As seen in Cognition Magazine
Well kids, it’s that time of year again. All the trees are shedding their green duds for golds, oranges and reds. There’s a light chill in the air and Starbucks is geeked up on pumpkin spice. Yes sir—it’s officially Cuffing Season and boo thangs all over are getting scooped up like so many fallen leaves. After a fleeting yet competitive Choosing Season, cut buddies are transitioning from temp to hire with the threat of colder nights and +1 parties from now until January but what I want y’all to be for real about this month is whether you’ve cuffed as wisely as you chose. I’d hate to see any of you embarrassed at Zulu Ball because you spent the whole summer bed-hopping with the fast, free and unfamiliar only to be forced to make a cold snap decision in October that you lived to lament in February. Personally, I’ve never had to deal with that regret first-hand because I don’t cuff ‘em. I catch ‘em, drain ‘em and release them back into the unforgiving wild. This of course doesn’t mean that I haven’t born witness to a slew of figurative yet painful social deaths brought on by (you guessed it) the poorly chosen cuff. Now, I’m not saying that some of you don’t genuinely adore that hood rat who behaves in public as though she’s never experienced the wonders of indoor plumbing or that whoadie who’s mind is absolutely blown by wine that’s corked in lieu of being accessed via a twist cap, but for those of you who feel like being for real, you KNOW you don’t wanna show up to your company Christmas party with THAT mutha fucka on your arm. I don’t care how good the lovin’ is, not much will help you recover from being the laughing stock of the Accounting Department. (And if THOSE cats can laugh at you, you know you down BAD, baby.) Naturally being the non-judgmental person that I am, I won’t sit here and pretend to know all of your individual mating proclivities or romantic needs, but I will help you ask yourself the right questions about who you cuffed and why.
First of all—how did you spend your Choosing Season? Were you outchea in these streets head first while taking no inventory of whose DNA you engaged or did you make eye contact with a couple people long enough to assess their character? Did you perhaps try going on an actual vertical, fully-clothed, honest-to-God DATE with ANY of these people? Ah yes—a date. Some of you may not remember what that is but a date is when two people who kinda dig each other decide to get to know each other by having conversation in the midst of a joint activity (not sex) that allows them to interact on a mature, intellectual level. Meeting up at a bar with a gang of people does not count as a date. Light conversation between orgasms does not count as a date. All that fun stuff your moms and pops used to do before they got married like going to movies, shows and the park? Those were dates. Also, that shit you do with your best friend WOULD be a date if you both were romantically inclined toward one another but of course we know you’re not. (That one was somewhat judgmental, I admit, but in my defense, I meant for it to come off that way. Step into the light children.) One thing I’ve noticed about people these days is that actual dating has fallen by the wayside. I’m not chastising anyone because I am more than guilty of it too. All I’m saying is a date would help us better assess who we might be getting involved with so the sudden and inconvenient realization of “This dude/chick is a damn fool” doesn’t have to slap us clean across the face in a public setting.
Furthermore, if you decided to forego the dating process altogether, did you ever introduce the would-be cuff to your friends? (I don’t mean your favorite bartenders either.) One thing that may help the non-discerning gage the quality of their chosen boo is the by observing the reactions of their closet and most valued homies. True we can’t allow our friends to pick our significant others, but if they meet your potential mate and he/she is received with a chorus of “What the hells,” you may want to take a second look at that thang. Just a thought…
More important than your courtship “process”, when you chose your cuff what were your motivations? Were you scorned in the last boo draft have been determined to have your comeuppance ever since? Have your most clutch of patnahs acquired full-time bed mates to keep them busy ALL NIGHT LONG, leaving you to prowl the streets for some strange all by your lonesome? Have your siblings been telling your folks all about “The One” who the family is finally going to meet this Christmas and you simply refuse to be run through a gauntlet of degrading and invasive queries such as: “Where yours at?” “How come you never bring anybody home?” “Are you gay or just too fucked up in the head to keep some damn body?” I’ve been through all the same scenarios but none of them are good reasons to make a hasty decision in a moment of desperation that could easily last you a lifetime. (Y’all know unplanned pregnancies are a mainstay of Cuffing Season, right? Yeah… right.) Your cuff shouldn’t be picked based on some yearning to be in step with your peers or to live up to the stringent expectations of your family members. The easiest way to find yourself in a bad situation that you can’t find your way out of in one sound piece is to enter the situation with your own true desires on the back-burner. So don’t be pressed if you look up and it appears that everybody you know is cuffed this year. If your friends didn’t read this column they may find themselves lonely once again come Choosing Season 2013, you'll be back at it like you kids were never apart. And who cares if the little bro/cousin/successful overachieving sister caught ‘em one? Moms, Pops and G-Moms will have to do their very best to go on living WITHOUT all the melodrama circulating around your relationship status. They’ll get over that dumb shit. I promise. If they find themselves unable to chill on the subject of your love life, bring the hood rat/whoadie to dinner at the house and see if they ever bother you about getting married again. CASE CLOSED.
Most importantly, if you happen to be one of the lost souls who have recently been run through the emotional ringer, I beseech you to not lean on the next most willing participant as a crutch to get you through this, your Cuffing Season of discontent. Loneliness can and will find you even within the confines of a committed relationship, shug, so it would most certainly NOT behoove you to settle just because you’re using the oldest and most ineffective trick in the book to soothe an aching heart. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but let me reiterate that time spent alone doesn’t have to be filled with woe and lament. Whether we be serial monogamists or have just experienced a flash-in-the-pan heartbreak, time with oneself can be truly rewarding. There’s no better way to figure out exactly what it is that you need out of this life than to learn it from YOURSELF. They say life is the best teacher but as sometimes co-dependent creatures, we want someone else to do the learning work for us. More oft than not that surrogate takes the form of a significant love interest. When Cuffing Season rolls around, it’s difficult to resist the allure of companionship even with a broken, battered sense of self and a fucked up perception of love, but please keep that ish to yourself. Nobody deserves the lack of trust, sincerity, attention that you’re able to provide in this delicate state and you don’t deserve to torture yourself by making the hollow attempt. Sometimes, we’re just not ready for what we want and in the lean times we must prepare for the harvest although the yield doesn’t bode abundance. If there be any lovesick sports fans out there you should know that an offseason is every bit as important to an athlete as playing the game itself. The offseason is primetime for conditioning and strategy. If you can manage to stay fit in the offseason, you may be in just the right shape to take home that ring when it’s all said and done.
So if this Cuffing Season you find yourself seemingly out in the cold, don’t even trip off that, love. You’ll just have more time to get this whole self-identity ish right and put yourself in the best position to cuff the right one. And if you really don’t care to heed these many suggestions I’ve made and simply MUST have a warm body to bring to that Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/Mardi Gras/Valentine’s Day event, I’m sure you have a solid regular that you can call upon at the last minute (who’s more than willing to settle for being a mere ornament). Standing cut buddy = Cuffing Season Late Draft Pick. Ain’t no shame in it, love… warranted that you can at the very least be for real.