Right around this time last year, big brouhaha was afloat in Madison, Wisconsin over the proposed opening of The Snuggle House, a go-to place for reaping the benefits of “touch therapy,” to help us feel connected in our disconnected world. So cozy! The very thought makes me feel like the fabric softener bear with the squeaky voice. Except not all Madison councilman were snuggling up to the idea, many expressing concerns that The Snuggle House was a cozy front for not-so-cozy prostitution. After much dickering among the owner, a bevy of lawers and a multitude of politicians, The Snuggle House at last opened its doors. For three weeks.
Alas, The Snuggle House is no more. Dang. So what’s a person to do nowadays who just wants an honest-to-goodness snuggle? Or cuddle? Is there no hope? Well, of course there is, silly. All you need to do is download Cuddlr. It’s like Tinder but without the sleazy casual sex association. Cuddlr, according to its website, is a location-based, social media app to find people who are up for a cuddle. And that’s it. Errr … right?
Perhaps I’ve just been around the block a few too many times, but I have to confess, I have … concerns. Am I truly to believe that two strangers meet, hug, and then go their separate ways, a balance of peace and harmony restored in their lives from their quickie cuddle? Maybe if it really, truly worked as the app developers envisioned, then maybe. Maybe. But here’s the thing: if I just need a hug, I can get one from my true friends. There aren’t sexual expectations from them. We’re friends. We love each other as friends, support each other as friends, and give each other hugs as friends. If there’s someone out there who can’t get a hug from his or her friend, is that person I myself would want to be hugging? Or, worse yet, cuddling?
I have visions of using Cuddlr to get myself a nice dose of oxytocin through the warm touch of a stranger, only to have said stranger start groping me. Maybe his arm “accidentally” slips a little too far down as we cuddle and suddenly my ass is getting grabbed. Or I feel his stiff “member” pressed not-so-cuddly against my butt. What then? According to Cuddlr, they’ve thought of that. You can report on the cuddlyness of your cuddler by rating him or her after the encounter as “successful” or “unsuccessful.” Too many bad ratings aren’t likely to get one repeat cuddle requests, and Cuddlr says it bans anyone consistently using the app improperly. I suppose I could, as a woman, decide only to cuddle with other women. Cuddlr doesn’t allow users to filter for things such as age or gender, but you could just keep declining cuddle requests until you get one from someone you think looks OK. Except all you really have to go on is the cuddle requestor’s Facebook picture, and we all know how accurate those can be. Another disagreeable side effect of the app is that, without warning, a map appears documenting you and your potential cuddler’s whereabouts. Hope you’re not caught up in privacy concerns!
As earnest as the developers’ intentions, the biggest problem with Cuddlr is that it doesn’t take the awkwardness factor into account. People in today’s world are lonely for good reason. It’s hard to meet and connect with people on an intimate basis, even if you don’t intend for the intimacy to be sexual. So an app attempting to address the loneliness factor is conceptually a fine idea, but technology isn’t going to help us overcome how weird and awkward it is to simply start spooning with a stranger.
For a better, safer, and much more rewarding cuddle, I recommend Liz Everly’s wonderful new historical romance, Tempting Will McGlashen. We’re celebrating its release this week, so why not give yourself a good ol’ self cuddle and get yourself a copy. And while you’re at it, be sure to follow Lady Smut. We’ll wrap our virtual arms around you and we promise not to grope.