Maybe We Could Cuddle Until The End Of March, or A Migrant’s Perspective On Romance In Winter

Jerry Chiemeke
4 min readDec 9, 2022


Vulnerability breeds intensive cravings for company, and ultimately, Affection.

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One of my favourite albums from the early 2000s is Room For Squares, the debut album released by American singer-songwriter John Mayer. Ambitious, sophisticated, quirky and sometimes goofy, the record dropped at a time when pop acts like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys still ruled the charts. It was refreshing, and alternative enough to hardly feature on MTV, but still catchy enough to be played on Top 40 countdowns.

Image Credit: Spectrum Culture.

The album spawned hits like the cheeky “No Such Thing” and the uber-cheesy “Your Body Is A Wonderland”, but one of the LP’s underrated gems is its closing track, “St. Patrick’s Day.” The title choice is curious at first glance, but there’s a reason: in Winter, there are quite a number of holidays that suggest the need for company, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Valentine's Day. St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17, it’s a big deal for Irish nationals and Irish Americans, and doesn’t necessarily require any “coupling” of sorts.

The song itself is a sardonic take on short-term relationships occasioned by the blistering cold and the need to find warmth in someone’s arms. Lines like “here comes the cold/break out the winter clothes/and find a love to call your own” and “no way November will see our goodbye/when it comes to December it’s obvious why/no one wants to be alone at Christmas time” all hint at the fleeting nature of romantic relationships that spring up when temperatures drop to teeth-shaking effect.

It’s currently -3 degrees Celsius in London. Now I understand why breakups are harsher to process between November & March, & why the hurt is so poignantly expressed in books and songs. There’s an emotional dimension to the chill and the frost. It’s why people find solace in dating apps. No one wants to be alone during the (big) holidays.

It’s especially difficult for immigrants who have swarmed Europe from the tropics: how do you adjust from wearing shorts at night to wearing beanies at noon? The loneliness is not talked about enough, and the communalism that characterises Nigeria is sometimes missed. It’s already jarring seeing everywhere engulfed in darkness by 4.30 pm, but it’s worse when you can’t simply go to a pub and make new friends there, bonding over nothing other than Football, as you could seamlessly do back home.

But then again, it’s not all sweetness and light on Bumble or Hinge. The culture of swiping right and the desirability politics associated therewith is arduous and emotionally enervating, so much so that British indie pop duo Wet Leg made room for the topic in the last song on their quirky, irreverent self-titled debut album: the lyrics “I don’t need no dating app/to tell me if I look like crap/to tell me if I’m thin or fat/to tell me should I shave my rat” is just as much social commentary as it is an affirmation.

There’s also the small matter of stereotypes: my bosom friend who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Bradford told me about how a Greek woman unmatched him once he revealed that he was Nigerian.

The less said about Tinder, the better. There is a whole documentary about those murky waters.

I would know a thing or two about temporary fixes and convenient arrangements. In October 2020 the #EndSARS protests swept across the country, but when the soldiers opened fire at Lekki Toll Gate, cementing Buhari’s disregard for Nigeria’s youth and middle class, I got caught up in a wave of panic attacks and I got paranoid; I was hiding knives under my mattress. I got talking to a slender, pretty, bespectacled nerd, and I found myself taking short trips from Surulere to Ajah week after week. It was a simple life: we would order food, I would read excerpts of my book to her, and we would make a mess trying to scoop Cranberry juice off each other’s skins. Wizkid had dropped Made In Lagos at the time, so it was perfect background music. We may have weakened the legs of two tables in that house, and there’s an air conditioner condenser for which we may have some explaining to do, but that’s by the way. We couldn't evolve into anything more concrete because we were genetically incompatible, but the company was everything, it was all we needed in a period of uncertainty.

Earlier this week, the UK Met Office announced that temperatures could drop to as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Is it selfish to cosy up to someone just to stay sane for about 4–5 months? Maybe, but there aren’t many other options available. Amidst thick gloves, large duvets and soaring energy costs, anything to avoid freaking out from Anxiety is quite understandable.

“And these days with the world getting colder

she spends more time sleeping over than I planned

tonight we’re going to order in

drinking wine and watching CNN

it’s dark, I know

but then again, it’s the brightest thing I’ve got

when I’m covered in rain.”

(P.S: I do miss Ajah, sometimes…only sometimes. But the timezone is different now, so, there…)



Jerry Chiemeke

Writer-Journalist. Editor. Ex-Lawyer. Critically-acclaimed Author and Film Critic. Contact via