As much as we would all love to locate Mr. Right and hunker down with him until spring, men made of boyfriend material aren't exactly falling from the sky. Nope. It's just hail, rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow from here till April.

But take heart -- no truly loving God would have created winter without equipping us single girls with the means to survive it. In Her wisdom, She made the Cuddle Buddy (cuddlonius socius) -- a being as essential to surviving the cold as the flu shot, a wool coat and a sturdy set of snow shoes.

More than a sex doll, less than a boyfriend, but loads more affectionate than the typical one-night stand, the Cuddle Buddy is the single girl's best defense in that cold, little war waged every winter against loneliness. Consider the Cuddle Buddy a UV phototherapy lamp for your soul.

Unlike some species of men -- say, for example, the Horny, Plastered Male -- the Cuddle Buddy is not so easily identified. In fact, this tricky rascal is best recognized by noting the three things he is not ...

1) Not a boyfriend
The calling cards of the perfect Cuddle Buddy are a pair of boxer shorts for you to slip into, an extensive movie collection, and a panoply of take-out menus. But be warned that the boyfriend-like plumage and obsequious nesting behaviors of a Cuddle Buddy are merely ornamental.

The Cuddle Buddy's sweet embrace and offerings of Chinese takeout are never motivated by true emotional attachment. In fact, field experts posit that the same weather patterns motivating single women to seek out Cuddle Buddies induce their male counterparts to engage in similar nesting behaviors.

The Cuddle Buddy will not love you. However, he will also never dump you, create excessive complications in your life, make dramatic statements, or serve you with ultimatums.

2) Not a one-night stand
By virtue of his attachment to his couch, flat-screen TV and (let's face it) cannabis and/or high, ineffective doses of anti-depressants, the Cuddle Buddy exhibits the narcoleptic tendencies of a koala bear. His general indifference to sex and penchant for falling asleep at inopportune times make the Cuddle Buddy far better suited to a cup of hot cocoa and an electric blanket than a condom.

When presented with a woman, the Cuddle Buddy will usually invite her to sit on his couch and put an arm around her while simultaneously tending to other pressing matters (e.g. adjusting his entertainment system, consuming snack foods). He will be interested in kissing and snuggling, but rarely, if ever, will the Cuddle Buddy express desire for sexual contact beyond that.

Don't take it personally that the Cuddle Buddy will not screw you. Zoologists observe that koala bears mate only once a year. This bodes well for the woman who seeks affection without turning her vagina into a winter lodge for itinerate visitors.

3) Not a friend with benefits

It is always favorable to establish a rapport with your Cuddle Buddy. However, a basic level of mutual attraction is all that is needed to sustain your partnership through the winter.

You may also find that you and your Cuddle Buddy, after agreeing upon which shows require TIVOing and what kind of food to order, will fall into long, though not uncomfortable, silences similar to those experienced on cross-country road trips with your parents. Do not be alarmed.

As with your parents, you have likely reached the point in your "relationship" with your Cuddle Buddy where you understand each other as well as you ever will and/or are willing to. That is OK. The Cuddle Buddy is not your BFF.

Where to find him:
* Even in the warmer months of the year, the Cuddle Buddy is not the most outgoing or energetic of beings. It is an exercise in futility to go looking for him in traditional pick-up environments such as bars and house parties. More likely, you will find the Cuddle Buddy in his natural habitat, reading a book alone in a café or library. He is also drawn to game consoles and can be dependably located in the frozen foods aisle of your local grocery store studying Hot Pocket options.

How to capture him:

* Approaching a Cuddle Buddy in an overtly sexual manner may scare him off. A single girl seeking a Cuddle Buddy should immediately signal to her target that she is friendly and non-threatening. Exhibiting cuteness rather than sexiness is advisable. Enticements such as "a huge collection of Bill Murray movies," "a cozy apartment," and "lots of munchies," may be offered. Above all, trust your instincts when handling the Cuddle Buddy.

Happy hunting ladies -- what are your strategies for finding a CB?