It's been a wild, salacious summer of sin, hasn't it?
I don't know about you, but for me, it's been the summer of relentless partying: 4-am nights spent sipping inexpensive wine out of plastic cups on graffitied Brooklyn rooftops, Sundays spent sloshed, day-drinking frozen mojito after frozen mojito in the teeming hot New York City sun, meaningless kisses with faceless strangers in dark corners of dirty downtown dive bars.
But I've grown weary. I'm fatigued. Exhausted. Sick of the endless hangovers and the inevitable post-party shame spiral.
The glittering, rapid-fire speed of the party has suddenly come to a screeching halt.
After all, winter is coming, and cuffing season is quickly stumbling upon us.
For those of you who don't know what cuffing season is, allow me to bestow upon you a wonderful, comprehensive definition from our trusty, Urban Dictionary:
As the (rumored to be) crazy, untamable girl I am, the fact that I'm deeply longing to be gloriously cuffed is a fiercely unfamiliar feeling to me.
But at 2 am in the backseat of an overpriced taxi, I had an epiphany of epic proportions: I'm tired of drinking. I'm ready to f*cking cuff.
I was en route home from a day of partying with my best friend Owen in the delightful, poison-ivy adorned Fire Island Pines.
Fire Island: a tiny little island two trains and a ferry ride away from Manhattan where city people flock to in droves during the summer, seeking relief from subways and the unbearable urban humidity.
We were having the time of our lives. Basking in the bloom of our youth. Consuming rum whilst attaining the perfect tan from the sultry sunbeams, boldly making new friends out of every single entity we encountered, clutching our stiff cocktails as the blood orange sun beautifully set against the stunning backdrop of the regal blue East Coast waters.
We were in fabulous company: a teeming sea of gorgeous glistening physiques engaging in secretive, scandalous, summertime hookups. It was all bodies, and booze and barely-there bathing suits.
The party represented the summer in one giant nutshell: sexy, and sinful, and salacious and single.
In fact, for me personally, the party was almost like a microcosm of the past decade.
In our typical reckless, disorganized fashion, Owen and I naturally missed the last train back to Manhattan and found ourselves at 1 am, wandering aimlessly around the island like two inebriated teenage runaways (only with expensive haircuts and designer beach towels).
I had the brilliant idea of taking an Uber home. Alas, there we were: two broke best friends thoughtlessly about to embark on a $200 Uber ride all the way from the Long Island Ferry to the mainland of Manhattan.
We were two giggling adult adolescents drunk from a day of liquor and sun, stumbling into a destructive, irresponsible, out-of-our-price-range Uber. The moment our bodies fell into the Uber’s faux leather seats, Owen passed the f*ck out.
As Owen indulged in a blissful beer-induced back-of-an-Uber nap, I suddenly found myself stone-cold sober.
My thoughts began to race as quickly as the flood of cars speeding down the Long Island Expressway.
I thought long and hard about the summer. I thought long and hard about my life.
The clouds in my boozy brain had hastily evaporated, and I was suddenly crystal clear. Labor Day weekend meant the end of summer. The end of the endless party.
And I wasn't even remotely remorseful or even slightly wistful. I was relieved.
It occurred to me that by the time I bat a mascara-laden eyelash, it will be the illustrious season of fall. Oh, fall.
The electric green leaves will turn into the prettiest colors of burned red, and faded yellow and honey brown. And before we know it, all those leaves will gracefully slip off the trees and will be replaced by the purest, whitest snowflakes that will perfectly pepper the branches.
I don't want to exist within a hazy blur of trivial whiskey conversations and empty hookups during a time of such acute beauty.
I need something deeper to keep me warm, not just in body temperature. I've had it with the meaningless and the temporary.
I want something, well, real. Sh*t. I'm ready to be cuffed, huh?
I want someone to make memories with, not forget them with.
I've had enough hazy nights to last a lifetime. I've wasted too many mornings attempting to piece together an evening made up of scattered, displaced memories.
I don't want my life to be spent laboring over putting together a puzzle. I f*cking hate puzzles.
I want to spend meaningful nights with someone. Nights made up of stimulating conversations and authentic connections. Nights that turn into mornings where I only wake up smiling, clear as a bell, reflecting on the perfectly strung together evening.
I want someone to take a shot on, not just take shots with.
I want to take a chance on a person. Drop the steel guard and dare to let someone in. Not run a million miles in the opposite direction the very moment the first pang of vulnerability sets in.
Taking a shot -- whiskey, vodka, tequila, whatever. It's an escape, right? What if we stopped fleeing from our feelings and just let ourselves feel?
Maybe if we were to allow the feelings to wash over us, we would find they're actually kind of amazing.
I want someone worth staying in for, not someone who is going to drag me out.
Yes, I will always love to go out. I'm a glorious creature of the night. That will never change.
But alas, even I want to stay at home sometimes and get lost in my partner's body.
When you meet that right person, the person whose body somehow fits perfectly into your body -- there is nothing in the world like it.
It feels like your body was custom-designed for your partner's body. You want to crawl inside of him or her and stay there forever.
I want someone to wake up with, not just pass out with.
I want to wake up next to someone whose face fills me with irrepressible sweeps of happiness the next morning. Someone you want to linger in the sheets with for hours, and hours and hours.
I want the kind of partner who makes you feel magnetized to the bed, making it seemingly impossible to pull your limbs out of the sea of pillows and comforters.
Someone who can energetically soothe the acute morning anxiety because being next to him or her feels so f*cking right.
I want someone I can have dinner with, not just go out with.
There is nothing in this cruel, cold world better than a f*cking awesome dinner date. Someone who isn't just passionate about what cocktail he or she is ordering but is brimming with excitement and teeming with curiosity about food.
Food is very telling. A person who is passionate about food is a passionate lover. This I'm certain of.
After all, doesn't food sort of represent love and sex? It's nurturing, yet sensual? It sustains you, yet entices you?
Isn't that love and sex to a T?
I want to be cuffed, in more ways than one...
I think the most important thing to remember this cuffing season, for all of my fellow wild girls finding themselves yearning for a meaningful relationship yet madly terrified at the prospect of losing their independence, is to reframe the way you look at cuffing.
Yes, the term "cuff" comes from "handcuffs." And being handcuffed to another person sounds awful to us free, untethered spirits.
But herein lies the beautiful truth: You can still have heaps of reckless fun and be in true, genuine love. You can come up with your own definition of cuffing.
Cuffing doesn't have to mean that suddenly you’re resorting to a bleak life of perpetual "Netflix and Chill." If you're not a boring person, cuffing won't be boring.
For me, cuffing is about finding a partner to share all aspects of my colorful life with. The wild nights and the midday cuddles. Someone who can hold me when I'm soaring in success, and when I'm a f*cking broken, crying mess.
Someone who doesn't only like me when I'm the girl in the pretty party dress dancing on the table, but someone who can also sink into the silence.
Someone who thinks my company is worth sharing a quiet stolen moment with.
And if you think about it, handcuffs don't have to represent being jailed. Handcuffs can also represent really great, kinky sex too....