Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dear Guncles: Advice for Valentine’s Day

Jim and Mike are proud guncles of nephews, nieces, younger cousins and furry cats and they’re here to answer your life questions each month, big and small.

Cuffing and Cuddle Season

Q: Dear Guncles,

Why do I have this intense desire to hook up right now? Not in the big-O kind of way, but to just be with someone to curl up on the couch by the fire. Usually I’m totally fine with being home alone. Is it because I’m getting older and want to …gasp….settle down?  Or is it because Valentine’ Day is around the corner and I’m feeling cupid’s arrow? — Cuddle Bear

A: Dear Cuddle Bear:

What you’re feeling is probably fleeting and seasonal! This time of year – when it’s cold and you just want to snuggle up – is called Cuffing Season. What is it? It’s based on the word “handcuff” for when singles want to be “cuffed” or paired together with someone else and basically shack up. It’s definitely a seasonal feeling which like hibernating bears, starts in the fall (around October) when things get colder making you want to warm up with others and ends around Valentine’s Day – a day that bombards you with images of lusty couples.

It’s no wonder you feel the way you do. If this feeling goes away in the spring and you want to be single and have those flings again, then that’s what it may be. In the meantime, unlike your friends who seem to be content alone, you need to get out there. 

Naturally, there are many dating and hookup apps (which I’m sure you have a handful of already, wink – wink). But it doesn’t sound like a one-time fling is what you’re looking for (plus it’s risky during this pandemic). What Dear Guncles really recommends is joining some online forums and groups around your hobbies and interests like Tabletop Gaymers (board games), Varsity GayLeague (virtual sport hangouts and activities) and Goodreads LGTB Book Clubs (many types of book clubs to select from).

You’ll more likely find someone with similar interests and wanting to settle down with you. Whether your Covid Buddy lasts through the winter season, we leave that up to you! 

Valentine’s Day Blues – Wanting To Be In Twos

Q: Dear Guncles,

I’m involuntarily single at the moment. And I’m dreading Valentine’s Day because it reminds me that I just broke up with my girlfriend whom I’ve been on-and-off with ever since we met a month before quarantine. The stress of Covid took its toll on our relationship. We were following strict protocols of not hooking up and if we met in person, we socially distanced wearing masks. Even with daily video chats it’s hard to make a connection that feels real. This complete lack of in-real world contact killed our budding romance.

I want to be with her but not sure it will work out by the time the vaccine becomes widely available. Is there a way to date during the pandemic and not feel so disconnected? And what can I do to get through Valentine’s Day as a lovelorn single? — Linda Lovelorn 

A: Dear Linda Lovelorn,

Valentine’s Day definitely brings stress to singles (and even couples which Dear Guncles will explain in the next question). There is so much pressure to “be in love” and shout out your coupledom to the world on V-Day. 

Trying to stay involved in a relationship is hard, let alone during quarantine. There is even the added pressure on how to fend off relationship fatigue when every day during quarantine feels like “Blursday” (every day of the week blurs together).

One option to bring the physical connection back into your life is by forming a “Covid Sex Bubble”. It isn’t as sexy as it sounds (no, it’s not a big orgy in a giant inflatable human-sized hamster ball). A “sex bubble” is when you pick a partner (your ex perhaps) who follows the strict safety of your own anti-coronavirus measures and you arrange to hook up regularly, thereby forming a ‘bubble’. If anyone else joins your bubble, they must also follow the strict safety protocols and not see others. A few friends of Dear Guncles have found this very effective. 

If you don’t feel comfortable with that (and many don’t), then keep staying in contact with your ex as friends. Do not add the stress of trying to get back together until quarantine measures are lifted. Let the sparks fly and start dating again once you can be with her in person. 

As for being single on Valentine’s Day, call anyone and everyone you think may be alone on that day. They are probably feeling the same way as you do. Maybe a singles zoom cocktail party and call it Cupid’s Waiting Room! 😉 Hearing from a friend or family member will most likely cheer them up, and cheer you up too and make the “waiting” feel a little less disconnecting from others. 

Zating: From Antibody Girl to Zumping

Q: Dear Guncles,

I just zumped someone I met on Match for being a Covidiot. It’s not like I’m a bragging Antibody Girl, but they kept asking me to join them at a party where they didn’t wear masks. Now she is pissed and won’t stop harassing me. Should I not have done it over Zoom?  — UnHinged

A: Dear UnHinged,

It’s fine to dump someone over their horrible pandemic behavior. It’s not any different than dumping someone outside the pandemic for not respecting your health or boundaries. In this instance, their behavior also impacts the global population.

As for how you dumped them, since Dear Guncles wasn’t there, it’s hard to say what you shouldn’t have done. But here are some tips to live by:

  1. Get to the point. (Don’t drag it out by having a long small-talk session)
  2. Be open and honest, yet respectful (Possibly prepare notes to ensure you talk calmly)
  3. Don’t contact them again (Breakups heal quickest when you both don’t check in on each other). And don’t forget, there’s the power of the “block.”  Don’t be afraid to use it. 

To our dear readers: In addition to new pandemic words like quarantini (martini’s enjoyed over quarantine) and Covidiot (someone not following health protocols), there are new terms around dating:

Antibody Boy or Girl: A person that brags about having COVID-19 antibodies on a dating app, hoping it will lead to more matches.

Quarantine Bae: The significant other you met during quarantine. Tends to be more casual.

Zating: Zoom dating

Zumping: Dumping someone over Zoom (Zumper is the one dumping; Zumpee is the recipient).

It’s a tough dating world out there. Be respectful. 

Valentine’s Spice and Everything Nice 

Q: Dear Guncles,

I want to do something romantic for my husband over Valentine’s Day. With restaurants still closed I can’t take him to our favorite spot for a special night. What can I do to show my love this year? — Romantic-At-Heart

A: Dear Romantic-At-Heart,

The pandemic is the cockblocker of 2020 when it comes to romance. It’s hard to be romantic and spontaneous during these times. Even though restaurants are closed near you, you can still do romantic things at home and not spend a lot of money.

In “normal times”, Dear Guncles avoids going out for overpriced Valentine’s Day pre-fix dinners at overpacked restaurants and focuses on romantic creative options. Guncle Jim surprised Guncle Mike on their first Valentine’s Day by taking him to “Heaven” by converting the entire apartment bed with white stuffing (clouds) scattered with hundreds of red paper hearts from the front door to the bedroom and enough scented candles to nearly set off the fire alarm. Since then, Guncle Mike feels Guncle Jim used up all his creativity because Valentine’s day has turned into another night of the year and that night in heaven seemed like such a long time ago.. But Guncle Jim reminds me that it’s been 20+ years and heaven will come soon enough. LOL!

Do something special. Here are some ideas.

  1. Romantic Cake. Bake a Red Velvet Piecaken 

Popularized by pastry chef and TV personality Zac Young. 

  1. Romantic Gift. Get to know your loved one more intimately by starting off Valentine’s by asking questions about their life, particularly if you’re both starting or re-starting a relationship later in life. You can learn more about your beloved than you would normally have with 
  2. Romantic Meal. Travel and set up a picnic. With Valentine’s Day falling on Sunday, put together a romantic picnic basket and drive to a scenic overlook. For some ideas, click here from Picnic Time. Their heart shaped one will make your heart go pitter-patter.

And don’t forget…just making dinner together, pouring a glass of wine and eating by candle light together can be such a simple thing but still warms the heart. And perhaps skip chocolates for dessert and aim for burning some calories – the old fashion way. 😉

Do you need advice from Dear Guncles? Send them a message here and follow them at

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