The beautiful thing about private enterprise is that, no matter how dumb an idea may be, if there are people dumb enough to pay for it, then you can still profit.
And there are some pretty dumb ideas out there.
And dumb people.
And our society is in a very sad state, apparently.
Enter: cuddle parties.
Cuddle parties are special gatherings where detached, awkward city-dwellers who want to cuddle but apparently can’t land a significant other can pay good money to cuddle with strangers.
The Daily Wire reports:
Writing for SF Gate, Bay Area resident Annie Vainshtein described her foray into one of these cuddle parties at a place called the “Cuddle Castle” dedicated to making people feel more comfortable with intimacy. It’s also the kind of place where 40-year-old men wear cookie monster onesies.
“Not one cell in my body was in the mood for cuddling once I walked up the steps and opened the door to the Cuddle Castle,” she writes. ” was greeted by the Cuddle Party facilitator, Yoni Alkan. A bearded man who looked to be in his 40s, he had a wrestler’s physique and kind, confident eyes. I noticed he was wearing a fuzzy Cookie Monster onesie. ‘Hello!’ he says warmly. ‘Would you like a hug?'”
Apparently, the whole “Cuddle Party” scene came about in 2004 in New York City from Marcia Baczynski and Reid Mihalko, both relationship and sex educators.
“The idea was to create a safe space for people to experience non-sexual touch, practice boundaries, and feel more comfortable expressing consent,” writes Vainshtein. “The belief that touch is essential — a biological and social need — but often difficult to find without an intimate relationship is a guiding principle within the cuddling world, which in recent years has emerged as a major commercial industry.”
The movement has even sparked professional cuddlists who charge as much $100 per hour to do what any spouse or boyfriend can do.
If you were curious as to what the actual super specific boundaries for cuddle parties are, the man in the Cookie Monster suit explained them as follows, apparently:
- Rule #1: Pajamas stay on the whole time.
- Rule #2: You don’t have to cuddle anyone at a Cuddle Party, ever.
- Rule #3: You must ask permission and receive a verbal “yes” before you touch anyone (Be as specific in your request as you can).
- Rule #4: If you’re a yes, say yes. If you’re a no, say no.
- Rule #5: If you’re a maybe, say no.
- Rule #6: You are encouraged to change your mind.
- Rule #7: Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
- Rule #8: Get your Cuddle Party Facilitator or the Cuddle Assistant if you have a question or concern or need assistance with anything during the Cuddle Party.
- Rule #9: Tears and laughter are both welcome.
- Rule #10: Respect people’s privacy when sharing about Cuddle Parties.
- Rule #11: Keep the Cuddle space tidy.
If you missed #9, yes, tears and laughter are both welcome.
In case you wondered if it wasn’t already going to be super awkward enough to cuddle with strangers.