Well, folks, it seems the most wonderful time of the year is upon us – no, not the days of Christmas parties, buying half-assed secret Santa gifts and frantically preparing for everyone's favorite holiday celebration, Toyotathon (or Honda-days, if that's how you roll) but rather cuffing season –a.k.a the time of year when you gotta work hard to avoid being left out in the cold -- well, at least in terms of dating and/or getting it. 

Now, I'm sure you have questions about this wild concept and I, your resident zoomer/zillennial/baby millennial – however you choose to see us folks born in 1996 – have answers. From when exactly, is cuffing season to what the term "cuffing" even means, here's everything you need to know about cuffing season – and how you can make the most of yours. 

What is “cuffing”?

Despite its misleading moniker, cuffing actually has nothing to do with handcuffs – well, unless you're into that, we don't judge. While the name does subtly reference handcuffs, the term is akin to its predecessors -- a la the ‘ol ball and chain and hooking up -- in implying that you’re connected or linked with someone. First appearing in college newspapers circa 2011, the term has roots in the African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) term of “cuffed” which essentially means to be dating someone. 

And as for how this term can be used? Well, to quote one Urban Dictionary entry dating back to 2005 … 

"Guy: Hey ma, you cuffed?
Girl: Yea, i got my boo."

What is cuffing season?

While being single any time of year definitely has its ups and downs, flying solo is definitely a bit trickier during the winter months rather than in the summer – after all, who doesn't love cuddles on snowy evenings? Considering the struggles of being a bachelor when its below freezing, cuffing season is a time where you can find someone – or, well, cuff someone – you like to keep you company for those chilly days. Typically spanning from October to February – with Valentine's Day as the loved-and-or-despised finale – it's a time of year where people are really trying to get together, an urge prompted by both the weather and social obligation. 

“Cuffing season is when people start to want to be tied down in a serious relationship,” Dara Bushman, a licensed clinical psychologist, explained to Cosmopolitan of the reason for the season. “The cold weather and lack of outdoors and sunshine causes singles to become lonely and desperate.” Ouch. 

However, cuffing season looks different for everyone. While according to Hello Giggles, the start of the season generally coincides with Dunkin' and Starbucks introducing"pumpkin spice and also some coffee," to their rotating menus, others hit the ground running, looking for that special someone long before the temps drop below 75 degrees. “Summer is when you’re looking for that winter beau,” an unnamed Vogue fashion editor said of her approach. “I like to get a head start. That and the fact that I have to travel for the month of September during Fashion Week season.”

Is cuffing season a real thing?

Yes. According to data from dating app Hinge, people are significantly less likely to want a relationship during the spring and summer – 11% for men and 5% for women, to be specific. The numbers don't lie, folks! Cuffing season is definitely real. 

Why do people get together more during cuffing season?

Aside from the ever-present cuddles factor and for the convenience of not having to scramble to find a date for Thanksgiving dinner to help assuage your parents that you won't die alone and securing that ever-important New Year's kiss, it seems the need for body heat isn't the only reason people tend to want to cozy up to a hottie during this time of year – biochemistry also plays a role in our urge to partake in cuffing season. 

“People tend to feel more lonely during these months and have higher levels of testosterone, driving people to cuff up," Bushman explained. “In the winter, days are shorter and colder—with less outside activity. Feelings of isolation and boredom start to set in.” And what better way to combat the icy chill of winter boredom by, well, getting nice and steamy?

How can I watch out for cuffing season?

Aside from paying more attention to the cuties sliding into your DMs this time of year, there are several other ways to see cuffing season in action. From keeping in mind the types of movies you've been binging … 

… to realizing all your friends are happily taken …

… suddenly craving traditional holiday fare … 

… and wondering why you have a tickle in your throat …

… there are several ways to tell its that time of year. TikToks also count on this front …

.. as well as, erm ..

… feeling a bit frisky … 

… feeling that big sad …

.. and feeling that autumn chill around your ankles …

… yet the most sure-fire way to tell its cuffing season is to turn to Norm Kelly's twitter. 

Good luck and happy cuffing, friends!

Top Image: Shutterstock

For more internet nonsense, follow Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ on TikTok as @HuntressThompson_, and on Twitter @TennesAnyone.

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