photos: Eylül Aslan
I once read somewhere that Berlin has two seasons: Beautiful and shitty. And shitty season just started. Berlin’s inhabitants once again are frozen of heart, in need of just any sort of physical contact in their Altbau with the “authentic”, drafty windows. “Maybe I should get a therapist? Maybe I should finally get a dog?” I hear you contemplate. But I also know that you’re not yet ready for that sort of a commitment.
So, count yourself lucky, the bone broth of relationships is in season again. Just like its fatty, soupy counterpart, it’s a fleeting craze to raise your vitamin D levels (D as in dick, darling) until Spring. Give me your clammy hand — I’ll be your guide to obtaining a seasonally limited hot-beef-injection.
Urban dictionary: Cuffing Season
*During the Fall and Winter months, people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.*
1. Admit that you’re alone
It’s fine: Cuffing season allows for the crippling admission that you’re alone in the most ego-preserving way. Why? Because all those hot pieces of meat we saw at the lake in summer are now just as alone as you.
This season subsequently allows for you to reactivate your online dating account. In Berlin online dating is basically everyone doing their best Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs impression: Make a profile, never contact anyone, and revisit your profile chanting “I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard” until the perfect match magically appears. (Or your standards are sufficiently lowered until you find yourself considering that programmer or start up guy.) Much like January’s post-seasonal hangover, this is high time for anyone looking to distract themselves from the crippling realization that they’ll die alone. Because beggars can’t be choosers, darling.
2. Be yourself* (*well, the edited version)
Under no circumstances is your date allowed to know that you’re a hunter, aware of — and fully embracing — cuffing season. Bitch and moan about how hard maintaining your regular schedule as a “Founder” is while also being a “Techno Producer”. Make sure to fill in different Berlin buzzwords when describing what you do. Please mix and match from the following two columns:
The good thing about cuffing season is that you really don’t have to be honest or even believable here. Just be your best pretend self; the thin veneer of your special snowflake personality won’t be penetrated in the six month or less that you’ll be spending with someone equally shallow.
If it’s their first winter in Berlin you’re in for a treat. They’ll be extra desperate for love when faced with mountains of frozen dog shit and leaving the house at minus ten degrees for the first time.
3. Do they fit your lifestyle?
Make sure you’ve both watched the same Netflix series before even consider them as cuffing material. I know, Stranger Things is “so good!”, but honestly, not good enough to sit through it twice in six months. What makes a cuffing partner easy to handle is the fact that they’re outside of your life, while they’ll be mostly in your bed. It’s best to keep them as secret as possible from your group of friends to curb any spring “whatever happened to…” interrogations.
4. Keeping the cuff alive
Pretend everything is casual. Like desperately pretend. Extra credit is awarded for keeping them in a state of constant confusion about your relationship status. You get one gold star for every trek they make to your apartment in thirty centimeters of freshly fallen snow because you sent them a “u up?” text at four in the morning. Whoever catches feelings loses and has to pick up the take-out bill. Because if Berlin has taught you one thing it’s that admitting to things which you want makes you weak and uncool. That’s basically Berghain’s business model, no?
5. The un-cuffing
As the snow slowly melts, their habits of wanting to cuddle and be vulnerable will become tiresome to you. March invites you to reassess if your cuffing partner really fits the concept of your half-vintage half-modern flat in Schillerkiez. Don’t compromise! Style, style über alles! It’s Berlin after all, honey. Your life has turned into a piece of elaborate performance art, so your choice of bed mate should reflect that, especially as spring dawns.
6. Say goodbye to your winter boohoo
To get rid of them bang a scaled down version of them (less attractive, less successful — just to really rub it in). Change the Netflix password on them to drive the message home. You win extra brownie points in this game of groans if you ghost them after that.
And that’s it, my darling reader. Keep warm, practice safe sex, and don’t forget to defrost your heart once you’re done because with this nifty guide you too will soon be able to answer your phone with “new season, who this?”
Text: Alix Berber, Photo: Eylül Aslan
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Alix Berber is iHeartBerlin’s dating columnist. The Tattletale Heart tells stories of desire, infatuation and the ghosts of lovers past. They are the dating-chronicles of a hopeless romantic with serious trust issues in the capital of the notoriously unattached.