Daylight is shrinking and layers of clothing are building. It’s Fall. As Florence Welch sang, “The dog days are over.” No longer are we dancing in the warm outdoors, hoping to lure in a brief summer lover. It’s too cold for that now. Now we must hunt for a companion.
In the past, this transition has been dubbed “cuffing season,” a time when you attach yourself to someone with whom to survive the isolating winter months. But if you’ve read the tabloids and felt the encroaching threat of climate change: It is no longer cold, and it is no longer cuffing season. Global temperatures are rising, and everyone is getting divorced.
Here’s your news peg: A lot of longstanding couples have recently either called it quits or are hovering around the big red marital eject button. Tia Mowry and her husband Cory Hardrict announced their divorce on Tuesday after 14 years of marriage. Gisele and Tom Brady have reportedly armed themselves with divorce lawyers and are preparing for battle. Singer Miguel and his high-school sweetheart Nazanin Mandi are divorcing after four years of marriage and 17 years of knowing each other. Brittany Snow, Mackenzie Scott, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Robin Wright, Zoe Lister-Jones, and Emily Ratajkowski are just a few of the other high-profile people ending their marriages.
Obviously, celebrities getting divorced is not a huge shocker; they have the financial means to extricate themselves from unions that no longer serve them, are surrounded by an endless stream of sexy, stylish peers, and their careers often depend on their enduring relevancy. Nor is divorce for us plebes uncommon either: Forty percent of first marriages end in a split, and that statistic only rises with each additional “I do.” Following covid lockdowns, a huge wave of divorces crashed over the sacred institution. People, famous and non-famous alike, are ready to celebrate the season of single-dom. Here Lies Cuffing Season 2008(?)—2022.
We don’t need to rehash the reasons why. As Molly Osberg wrote for us last year:
During the pandemic, when both members of a couple were working from home full-time during a lockdown, 67% of women reported they were fully or mostly responsible for housework. When a child was homeschooled during the pandemic that shuttered schools for months, 3% of women said their spouse was doing more schooling than they were. Between May and June of last year, one in four women who left the workforce reported doing so because they needed to care for a child. One in eight men reported the same circumstances, and while most fathers say they’re actively and equally involved in raising their child, a full three-quarters of women say they do more child work than their spouse. The cumulative effect of all of this labor foisted on American women—labor that appears to go unnoticed by the men who are living with them and co-parenting their children—has been called “grotesque,” and it has help create a scenario in which women’s participation in the workforce is now as low as it was in the ‘80s. Now, imagine spending a year and a half working full-time, caring for your child largely unaided, and doing the majority of chores while your husband occasionally congratulated himself on putting the dishes away. Wouldn’t you want a goddamn divorce too?
What new descriptor fills the chasm where cuffing season once held its reign? Separation Season? Divorce December? Brisk Breakup Weather? Annulment Autumn? “KR, these are all incredible, alliterative ideas.” Thank you, I agree. Whatever it’s called, it’s break-up time, baby. Head into these cold months on your own. Your New Year’s Eve kiss, if you even want one, can be a totally delightful mystery. There are no blankets to hog or be hogged when it is just you, alone in your glorious bed, without an unsatisfying partner next to you. Happy divorce season!