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Cuffing Season & COVID-19. Whew, Chile.

How in the world do COVID-19 and cuffing season work? Good question.

Dating

Can y'all believe that we're actually back here again? I know I can't. To say that 2020 has been weird AF, I'm well aware is the ultimate understatement but man—I don't recall there ever being a year where it seemed like days stood still while months flew by. Yet since we're here, actually at the end of another October, and also since this is the month when cuffing season officially starts (word on the street is that it ends right around Valentine's Day), I knew I couldn't let us all go into November without first offering up a few tips on how to handle cuffing season, as we're in the midst of a freakin' pandemic—one that is actually predicted to only get worse during the fall and winter months (SMDH).

While some of you might automatically say that such a dire forecast is reason alone to sit this particular cuffing season out, I'm pretty sure there are others who are like, "If there was ever a time when I wanted some cozy companionship to get through a six-month block of cold weather, the time would be now." For those who happen to fall into Column B, this is written with you in mind. If cuffing is what you plan to do, please do it as responsibly as you possibly can, OK?

Don’t “Cuff”, Just for Tradition’s Sake

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Lawd, do I have some friends who get as excited about cuffing season as they do about football season. And before you turn up your lips and assume that they're all men, that is absolutely not the case. Several women in my life like cuffing (and football) because this is the time of year when their life slows down a bit more. The inclement weather keeps them from wanting to go out as much as they do during the spring and summertime. Plus, I don't know what it is about those damn Hallmark movies, but they're like emotional catnip when it comes to wanting to have a boo, even if it's just until after those films stop incessantly rolling. Then if you add this year's pandemic into the mix—since those of us who still have some common sense are acting like COVID-19 can kill folks ("us" more than "them", by the way), this means that holiday parties and outings are basically a bust. So, since there's less out-of-the-house socializing going on, that makes cuffing all the more…intriguing. Tempting even.

If what I just said sums up exactly how you're feeling, don't feel bad or even guilty about that. You're human and no man is an island. At the same time, if cuffing season didn't really cross your mind until this article came across your monitor or cell phone screen, don't pressure yourself to participate in it either. If you've been doing just fine with, whatever it is that you're doing—and have been doing—then it's probably best to continue on. Remember that the only person you are constantly around is yourself. Bringing another person into your home and private space comes with a certain amount of risk. Especially in the time of COVID-19.

Keep Your Guard Up. A Lot of Folks Are Crafty Out Here.

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That said, if you're still like, "Nah. I gotta get me a cuddle buddy", please make sure to operate from a place of total discernment. I've shared before that while I personally don't do social media, I will tiptoe into platforms to see what folks are up to from time to time and man—I saw this one Twitter thread where guys were sharing the stuff that they were telling women, just so they could lock a cuffing partner down this year. And boy, are they upping the ante on the bullshishery! It all actually reminded me of what an elder once said. She said that women are sitting on a million dollars and giving it all away for a Happy Meal (chile).

I know what it's like to feel lonely and/or horny. It's important to keep in mind that, whenever you're in either headspace, you're not actually prone to make the wisest decisions. I liken it to going grocery shopping when you're hungry; suddenly everything looks delicious. So please be really careful out here, especially if you're considering linking up with someone new as your cuffing partner this year. For one thing, six months of constant bonding with someone, even if you both claim that it's gonna be temporary, comes with some emotional risks that we oftentimes aren't mentally prepared for. And with this pandemic also being factored into the mix, based on where you live, COVID-19 testing isn't as easy to come by (financially or otherwise) as you might assume. Getting sick on top of potentially getting relationally disappointed is definitely not a good look.

Wanting companionship and attention is understandable. But please don't let any form of desperation guide you. It's a surefire way to end up a helluva lot worse than lonely and horny. And why make any decisions that will start off 2021 to be a hot mess (because we all got enough of that this year, right)?

If There Was Ever a Time to “Recycle”, this May Be It

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I once heard someone say that getting back with an ex is like putting old underwear on after taking a shower. Gross and, oftentimes, yes. At the same time, a cuffing partner isn't always or necessarily an ex, now is it? In fact, I actually know a few people who have a longstanding cuffing partner. Because they don't really want a serious relationship (at least, not for now), and also because it's typically during the warmer times of the year that they are focused on their careers and/or doing a lot of traveling, they've actually made adding the same cuffing partner into their life, each and every year, a part of their lifestyle routine. For them, it's not always or necessarily about sex either. They've simply found someone who enjoys the same things as they do and actually likes the idea of being around another person who they like and trust without all of the pressure—and, let's be honest, sometimes drama—that comes with being in a "traditional relationship".

