Dear Dr. G,
COVID is ruining my sex life! My annual pattern of hooking up with four different people a week so I can find a hook-up buddy to cuddle for the winter is a bust! How can I find a friend with benefits this semester?
–Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado
Yes, I’m certain you are not the only one facing the frustration of swiping to the end of your Tinder options or remiss over the lack of condoms on House Team members’ doors. The phenomenon you are referencing is a side effect of “cuffing season.”
For the young cubs on campus, cuffing season is the trial-and-error period we all go through over the course of the fall semester, in which you start from a robust pool of possible options and narrow them down by important qualities to find a partner, hook-up buddy or “Winter Cling” (the opposite of a Summer Fling). Traditionally, we may narrow them down by prowess in the sack, mutual interests, if they play devil’s advocate when you talk about your women’s studies reading or if they’re in an a capella group (this can either be a strong positive or negative—certainly a polarizing issue on campus). This process typically starts when you come back from summer break and everyone has fresh beach pics and interesting personal lives to talk about. You should generally pick your final two to three choices by Halloweekend so you have a few messy hook-ups lined up, and finalize your decision on Thanksgiving while you’re home with your family and sort of tipsy—it is here that you text them something sort of raunchy or a few tasteful holiday nudes. The advantages to a successful cuffing season are numerous: you may get a long term partner or a study buddy for your orgo final. Better yet, you might find someone who lives in a single with a projector.
This year, however, the process is disrupted (“Queered”, as your Queer Studies correlate friend may tell you) by the current global situation. But, lucky for you, I am here to give you the rundown of the revised and unspoken schedule of cuffing season. First: I hate to inform you, but we are already far behind. Experts recommend, and hope, that you have had a distanced Deece meal with each possible draft pick by the end of the Add Period. (To catch up on your deadline, we encourage you to reach out to the Registrar and ask them to sneak you into your crush’s Zoom class.) This year, your finalists should be selected and notified by the end of the Drop Period. If you are stressing about your Math-126 final but have also not selected your final draft options for cuffing season, experts recommend that you seriously reevaluate your priorities. This may be counterintuitive, but considering this semester ends even before Thanksgiving, your final pick should be selected and submitted to your friend group no later than Halloweekend for final approval.
This revised schedule may vary slightly for each individual. For example, we suggest that Vassar lesbians make their first formal statement of interest to a potential partner no sooner than spring 2022, and only after sleeping together in the same bed for at least three months and watching the entirety of “The L Word” together. For any further questions or concerns about the cuffing season timeline, please contact the friend in your group with the strongest main character energy.