As soon as colder weather hits, singles devolve into deranged zombies with an insatiable hunger for love. Because the internet boasts a similar hunger to label everything, this proclivity is now known as “cuffing season,” which, in our opinion, is a complete misnomer. In our world, cuffing season should involve some clamps, furry handcuffs and an endless supply of stamina. In the internet’s world, where everything is ruined, it refers to the months leading up to winter, when people begin to seek commitment with as much fervor as they seek pumpkin spice.
While this certainly makes sense (winter can be lonely, boring and, I don’t know about you, but I definitely put on a few pounds), up until now, there hasn’t been research to legitimize the fall phenomenon save from personal testimonies. But a new survey of 1,500 singles from dating site Elite Singles found 70 percent of daters are most inclined to seek serious relationships in colder months. Fall was even voted the most romantic season.
According to Dr. Helen Fisher, Match.com’s chief scientific advisor, our penchant to shack up in fall, or cuff (we’re still not buying that term) is programmed in our DNA. “With the shortening days of autumn, melatonin elevates in the brain—making people more sluggish and eager to lounge at home, preferably with a sweetheart,” she says. “Then testosterone rises in November triggering even more desire to snuggle with a lover. By then, ‘cuffing season’ is in full bloom.”
Whether you’re familiar with it or not, the fruits of this research, paired with anonymous data from 30,000 members of Elite Singles in 2016, serves as a comprehensive trend report for cuffing season. Here are some highlights.
ON DATING IN SWEATHER WEATHER
When you head out for a fall date, bundle up. Four in 10 women like a man who shows up to a date in a nice jacket. Windbreakers need not apply. A quarter of women prefer man who can pull off a chunky, cozy sweater and half as many dig a man in flannel. Hats are not so popular on first dates—chalk it up to hatfishing—so run some product through that hair before you head out. Men are a bit more merciless; 35 percent say they like a woman in a nice dress compared to 20 percent who are okay with cozy sweaters. Leggings and scarves are least attractive to men in the fall, per this report.
CRISP WALKS, FALL FESTS AND OTHER DATE IDEAS
During cuffing season, singles are easier to please. Taking a walk to witness fall foliage was the most popular fall outing, which is perfect, because it’s free. The second most popular date is watching a romantic movie with a bottle of wine. Again, easy. One-third like to attend a bonfire together, which sounds like another cheap option as well. Rounding out the top five was hosting an intimate Thanksgiving dinner and attending a hockey game together.
BUT FIRST, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
Sometimes you can’t explain why you’re suddenly craving a relationship, so Elite Singles tried to found out for us. According to a majority vote, most want a steady partner as company when it’s nasty outside. That sounds mighty temporary. Next, singles wanted somebody they could plan a sunny vacation with and escape the chilly weather, followed by “getting to try all the cute, cheesy fall date ideas,” which will almost always include a pumpkin spice latte and pictures by a haystack.
By the way, according to Match.com’s historical data, cuffing season officially begins November 5th, the Sunday after Halloween. That means you have plenty of time and information (you’re welcome) to prep.