Hello fam, we did it. As I write this, it’s the end of December, so it’s probably safe to say we successfully made it through this dumpster fire of a year. We wept our way through mass shootings, threats of nuclear war, the biggest Hollywood scandal in recent history, wildfires and hurricanes, and countless other global atrocities. What we didn’t make it through, however, is “cuffing season.” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, let me give you a quick synopsis. Cuffing season is that magical time of year that occurs right when the temperatures start to drop, and the winter holidays are fast approaching. That anxious feeling when people start to hear the cold winds whispering loneliness, and then scramble to attach (cuff) themselves to someone for the winter. It’s a means of emotional survival, and we are all Katniss Everdeen.
For most people, the romantic high usually ends right around January when you snap out of it and realize there’s no way you want to commit to Valentine’s Day, or worse yet- a Spring/Summer season- with this person.
So, how exactly do I know that this is a real thing? Would I be sitting here writing this post while blasting Sia’s Elastic Heart if I hadn’t just gone through this approximately 5 minutes ago? No, friends, no I would not. Another one bites the dust.
So gather around the fire, and let me share with you my story. For you may realize that you, too, are a victim of potential cuffing, and there’s still time to flip a table and run.
The last time I wrote, I was casually dating someone and we ghosted each other. At this point, all I can do is laugh; my friends and I often joke that since he was so flaky, he probably still thinks we’re dating. I went on to have a really fun-filled and busy summer and didn’t think much about relationships. Then fall came around, and then Thanksgiving time, and the gears started to turn. The thermometer was starting to plummet here in the northeast and I decided it seemed like a good time to try and find that cute guy who works in my building (that kept giving me cute googly eyes) on the old Bumbles. Was I inadvertently cuffing too? I didn’t think so- I just didn’t want to miss an opportunity.
So I pulled the whole ‘re-download after a period of deletion’ maneuver, and started on my internet quest to track this mystery man down. I never wound up finding him. I did, however, Bumble across an entirely different guy with a funny bio, swiped right, and didn’t think much of it. I was going to delete the app again in a day anyway, so who cares? Except, we wound up matching, hitting it off immediately, and were meeting up for date No. 1 within days.
After a swift and startling connection, I have to admit I was a little suspicious. Particularly because he had mentioned that he was coming off a serious breakup (months prior), and he was just getting back into the scene. So, I looked him directly in the eye during that first date and said, “Are we just getting along so well, because it’s cuffing season?” There was a lot of confused laughter, so I had to explain what I meant, and was assured that was not the case.
Pause for the foreshadowing music. Within the week, date 1 turned into date 3, and then quickly date 4. Early on, I would have very specific conversations stating that I didn’t view myself as a rebound, and that I was nervous because he hadn’t been single for that long. I even made it a point to mention that if he had things he needed to work out that he could feel free to go on and do so, and call me in 2018. Nope- not him, let’s keep dating! We’re having fun! I like getting to know you! Ugh.
Christmas came and went, and so did dates 5 and 6. I began to notice a bit of decline in communication, but I chalked it up to the holidays and tried not to give it much thought. Ladies and gentlemen, this is called intuition, and you should ALWAYS listen to it when it comes calling.
However, I forged ahead and gave this guy the space it seemed he was passively asking for, and it gave me a good opportunity to re-evaluate things on my end. I knew that I wanted to hang out some more, and I let him know, but I didn’t push the issue. He did eventually ask to see me, so on to date 7.
CUE THE RECORD SCRATCH.
I probably don’t need to tell you at this point, but he sent me a very lengthy text message ahead of time (does society not realize that the phone was invented for calling? No? Okay, neat) stating that he was still processing from his last breakup/bad timing/going too fast/needed clarity, etc. I am sure there was an element of truth to some of it, but also, FML. I’d been cuffed and released, hard.
Clearly, I have a lot of thoughts about the entire exchange but I can’t help but notice the timing of it all. New Year’s Eve is tonight, and the only person calling me baby at the moment is my Mariah Carey playlist, and you know what? That’s cool with me.
2018 will be an opportunity to be more aware of my gut feelings, to really pay attention to red flags…..and to only date between the months of March and October.