Photographed by Savana Ogburn.
You’re probably familiar with cuffing season. (You know, the time of year when you want to begin a relationship because it’s cold outside and you want someone to snuggle?) But there’s more than one dating season in the year. And currently, we’re in fielding season. What is fielding season, you ask? To put it simply, it’s the opposite of cuffing season.
According to Urban Dictionary — the expert on these things — fielding season officially begins in late May and ends sometime in September. During this time, “people like to keep it cool and play the field.” Meanwhile, cuffing season is widely considered to begin in October, coinciding with cooler temperatures, holiday parties you’d like to bring a 1 to, and family gatherings where your aunt will definitely ask when you’re finally going to settle down.
So, is fielding season a real thing? Data does show that people are more likely to go on dates in the summer. “People definitely start dating and socializing more once the sun comes out, but that doesn’t actually mean they’re playing the field for hookups instead of relationships,” Michael Kaye, Global Communications Manager at OkCupid, tells Refinery29. “We actually saw a 3% increase in relationship mentions on OkCupid profiles over the last month, and a 14% increase since the beginning of summer.”
Although we doubt people are looking at their calendars and thinking, “Well, the first day of fall is coming up, better lock down a significant other for the next few months,” different studies do suggest the existence of seasonal dating trends. Psychology Today suggests a few potential explanations for cuffing season: societal pressure to be in a relationship increases around the winter holidays, we crave human contact and body heat (think: cuddling) more when it’s cold outside, and we feel lonelier and more isolated when the days are shorter.
It’s fine if the colder weather has you wishing for a S.O., but don’t lower your standards just because the temperature has dropped below 60. “The feelings of loneliness and sadness that get brought up for a lot of people around this time of year can make you search for things that make you feel good in the moment,” Rachel Sussman, LCSW, a New York-based relationship therapist, previously told Refinery29. “But that’s never the right path forward.”
If you happen to fall for someone in the fall, though, go ahead and embrace cuffing season. (Just tell them if you already know you won’t want to see them past March.)