Occasionally, after reading online comments about my articles, I could use a hug.
With the help of Snuggle Buddiez, a new Boise-based cuddling service, I might just expense one to the Idaho Statesman.
At first, only women will be allowed to use the Snuggle Buddiez app and website, which are set to launch near the end of October.
But get this, dudes. Snuggle Buddiez is hiring. As a male cuddle buddy, you’ll get paid $40 an hour to go caress a woman’s hair, get your spoon on — whatever platonic method it takes to leave her in a blissed-out state. Snuggle Buddiez will conduct open interviews at Fatty’s Bar, 800 W. Idaho St., from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
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Show up early if you want to beat the line, boys.
“Basically, we’re just looking for guys that meet the qualifications,” Snuggle Buddiez co-owner Charlotte Lindsay says. “Somebody that can cuddle and pass the background check and the psych eval, and is willing to go through the training to get certified.”
Wait a minute. Pyschological evaluation? Background check? Certification?
What exactly will the interviews entail?
“Questions like how their relationship with their ex is or baby mama is,” Lindsay continues. “Just getting a feel for their type of personality.”
OK, some of you chumps are hosed.
This is real, men. I’m not pulling your leg. I’m just gently stroking it. Turns out, professional cuddlists are a thing already in the United Kingdom and other parts of the United States.
Lindsay decided to start Snuggle Buddiez after being single for an extended period.
“I went through a very messy, hectic breakup,” Lindsay, 36, says. “I just spent the last three years focusing on raising my daughter and working.”
Because of severe lower back pain, Lindsay had to take disability leave from her job this summer. A back specialist asked her about possible emotional trauma as a cause. The Snuggle Buddiez idea began to bloom.
“I had been missing the feeling of touch,” she says, “and I knew it was affecting me on many different levels.”
Let’s cozy up to the Snuggle Buddiez app. Any Boise woman craving platonic intimacy will be able to grab her phone, scroll through cuddlist photos, check out their bios and ratings, and make an appointment. Bam! A cuddle buddy will come knocking.
The certified snuggler will go over rules. Both parties will establish boundaries. Clients will be presented with a menu of various activities and positions.
“So they can choose to just start off maybe on the couch holding hands and talking, and kind of having the cuddlist get a feel for what they’re going through in life right now,” Lindsay says. “From there, they might snuggle on the couch. Or they might decide to move to a bed and snuggle. Or they could even go out and do other platonic activities like go for a walk or go to a movie, things like that.”
“We’re also going to offer services like massage. Simple things like petting hair. Things that are comforting to people, in kind of a nurturing way.”
The cost of a standard session? $80 an hour.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just have your cat sleep on your face or something?
I guess not. And the more I hear Lindsay explain pro snuggling, the less bizarre it starts to seem. (This frightens me. I need that hug.)
“Honestly, just think about it,” she says. “Women pay a lot of money for massages and counseling sessions and things like that. So I think it kind of embodies all of that — on a personal, connective level.”
Lindsay shares a long list of health benefits she says are derived from snuggling. “Platonic human touch releases oxytocin,” she says. “Oxytocin has a major role in lower blood pressure, lowering stress levels, reducing social anxiety, helping to relieve pain and protecting against inflamation ...”
Platonic cuddling can become a bridge to finding an actual relationship, too, she says. “That’s what’s really cool about this. It triggers the trust response, so we’re more likely to trust individuals and be more likely to have a connection with somebody.”
Clients might range from people who didn’t experience nurturing touch as children to disabled adults not experiencing much non-clinical human touch, Lindsay says.
“We have a lot of service women that have come back with PTSD,” she adds, “and they don’t have people that they can connect to, or have the intimate personal cuddling time.”
The one-sided advantage of Snuggle Buddiez? The professional cuddler brings no personal agenda.
“I think that’s why so many women backed off from even using dating services or trying to date,” Lindsay says. “You go into a situation where you just need a simple need met of connect with somebody, but at the same time, there’s the pressure of thinking they have ulterior motives. Or the messiness of it. You can’t know if they’re going to turn into a crazy stalker.”
Lindsay already held a short round of trial interviews. When she posted about Snuggle Buddiez on a local Facebook group called “208 Man Stuff, wheeling and dealing,” it created a firestorm, she says. “It was, like, 500-something comments in a couple hours.”
“A lot of guys that are interested are personal trainers and guys that study MMA,” she adds.
(MMA dudes wanna cuddle? Really?)
The plan is to take Snuggle Buddiez national. Lindsay also wants the service to eventually include female cuddlists for male clients. But that’s more complicated, she says, because of the societal stigma. Plus, self-defense training will be needed. The LGBT community also is a future goal for Snuggle Buddiez, she says.
But for starters, it will be Idaho guys gettin’ paid to snuggle with Idaho gals.
We’re here to serve. Right, gents? Even if men will never fully understand women.
Even if my beautiful wife sometimes chases me around the house trying to get extra hugs and kisses.
“We just want to sit there and talk and cuddle,” Lindsay says with a laugh. “And sometimes we have to pay for it!”
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