by REiD Mihalko, the Sultan of Snuggle
O ne of the common assumptions made when people first hear about Cuddle Party is that it's the new “hip-happenin” singles event, where people can meet, greet and (potentially) mate. This interested us, because Cuddle Parties were never intended to be “singles events.” They are, first and foremost, events for adults to explore and practice welcomed, non-sexual touch, affection, intimacy and communication in a safe space, and are, in my mind, as far from Speed Dating as it gets. But “safe space” to connect with people is safe space whether you’re single or married with children, right? And if you happen to be on the market for a relationship and happen to meet someone you jibe with at a Cuddle Party, why wouldn’t you ask them out?
Just because “NO DRY HUMPING!” is a Cuddle Party mantra doesn’t mean “No dating” should be too. Or should it?
Marcia and I are all about consenting adults consenting to whatever it is they want to consent to, as long as they abide by the Rules of Cuddle Party while at a Cuddle Party. Truth be told, people have met at Cuddle Parties, exchanged numbers and gone out on dates, but does this mean Cuddle Parities are ripe environments for Cupid’s work? Are Cuddle Parties the next dating trend? Will online dating services be sponsoring Cuddle Parties in a city near you? What about the Want Ads?
Single, getting fit, vegetarian Cuddle Monster seeking non-smoking, cat-friendly Cuddle Monster for spooning, walks along the beach, movie dates, maybe more...
What’s stopping Cuddle Parties from becoming the next, big, singles movement, and would it be such a bad thing? Let’s see...
Cuddle Parties are about communication as much as they are about touch. Rule #3 states that you’ve got to ask permission and receive a verbal Yes before you can touch, cuddle, kiss, or nuzzle anyone. If you say No to someone’s request, they have to respect your No or else they’re asked to leave. Wouldn’t that be a nice rule to have during Happy Hour at your local watering hole?
Cuddle Parties are non-alcoholic, no-drug events, so you don’t need to worry about making a fool out of yourself because Mr. Right only walked into the bar when you were on your third Cosmopolitan. This also eliminates the drunken jerk factor of having to deal with the slurred “Aw why won’t you give me your number??” Of course, you don’t get to take the edge off your nervous excitement with that glass of Pinot Grigio, but neither does anyone else at the Cuddle Party, so you’re pretty much even there. And, let’s not forget that the Welcome Circle is designed to get a whole room full of strangers not feeling like strangers. Talk about breaking the ice, huh? Your Cuddle Lifeguard On Duty is like the ultimate Wing-Man or Wing-Woman.
The age old worry of “What do I wear?” also gets taken out of the picture. Marcia and I have found that pajamas are a great social equalizer. Everyone has to wear pj's, or, at least, sweats and a T-shirt. Something comfy. And if they don’t match, so much the better! This means no $1200-suit-and-tie egos leaning over you at the bar trying to give you their business card. It means not having to worry whether your jewelry matches your handbag. Or whether your shoes are shiny enough and expensive enough to catch anyone’s eye. And, the added plus: If you feel most comfortable and at home in flannels and a tee, you don’t have to pretend otherwise at a Cuddle Party!
Cuddle Parties aren’t very strenuous, so you don’t have that “at the gym” worry of meeting someone for the first time all sweaty and gross, and you’ll never embarrass yourself by getting caught staring at yourself flexing in the mirror. Also, Cuddle Parties are safer since you’re never going to fall off the treadmill or drop a dumbbell on your head (although getting caught on the bottom of Puppy Pile could be a problem!).
The music isn’t blaring and Cuddle Parties never suffer from pitch-black ”ĺmood lighting” like some bars do, so you’ll actually be able to see and hear the person you’re talking to. Of course, if you’re spooning with someone whose not very interesting, you might think you’re caught in blind date hell, but Rule #6 clearly states that you are encouraged to change your mind anytime you want. So all you have to do is communicate that, excuse yourself and grab something to drink or go cuddle someone else.
Hmmmmmm... Now that I think of it, Cuddle Parties might be a great place to meet people, single or otherwise.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend that you troll Cuddle Party events looking for one-night cuddles and anonymous intimacy, but they are amazing spaces to connect with people, where communication, honesty and courage are the standard. And it does take courage to come to a Cuddle Party. Why? Because you might ask someone to cuddle and they just might say “no.” Ouch! But they also might say “yes,” and isn’t that what, at some level, the singles scene is all about... eventually asking someone to cuddle?
For the women, you get to be in a situation with men where you can maintain control, and be with men who understand how to ask permission and how to respect a No. For the men, you get to take a break from the “gotta get the number” game that sometimes runs our lives and just enjoy cuddling and connecting with people.
Of course, the reality of it is, that no matter what your gender, you get to meet people who understand that touch doesn’t HAVE to be sexual, and enjoy touch and communication and intimacy in a way that the “real world” doesn’t seem to foster. Whether you’re single or taken, married, widowed or divorced, in an open relationship, looking for love or just looking for cool friendships, working on healing yourself or working on perfecting your foot massage, Cuddle Parties might be the place for you.
And what if asking someone to cuddle does become the new “What sign are you?” question of this millennium? Would that be so bad?
Posted: Sept. 6, 2004.
© Article Copyright 2004-2005 Atlas Spooned. Originally published on cuddleparty.com, and reprinted with permission.
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OC Cuddle Parties.
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