Survival Tips for Dating During Cuffing Season

Have you begun the hunt?


Hello and welcome to Cuffing Season, the television show where you go, “Wait, is this a joke or is it just my love life?”

*Cue laughter from the live audience*

I’m your host, A Combination of Internalized Societal Expectations, Familial Pressure, Standard Human Needs and Single is Fun in the Summer, Sucks in the Winter.

Quick explainer for those viewers just joining us who’ve never heard the term Cuffing Season before: Cuffing Season is romantic rush. It commences at the first sign of Autumnal chill and closes just after the holidays, following the return of any/all exes and former flings who popped back in to say traumatizing things like “Hey stranger,” “How are you,” or “Long time, no talk.” Men and women search for mates to endure the imminent cold front, to have someone to stay indoors with, to do couple-y activities with, to evade grand-parental concerns but not necessarily to make future plans with. Couples who cuff during cuffing season may not have an outright expiration date, but there is a quiet mutual understanding that this relationship very well could be temporary. Cuffing season is a survival technique. Since it’s October, you have time.

But not a lot.

Dating, in this specific context, is a dangerous sport. You must have your wits about you! You must outsmart everyone including the person you choose to cuff. Consider The Lobster — not the David Foster Wallace essay, but the Colin Farrell movie (this won’t spoil it for you): The setting is a hotel for singles in a dystopian world where a romantic partnership is necessary to your survival and being single is a literal death sentence. Does that sound like your grandmother speaking, or?


This TV show of ours called Cuffing Season follows a rather similar rubric. We won’t kill you at the end of the episode if you’ve failed to metaphorically clasp your wrist to another person’s, but you might have no one to hang out with. (To answer the Season 2, Episode 4 title of Sex and the City, “They shoot single people, don’t they?” — Not yet!) However, solitude looms. Not the good kind where you relish in solo indulgences like laying on the bed while post-shower-damp to scroll through bad meme accounts on Instagram with your high school soundtrack playing in the background. No, this is the kind of solitude that is best represented by the lone caffeine-free Diet Coke in the back of your fridge that the Thai restaurant delivered by mistake. Talk about desperate: I’d even take a Pepsi over that pop, wouldn’t you?

As for how to actually survive — contestants, listen up. My producers told me not to do this but here’s what I’d advise:

– Update your dating profiles, and do so immediately. Every former nixer and naysayer is back on the apps, swiping with fervor. Change your pose, change your face, don’t just pose with a celebrity, be a celebrity. Google’s an excellent photo resource. Light cat-fishing is encouraged for the sake of a successful bait-and-switch.

– Throw out the limiting idea of your “type.” Say yes to absolutely everyone and everything. I once went on a date with a total boar and it was wild! (Dad joke. Practice your dad jokes, they’re great ice-breakers.)

– Push past your comfort zone and engage in activities you normally wouldn’t. Crashing high-security ticketed events you weren’t invited to is a great start.

– Experiment with a new look; reinvent yourself. If the old you didn’t work, now’s a great time to explore alternative personalities. No budget for full-body plastic surgery plus accommodating wardrobe? Affecting an accent works just the same.

– Do talk about politics and religion. Makes for vibrant conversation and speeds up the results of potential-partner Darwinism.

– Avoid the texting and social bullshit by throwing your phone away (after you’ve set up at least 100 dates a day –> quit your job, by the way).

– Avoid complicated and awkward “who pays” etiquette by suggesting a dine and dash. This will also show your adventurous side.

– No one is counting how many drinks you’ve had on a date. They are counting how many times you’ve gone to the bathroom.

– Concerned about the post-date kiss and the state of modern feminism? Here’s your chance to Lean In.

Whoops, just heard from our sponsors that I’m fired and that this is about all we have time for. Good luck, godspeed. The local bar circuit and I thank you all for playing!

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


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  • Ashley

    It’s soda not pop, this is great and, please don’t make meeee.

    • Amelia Diamond

      HA. I went to school in Western NY where everyone said “pop” and I never did until today when I gave in for the sake of alliteration.

      • Erin Dear

        I loved the use of “pop”, very Canadian. Made me feel included.

  • Quinn Halman

    “Concerned about the post-date kiss and the state of modern feminism? Here’s your chance to Lean In.”
    Amelia, you never fail me.

    • Amelia Diamond

      it’s all 4 u

  • Molly D

    I’d 100% hunt to cuff if it meant I could find a man that could give me babies that look like the ones in the picture. Cutest fawking thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Aydan

    “Do talk about politics and religion. Makes for vibrant conversation and speeds up the results of potential-partner Darwinism.” <— YES I DO THIS ALL THE TIME (also good for checking that feminist box — can you handle a woman with strong political convictions? yes/no)

  • Summer

    This is my first time being single during cuffing season in Texas and I’m curious to see how the lack of seasons & eternal summer impacts dating habits… Will report back

    • Amelia Diamond

      INTERESTING. Please do.

  • Haley Nahman

    Love your dad AND your dad jokes amelia

    • Amelia Diamond


  • ella

    “Do talk about politics and religion. Makes for vibrant conversation and speeds up the results of potential-partner Darwinism.” LOL my first date ever in New York was with a guy who immediately brought up both topics yet (not so) interestingly enough, he thought both ideas were societal corruption? More importantly, I told him on our first date we should wear the ugliest piece of clothing we own. I wore a bomber jacket with fish on it; he wore khakis.

    • Amelia Diamond

      THIS IS SUCH A FUNNY IDEA ” I told him on our first date we should wear the ugliest piece of clothing we own. I wore a bomber jacket with fish on it; he wore khakis.”

      • ella

        If you ever try it some time, PLEASE write about it!

        • Amelia Diamond

          consider it done

  • Love the dine and dash suggestion! That cracked me up! I’m trying to stay strong and enjoy my singleness alone by focusing on my goals and keeping busy, instead of caving in to any mediocre male company this “cuffing season.” Hopefully I can stick to it!! lol


    • Amelia Diamond


  • Joanna

    Wait can part 2 of this article be a cuffing season matchmaking service

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahah yes

  • Chelsea White

    Ameila, your posts always speak to me… I don’t know why it took me so long to start commenting on Man Repeller!!
    I might have to add some good dad jokes to my Tinder profile… thanks for the suggestion and looking for some more good ones to add

    • Amelia Diamond

      LOVE having you here to comment! yay!

  • Jeanne Harlow

    I was unfamiliar with the term cuffing season, but not unfamiliar with the details of it at all! As single people are hunkering down to attend holiday parties together, “cuffed people” (not sure that’s a thing) experience a different sort of anxiety. I would call it should-we-move-in-together season.

    Leandra is always saying she wants to know what the readers and listeners want to read and listen to, and I would love to hear the thoughts on should-we-move-in-together anxiety from the writers of Man Repeller. How do you know if you should? How do you know if you shouldn’t? Is it the fall air or is it the real deal? How is one small morsel of mankind supposed to decide this??

  • Akshaya Iyer

    HAHAHA this made my morning at work 😀