The impending threat of snow in Charlotte may mean that winter is here, but it also signifies the start of “cuffing season.”
No, it has nothing to do with clothing.
As you probably already know, cuffing season is the period of time between December and February in which people, in an effort to not be alone, settle into a casual relationship with another person to watch Netflix, lay in bed, cuddle, hook-up, etc.
The theory is that as winter hits, people are desperate for companionship but don’t have the will to actively date and leave the comfort of their warm beds. Thus, more people are more likely to desire a steady partner with no real strings attached.
There’s no question that “cuffing” exists as a social phenomenon — even The New York Times has covered it. But does it exist in Charlotte?
Well, the hard truth is that Charlotte dating culture thrives during the spring and summer.
Outdoor pool lounges, brewery yoga classes, lake rendezvous. There’s nothing like a date at a country concert at PNC or a walk through NoDa after slurping down King of Pops.
But during the winter months, the temperature gets cold and romance gets colder.
As Charlotte inevitability gets an inch or two of snow and the roads shut down for a week, the thrill of bar crawling through Montford and the will to get out of bed and dress up for a date at a brewery dwindles.
It takes a little more imagination in the winter months.
I asked a handful of Charlotteans of different ages what their first reactions to “cuffing” were and if they would partake.
These were a sample of their responses (names been kept anonymous for their privacy).
“I get why it happens and don’t see anything wrong with it. Unless maybe one person thinks it’s more than it is.”
“Holidays and the extra family time that the holidays usually entails does create loneliness for a lot of people who then may settle so that they can ‘cuff’ during cuffing season.”
“Seems like another new millennial thing that I have no idea what they’re talking about. Makes me feel even older.”
“I get it and I think it makes sense, I guess. But does anyone actually actively think like that? Who goes out looking for someone casual. I wouldn’t, or don’t. I don’t necessarily think that it being winter would make me more or less want to consistently hook up with someone.”
“This sounds like a stupid thing that young people made up. Relationships should be based on mutual interest for each other, not a temporary desire for someone to cuddle with during the winter.”
“I think it’s a cliché that happens sometimes. My boyfriend thinks it’s a real phenomenon, but I think it’s just coincidence. I think that people who consciously go after a relationship, any relationship, in cuffing season just to be cuffed probably end up settling.”
Whether you agree with the premise or not, it’s happening.
The “cuffing” phenomenon can easily be dismissed as hook-up culture gone awry. But perhaps, it’s simply a social mechanism created to provide a break from thankless blind dates, bad hook-ups, and heartbreak, in a kind of dating hibernation.