So, why is cuffing season a thing? Well, to start with, it’s really freaking cold out. People are far less motivated to leave their rooms, especially because it now gets dark at 4 in the afternoon. Naturally, we are inclined to want warmth, so we seek it in other bodies. Cuffing season is a real thing. 100% of the 14 college aged students I asked about their stance on the phenomenon agreed that winter pushes people into relationships. Next, people want to be cuffed because it gives them a reason to mask their loneliness. With less and less sunlight, there are far fewer activities on campus that people want to attend. Making it to an 8 o’clock club meeting means getting out of bed and walking to main campus, whereas making it to the next dorm over from yours to ‘hang’ seems way too easy.

Cuffing season can be used to appease your family as well. College students near and far dread the question “are you seeing anyone?” at any family function. Conveniently placed well into the cuffing season are Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Even New Year’s has a guaranteed kiss. Once cuffed, students no longer have to deflect and dodge family interrogations about a partner; instead, they’ll be able to say that they’re seeing someone. "Yes, grandma, I really do have a girlfriend. No, she’s not fake."

Cuffing season is also a good distraction from the real world. Being in a relationship consumes a decent amount of your time and when that time is focused on another person, you do not worry as much about the greater things going on around you. This could be a good or a bad thing. It's a good thing when you are able to look away from the news for more than two minutes to allow yourself to stop crying over the state of this planet. But it's bad news if you decide not to study as much for your Chemistry exam as you should have. The balance is hard to find.

Here’s the thing about cuffing season. Though it may seem like a good idea, cuffing season sucks. We are lonely, we are bored, we are seeking something temporary. Relationships are not easy and they should not be made out of convenience. Some people actually are able to find a good partner out of cuffing season, if they are able to last past March. Let’s call them the lucky ones.

As for the unlucky ones…we are wasting our money and we are wasting our time. If you want something to keep you warm, buy a nice jacket, or a blanket. Instead of tying down someone, spend more time with your friends. If you spend the winter taking care of yourself instead of sharing it with someone else, you will benefit far more, and possibly save yourself from heartbreak.

Another real consequence of cuffing season is that usually one person catches feelings and the other doesn’t. This is the worst. It is natural to have feelings for someone that you are spending a lot of time with (maybe too much time behind closed doors). Catching feelings is easy. Breaking up is hard. Though it is different from the typical BC culture, cuffing season is still not healthy or sustainable. It is basically hooking up consistently out of convenience. Relationships cannot be faked, or forced. They must happen naturally.

From my tragic love life of the past, I have been ‘cuffed.’ I met his mother on Thanksgiving, we exchanged Christmas gifts, and right before Valentine's Day, when I was sure this guy was really into me—SLAP—wrong. People get scared when feelings are involved; they do not want relationships that are serious, rather than friends that enjoy each other for months at a time. I was dumped 2 days before Valentine’s Day my freshman year because I wanted to have a boyfriend for the winter. My grades suffered, I drank too much cheap wine, and I really was not all that warm.

In my opinion, from my personal experience, it is best to wait for someone that you really want to be around, when it is warm and sunny. You want to be in a relationship with someone that respects, understands, and wants to know you on a deeper level. Surface relationships are pointless and insignificant, and you don’t often really learn much about yourself or other people. Instead, you just end up spending a few hundred dollars more than you would have on food, and have someone to cuddle with. Do not fall for the cuffing trap.

Wicked loyal Boston local with a penchant for big dogs and Klondike Bars. I once heard someone call a raccoon a trash panda, and I've never identified with anything more.