Winter is coming, folks, and if you’re feeling like it’s time to lock down a mate for the cold and lonely months, you aren’t alone. In fact, this biological urge has its own season. According to urban dictionary, “During the fall and winter months, people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world, desiring to be ‘cuffed’ or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity cause singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”
I’d never heard of cuffing season until this year but I’ve certainly fallen victim to it. In fact, the origins of my marriage and every other serious relationship I’ve been tricked into can be traced back to a few weeks in September or October. When spring fever hits, I’m usually wondering how I ended up in what suddenly feels like prison. This is such a repetitive pattern my therapist now recommends I don’t trust my monogamous feelings until I make it through May and more importantly, July, the month I am in peak heat. (I pass this recommendation on to you—you’re welcome.) But because cuffing season officially starts the first week of November, I’ve come up with some handy tips for you to bait that significant other into a lifetime of Netflix and chill.
UPDATE YOUR DATING APP PROFILES
Set the tone by leading with a picture of you in a wool sweater or a football jersey. Add some pictures of you in ugly sweaters with your family, at a tailgate with your friends and by a cozy fireside bar drinking something out of a snifter. If you want to spend the winter snuggling, watching movies, having great sex and not feeling desperately lonely on Valentine’s Day, just call it out in your bio. “Looking to get cuffed for the winter. Offer is good though Valentine’s Day and expires April 1st.” Honesty is the best policy and there must be at least one person out there searching for the same thing. Actually, I know for a fact there is: me.
UPDATE YOUR PLAYLISTS
Both your Netflix and Spotify playlists need to be prepped for hibernation. Line up some scary Halloween movies, particularly some old classics like Halloween, Nosferatu (one of the greatest horror films ever made), The Shining, Young Frankenstein, IT, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Switch up from the heavier EDM, metal and hip hop sounds of the summer to something softer. Maybe try some new music like classical or bluegrass. Classical is great music for getting cozy and kinky. Download Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas or the soundtrack to Elf and have it playing in the background when your girl comes over. Get a wireless bluetooth speaker or even better yet, get that record player you’ve wanted and invest in some holiday vinyl.
GO TO THE GYM
The holidays are coming along and you’ll only get fatter. Even if you don’t shed 20 pounds and get a six-pack, getting that testosterone going is imperative to attracting a mate for cuffing season. Join a boxing gym. Chicks love boxing. Run a 5K; there are a million of them this time of year and you might meet the woman of your winter dreams running for a good cause.
INVEST IN SOME NEW WARDROBE PIECES
According to an Elite Singles study, “Four in 10 women like a man who shows up to a date in a nice jacket,” so get your self a nice pea coat. If you’re going to splurge on anything, invest in leather, a cashmere sweater and real denim. These three simple items go a long way in making you look sharp and sophisticated. If price is an issue, a lot of department stores have outlets selling items from previous seasons at a significantly cheaper price. Neutral colors are timeless: black, grey, brown and cream. If you’re worried about putting together an outfit, look at the mannequins in the store or what the celebrities are wearing. Get your nice shoes buffed and shined. And wear socks, please.
STEP UP YOUR SEASONAL MEALS & DINING
It’s impressive if you can get a table at that hot new restaurant that just opened up, but if not, find a cozy place with a fireplace or pit. Subscribe to a meal delivery service like Blue Apron or Plated; not only will they provide the ingredients and a recipe, but cooking together makes for a fun date night.
If box subscriptions are not your thing, Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table offer culinary classes on a weekly basis. Or excite her taste buds with minimal effort by investing in a crock pot. (Set it and forget it.) Winter root vegetables go great with a beef stew; pair it with one of Playboy’s favorite fall cocktails—or red wine.
LEARN ABOUT RED WINE
Red wine is elegant and classic; educate yourself on the basics. Playboy’s sommelier Patrick Cappiello has an entire backlog of videos I recommend you watch. You should at least know some wines to buy between $15 and $100. La Crema pinot noir is a great $20 wine you can find almost anywhere and Duckhorn merlot is a great $80 wine to impress. Want to try something new? Make a day-date out of a local winery tour. Or join one of many monthly wine subscription services to expand your palate.
UPDATE THE INTIMATE EXPERIENCE ARSENAL
Update your massage oils, bubble baths and candle inventory. (If you’re going to get playful with the wax, learn from my mistake and use the right kind of candle.) For the love of all that is kinky, don’t buy pumpkin spice lube. Go to your local sex shop and see what they have on display or what classes are available. I wrote a whole piece about buying your girlfriend a vibrator. Keep it simple. At the end of the night, nothing is sexier than a passionate make out session in front of a roaring fireplace or bonfire.
INVEST IN COZY NESTING
I love curling up on the couch (or bed) with a big, comfy blanket. For the wallet-friendly, velvet plush or sherpa will do, but if you really want to cozy up, invest in a faux fur blankets from Pottery Barn or Barefoot Dreams (they make bathrobes, too). Flannel sheets are always a good buy and I personally like the ones at Target. It’s okay to buy the pumpkin spice scented candle, but personally I love a more masculine tobacco-vanilla candle. Paddywax makes a great scent, as does Woodwick.
Everyone wants to embrace their #basic Instagram self in the winter, so lean in, baby. Do some pumpkin seed roasting. Check out the local apple orchard. Jump in a pile of leaves. Go ice-skating. Hit up the county fair and a foliage tour. Absorb culture at a symphony, opera, play or museum—all great dates that take place indoors. The Nutcracker ballet is timeless and I would marry a man who suggests we go. If she’s sporty, bring her to a college football game. Do some tailgating. “Netflix and sizzle” at home with roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and homemade s’mores.
HOST A HOLIDAY PARTY TOGETHER
This might sound crazy if you’re newly dating, but the Elite Singles study found that “four percent of people would choose hosting a Thanksgiving meal together as one of their top-three date ideas.” Thanksgiving is a great holiday to spend with friends and strays who have nowhere to go. It’s also a great relationship test, like a road trip. If you can make it through preparing a holiday meal together, you can probably make it until the snow starts to thaw.