Monday, November 29, 2010

Cuddle Parties? Would you go?

I like to think that I'd try just about anything once... well, as long as it didn't go against my values. I like to experiment with unusual, funky things, especially when it comes to relationships or communication. And, of course, I love a good theme party. So, when I was invited to a "cuddle party," I was intrigued. If I were still writing The Laptop Dancer Diaries, it would be just the kind of thing I'd do as an "adventure."

But, I have to say, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed mildly creepy! I wouldn't know anyone at this party. I barely know the person who invited me.. just met her once at my writing group. And to be honest, she's not a person I particularly feel like cuddling with. I mean, the best thing about cuddling is enjoying the person you're cuddling with. Cuddling with a complete stranger? This does not sound appealing to me. It sounds embarrassing and weird.

It's funny that I'm having this reaction because not too long ago, I had a big debate with my family about a Free Hugs event I was attending. I was a member of a Random Acts of Kindness Meetup Group and at the event, we were hanging out on a street corner with "Free Hugs" signs offering these hugs up to strangers. (This originated from this popular Free Hugs YouTube video.)

I, of course, was arguing in favor of giving "free hugs." It's been proven that we all need touch. What's the big deal if it's a stranger? My parents thought it was weird. My mother warned me of all the dangerous people out there, telling me of some story where a poor woman was accosted. I assured her I would not be in any danger and told her that the trouble with the world is that we're all so afraid of "strangers" that we don't even smile at them. If we could all just trust one another, the world would be a better place.

My Dad just thought it was stupid. He wasn't really concerned about safety. He just thought there was no point in hugging strangers. I told him that's probably because he had plenty of family and people who hug him all the time, but if he didn't, he may think differently. No, he assured me, it's just stupid.

Of course, now that I'm thinking about this cuddle party, I'm finally getting my Dad's point. Cuddling isn't that far off from hugging. I can't say I get cuddled with nearly as much as I'd like, yet still, I do not have any desire to cuddle with a stranger. What's next? Kissing strangers? (Actually... There is the whole mistletoe tradition which I don't really mind as long as the person under the mistletoe is somebody kissable...) But... cuddling... That just seems like it should be reserved for kids and intimate partners and maybe cute pets or pillows.

What do you think? Is cuddling too intimate to do with a stranger? Would you go to a cuddle party?

What about hugging? Would you give a free hug? Would you take one if it were offered to you by a stranger?


Paula said...

I would definitely not go to a cuddle party. To lower cuddling to the superficilaity of having a party just so that you can cuddle someone seems like taking away the whole reason for cuddling - because you love them. It's not just the physical closeness that we crave - it's the emotional closeness. It's like swinger clubs, except at a lower level ..

Yvette said...

Hi Paula,
Yes... I almost said it seemed a little like a G-rated orgy, but... didn't know if that would be too strong.

But, I have to say, I think the same argument could apply to hugging someone. Maybe hugging, too, should only be reserved for people we know and truly care about.

It has made me re-think about what kind of "touching" should only be reserved for people we love...

Anonymous said...

ahhh...NO! I'm not a "touchy-feely" type to begin with and this idea definitely creeps me out! I found it interesting that the folks in the picture appear to be wearing name tags. I don't cuddle with anyone whose name I don't know by heart.

Yvette said...

Hi Anonymous,
I have even stricter standards than that! I have to know their name by heart and really like them... and I mean REALLY like them!(There are very few friends I can imagine myself cuddling with... unless I've add a little too much to drink.)

And, alas, since you remain anonymous, which means I can't even memorize your name, I suppose we will never be cuddle buddies...

Popo said...

You know, Yvette, I too was like you in your thought process. I thought "wouldn't a cuddle party be a great way break new boundaries, tear walls down, and open yourself up to new forms of the human touch". Then after alot of contemplating, I came to the same conclusion as yourself. The cuddling groups I checked into tried to make us feel comfortable saying that all rules are laid out, communication is number 1, and no means no, I don't believe it is an enriching experience. Just imagine you're laying there next to a wonderful person in full cuddle. The act in itself is meaningless and does nothing if there is no deeper meaning to it. Intimacy between loved ones makes it worth while. Otherwise, if I want meaningless "human touch", I might as well do it right and hit a swingers club for that!