Loading..

Why Winter Is the Best Time to Fall in Love

A case against the tired myth of summer romance.

imageI can pinpoint the exact moment my winter cuff from a few years ago started to enter "boyfriend" territory. We were at a concert in downtown Manhattan during the first blizzard of the season, and by the time the show was over and we went back outside, the city had gone from shades of gray to all-white. We found an undisturbed patch of snow on a nearby basketball court and ran around in it, giddy in the way you can only really be during the first big snow, and on the cab ride across the bridge back to Brooklyn, he reached across the vinyl backseat to hold my hand for the first time.

Our rules up to that point were standard cuffing protocol: cheap drinks and sex only. No greasy brunches the next morning, no sleepovers two nights in a row, no hanging out with each other's friends, and definitely no running around in the fresh snow like we're starring in a private rom-com. These were rules designed to keep two people from getting too close, or worse, falling for each other. And they also turned out to be no match for the transformative power of the first real snowfall.

Feeling emboldened after holding hands in the cab, the next morning I invited him to trudge through the now-knee deep fluff with me to brunch. We broke two more of our rules that day when I hung out with his friends in one of the only bars open in the weather, and stayed with him for a consecutive night. Things changed. We started having fights (a telltale sign of developing feelings) and a few weeks later, I was trying on unseasonably floral dresses to wear on a Valentine's date. Despite our best efforts, we were falling for each other.

I can get behind the idea of having a cuff—you lock down a person to reliably smooch and have sex with during the coldest months. It's a bleak relationship concept for an equally bleak time of year. The idea is that spring comes, the weather warms, the sun stays up later, and you un-cuff because it is once again acceptable to meet someone you actually like, and may even love. Winter brings cuffs, spring brings flings, and summer is so renowned for finding love that Justin Timberlake, One Direction, and Danny and Sandy can't stop singing about it.

But summer love that exists in the songs and movies doesn't seem to exist in real life. Summer is, actually, the horniest season. Summer is for wearing shorts and skirts your mom never would've let you leave the house in, making out with sweaty strangers, taking sunrise cab rides home from a hookup's apartment, and doing it all again the next weekend. Summer is when you dump your high school boyfriend before going off to find a camp boyfriend (or two), or your college one for a string of study abroad flings.

Winter, on the other hand, is a time for wearing all the clothes you own at once. It's a time for deep contemplation about the passage of time every day that the sun sets a minute earlier, holding gloved hands in cabs, and being as cozy as possible. These—not the short shorts or the sweaty makeouts—are the ingredients for true romance.

So, in a way, cuffing season actually takes the best time of year to fall in love and turns it into a weird relationship purgatory stage. If this sounds like a tirade against cuffing, it isn't. A cuff—if that's what you really want—is perfectly fine. But the worst thing you could do, for yourself and your love life, is shut yourself off to the possibility of finding love with this person you may have labeled as "sex only." Those rules you made, the ones meant to keep you on a friendly, non-romantic basis were probably always destined to fail.

Follow Hannah on Twitter.