Along with the end-of-year holidays come a series of related yet unofficial observances. Thanksgiving alone encompasses the Turkey Drop tradition — young people love to break up around the third week of November — as well as Drinksgiving, or Blackout Wednesday, the night before the festivities: You get wasted with your hometown friends and maybe even hook up with one. Later, you’ll get some shopping done on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But running from this week through pretty much the end of the calendar is an occasion still highly stigmatized.
I’m talking about Hot Cousin Season.
In the mid-2010s, various Twitter users discovered that Thanksgiving and Christmas coincided with a great deal of posts from users wrestling with an attraction to a particular cousin, and that this “hot cousin” seemed to be a known archetype in extended families.
Whether we had over-internalized a plot from Arrested Development was hard to say, but the cousin-wanters were alarmingly forthright when it came to this taboo lust, and the rest of us eagerly retweeted their disturbing familial thirst.
This was an era in which people didn’t worry as much that a future employer might see their account, or that weird/offensive/problematic tweets could come back to haunt them in the future. If a thought popped into their head, they just kinda… let it rip.
Rather quickly, though, the phenomenon ceased to excite. By 2015 or so, the meta jokes about wanting to bone your cousin appeared to outnumber the genuine hot cousin tweets. Meanwhile, incest porn was booming in popularity, and it’s now entirely mainstream — hardly a point of shame unless mom happens to find your stash of mother-son smut. As an Imgur user wrote in 2016: “Who doesn’t have a hot cousin [whose] butthole you’d lick in a heartbeat?” It was if the exaggerated horniness of the internet, combined with an emergent view of social media as part of one’s personal brand, took us from uncomfortable scenes of semi-arousal to, you know, this:
Can Hot Cousin Season be saved? Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the days when folks considered the web a safe place to reveal forbidden cousin crushes. Reddit, of course, is likely to remain an exception; here’s a guy saying he ogled his cousin’s “glorious ass” at their grandmother’s funeral.
All the same, you know the hot-cousin vibes will be palpable in more than a few family gatherings. In fact, with no release on Twitter, the strain and frustration and awkward pseudo-flirting will be that much worse.
The good news for the cousin-infatuated is it’s nothing that extraordinary. This feeling may be the result of something like genetic sexual attraction, a much-debated theory of magnetism between close blood relatives who met as adults. That you probably didn’t hang with your cousins as often as with your siblings growing up means a lessened Westermarck effect — the biological method your body has of instilling sexual revulsion toward family members.
Overall, you may just find your cousin hot because A) they sort of look like you, and B) you see them fairly infrequently. And if you got Turkey Dropped by the love of your life this year? Well, that’s definitely not helping you think straight. The best corrective course of action, it appears, is aiming to be the hot cousin yourself.
Beyond that, I’d recommend just offloading your cousin’s hotness directly. Post a photo of them on your Instagram story so that some unrelated friends can enjoy the show. If everyone forwards a hot cousin to the feed — and please don’t explicitly mention the hotness, we can assess that for ourselves — then we will all have the pleasure of thinking, “Damn, hot cousin,” minus the guilt and nausea of picturing a cousin of our own in the nude. (Which, for the record, I’ve never done. All my cousins are disgusting.)
Anyway, good luck out there over the next six weeks or so. And remember, if all else fails, you can have a third helping of pumpkin pie. No one could want to fuck after that.