NYC singles say ‘cuffing season’ is back after the pandemic

On October 27, a “cuffing” party raged at The Factory 380, a neighborhood bar in Kips Bay. The party, where REYKA vodka cocktails were served in high-stemmed glasses handcuffed together, marked the official start of the season, with single-ready singles looking for a partner to settle down with for the winter.

While a live band played sing-along classics, singles looked over their shoulder to see if there were any potential partners in the room.

“Cocktails with cuffs were great conversation starters,” smiled a 30-year-old partygoer who works in advertising and lives in Greenwich Village and did not want to be named. “It was a great way to kick-start the search for the cuffing season.”

Cocktails are served in October "cuffs" party.
Cocktails are served at a “cuff” party in October.
Lent by Alyson Krueger

“Cuffing” comes from the idea that it is better to have a constant cuddling partner when it is cold outside, instead of having to wander through bad weather to meet strangers for the first dates. Long popular with millennials, the season was skipped last year due to the COVID pandemic, but now – with high vaccination rates and open bars in New York City – the season is definitely back.

“The cuffing season is definitely going to be very strong this year,” said Rithy Muth, 25, a software engineer living in Gramercy Park. “The pandemic has made people want to commit [but] we could not really meet new people. Now we can, so I think people invest in meeting each other for more than one one-night thing. It would be nice to find someone; I do not want to lie. ”

Rithy Muth
Rithy Muth
Lent by Rithy Muth

Data from Tinder, the dating app, shows that there has been a 30 percent increase in cuffing mentions between September 1 and November 1, with singles putting phrases like “completely waxed and accepting pre-cuffing season applications” in their profiles . The mention of hookups is also declining, falling 23 percent in member profile bios over the same period. Meanwhile, events like Art Basel in Miami Beach (in December) and the Sundance Film Festival (in January), which attract singles from all over the world, are back in full swing, providing plenty of opportunities to meet a winter warmer.

Three Day Rule, an elite matchmaking company with a presence in New York City, said it generally receives more customers at this time of year, and “this year, our membership going into the winter has increased,” said Erika Kaplan, one of The matchmakers. . Amy McCloskey, owner of Madame X, a sexy bar on Houston Street, said she’s seen a lot of patrons flirt and woo each other this cuffing season.

David Cirillo
David Cirillo
Lent by David Cirillo

“People are stuck at home and they’re ready to go out and find connections,” McCloskey told The Post. “Whether it’s a temporary connection or a semi-permanent connection for the winter, I can not say, but the desire to establish a connection is absolute, unequivocally true.”

Some singles say there is an even greater need for a cuffing season this year.

“Over the summer, people just experimented in a way and went wild,” said David Cirillo, 25, who works in the communications department at Vox Media and lives on the Lower East Side. “Now we need to take it easy and find something more stable and something that gives us comfort.”

“It’s a bit like after a really big night on the town when you want to sit down on the couch the next day to watch a movie,” he added.

Joy Siao
Joy Siao
Lent by Joy Siao

He believes the cuffing season has come a little late this year because of mild temperatures
October made it feel like a continuation of the summer. But now that it’s finally cold outside, the cuffing season is upon us. “During that cold period last week, I had so many people reaching out at the same time,” he said. “I was on a date every day last week.”

Joy Siao, 30, who works in sales for a technology company and lives in Manhattan, remembers how miserable she was last winter during the pandemic. “I was so depressed,” she said. “It was the coldest winter ever, and many of my friends had left town. I was so lonely and I was not ready to go on dates until I was vaccinated. ”

These memories, and the trauma from it, have made the search for a partner this cuffing season even more urgent.

“My girlfriend told me what to do. She said you should do a lineup, she said.” You start with six people and go on a first date with them all in a week. So the next week you eliminate one person and again the following week. “

“It’s not going to be hard,” she added. “I’m a romantic. When the snow starts to fall on the wooded streets, I can be with a six and still be like, ‘I love you.'”


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