Coupling up in Cuffing Season
Georgia Shepherd explores the relationship trend of coupling up in the colder months
The evenings are closing in, you’ve got your thick woolly sweater on and you’re curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. Its winter right? Hold fire – it’s also cuffing season, aka, when everyone gets coupled up in the colder months.
The Urban Dictionary (the highly reputable source) defines “cuffing season” as “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.” As someone who has been caught up in this so-called cuffing season, that certainly touched a nerve or two.
But is cuffing season actually a thing? If you have recently coupled up or are in the process of doing so, you probably wouldn’t want to admit it is. However having recently visited Exeter from my year abroad, I would strongly disagree. I could’ve sworn that the moment I got out of St David’s station all I noticed was couples. They were swarming Exeter, literally for love nor money I couldn’t escape the things. And for someone who is happily single, this was somewhat irritating.
It makes perfect sense to get together in November when you are at uni together, opposed to in July in the middle of ‘Hot Girl Summer’, where you’re likely to be a fair few miles apart
The swarm became even more apparent when catching up with friends; suddenly all everyone was talking about was their new ‘tings’. Even my friend who had barely bat an eyelid at the male species in the two years I’d known her, was suddenly expressing a desire for wholesome evenings in with testosterone-driven company. And when people weren’t rambling on about their pending other halves, they were justifying why they want to be single – since when did this need any form of justification? I guess these are the symptoms of cuffing season alongside a stressful third year. Which leads me on to my observation that cuffing season is more prominent the older you get. In fresher’s I literally didn’t know a soul who was in a relationship, let alone interested. In third year, it’s a whole different ball game. I can only imagine it gets worse for 4th years and Masters students (makes mental note to self).
But why couple up at this time of year? Something wrong with summer? I would argue that the weather is a huge factor. ‘Netflix and Chill’ is a lot more attractive in November than it is in July when we are all guilty of wanting some company under the covers. And in the midst of a heatwave, snuggling up to a sweaty armpit doesn’t really tickle anyone’s fancy.
Another contributing factor just has to be Christmas. As the overly joyful Christmas music now blurts into our ears at the beginning of November, we do start to think about how our year has gone and how happy we really are. And for many people, someone to kiss under the mistletoe is just want they want for Christmas, even if they don’t admit to themselves. But also to finally have answers to Uncle John’s interrogation into your love life. And of course for that all-important New Year’s kiss. It’s worth noting that social media massively adds into this societal construction that we need a partner to be happy and that being single somehow isn’t as good. Everyone in a relationship always posts a couply Christmas upload, and they are more than entitled to do so, but this does feed into the narrative.
However I don’t think that getting together during cuffing season de-legitimises a relationship. It makes perfect sense to get together in November when you are at uni together, opposed to in July in the middle of ‘Hot Girl Summer’, where you’re likely to be a fair few miles apart. And this is what makes uni relationships completely different to ‘normal’ non-uni relationships. As you have months where you are living in each other’s pockets, no proper commitments, just a few lectures to attend here and there and maybe at a push a part-time job to juggle too. You have oodles of time and your other half is round the corner, Christmas and Easter breaks are just a few weeks; these don’t really test your relationship. Fast forward to reality where you are working full time and have solid commitments, something uni relationships simply don’t often face (I’m on placement and it’s a very different world out here).
That’s not to say you won’t find your soul mate at uni, it’s more that your chances of success at uni are higher given the circumstances
All in all, uni relationships often work as they face minimal barriers whereas non-uni relationships aren’t quite that straightforward. That’s not to say you won’t find your soul mate at uni, it’s more that your chances of success at uni are higher given the circumstances. They can be great nonetheless, and if you meet someone who makes you really happy then roll with it. Just be weary of the plague that is cuffing season.