I was just talking to a friend of mine who is getting their coins together to fly their cuffing partner in for a couple of weeks. Since they both work from home, their partner can work anywhere. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, that person will go back home. Happily so.

A "recycled" cuffing partner might seem a little unconventional but, let me tell it, that is right on-brand with 2020. At least you'll know what you're getting into and sometimes, predictability is truly a blessing in disguise.

Keep Your Immune System Up

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One of the reasons why a lot of health professionals are sending out so many warnings about this fall and winter seasons is because, as I'm sure you well know, not only do we have this pandemic to deal with, but this is peak cold and flu season as well. Not everyone is down with getting a flu shot, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 (yet) and, honestly, when it comes to COVID-19's symptoms, they are currently all over the place, with a lot of them mimicking a cold or flu. This is why it's so important to keep your immune system up.

For starters, check out articles on our platform like, "Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?", "7 Herbs To Get You Through The Winter Season", "Naomi Campbell Dropped Her Immunity-Boosting Vitamin & Supplement Routine" and "10 Hot Drinks To Keep You Warm This Fall & Winter". Also, just because it's cold outside and you can layer your clothes (to hide any extra weight gain), that doesn't mean that you should slack on exercise. Even as something as simple as a walk around your neighborhood can help to keep your heart strong and also give you a break from the indoor air pollution in your home (which is 2-5 times higher than what's outdoors, by the way). Also, make sure that you're intentional about eating healthy and, should you decide to order out, that you also check out our "10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)" write-up.

Oh, and one more thing. I know that this current administration is rather coo-coo for cocoa puffs on the mask-wearing thing, but watching this tweet right here about how easily (and far) COVID-19 particles can spread should be enough of a reason for you to keep yours on and actually keep your distance from those who don't—including a potential cuffing partner. You've always heard that, if you're single, you should use a condom at all times, right? Well, during the time of COVID-19, mask-wearing and handwashing should be just as much of a qualifying criteria in order for someone to boo up with you. In other words, don't let a man in—or "in"—if he's not wearing his mask on a consistent basis. Don't say that I didn't warn you, sis.

It’s Cool to Take Things Slow(er) this Year

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While online dating isn't personally my thing, I certainly don't knock it. With approximately 40 percent of heterosexual couples actually meeting their longtime partner these days, clearly it's effective for some. Plus, I recently read an article on PBS.org that said, for many, online dating has been a really great experience this year. Why? Well, with sex not really being on the table for a lot of individuals, they are able to find someone they really like as a person; not just a sex partner.

That's actually really cool because, contrary to popular assumption, cuffing partner doesn't automatically mean that you have to have sex with an individual. Especially this year, cuffing season can also be about simply being intentional about meeting (or getting to know) someone who you'd like to spend more time with—even if it's just online and long-distance (for now). With any luck, come spring, there will be a real connection and you can feel more confident about letting your cuffing partner more into your life. That is, if you want them to be.

Cuff with Someone Who Takes COVID-19 As Seriously As You Do

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One more point. Back when I was out in this streets (metaphorically-speaking) and having sex (and sometimes getting my heartbroken too), if there's one pearl of wisdom that I wish I had listened to was, "Make sure that men take you as seriously as you are taking them." This includes my emotions, my time and my health. Well, that gem is actually what I'm gonna conclude this piece with.

On the personal tip (you know, outside of my landlord and folks I pay bills to), I can literally count on one hand, how many people know where I live or even have my address, for that matter. A big part of it has to do with how much of an ambivert I am. Anyway, one of the people in my life who has the privilege of being in my home space is well on their way to being banned. Why? Because they are out here going to restaurants, hopping from house to house and, the last time they came through to check on me, they didn't have a mask on (they told me they took it off in the car, so I let it slide). It's not that they don't believe that COVID-19 is real; it's more like their ego has them out here believing they are Superman or some ish. (Again, SMDH.)

Y'all, I don't care how much you want to cuddle on the couch or get it on in your bedroom, there is no amount of attention or orgasms that is worth you ending up in the hospital (or worse).

So, when it comes to my last tip about partaking in cuffing season during this pandemic, love yourself enough to choose a partner who is just as serious about not getting COVID-19 as you are. If they're not taking care of themselves, if they're not wearing a mask, if they're not washing their hands and/or if they're out here acting like nothing is going on—they don't care enough about themselves to even deserve the pleasure of spending some less-than-six-feet-away quality time with you.

Cuffing season is cool but there are other seasons that immediately follow. Make decisions that will keep you safe and healthy, well past Valentine's Day. And prayerfully, well past this pandemic too.

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Amira Unplugged / MTV

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A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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