Paid cuddling services are popping up everywhere. They are clearly filling a void in society; it seems lots of people in the world are not getting their quota of cuddles from their nearest and dearest. Or perhaps 'cuddling with no strings attached' is a new manifestation of the 'me' generation... I'm still pondering that.
This morning I read a fascinating profile of leaders in the new cuddling industry. It turns out that professional cuddlers have a lot in common with caregivers. We know the power of touch and we intuit opportunities for the sharing of fears and memories. Caregivers are the mining engineers in the complex business of being deeply human. But professional cuddlers get paid $80 an hour - that's just one of the differences between us.
It's no wonder that artists are interested in exploring the meaning of cuddling, too. Here's a review of a 'play' that appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2011. Titled "The Pleasure of Being: Washing, Feeding, Holding...", it consists of one actor and one audience member - and yes, it is played out in silence and involves the actor bathing the audience member (bathing suits required), followed by a long session of holding and being held.
Here is the review from the Edinburgh Fringe:
Currently, I'm co-writing a new book with my friend and colleague, Vickie Cammack. We are seeking to define and articulate the inherent skills and wisdom of caring. As I said to Vickie last week, "It's like when a new mother knows the difference between her baby's tired cry and his hungry cry - these skills are often minimized or considered to be private and not really valuable." Caregivers are knowledge-keepers and how to give and receive deep comfort in cuddling is one aspect of our sage wisdom. There's a booming business in professional snugglers. Let's remember our value the next time we hug our loved ones.