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The Daily Illini

Remember the keys to ‘cuffing’ season

Leah Pearlman, Columnist

So you just met someone and hit it off super well. Before long, one date has become 10, you’re shacking at their place every night and it hasn’t even been two weeks.

Now this person is first in line to all the other people you have been seeing, or sexting or whatever it is you do with the people you sort of like.

Time with them has usurped time spent at the bars, and time spent right-swiping on Tinder. Your friends say they like the person. You are happy.

But while it may be summertime in your heart, the weather outside is cold and cruel.

Just as bears hibernate, humans too feel the need to stay inside and cuddle up during the freezing winter months. Single people may plan for the winter season by finding a boyfriend or girlfriend with whom to generate body heat while spending time indoors. This, my loyal readers, is cuffing season.

And I say: Slow it down you Drake-lyric-memorizing, sweater weather loving, hot cocoa drinkin’ folk.

While this concept is alluring — being with someone for the movie marathons in your pajamas and the cute holiday gifts — settling down just because the Polar Vortex cuts off social interactions for extended periods of time in the northern hemisphere seems pretty drastic.

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, told Dallas News that men’s testosterone is up in November and early December. Plus, as it gets darker in the winter, the body produces more melatonin, making us sleepy and groggy — “More like a homebody,” she said.

The idea of having one partner goes along with this atmosphere because colder weather makes people less enthusiastic about going out and socializing at bars or parties. Students seem especially ready to relax indoors when the alternative is waiting in line to be carded in the snow. However, it seems to me that real feelings are being overlooked in this equation.

Don’t get me wrong; it is easier to find someone leading up to these months. I personally found myself a Netflix-and-Chill partner (that turned into something much more) last October, because what isn’t sexier than eating caramel apples together, right?

Don’t let your friends convince you that the only reason you are into a person is for the benefits that the cuffing season brings you. Sometimes, like I did, you can find the person for you during this season and that is a completely separate situation.

However, the idea of actually cuffing someone sounds terribly animalistic to me.

You are essentially chaining yourself to another person through the season, for comfort, both physically and mentally. But is it possible that this is in any way unhealthy for either partner?

Aliana Galloza, sophomore in FAA, was also concerned about the legitimacy of cuffing season relationships: “Is the relationship real though? Like if the person is just in a relationship because they are lonely, at the end of the day they’re still going to feel lonely because it’s not real.”

It’s as if the temporary solution for cold weather is a temporary relationship, something not very different from the way some students choose to partake in casual hook-ups throughout the rest of the school year.

The hook-up culture basically transforms on college campuses in the Midwest winter season, but as long as students remain aware that they are in less serious relationships than they may be letting on, everything will end up okay. Or at least as “okay” as college hook-ups usually go.

As the first snows of the season fall from the sky, don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in another person before asking yourself if you’ve just caught the true feels or just the urge to “cuff.”

Leah is a sophomore in Media.

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