Madame Vigée-Lebrun et sa fille, painting by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun
Last year, the Atlantic
published a story about "cuddle parties,"
meetups where people get together in rooms with mostly strangers to "connect" – aka, hang out and cuddle with other people in a strictly platonic
environment – and professional cuddlers who charge a fee to huddle with lonely strangers seeking human contact. Loneliness is rampant in our plugged-in world, the story says, so people are turning to services to help release those feel-good brain chemicals – oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine – that keep people from melting into puddles of depression. Increasingly, the story said, people are "snuggling with strangers" to combat loneliness and isolation.
On Dec. 15, an ad popped up on backpage.com
advertising a professional snuggling service in San Antonio. "Want to cuddle, feel the warmth of another person, get a massage, or have a conversation without judgment with a compassionate woman?," the ad asks. Many people do not get the amount of human touch they want or need in their daily life. Professional cuddling can help with depression, stress, anxiety and much more!"
We visited the site to see what it had to offer and learned that professional snuggling isn't just beneficial for the snugglee – the snuggler also stands to profit, with rates starting at $80 per hour. According to the website The Snuggle Buddies,
which offers professional snuggling and cuddling in cities all around the nation (from both men and women. although the site acknowledges that men "rarely" get any requests), the snugglers earn $40 per hour plus $15 per hour for travel. And the company is currently hiring in all states, so if that's your bag, all you have to do is apply. No experience necessary, but you have to have "a warm personality." And a willingness to act as somebody else's warm body. You can apply here.