Kind of falling into both of those scenarios I went searching for that time. That's when I found out about floating. And then when I did the research about that I found out about cuddling.Wait, what? Yes, cuddling. It's a thing and it's not as weird as you would imagine. I contacted Cuddlist which is one of the most reputable places to find professional cuddlers. I was intrigued, are people actually doing this? And yes apparently in droves. The founders of the organization have set up a strict screening process for the “cuddlists” which includes training (which is overseen by one of the co-founders) and a strict code of conduct that both parties have to agree to adhere to, which involves dress code, inappropriate touching etc.
The idea is that people are lacking in touch. And that is very important to a person's well being, think about a newborn and how much they need and thrive on being held. It's no different for adults. And since they have been very clear to eliminate anything sexual in the process, people are free to be held or hold someone in a non-threatening platonic way. Kind of like therapy but with fewer words. Though when I tried it there was a lot of talking.
I arrived at the place and I was nervous. I didn’t really know what was going to happen. I was greeted at the door by Ella, who by trade is a public school teacher. She had started cuddling on the side, but after a particularly tough school year, she took a year off and is now cuddling full time. She showed me the way to the bathroom, and I changed into gym clothes, she was wearing a nice pair of pajamas.
We sat on a big comfy sofa and talked for a little while. We went over the code of conduct, she turned on some quiet but invigorating music. It was the score for the movie Amelie. And then she put her head on my chest. After a few minutes I felt at ease, it was much like when you had to acclimate to the sensory deprivation tank.
The session which was an hour was really nice. It's hard to describe it in words. Kind of like falling asleep on a sofa with a cat you like asleep in the crook of your arm if you like cats. It was comfortable and un-judged. Ella who is also a graphic artist has a really easy manner about her. It was a very profound and familiar experience but not anything inappropriate, and that was great because that was what I was hoping to get out of the experience. She told me most of her clients are partnered but are so busy with real life they don't get all the touch they need at home and are not looking for an affair or what not.
Most of the clients at Cuddlist are male, Ella thinks that women, moms, in particular, could benefit from cuddling since they do so much for others and not themselves. Cuddlist employees over 100 trained cuddlists (both female and male). Since Cuddlist launched in January of 2016, they have spread throughout the country, but mostly concentrated in more how do you say progressive areas. If you are curious it is worth the small investment in yourself.
Note: Cuddlist was nice enough to provide me with a free session to use as research for this post, but all opinions are my own.
SPECIAL DEAL FOR MY NYC AREA READERS (or anyone willing to travel to NYC) - Go to Ella’s page and mention Great Moments in Bad Parenting in the notes section and you will receive $10 off of an hour session.