So with the 2016 draft of cuffin season inching closer and closer, I've gotten to thinking about how I plan to spend these chillier months and more importantly, with whom. Cuffin season, as it is known amongst my peer group ( aka the super fly 20-something-year olds whose Instagram feeds eat up your time and inspire your weekend rendezvous ) is the time when serial daters and relationship lovers alike, start to take different people more seriously.

Well, why now and why is it just for a season? I'll tell you why: Because everyone knows how scandalous summer in New York City is and those of us with common sense and the inability to stop flirting, are aware that the summer heat turns things up and we should be single and free to revel in that energy. Between all of the barbecues, day parties and beach trips - it can become incredibly difficult for a person like me to be fully present in a relationship, so I put my sweeter side on reserve until cuffin season rolls around.

Cuffin season is from November to May ( depending on who you ask ) and it's pre-season is that balmy and beautiful space in time called Autumn. Not only is the fall a great time to showcase all that heat we've been stashing in our closets, it's truly the perfect time to start winding down and checking things off our lists. The fall seems to be a window through which we peer out at things that have taken a back seat in our lives. Things like the responsibility that dipped on us the moment the temperature hit 75 degrees or that flatiron we chucked to the bottom of our sinks because it's just too hot to straighten our hair. The Fall brings about the return of many things, some wanted and others unwanted. Things like that $150 English textbook (not wanted), a cute new coat with matching boots, a new gym bag, a new haircut AND more importantly a flirty encounter that turns into a new boy toy that evolves into a new boyfriend or lover. The colder months also seem to make some people lonely and while I don't suffer from this because I am an incarnation of the Christmas Spirit - I've been trying to figure out ways to help friends and others who do. I believe that you should eat what you love, do what you love and spend time with someone who makes you feel beautiful, sexy, appreciated or hopefully, all of the above.

Alright so how does one effectively master cuffin season? Think Jeopardy meets Wheel of Fortune; we've gotta be willing to ask questions, take risks and always aim higher. Sometimes people give us their entire story and we've gotta decide if it's worth investing in them by figuring out what their story is ultimately about. Others show us pieces of themselves letter-by-letter and piece-by-piece and we're tasked with trying to spell out the fragments that they provide us with. Sometimes, people are a mix of both and that's when it gets really fun. I, as I'm sure a lot of you know by now, am utterly boy-crazy. I see attractive men and immediately concoct a million different scenarios with about 80% of these daydreams involving things that I will not mention now because my mother reads this. Hi mom, I love you. And beyond the previously mentioned game-show qualities of cuffin season is a more important variable, VARIETY. I'm talking real variety. Date men of different racial and religious backgrounds, date men from different neighborhoods, date young men and older men. It's worth the risk and if nothing comes of it then you're sure to learn something new about yourself and the type of people you're more interested in dating.

Dating during cuffin season can be a prompt to make the holidays more tolerable or can make you the topic of conversation and that's always exciting. All of those mid-September brunch dates and October dinners can either grant you a great connection with an interesting guy or a great experience to write about or tell your girlfriends of. If this happens then you might not have to worry about your entire family giving you the third degree about why you're still single, or you can ruffle some feathers and bring someone of an unconventional nature to your family get-together. Now I'm not saying to go find some smelly, weird dude and bring him to Thanksgiving dinner because you want to be a pain in the ass, but take advantage of people's desire to fake that cute and cuddly during the holidays if you're someone who gets lonely- there's nothing wrong with that. Or don't listen to me at all. That works too. I'm honestly doing this trial-and-error as I go and just like everyone else, I don't have the slightest clue.

But, I do know what I like. And that's men in general. The tall, the short, the relatively dumb and the incredibly intelligent, suit wearing fellas and A-solo wearing goons, the young and old alike. I like variety. In fact, I love it. And I try to incorporate variety into every aspect of my life. I may or may not have slept with someone who is younger than I am, he may or may not be 19. But let's say that I have, I want to share this - allow yourself to live in the moment and have fun with the people you are involved with emotionally and sexually. Allow and encourage things to be fluid. Sometimes, things don't need to have a destination so much as they need to have momentum. As long as it's pleasant and fulfilling, enjoy the ride. That's another thing about dating or sleeping with younger men, they really are crystal clear about what they want and it's incredibly refreshing. I wouldn't know but if I did, I'd say - do it. That goes for the other end of the spectrum too. I may or may not be dating an older man. But let's say that I am, it's also refreshing to be involved with someone with more life experience than I have. It's nice to be involved with someone who is communicative about what transpires between us and someone who's already figured out how to properly adult. Either way, they are both an extension of who I am. That being said, date people who have the ability to mirror different aspects of you, or someone who is at least willing to try. 

Lastly, enjoy cuffin season. Enjoy all the dates, enjoy the late night texts. Enjoy the endless kisses and holding hands but don't take yourself too seriously. We're all figuring things out as we go along and sometimes relationships become way too serious, way too quickly. During these approaching autumn months, challenge yourself to approach dating as an experience and not a task that is needed to secure a relationship. Just because most dates end nowhere, that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy them. Most people are temporary occurrences in our life, or as my older boo would put it "Think of me as a shooting star or a comet", to which I roll my eyes at. Would that make cuffin season a meteor shower? I think it would. And in that case, enjoy it, it's beautiful and please don't be afraid to have a temporary love affair. If you think about it, everything is temporary. Human beings are impermanent, we reflect the nature of this universe which is a cyclical pattern of beginnings and endings. What occurs between these two poles is life. What we do with all of our today's is what life is. Not the end result. Make the most of all of your 'now' moments. Take advantage of this very moment and squeeze the juice from this ripe fruit that we call existence.

Pre-Cuffin season is right now! Like literally, right now! it's September 2nd and you better get out there and be your beautifully sassy, charming, intelligent self girl! Grab your girlfriends and get your scouting on, that roster isn't going to fill itself! 

-Frankie Reese