Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
This winter, I took an impromptu trip to Chicago for a chance to see all that the Windy City had to offer. Despite the sub-zero temperatures and the outrageous cocktail prices, I really enjoyed the trip, with one of my favorite activities being ice-skating at the beautiful Maggie Daley Park. Unfortunately, my knowledge of skating is not nearly as extensive as my knowledge of relationships and I had to take a break after only 20 minutes. As I rested, I got to enjoy another of my personal hobbies––people-watching.
With the ambient lighting and endless love tunes, there was no shortage of couples there. More surprising, however, was the number of people who were seemingly on first dates.
I couldn’t understand why you would ever choose to have your first romantic rendezvous at an ice-skating rink. Best-case scenario, you and your potential new partner are both great at ice skating and you spend the evening speeding past one another in an attempt to show off your effortless moves. Worst case scenario, you spend the entire date trying not to slip on the ice and throw your back out.
One couple, in particular, was in the latter group.
He was winded, she was buckling at the knees, and they only lasted a couple of laps before they collapsed in a heap of red faces, leaky noses and giggles. And then I realized––I was watching the real-time effects of cuffing season.
If you aren’t a subscriber to the modern-day relationship memos, “cuffing season” encompasses the period of October to February where finding your way into a partnership somehow becomes just a bit easier. Maybe the dropping temperatures activate some biological need for snuggling or we just need to show off a breathing person at holiday family gatherings. Whatever the reason, these months seem to have a way of encouraging us to settle down, and settle down fast. The winter activities might leave you freezing, making the warmth from the open arms of the closest willing and available human being all the more enticing.
You might be thinking, “Well, love doesn’t just come during one season.” And you would be absolutely right. Love is one of those things that can hit you at any moment and under any circumstances. But you must admit that it’s a bit easier to be consumed by passion when everything seems warm and comforting due to the endless holiday lights and spiked ciders.
Now, with Valentine’s Day over, so ends the charm offered by cuffing season. Gone are the days of gut-wrenchingly cute couples costumes, toasty snuggles in Christmas pajamas and the forever sought-after New Year’s kiss. And, unfortunately, with Ohio’s never-ending snowstorms, we’ve probably got a few months before we’ll see the beginnings of hot girl summer.
So what is a single person supposed to do during this period of time when everyone is already in a relationship and it’s far too cold to put on a skimpy outfit for a ‘singles’ night?
Well, dear readers, today I offer you a chance for spring renewal. Cuffing season may have been the time to settle down, but spring is coming and with it, the chance for realization, reinvention and rejuvenation.
If one of your goals is still finding a partner, that’s perfectly okay! Cuffing season may be over, but your desire for love and affection doesn’t have to be. As we head into spring, I challenge you to take a different approach to the one you’ve been attempting up until this point. For most Case Western Reserve University students, this may be a struggle, considering many of you consider forlorn glances from across a crowded physics hall to be flirting. Unfortunately, sweet reader, your psychic approach didn’t work before cuffing season ended and it is probably not going to work now.
You have to actually talk to people to make connections with them. As much as we enjoy the CWRU Missed Connections Instagram page, fawning online over the blue-haired girl in Thwing or the hot waiter at the Jolly Scholar is rarely going to get you more than a shoutout.
If you share a class together, offer to do a study date. It’s casual, non-committal and even if you turn out to not like the person, you still learned something for your class. It’s a win-win! If you don’t share a class together, find mutual interests or connect through friends. Once you have a good discussion topic, a game of word association will help you get through the rest. If they bring up music, mention if you like karaoke or concerts. If they bring up a particular food, mention if you’ve never tried it. Chances are, they will give suggestions or even offer to take you. Not only does this help you learn more about them, it also gives you an excuse to go out together.
On the other hand, if you have decided that the end of cuffing season also signals the end of your search for a partner, that’s okay too! Focus instead on trying new things that you might not have considered or even going back to old things that you may have forgotten. Perhaps there’s a club you’ve been meaning to join or a friend you haven’t chatted with lately.
It might sound cheesy, but you don’t have to wait for some big signal to try doing the things you’ve been putting off––you just have to do them. Not all at once, of course. Pick something, anything, and do it. When you have completed it, try another thing, and so on. And if, by chance, you do need some big signal that you should try new things—or retry old things—here take this article as your sign from above, provided by your friendly neighborhood advice columnist.
Ta-ta for now,
Miss Bea Haven