From Urban Dictionary:

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.

Last winter I said to myself: I'm not doing this again. I'm not doing another tour in this nightmarish frozen hellscape that is New York City. I promised myself, I promised my family, my friends. Time passed, the sun came back out, plants started to work again, and soon summer was on its way. I knew though, I knew that winter -- much like a Dementor -- was just around the corner again, waiting to suck all of my happiest memories out of me. So despite being otherwise happily cuffed, I packed my bags and moved to LA before autumn even arrived with its pumpkin-flavored sweaters.

That was the end of July. Now I'm back on the East Coast full of regrets about LA, which turned out to also be a nightmarish hellscape -- one where time didn't exist and everyone was alone. So here I am, back in New York, with cuffing season suddenly in full-swing. I'm helpless, swiping through Tinder and asking friends if they know anyone single and sad enough to date me. Then I took a breath, considered my wallet, gathered my thoughts, and wrote this. Let me be clear, this guide is more for me than it is for you, but feel free to read along.


This might sound obvious, but the best thing you can do to get cuffed yourself is to simply leave your bedroom. Say yes to things you're invited to and bring lots of Xanax. Stave off your crippling anxiety and hit "Send" on that group text invite even though you know at least one person will be pissed that you've roped them into another unending slew of notifications. There are humans in the world other than you and your friends and the only way to meet them is to enter places in which they exist. Plus, people feel more comfortable talking to each other at specific events that require specific interests, like a poetry reading or an art opening. You won't be as strange to each other if you have this thing in common, so the more specific the better.


I've never sat down and counted the amount of people I reject per minute on Tinder but it builds up inside me. Evaluating people so superficially and briefly and moving on so immediately, it just feels bad. Often I'll get a match with someone and think to myself: "What was I thinking?" -- and when I do get a match that I like I never know whether to start off with something clever, based off their bio maybe, or something "chill" like "hi sup w u" or something polite like "hey, how's it going." Honestly typing that last sentence is going to be hard to shake off, which is not to say that Tinder isn't a useful tool for our purposes, but we might have better ones at our disposal.


Twitter is a great tool for meeting people because it bypasses the indulgent "About me" essays on OkCupid or the distilled "I love sarcasm and adventures" version on Tinder. Instead it's just pure, unadulterated, Colombian content -- and the kind of content people post without the desperate context of a dating site. It's just them and what they're like day-to-day, so there's comfort in knowing instantly whether you have similar senses of humor or interests or whatever. There's also safety in seeing that they're real people who have real friends. Plus there's a means to communicate, either through @'ing them (brave) or DMing them privately.


Here's a lifehack: If you tell people how you feel, you will find that you are not alone. The desire to cuff up for the incessantly sunless apocalypse we are doomed to suffer is universal. Everyone finds that a part of themselves dies every winter they withstand, and none of us wants to die alone. You'll hear single people often say "I wish I could just skip to reading in bed with someone, without going through all the hassle of getting to know each other." Well, here I am I guess, the genie you didn't exactly ask for, to grant your wish.

A GOOD CUFF, A TRUE CUFF agreed upon. Ideally it's someone that you're already kind of friends with and would, mutually, enjoy getting to know better. It's someone that you already feel kind of comfortable around but the stakes as they stand now are pretty low. Neither of you have invested yourselves in each other, and as a result you can hit them up with a little bit of irony and just be honest and respectful and ready to laugh at yourself and the situation. My point is: talk to your potential cuffmate about your intentions to make it temporary well before it's too late, and you can both take full advantage of the contract's rewards. After all, the beauty of cuffing season is in its ephemerality: like winter, it can be both sublime and miserable, but always impermanent–And that's what makes it beneficial for both of you.


Despite what your mother may have told you, there's no such thing. The perfect cuffmate is an oxymoron, because the "perfect" cuffmate is actually the love of your (current, cold) life. Perfection is not what we look for in cuffing season, and if you do you will find yourself alone while your roommates snuggle up with their findings on the couch you paid for.


Cuffing season is just a few months long, so you shouldn't attempt to agree with your cuffmate on everything. What you watch on Netflix, who gets what side of the bed, which Indian restaurant on Seamless has the best Saag Paneer–it doesn't matter. Instead, focus on the warmth of their embrace as the wind howls harshly by your window. Focus on their beauty as a living, breathing person, rather than their living, breathing morning breath. The things that would normally bother you in a relationship–let them bother you less. Like all things, and more than most, cuffing season goes away.


It always comes back, and as we get older it returns faster and faster. So prepare yourselves. Winter is coming.

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