Finding your winter’s bone

The couple that Snuggies together…breaks up when it gets nice out. via Facebook

As the days grow shorter and we begin to enter our own Fortresses of Solitude, there’s a primal drive awakening among us single folk. Just as squirrels furiously scramble to store their nuts for winter, many singles are furiously scrambling to…uh, get their nuts taken care of, too. And the best way is with a winter girlfriend (or boyfriend!).

This someone to hunker down with for hours upon hours of cooking at home, an entire season of Walking Dead, and never-get-out-of-bed sex during snowstorms. A winter relationship is probably the only relationship that doesn’t cost more when you’re in it, because you literally do nothing. And what happens after winter? Well, that’s up to you, but generally, once spring and skimpy clothing come back around, one or both parties will realize how little they have in common beyond a mutual understanding of Peggy Olson’s character arc.

Finding That Sort of Special Someone
The most important factor in scouting your cave partner is “Location, location, location.” Sure, you can try finding someone at a party or a bar, but beware: this is a person who enjoys going out, and they might want to do things during the winter. You know what’s worse than being single all winter long? Dating someone who won’t let you hole up in a Snuggie and discover new snack food combinations, like Nacho Cheese Combos wrapped in Fruit Rollups.

Instead, try checking out activity groups where people are doing something that they would normally do on a couch while watching an entire season of Top Chef. Anything involving crafting. Or a book club. Support groups for people with agoraphobia or those born without immune systems is probably as close to the wheelhouse as you’ll get. (Don’t hold out exclusively for these, because most of the time the members don’t look like John Travolta, and they definitely can’t do clap push-ups.) Shut-ins are as good as this deal gets; they’re the seasoned pros of staying indoors. They probably know all kinds of awesome things to do without natural sunlight or fresh air. If nothing else, you increase your knowledge base for next year.

Ideal Traits
You may have a checklist for what you’re looking for in a relationship, but all of that stuff goes out the frosted window during a winter relationship. In fact, traits that normally might be dealbreakers are absolutely essential. Ideally, it’s preferable to be with someone who’s so shy they can spend hours without saying one word. Otherwise, you might have to pause during a crucial moment of Honey Boo Boo because the other person won’t shut up about the time they saw Jon Hamm perform at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Multiply that by every Real Housewives franchise and you’ll be heading out to the axe. No, you need someone by your side who you need to periodically check on to make sure they’re awake and/or breathing.

Physically speaking, you may have to make adjustments in what you generally look for. Are you normally a big fan of the waif look? Well, ask yourself if you’d like to spend the next few months nestled in against cold, clammy gooseflesh or a life-size Paddington Bear. Look for people who don’t get cold in their extremities easily, because blanket hogs with cold feet are the pariahs of the winter dating world! Natural assets also win out over over artificial enhancements like make-up, push-up bras, or heels. Remember, you’re going to be in PJs  for most of this time, so who gets your motor running in sweats and tied-up hair? Along those lines, make sure you get a little test-drive before you decide to purchase. If I, for example, have to spend all winter catching up on Dexter with someone in an “Ithaca is Gorges” shirt, I’m leaving all the windows open and slipping away peacefully in my sleep. Just kidding. No I’m not. Those shirts make me want to die.

Finally, take a look at this person’s social habits. Do they have a ton of friends? Are they outgoing? RUN FOR THE HILLS! While this is probably a must-have for a healthy, committed relationship between two adults who want to have a future together, this is TERRIBLE in a winter girlfriend/boyfriend. You know what friends mean? Birthday parties. Happy hours. Holiday parties. Less time watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one day and more time…I don’t know…ice skating and going to ugly Christmas sweater parties. If you wanted that shit, you could have gotten into a real relationship, but since you found someone you don’t want to talk to, why would you go somewhere that doesn’t involve a television or a bed?

Making it Work
Look, no relationship is ever easy, and they all take some investment from both parties. You may think you can get by with the bare minimum, but it’s going to be hard to last even a few months if you’re not willing to put in some effort. That’s why I recommend Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant. Go to the organic places for your groceries. Get soft sheets and warm comforters for your beds. And when the flowers begin to bloom again and you both struggle through the rickets to make it out into the nurturing sunlight, remember to let each other down easily. There’s no need to be hurt or get too emotional. You guys hibernated beautifully, and why burn bridges? Part of having a successful winter relationship is ending it with no hard feelings. After all, next winter’s only nine months away.

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