There are a lot of unusual combinations in the days and weeks that follow Labor Day weekend. It remains humid outside and the sun’s still shining bright. It’s still, like, 80 degrees out, but I’m supposed to be drinking Octoberfest seasonals. It’s still iced coffee season, but PSLs hover above us like a homing beacon. There’s regular season baseball on the same night an NFL regular season game is on. We’re in a transition period, somewhere between polo shirts and Patagonia vests, beaches and pumpkin patches.
And, well, it’s cuffing season.
If you’re semi-new to adulthood, here’s a quick definition of “cuffing season” – basically going from a promiscuous lifestyle you lived in the summer, taking one of your summer hookups, and becoming boyfriend/girlfriend with them once Labor Day has come and gone.
It’s pervasive among our peers. We’re all guilty of it. I’m sure countless marriages have sprung from the, “Well, fuck it, we might as well just start dating.” This laissez-faire mentality has become ubiquitous among the cuffers in cuffing season. And you know what? I want us to put an end to it. I want us to put cuffing season in a body bag. I’m not going to say dating is wrong. Far from it. I’ve been looking for a girlfriend who can tolerate me since I was five years old. I’m saying what motivates cuffing season is not reason enough to rush into relationships.
And here’s my message: don’t jump to cuff.
The switch from summer to fall could not be more obscure. There seems to be no social construct allowing for a smoother transition from wearing pastels to earth tones. I need something that flows, well, better. Similarly, the transition from “this is a guy I’m just hanging out with” to “this is my boyfriend, we’re going to a B&B in Vermont next week” should be smoother, and not ignited just because of seasonal change. Just because the leaves are changing does not mean it’s time to lock down that summer hookup.
Hear me out.
Ladies, in your brain – whether it’s conscious or not – this is what you think you’re getting from your dude during cuffing season. You’re looking for a tall J.Crew model with a finance degree who will let you cuddle up next to him while a fall breeze cascades through your bedroom. A Yankee Candle – perhaps “Harvest” or “Crisp Fall Night” – tickles your nose. You want to walk arm and arm over scattered leaves colored in vibrant cherry reds and burnt oranges while he wears a Barbour coat or a Vineyard Vines vest, and you’ll have borrowed one of his quarter-zips or college crew neck sweatshirts.
You’ll be wearing Wayfarers, knee-high brown boots, Joe’s Jeans, and a plaid shirt that you’ve had picked out for days in anticipation of your trip with him to the orchard. You’ll take about 80 photos with him just searching for the perfect Insta-worthy shot showing him off to all your friends, the fall scenery in the background perfectly filtered. Captioned: “fall with my babe” *apple emoji* *orange leaves emoji* *heart eyes emoji.* Hundreds of likes pouring in. Maybe even thousands.
You want him to invite you to a football Sunday Funday at the bar; he’ll be looking so good he could single-handedly end the California drought. You want him to let you coordinate Halloween costumes, preferably with another couple you’ve been consistently brunching with, #Monstars #Tunesquad. You want to spend a night in trying to make your own spaghetti squash with him, again, putting your creation on Instagram, hashtag #fallcooking.
This all sounds pretty great. And it’s what we all want. But are you really prepared for how this might turn out? Have you watched sports with him yet? Let’s imagine you’re out on a Saturday, State has a huge game against their biggest rival, and you guys head to the bar. Have you even seen how your dude eats Buffalo wings yet? What if he doesn’t wipe off his hands and face between wings? What if – God forbid – he orders boneless?! Does your new fall boyfriend have nacho etiquette? If the nachos are stuck together, sure, that’s one nacho…but does he crush all the guac himself? What if he asks for no jalapenos like a heathen? Oh and you know that weekend in Vermont you were planning? He just gambled that money away on a series of booze-fueled impulsive bets watching college football.
And what about when the weather gets even colder? You liked how he looked during the summer but I hope you can deal with “bulking” season. Carb-free summer turns into carb-only winter. Have you ransacked his closet yet? He might have a sub-par sweater game. Does he ski? Fuck, he doesn’t? What the hell are we going to do in February when we decide to go back to that Vermont B & B? I need you to ask yourself, will it be okay when he doesn’t want to watch any of the movies on Free Form’s “25 Nights of Christmas”?
I’m sure he’s a great guy that won’t leave you prior to the Valentine’s Day and then call you up sometime around April. You’ll start hooking up with him again, and he’ll ghost you around June when all the sundresses come out to play. I can’t guarantee this won’t happen, though. And neither can you until you really get a feel for who he is. So don’t jump to cuff. Just because it’s fall, don’t pressure yourself into locking up that hookup.
Don’t stop looking for a fall boyfriend, just make sure you really know what you’re getting because you never really know someone in the summertime. True colors come out when the weather goes to shit. And if you’re reading this right now looking for someone to drink UFO Pumpkins on draft with while we watch the Patriots…sup?.