Cold weather is upon us—and you know what that means. Pedicures are fewer, tights and turtlenecks are widespread, and more razors are lamenting Player’s “Baby Come Back” than a Swiffer WetJet commercial.

Long gone are the days of rooftop parties, barbecues, and weekend trips to the beach. With the cool weather also arrives a chilling drop in the social temperature, especially for those flying solo. Events are fewer. Parties are scarce. And I mean, who’s really trying to throw on a freakum dress and get fly to go to a club, just to freeze outside waiting in line in 30-degree weather and then go inside and get drinks spilled on you and hit on by a raggedy old man rocking a Coogi sweater and gold tooth. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Carefree summer romances are but a distant memory. That’s right ladies: it’s officially cuffin’ season, and even the most bitter, free-spirited, can’t-be-tied-down, relationship-resistant of single folks can be seen pairing off into the night.

Wild drinking bashes and all-white yacht affairs are replaced with intimate at-home dinner parties and cocktail hours. Plus one? Yes, please. And hellloooo? Holidays anyone? Winter brings us not one, but three major holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas AND Valentine’s Day. Not to mention that emotions and sentiment are already running on overload, but nonetheless, none of which—I don’t know about you—I want to be alone for. If only for the gifts (I jest!). And for the loads of young professionals who have moved far away from their families to snag that dream job and may not yet be at the tops of their corporate ladders, time off to head home is not always an option.

But is there really an increase in monogamy—or semblances thereof—during winter months?  From my very scientific and technical research, I can tell you that there are two basic approaches to cuffin’ season. First, you have the Soup Model.

The Soup Model is for men and women who are looking for someone of substance to keep them warm. Let’s face it: Black people don’t like to be cold. Yes, I said it. And on those cold, perhaps snowy, nights, a predetermined cuddle buddy to “snuggle up with” between the sheets is just what the doctor ordered. Not to mention a good way to keep energy costs down. No one has the resolve to go out and try to pull someone new every weekend, especially when the outcome is ambiguous. So that certain someone you’ve been doing the commitment tango with for months—dancing around the issue—can start to look pretty good. Plus, the security of having a significant other to be with during the holidays, who you know without a shadow of a doubt you can call on, whatever the weather, fills you up both physically and emotionally.

So, yes, when you like someone, cold weather can make a relationship seem like the best thing since sliced bread. So the games and excuses are dropped for a blissful, cozy future of boo lovin’.

Then, you have the Hot Chocolate Model. And not to, ahem, perpetuate stereotypes, but this model seems to be an overwhelmingly male approach to cuffin’ season. So let’s keep it real. The Hot Chocolate Model is basically just a six-month booty call. A quick fix, if you will, whose heat soon subsides leaving a thirst once again in need of quenching. When the skirts get shorter and the snow disappears, so will your man. While (the good) half of the population is ready to settle down, there are those who remain: cold, lonely and left hanging by their friends who have been, without warning, booed up. There is a surplus of vulnerable women during cuffin’ season—who can easily be taken advantage of by a smooth-talking playboy.

For those who aren’t ready to commit, the pressure of an impending snowstorm can cause an average pimp to take extra precaution to secure a backup boo . . . or two . . . for late-night snuggling. Yes, ladies can be pimps, too. For these libidinous lovers, cuffin’ season is like the NBA draft. Owners are searching for players to add to their team at an exponential rate. You may think you’re the one and only, but in reality you’re just the point guard on a starting five. If it’s a mutual no-strings-attached relationship then, by all means, get it in. But take heed that you’re not simply being added to the roster.

No matter if you’re a Hot Chocolate lover or more of a Campbell’s gal, they both keep you warm in the winter. So whatever your approach, that potential boo you’ve been flirting with since the summer—now’s the time to lock it down. Whether or not you believe in the power of cuffin’ season, remember this: people come into and out of our lives for different reasons. Some are here for a season, others, a lifetime. Maybe it took the thought of cuddling solo to put a little proverbial fire under his a**, or maybe you’re just headed for months of unattached fun. Either way, when you do find someone who can last through the seasons, they’re definitely worth holding onto.

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