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The Lazy Millennial Guide to Cuffing Season

Thursday, January 12, 2017 8:27
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Cuffing Season is in full swing. In case you missed the first wave that hit about three months ago, you are just in time for the second: the post-holidays, pre-Valentine’s Day wave. When the sunlight doesn’t shine very long, it’s cold and windy and dead outside (or just dead, if you’re in the South), and you no longer have the holiday glow shimmering on the horizon. Instead it’s just you, the dark, your job, and the weight you just gained over the holidays. #NoRagrets

In case you missed the first wave of Cuffing Season, you are just in time for the post-holidays, pre-Valentine’s Day wave.The idea of having another person to spend your dark evenings with probably sounds pretty good right about now. You’re vaguely mad at the couples you see outside leaning into the wind together as you harumph and eat cake like I am right now. You know they’re going home to do what you’re about to do – eat carbs and watch Netflix – but it’s different for them because they’ll have body heat from each other and you’ll have body heat from a pillow you heated with your own body heat. Not the same, even if the pillow is technically comfier and doesn’t argue about what to watch. Somehow, even if you’re usually the “strong, independent, liberated person who don’t need no one” type, the idea of being “cuffed” in a real relationship sounds really attractive. For a couple months, anyway.

And so we have Cuffing Season, the socially acceptable name for the wintertime mating season. (Humans are animals who need body heat, too.) The only problem is how to do it. Thankfully, you are not alone, and things have been invented and adopted to make your search easier:


This is the easiest way. Swipe left if you don’t like the person’s face, swipe right if you do, and if they swipe right on you too, you’re able to message each other. Done. The ease and speed of it all is great for instant gratification. However, lots of people feel that Tinder is kind of icky if used for anything other than platonically meeting people in a new city, which means that, generally, only a certain type of person goes on Tinder.

So if you’re looking for something that will last longer than 24 hours – platonic or not – this probably isn’t your best bet.


This one is kind of the upgrade of Tinder. It has the same matching principle, but the woman has to be the one to message first, and if she doesn’t do it within 24 hours of matching, the connection disappears. One of the complaints men have about Tinder is that women don’t respond, or they don’t respond well. One of the complaints women have about Tinder is that men are gross on it (just search the web for “Tinder fails” and you’ll be assaulted by the dredges of desperately single manchildren). Bumble avoids both of those problems.

However, if the girl is swiping on her commute and then gets caught up in work or something, and 24 hours go by before she remembers to message her match, the possibility for ~love~ is gone forever, crashed on the jagged rocks of inattention. And men might not like not having to wait for up to 24 hours for a message, possibly just to be forgotten. But it’s better than its predecessor.

Instagram Messages

Your city may even have an official Cuffing Season party.A friend of mine recently started getting messages on Instagram from an old acquaintance. He started with the usual opener of “How’s life going?” after she posted a random photo. This continued for about half a dozen messages until he got bored with her intentionally vague, non-answer answers. Maybe he would’ve had more luck with someone not married.

The perks of Instagram are that it’s a social media platform, which means you can creep on the person without even leaving the app, and you have a higher chance of actually knowing the person on the other end (and unlike Tinder, it isn’t weird if you know the other person). The downsides are that an Instagram message basically tells you the person has just gone through a few dozen pictures of you and decided they liked your filters, and you may really just be getting a bot, which is anticlimactic.


No joke, a few weeks ago I was perusing my local events and there was one called “Atlanta’s Cuffing Season,” and judging by the RSVPs and comments, half the city was going. It seemed loud and tiring so I did not go and cannot vouch for it either way, but it’s a thing. Let me know if it’s worth it.

If you search “cuffing season” on Facebook you get a few groups, but the biggest one I saw only had 32 people in it. Lots of them only had members in the single digits. Three had one member. I hope things outside of their Facebook group are improving for those people.

There are also groups for single people based on interest and location and, it being Facebook, you can research members without even leaving the site.


Of course, there is always the classic movie-on-your-couch approach if you are pro-snuggling and anti-talking. This does involve inviting a person you actually know to spend actual time with you, but if you know them and they’re still willing to be in your life, you automatically have a higher chance of success than with a total stranger.

And with this option, you get the benefits of eating carbs and watching Netflix with both the comfort of a pillow you have warmed yourself and with another person. As long as you don’t take forever to choose a movie.


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