Why I’m sitting out of cuffing season this winter
As the weather gets colder maybe I’ll get an electric blanket, not a girlfriend ❄️
Let’s be honest, queer women have always had a reputation for landing themselves in relationships faster than businesses and politicians are steering this planet towards environmental catastrophe.
Cue the often-told joke about lesbians bringing a U-Haul to the second date.
As is often the case with stereotypes, there may be a grain of truth somewhere in there. According to some studies, as many as 75% of lesbians are in relationships, compared to 56% of straight people.
Research carried out by author, comedian and Radio DIVA host Rosie Wilby has also supported the idea that women in same-sex relationships have the, "highest turnover of serious relationships" and "the highest rate of serial monogamy".
And despite her use of the phrase "highest turnover", I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be celebrated in this context.
Radio DIVA presenter, Rosie Wilby. Credit: Steve Ullathorne.
But while the metaphor of "cuffing season" may have started as something descriptive of a winter phenomenon where people get tethered down into serious relationships, has it become something prescriptive?
Has it become a source of failure if you don’t have anyone to sit by the warmth of the fire with or, perhaps more realistically, clasp to for dear life in your freezing-cold flat?
The metaphor of cuffing season could be refigured as a game of musical chairs or even as a game of Duck, Duck, Goose, where you are left to duck, duck, duck, duck (sometimes literally) around the lesbians in your area in a search for love.
Queer women are always hurtling into serious relationships, we’re told, so what does that say about you if the closest thing you’ve felt to love this year was towards a cat you met in Berlin? Well, fuck that.
The U-Haul narrative has never felt relevant to any of my behaviour and I unashamedly have other priorities than "cuffing" this season.
By presenting lady-loving ladies as constantly flowing from one monogamous relationship to another, we add value to this normalised image of lesbian behaviour. Is it cool and radical to be single nowadays?
In a period of the year described as being one where lesbians rapidly fall in and out of hardcore relationships, within a community already so populated by writers and media figures who love to tell us about their wives, or girlfriends, there seems to be no better place to emphasise a lesbian identity which does not hinge on cuffing.
I’m not trying for a relationship, and I don’t feel bad about it! As the weather gets colder maybe I’ll get an electric blanket, not a girlfriend.
Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.