The polar vortex might be over, but winter stretches on into the horizon. Those cold nights and dark days will continue well into March, and unless you live with super-cuddly cats or roommates who are willing to play footsies with you in front of the telly, that’s a lot of solo time for those bereft of boyfriend.
That corporeal feeling of loneliness needs only a spark to alight itself when temperatures dip below zero — a friend who can’t be bothered grabbing a drink, a stupid party you have to walk home from alone, a blown lightbulb you can’t quite reach — and you might find yourself wishing for a person who is slightly taller than you and a little more male. This is the Winter Boyfriend.
The Winter Boyfriend is similar to the Summer Fling. There’s a mutual understanding that your relationship will probably turn to slush as the city starts to thaw, and no requirement to delete your OKCupid account in the meantime. Like the Summer Fling, it can be a good time to test drive your compatibility and your willingness to spend extra money on milk so you can pour coffee into two chapped, wind-bitten mouths in the morning. Or, conversely, it can be made more enjoyable for the knowledge it’s not to last.
But the problem with winter’s ability to throw your feelings out of whack is that it can sometimes be hard to tell when Winter Boyfriends end and real relationships start. A Boyfriend is not a Winter Boyfriend just because he’s still carrying a little holiday weight, and the Winter Boyfriend doesn’t become legit just because you guys still see each other when one of those weird mid-season heat waves hits.
Are you dating a Winter Boyfriend? Enlighten yourself to the validity of your relationship status with our handy six-point quiz below.
1. How did you meet your current boyfriend?
a) We’ve been dating since summer.
b) He was drinking a hot toddy at my favorite bar, his face illuminated by the soft glow of those electronic candles.
c) I swiped right on Tinder.
2. What item of seasonal male clothing makes you weak at the knees?
a) A well-cut coat.
b) Cozy woolen socks.
c) A vest made of 100% human hair.
3. What is the first thing you do on mornings he stays over?
a) Suggest you both go grab coffee and walk through the park.
b) Roll over, kiss him good morning, and begin to go about your day as usual.
c) Hide the expensive coffee.
4. What is the first thing that comes to mind when temperatures drop below zero and he’s out of town?
a) Ugh, why did I leave my good coat at his place?
b) I wonder if Tracey and Alice are down to drink copious amounts of red wine and watch old TLC videos on YouTube?
c) Why am I destined to toil through an eternal winter with only cats for body warmth and company?
5. Which of the following best describes your ideal stay-in winter dinner?
b) A pot-luck dinner with 20 guests.
c) $20 worth of anything on Seamless you can feed to each other with plastic forks before abandoning in favor of “dessert”.
6. Do you ever stare at the air conditioner you have yet to remove from your bedroom window, and think, “It might be kinda nice to have someone I could call to help out with that stuff?”
a) Are you kidding? I can remove that shit by myself.
c) I took it out before Halloween then put it back in as an excuse to lure unsuspecting males into my apartment.
Mostly As: Congratulations! You guys are as the frozen vegetables of romances. You’re never out of season, have a very healthy shelf-life and are a good support system for when times are tough or the power goes out. Consider deleting your OKCupid.
Mostly Bs: This could have longevity, but needs a few more months to blossom. Enjoy the no-strings romance, because you can reconsider your relationship status once the woolly socks come off. You wouldn’t commit to an expensive new coat without trying it on first, would you?
Mostly Cs: You are dating the quintessential Winter Boyfriend. Enjoy the extra warm body, and remember to get him to change any blown lightbulbs before spring rolls around.
And if you fall into category D, a slightly chilly singleton in search of someone who visibly shares your love your love of hot alcohol and textural blankets, you know where to look.