Apologies to my friends and family — you’re not going to be seeing much of me for the next little while. I’m a matchmaker and this is the time of year when I’m swamped.
Most service industries have their high seasons. July and August bring jam-packed patios and daunting lineups at trendy ice cream shops. And January is perpetually peak season for new gym memberships due to the cyclical optimism of New Year’s resolutions.
Similarly, the first of November signals the beginning of dating service season.
It seems counterintuitive, really. Surely spring should signal the start of high mating . . . erm . . . dating season. And yet, summer is a dead zone for professional matchmakers. It’s consistently the autumn and winter months — known to the Urban Dictionary set as “cuffing season” — when singles are feverishly using matchmaking and online dating services to get paired up.
I reached out to pre-eminent biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We Stray to ask her why matchmakers get slammed by client applications every November.
“November and early December is the highest time of year for male testosterone,” Fisher says. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for increasing sex drive and stimulating sperm production in men.
“From a Darwinian perspective, if you have a baby in August, that’s really the height of the fresh fruit and vegetable season,” Dr. Fisher says. “There’s a milder climate and more sunshine, so it’s easier for both the mother and child, in terms of survival. It’s less stressful.”
So if you’re feeling keen on snuggling someone right now, know that it’s more than just the inherent cosiness of sweater season making you feel that way. It’s been beneficial to the survival of our species for millennia that we get to baby-making in the fall.
Another reason Fisher cites for this sudden uptick in singles seeking connection are the social pressures of the upcoming holiday season.
“There are Christmas parties, office parties, New Year’s Eve parties,” she says. “It’s a time of celebration. But it’s also a time of stress. We’re taking into account what we did all year and an awful lot of people start thinking, ‘Oh dear, I still don’t have a partner.’ ”
There are also fewer opportunities to meet potential mates organically once the colder weather arrives.
Justin Zoras, 29, finds he really enjoys being single in the summer because it’s so easy to meet people while just having fun and doing what you like doing.
“If I’m going to concerts, food festivals, (or just to) chill in the park, I’m bound to interact with like-minded people,” he says. “Connections should sprout organically, and if I meet someone special, then it’s a bonus. It’s easier to bump into/spill a drink on someone on a patio in the summer than in the winter.”
“I’m ready to be ‘cuffed’,” Zoras says, “But I can’t pinpoint if it’s because of the fall leaves or because I’m ready to fall for someone after a long summer of adventure and mayhem.”
If you’re single and looking to change your status, now is the best time of the entire year to take that leap. So get yourself online and/or hire yourself a matchmaker or risk staring down the barrel of the darkest time of the year without a partner-in-Netflix.
After all, winter is most definitely coming.
(First published in The Toronto Star)