|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/12/13 17:32 《Speak 2 Me》|
Cuddle culture is coming to party near you
James is a balding middle-aged New York builder built like a tank. He’s a tough guy, but he’s also lonely. Just like everyone else, James needs human contact from time to time, and he’s found a way to get all the hugs he wants: at cuddle parties.
New York can be a scary place: it has a high murder rate and some seriously disturbed people living in it. But James says he’s comfortable showing up at a New York apartment with twenty people he’s never met – all wearing their pajamas. The floor of the ‘cuddle zone’ is soon covered with complete strangers snuggling and cuddling, but that’s as far as it goes.
Cuddle parties are the latest trend for lonely, isolated city folks who want to meet people and become safely intimate. The safety comes from rules that are strictly followed: shower before you come, bring clean pajamas, ask permission before you cuddle, and keep your clothes on. “We have ‘cuddle lifeguards’ to make sure everyone sticks to the rules,” says party host Reid Mihalko. The lifeguards make sure nobody gets out of line, and everyone goes home feeling better than when they arrived.
Once the cuddle party is in full swing, people like James are soon crawling on top of one another, stretching out like puppies ready for a nap. Mihalko admits that the whole idea “might seem a little odd” at first. But research has shown that being touched by other people helps reduce stress and can help sick people heal faster. The comfortable contact that children have with each other gradually disappears as people grow older. But Mihalko points out, “Just because we grow up doesn’t mean we all of a sudden stop needing to be held.”