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Everything You Wanted To Know About Cuffing Season But Were Afraid To Ask

In case you didn’t know, Black people have different seasons from everyone else. The rest of the world bases its seasons on the position of the moon and the summer solstice, while Black summer transitions to Black Fall when sundresses are exchanged for sweaterdresses and cookout attendance slowly declines in favor of homecomings and HBCU classics. When this begins to happen, the Black internet invariably begins to signal the beginning of “cuffing season.”

I’m sure you’ve seen the memes:

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As cuffing season is once again upon us, allow NegusWhoRead to  educate you with our comprehensive guide to Cuffing Season:

The History of Cuffing 

Cuffing season began years ago when prehistoric man realized they would have to spend the long winters sheltering themselves from the elements. Before the days of flat screen TVs, the internet and football, the best way to spend countless hours inside a cave was either staring at a fire  or doing what is scientifically termed “the freaky-deaky.”  Centuries later, the Consensual Undercover Fornication Federation (C.U.F.F.) was founded in Piscataway, New Jersey, and thus, “cuffing” became an official sport.

Scientists have since found evidence of cuffing seasons in many historical artifacts. During the Renaissance a painter named Michaelangelo missed the cuffing season cutoff and was so bored, he decided to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Hannibal, the greatest military general who ever lived, crossed the Alps with elephants because he knew that if he went around the mountains to invade Rome, he would miss cuffing season. In fact, the greatest monument and testament to human ingenuity–the pyramids at Giza– were built so the Pharoahs could entomb their concubines so they wouldn’t miss cuffing season in the eternal hereafter. Cuffing season has always existed.

What exactly is “cuffing?”

Contrary to popular belief, cuffing is not about sex. In fact, in a study that researchers at Harvard University never thought about doing, sociologists determined that less than 1% of cuffing season is spent having sex. Cuffing season is about companionship. In laymen’s terms, cuffing is an informal agreement to provide companionship and romantic interest without the entrapments associated with a formal title. It requires a greater investment of time than a “cutbuddy” or a booty call, but it is less than a girlfriend.

Is cuffing bad?

No. Quite the contrary. Cuffing is a mutually agreed upon activity. There are people who aren’t ready for long-term relationships for various reasons, but value companionship, friendship and semi-regular orgasms within the safe confines of monogamy.  The great thing about cuffing is that–because it is an indoor sport–a cuffing partner doesn’t require all the bells and whistles of a regular partner because there is no public aspect to cuffing. For instance, if he is the bomb in bed, but dresses a little bit weird (wears Dockers at all times or crocs at any time) he might be a perfect cuffing partner. Similarly, if she is sweet, can cook, but is a little too ghetto (she twerks at wedding receptions, thinks Cornel West is Kanye’s daddy, and believes Cardi B. is her spirit animal) she might have cuffing season potential.

So cuffing is no-strings attached?

No. Cuffing also comes with responsibility. If you are lucky enough to be someone’s first-round cuffing pick, you are no longer a free agent, therefore, your services are limited exclusively to your cuffee, unless your contract states otherwise. Cuffing requires more chemistry than a booty call, because a cuffing teammate must have the same taste in movies, have a compatible work schedule that allows for extracurricular cuffing activities and–most importantly–know when to play the Big Joker as your spades partner. The entire reason for cuffing is that winter nights are long and full of terrors. If you are in a cuffing situation, you don’t get all the benefits of a relationship, but you don’t have to sit at home on cold nights staring at walls. It’s like replacing cable with Netflix and Hulu–it’s cheaper, but you don’t get as many shows. If you happen to see your cuffee out with someone else, you don’t have the right to say anything. That’s not in your contract. Conversely, you are expected to maintain a consistent level of quality throughout the cuffing season. Guys, if your attention, time spent or sex game begins to falter, you might find yourself in a mid-season trade, or–even worse–cut from the team.

How does one “cuff?”

Cuffing involves a delicate communication process of understanding and mutual agreement. One does not ask “would you like to cuff?” In fact 93% of all cuffing situations evolve from booty call activities. One day you’re pulling up at a guys house at 2 am for late night sex, and 2 month’s later, you’re dropping by at 4 pm on a Sunday to watch Netflix while he cooks you a steak in his drawers.

How do you know when you have been cuffed?

It is hard to tell if one has been cuffed because there is no formal agreement that begins cuffing season, and someone is always scouting you. Here are a few indicators:

  • If you have seen her in a scarf or bonnet, you have been cuffed.
  • If you know which cabinet he keeps the hot sauce in, you have been cuffed.
  • If she has intentionally come to see you wearing sweatpants, you have been cuffed.
  • If either of you have seen each other without the benefit of lotion, you have been cuffed.
  • If you have had sex more than 5 times, but didn’t get (or expect) a Christmas or Valentine’s day present, you have been cuffed.
  • If either of you have dookeyed in each other’s bathroom, you have been cuffed.
  • If you have been introduced to anyone he or she knows as “my friend…” you have been cuffed
  • If you know when her period comes on, but you don’t know her mama’s name… You see what I’m getting at.

When does cuffing season end? 

Cuffing season ends February 13th. If your contract is extended, you are no longer cuffing, you are a full-fledged team, with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto. I often go to restaurants on Valentine’s day to see the happy couples who have turned their cuffing into an actual relationship. It is a beautiful thing.

What are the dangers of cuffing?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with two consenting adults choosing to spend time in an ambiguous relationship. It is actually a more organic way of getting to know each other. Perhaps the biggest hazard of cuffing season is the phenomenon known as “catching feelings.” Invariably one side always catches feelings during cuffing season (it is usually the guy.) One of the easiest way to tell the onset of feelings being caught is when the question arises “what are we?”

You should not fear this–especially if you like your co-cuffee. 38% of all cuffing seasons end with a relationship, and 11% result in actual marriage. The 2nd-worst thing about cuffing season is the awkwardness that comes at the end of the season when the ice thaws and it is time to pack up your locker and go home. There’s always next season and I’m sure you’ll get picked up by a team.

What is the worst thing, you ask?

The absolute worst thing that can happen is to be dismissed from the team in the middle of the season.  When you are called into the coach’s office and asked to hand in your playbook, it can be really rough, but you must remember, you entered this agreement without a commitment, so cuffing season contracts are always day-to-day…

But then again, aren’t we all?

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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