The leaves are falling, the clocks have been turned back, ski resort promotions are filling the GMail cache, and yes, your ex is texting you. As we bundle up our jackets and become chapstick fiends, the winter sweeps us from our summer ways and pins us to the couch like a WWE chock-hold. While the seasonal change is nothing new and the activities we pursue during subzero forecasts are far from accidental, the coined term for these winter trends has shifted to a novel pseudonym popularized by morning radio…welcome to Cuffing Season.
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.
When it comes to stylized relationships, Walmart holidays, and anything the youth tags as a “szn,” there’s clearly far more fiction than fact to the phenomenon. Society will tell you how you are supposed to adapt and in our hyperconnected Earth, we will subdue ourselves to the norm and in most situations, fall in line and do as we are told. Cuffing Season, however, is simply a new term for B.C. era behavioral patterns that still surface themselves in todays day and age. While showing up to the company Christmas party, eating a pint of ice cream, and watching Home Alone marathons are activities no mortal wants to partake in alone, the reasons we find ourselves cuffing stem from something far deeper.
If men are dogs well then I’m not sure what that makes women. The point is that beneath the suit and tie and perfectly groomed nails and eyelashes lies an animal. Vegans, vegetarians, the gluten adverse, and red meat eating middle Americans alike all operate under the same classification, Homo Sapien. Void of religious belief and thoughts on evolution, we have progressed from early versions of ourselves. No matter how far removed we get, at the end of the day we are as primal and animalistic as the poodles we drape in cashmere, the gorillas we shoot in zoos, and the sharks that eat their young. Like holding our breath when submerged in water and retracting our hand from a hot stove, we know to do things we were never taught, a fundamentalism we know today as instinct. With self awareness and mobility, human beings are as reactive as they are proactive, a theory that is bolstered more than ever when autumn opens the door for old man winter and the blistering cold grips our souls with such tenacity that not even global warming or a shadowless groundhog can free us from his wrath. While we try to get ahead of the curve, purchasing overcoats in July and adding the snowplow man on speed-dial, much of our winter cadence kicks in as the leaves are already on their way to the ground.
Cuffing Season is seen across the animal kingdom from the months of November to March. While most critters don’t have Netflix and Nspresso machines to combat the chill, they do rely on their instincts as much as us mouth breathing humans do. Without central heating, geese and many other of our feathered friends pick up and fly south for the winter. Deprived of Sunday Night HBO, Bears literally say fuck it, dig a hole, eat their weight in salmon, and sleep until the winter months surrender themselves to warmer days. Even your domesticated canine, yes the poodle draped in cashmere, has reacted to the drop in temperature by growing in a thicker winter pelt rather than splurging on a Canada Goose. While it’s tough to beat the hibernating bear, perhaps the animal instincts we as humans can identify most with are those of the Emperor Penguin. March of the Penguins resonated on the big screen so well because it was 2016 Mankind in a nutshell! With bellies stuffed to capacity, the penguins and their soul mates (who unlike us actually wed for life) waddle to their mating grounds and huddle together. For warmth, protection, and for assumed company, the penguins CUFFED until the sun thawed their winter thirst. Like clock work the penguins took their march, leaving on X and returning on Y, just as they have done for generations. So while New York native Fabulous may deserve the credit for coining Cuffing Season, it’s a behavioral pattern that is reflected in any living, breathing creature with BOTH a heart and a reproductive organ…
As the temperatures drop, so do our energy levels. When leaves fall so do our aspirations. When the daytime is mostly cloaked in darkness, we are mostly cloaked in bed. These behaviors, to name but a few, give credence to the fact that we are inhabitants of this planet therefore bequeathing the responsibility to adapt on the humans and not vice/versa. Sure, we have the know-how to raise cities, purify water, and hook up with mutual Facebook friends, but as citizens of the Earth, we must obey its laws. Evolution has weathered us through the last million years and if we don’t grant it the credibility it deserves, we may in fact find ourselves stag at the Christmas party. When old man winter knocks, let it in and do as it says.
Seasonal depression may be an illness devised for the profit of drug companies, yet there is a clear general malaise that sweeps us off our feet and back into bed throughout the December and January snowfalls. There’s something in the air, a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi, that humbles the animal kingdom and reminds us all of our place in the atmospheric food chain. For the only time of the year, human beings are second in command and must subdue themselves to their more primal ways. Mr. Williamson, my 9th grade Earth Science teacher, taught the class of pubescent adolescents that the meaning of life is reproduction. That quip wasn’t coming from the mouth of a sexual deviant, but instead from the lips of a scientist, who understood what made blood boil and what drove a man to work 100hr work weeks and how a woman deceived herself into believing that she actually enjoys kale. We do these things to increase our odds to reproduce and moreover, do it with a 10! So, while it seems hip hop personalities and Instagram models fancy themselves the authorities when it comes to cuffing season, they are far from the experts. The profession that can actually speak to our animalistic tendencies during the winter are the PhDs who devoted themselves to understanding the interaction between Earth and animal, heart and brain, penis and vagina…the scientist.
In synopsis, we cuff to survive. The winter is a cruel, fickle bitch that can destroy your self esteem and mental fortitude as quickly as it can equalize a field of blueberries. Ever since we accepted the heliocentric model and came to terms with the fact that the world is NOT revolving around us, winter will displace the comfort that is warmth and will continue to do so until the exhaust of the Honda Civic replaces all breathable air and hairspray becomes as omnipresent as it is on the Jersey Shore. Until those days come and the O-Zone ceases to acts as the two way filter as purposed, winter will come year in and year out. As the snow falls our dependancies raise and needs surface themselves that can’t be solved alone. The demand for warmth and intimacy aren’t prevalent in the summer, but when February comes around and you feel like John Snow north of the wall, surrender yourself to the season in which we are said to cuff! Embrace the animal within yourself by embracing the animal beside you on the subway…her name is Ashley and she just broke up with her boyfriend.