Fall and winter may be the seasons of apple-picking, thanks-giving and gift-exchanging, but beneath this shiny surface lurks a much less pleasant phenomenon: crippling loneliness for singles everywhere. Former commitment-phobes leave behind the warmer months to become doting partners, wifed-up after Friday nights of frantically swiping right. The now happily cuffed couples revel in each other’s body heat and mutual need for validation, leaving the single stragglers cold and slightly envious.
Cuffing season is upon us, and though legend says much of the holiday romance fades when spring comes back around, the yearly cycle still pervades. But, does it exist at NYU?
Irene Ahn, a sophomore in Stern, argues that there is in fact a fall-and-winter weather effect; though she rebukes the concept of breaking up as soon as the season ends.
“It’s that time of the year when everything gets sentimental and you start missing having someone next to you,” she said. “So rather than being reluctant, you somewhat search for people around you to see if there are any nice people.”
CAS senior Ellie Yoon agreed. “I think it’d be nice to be with a person in the winter so I’m not cold,” she said, “in like a survival of the warmest kind of tactic.”
But contrary to Ahn, she believes that — though exacerbated in winter time — cuffing season at NYU isn’t just limited to the frosty winter months. She thinks that the university’s culture fosters outside pressure for students to cuff at any and all times.
“Generally, people are lonely, and it’s good to have a counterpart in your life,” she said. “I think that when you first enter college, you don’t really need to have another person — you have your friends. But then you get to a point where all your friends have significant others, and then there’s kind of a bigger pressure to be with another person and find another person, and you kind of feel lacking as an individual if you don’t.”
Stern first-year Ryan Moon may fall into the category of first-years who remain indifferent to the constant coupling, as he said the annual ritual just isn’t for him.
“It’s too much work,” he said. “That’s it.”
Katie Fitzgerald, an LS first-year, and James Bready, a CAS first-year, matched on Tinder soon after they started NYU. Though neither was looking for anything serious, they found themselves dating about a month later — right on time for cuffing season. For them, though, the timing was simply a coincidence.
“I’m not into hooking up or a friends-with-benefits situation, and when I date, I’m always in it for the long term,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s probably why I didn’t realize it was cuffing season. Because I’m never looking for a temporary thing. I’m always looking for someone I can potentially spend my life with.”
Bready also doesn’t see it as a temporary relationship. He’s hoping to outlast the season. “I wasn’t necessarily looking for a relationship,” he explained, “but the right girl came along so I knew I couldn’t let her slip away.”
Clearly, not everyone does, but if students do feel those cold-weather pangs of loneliness, they can rest assured that they are not alone. And if you are participating, Yoon has some advice to share.
“At the end of the day, it’s [going to] be really upsetting if you’re letting someone into your bed that may hurt you, if it’s just a way to patch your loneliness,” she said. “Don’t just settle for anyone, because then you’ll be really unhappy, like, five months later when you realize you’ve wasted your time with a sh-tty person.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 15 print edition. Email Carol Lee at [email protected]