Written By: Layla Profeta
The temperatures drop and the days get shorter. People begin to walk arm-in- arm through the Hanukkah shopping isles, go to the beach on a cool night and draw romantic hearts in the sand, and watch holiday movies while blankly looking each other in the eyes and laughing. The game of romantic musical chairs begins and “cuffing season” is here.
It is that time of year again, the period between autumn and winter when it is sort of awkward if you are the odd friend out and not in a relationship. Although it may seem like cuffing season has always been a meme or thought of as something people have just been taught to believe, what most people are not fully aware of is that “cuffing season” is scientifically proven. Scientists have long documented seasonal fluctuations in partner-seeking behavior.
According to a New York Times 2015 study, researchers looked at changes in Google search trends related to sex and relationships over a five-year period. They found distinct and predictable seasonal fluctuations. First, there was a reliable increase in searches related to online dating in the winter months. Facebook data also supports the finding that people are more likely to change to a coupled relationship status in the winter.
Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that the drop of temperature means an increase in monogamy among the younger population where they rush into relationships to keep themselves warm in these frosty months. This science dates back to prehistoric eras when primates used to seek comfort and warmth during the drastic winters. During the months of November through March humans have evolved to seek relationships during these months.
Hormonally, the changes in light and temperature spike our melatonin, prompting our homebody alter ego to rear its snuggly head. Psychologically, we are more likely to find others attractive in the winter because, while the masses are sequestered in their houses instead of visibly running around outside, the supply of romantic options appears lower.
Evolutionarily, partnering up optimizes our chances of survival during a season with less access to resources. Add social pressures to couple up to the mix, like New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, and the masses proffer their wrists, begging to be cuffed.