Why is fall the designated cuffing season and what does it mean?

Written By Chandni Shah, Opinions Editor

When the weather in Pittsburgh begins to turn cold and the nights start getting longer, there’s a whisper that starts to travel around college campuses and social media outlets. That whisper starts turning into a confronting scream around the end of October, yelling in our faces, “it’s cuffing season.”

Over the past few years, the term “cuffing season” has been used as legitimate reasoning to start looking for a short-term relationship to get you through the holidays from Halloween up until Valentine’s Day. But why do we seek these relationships during this time of year?

For some, cuffing season starts with the time of year we all love the most, when we get to dress up as our favorite characters and pretend we are someone else for a day, or for most college kids, a whole weekend. Finding someone to share this supernatural and magnificent experience with starts to become something at the top of our priority lists. Couples costumes and Halloween parties that we don’t want to attend unaccompanied pressure some of us to sign up for online dating websites and find a temporary partner.

This temporary partner not only has to function as the Jim to our Pams or the Sally to our Jacks, but also as a date to Thanksgiving dinner. We don’t want to be alone for the holidays or want our families to think we’re lonely, so we keep in close touch with our couples costume partner. Maybe even going on a few more dates with them until Turkey Day.

Now this is the defining point in the midst of cuffing season. Do we drop our newfound romance before Christmas and other winter holidays to brave the coldest months alone, or carry on and scramble to find suitable gifts and go ice skating? If you choose the latter, the relationship is getting pretty serious and cuffing season turns into cuffed season.

The prospect of having someone to cuddle up with during the harsh snow of a downtown winter is exciting. No more freezing nights watching Netflix by yourself; instead, you have someone to make your hot chocolate for you. This is the main goal of getting cuffed, as the seasonal depression starts to hit, you won’t have to go through it alone.

Now, I’m not entirely for or against the goals of cuffing season, but it’s starting to sound like a pretty intriguing idea.

Unfortunately, this relationship-oriented goal all seems to end right before or after Valentine’s Day. The person you cuffed could end up being someone you can see yourself with for a while longer, they just aren’t the one, or you’re not ready to get into a serious relationship. Any of these outcomes are completely acceptable, that’s the fun of the season. Getting to put yourself out there and see what happens whether it works out or not.

But there’s more to cuffing season than meets the eye. The main goal doesn’t necessarily have to be that you either get a partner or not, you can also use this time to meet new people, make exciting friendships or deepen the connections you already have. If cuffing season in the traditional sense isn’t what you’re searching for, don’t worry.

Getting into and out of relationships just to endure the holidays is the wrong way to look at this idea. Rather, view it as something to look forward to in the midst of this dreary semester. Find someone who wants to match Halloween costumes and watch horror movies with you, get a new group of people together and have Friendsgiving if you don’t have plans to go home during fall break, you might just happen to find your soulmate along the way, platonic or romantic.

My last words on cuffing season are to be careful, use online dating apps and websites with caution. Go on group dates with people you find online or take the time to test out a relationship with someone you already know.

Have fun and don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out for you, hot girl/boy summer will be right around the corner.