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Thirst Trap

Cuffing Season

The what, the why, and the how

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Thirst Trap

Editor’s Note: Thirst Trap is a weekly column on dating and relationships in college.

As the leaves slowly turn from green to orange, we switch our Starbucks orders from s’mores frappuccinos to pumpkin spice lattes, and we say our goodbyes to a successful “hot girl summer,” we enter a new season with a whole host of new expectations: cuffing season. 

Cuffing season refers to the time of year in which singles are more motivated than ever to seek a committed, romantic relationship. Cuffing season (un)officially begins in October, when we crave a companion for pumpkin carving, hay rides, and of course, cringey Instagram pictures in matching flannels.

The fact that students are back in the university bubble and surrounded by singles their age definitely plays a role in the reason for the season. However, there also appears to be a little more science involved.

According to MTV — and let’s face it, MTV is the leader in evolutionary research (please see Keeping up with the Kardashians) — our ancestors who were lucky enough to secure a mate for the colder months had a higher chance of survival and therefore reproduction. The desire to cuddle up and binge Grey's Anatomy during the winter is in our DNA, and we should not fight it. 

But cuffing season is due to more than just nature. There is also a nurture component to this phenomenon. During the holiday season, there is an increased social pressure to be part of a pair. So much of the holiday season revolves around relationships. People are meeting their significant other’s parents for the first time over Thanksgiving dinner. They’re smooching under the mistletoe. They’re ice skating, gloved-hand-in-gloved-hand. It can be a little lonely when you don’t have anyone to sing “All I Want for Christmas is You” about or to share a New Year’s kiss with. So, at the first sight of Halloween candy in grocery stores, we begin to search for someone so we aren’t so lonely by the time the candy canes roll out. 

So, how do you get yourself cuffed? I could tell you to try Bumble, or join a club, or hit Greek row more often, but honestly, that does not always yield a wealth of dating prospects. I’m living proof. The best advice I can give you is to sit your booty down and think: why do I want to be “cuffed”? 

Is it because you are back in an environment with a large dating pool? If so, just because you have this opportunity does not mean you are required to take it. 

Is it because of your biology? Because I can almost guarantee the heat of your laptop on your lone lap will keep you warm enough during your Netflix sessions to reproduce later.

Is it because of social pressure? Getting in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship is never a good idea. Like, ever. Besides, you can have just as much holiday fun with a friend. Gift exchanges with a group of close friends is way more fun than with a person you only have because it was better than being alone. I would much rather watch holiday Hallmark movies with my girls than with a romantic partner. 

That being said, there is nothing wrong with getting into a relationship during cuffing season. It is in our nature to want a relationship during the colder months, but please do not give in to the hype or pressure we place on having a boo for the holidays. Get into a relationship for the right reasons — because you’re interested in someone and because you’re ready. 

Reach columnist Hannah Krieg at Twitter: @Hannah_krieg

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