The hot new trend: cuddle parties. What’s that? An article by Libby Copeland in the Seattle Times titled Strangers Attend Cuddle Parties describes it as so:
Thirteen people arrive, mostly in twos and fours, at 1 p.m. They change into pajamas and put on name tags. World music and jazz soften the mood. Mihalko asks them to gather in a “welcome circle” on blankets on the floor. He calls himself “your cuddle lifeguard”…Mihalko tells people to discuss their “cuddle boundaries” and turns them loose. Within minutes, he is bundled up with three women, his legs intertwined with theirs, his expression beatific. Elsewhere, there is foot stroking and a four-person back-massage chain.
A visit to the official Cuddle Party website, cuddleparty.com, reveals the rules of the Cuddle Party:
- Pajamas stay on the whole time.
- You don’t have to cuddle anyone at a Cuddle Party, ever.
- You must ask permission and receive a verbal YES before you touch anyone. (Be as specific in your request as you can.)
- If you’re a yes, say YES. If you’re a no, say NO.
- If you’re a maybe, say NO.
- You are encouraged to change your mind anytime you want.
Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
- Get your Cuddle Lifeguard On Duty or Cuddle Caddy if you have a question or concern or need assistance with anything during the Cuddle Party.
- Tears and laughter are both welcome.
- Respect people’s privacy when sharing about Cuddle Parties and do not gossip.
- Arrive on time.
- Be hygienically savvy.
Personally, I don’t even like slow-dancing with someone I don’t know because it seems too intimate to me. Come to think of it, I don’t even like slow-dancing with some people I do know. The author of the blog post Cuddle Party from the blog, Edge of Everywhere, has a similar take on things:
I can only understand physical contact in the context of a close relationship, whether it’s with family, friends, or a partner. I mean, isn’t affection about liking and caring about someone? I just don’t get how people can take a shortcut to intimacy without actually knowing and liking each other.
That’s not to say that cuddle parties don’t have merit for some people. I’m a firm believer in if it feels good and you’re not hurting anybody — do it. Just don’t do it with me.
So, what do you think? Would you pay $30+ to go to a three-and-a-half hour (yes I said 3 1/2 hours!) party to cuddle with strangers?