Is America Entering a Reverse Cuffing Season?

Illustration for article titled Is America Entering a Reverse Cuffing Season?
Image: Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images (Getty Images)

It makes sense to think that this coming summer will be incredibly horny. As vaccination rates rise, the coming months could very well be a “summer of love, with people hooking up left and right, vaxxed make-outs galore. And yet the public introduction of a series of chaotic post-vaccination celebrity couples has me wondering: could this summer actually be the opposite of horny? Could it, instead, be a reverse cuffing season?


Cuffing season is for the winter months when the debauchery of summer subsides. As leaves fall off the trees, people couple up more seriously so they have a partner to keep them cozy in the coming months, sequestered in their warm houses and apartments. So what accounts for, say, J.Lo and Ben Affleck immediately running to each other in the midst of a break-up, just as the world is beginning to open up? Or Kat Dennings and Andrew W.K.’s engagement after a “whirlwind romance?” Or Olivia Munn and John Mulaney (John Mulaney?!) meeting at church and dating?

I suspect that people are horny, but they’re also awkward after months of sheltering in place and not dating. For many people, the pandemic has also solidified the boundaries of social circles, as people have dropped socializing that doesn’t feel totally necessary in the thick of the pandemic (bye, co-worker you only chatted with while waiting for the microwave). Trust and the importance of disclosures has never felt more important, as people have shared their movements and covid precautions in the same way you might disclose your sexual history to a potential partner. The idea of keeping things simple and pursuing one relationship seriously might seem appealing to people who’ve already had to juggle the whereabouts and vaccination status of family and friends.

Where once it felt clear that summer was for playing the field and winter was for cuffing, the pandemic has made everything wacky. This summer could be a bacchanal, but I suspect quite a few single people are aching for stability. Like, perhaps, J.Lo and Ben Affleck?

Hazel Cills is the Pop Culture Reporter at Jezebel. Her writing has been published by outlets including The Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, and more.



I cannot be the only one emerging from this 200% more misanthropic than I went into it. There are people I was friends with for years I barely talk to now because they supported reopening... last April. There are people who are no longer friends. 80 percent of my FB feed has been culled to the bone to get rid of idiot anti-maskers, and then those who only followed local restrictions and still went to restaurants when they were open (and totally got covid.)

I am contemplating deleting it because everyone who is left is declaring that they will absolutely keep wearing their masks despite CDC guidance which... no you’re not. You’re going to bend to peer pressure. And check yourselves because I am sure the most vulnerable populations will be prevented from optional mask wearing as soon as companies can make essential workers show their faces and white people decide black people in masks are too suspicious.

So no, I am going to be over here in my house with only a list of questions regarding mask wearing, vaccination status, and decisionmaking to keep me company. It will be a test no one will actually pass.