The Washington Post, on Thursday 26 April, carried an article about the increasing number of unmarried people (at least, I assume they are all unmarried). who desperately miss human physical contact and who are paying about $80 a time to be cuddled, non-sexually of course, by professional cuddlers.
Cuddling shops have apparently opened in Portland and Los Angeles. The article states that commercial cuddling is “an antidote to a culture where casual physical contact seems elusive”, the more so since the Me-too movement would seem to make men think twice or three times before they seek physical contact with a woman.
The percentage of American adults living without a spouse or partner has risen from 39% to 42% in the past 10 years, according the Pew Research Center, an increase that could have been enhanced by the last election and the anxiety we all feel about the direction of the country. For many people a professional cuddle is the first human connection of their lives. For others it teaches them how to deal respectfully with the opposite sex, without being accused of anything. The US is supposed to be one of the most touch-averse countries in the world. The demand is big. Cuddlist, the most prominent website that deals with cuddling (I am not making this up) lists 10,000 requests from punters. Good luck to them!
All of which gives new meaning to the phrase “service industry”. But it’s very sad indeed and, at its extreme, must partly explain gun violence by lonely young men who feel unloved and unappreciated, whose parents never had a clue about child rearing. and who don’t know how to woo a young woman (mmmh. good idea for a new career – Wooing the Gentle Way Inc)