At Cuddle Con, you can be hard snuggled by hundreds of strangers for 12 full hours this Valentine's Day. Looks like you've finally got a date.
If you're romantically free on Valentine's Day, why wallow in your solitude? While everyone else is updating their couple's intention boards and putting the paper napkins on their laps at Red Lobster, you could be touching hundreds of people at once at Cuddle Con, locked in a doughy though mentally-therapuetic embrace.
What is Cuddle Con, you ask? Referred to by some as "The most important event in cuddling history," it's a cuddling convention for singles who are ready to mingle but not mingle-fuck. And it's where you can go to drown your Hallmark-holiday related sorrows in the warm spoon of a stranger.
Forty-seven year old Kimberly Jensen is gonna be there. After spending most of her Valentine's Days alone, she'll be going to Cuddle Con to squish bodies. In fact, over 100 perpetually single people (that's your kind!) will be doing the same attending the the event in Portland, Oregon which bills itself as the world's first ever cuddle convention.
"I hated Valentine's Day, and now I am looking forward to it. I am hoping to cuddle non-stop," Jensen said. Non-stop!
The 12-hour convention, which is strictly platonic and nonsexual (boo), was created by professional cuddler Samantha Hess. Yeah, you just read the words "professional cuddler" … Looking for a career path?
Hess is also the founder of Cuddle Me Up, a business that provides platonic touch for clients through cuddling sessions. She got idea to start the cuddling business back in January 2013 after discovering a man on Facebook who was offering free hugs and most definitely was no serial killer. When she saw that, the newly divorced Hess thought to herself that she would definitely pay someone for a hug right at that moment.
If the thought of spooning a strange man sounds unnerving or potentially life-threatening to you, Hess says the problem lies in your perception of platonic touch."In our culture, cuddling is connected with romantic relationships. Platonic touch is such a taboo thing," she said. Eh, so is being decapitated by a Facebook cuddler, but we grew up in a bad neighborhood, so …
But platonic touch in a professional setting is tantalizing to some because it's less intimidating and invasive than a romantic encounter. And, humans need to be touched. Cuddling can be immensely therapeutic for people who are never touched due to things like weight or illness, as well as to people who have been touched abusively and want to experience a loving embrace.
The idea of being hugged and not judged pulled Jensen in. She was experiencing feelings of unworthiness and loneliness when she entered Hess' Portland storefront more than a year ago. The math tutor drove an hour from her home in Salem to find out what platonic cuddling meant. After her first session with Hess, Jensen felt like she was on a runner's high.
"After I see her, I am pretty high for a couple of days. I am seriously addicted to it," Jensen said. "I think about if I have a ding in my car and I have a $500 deductible, that $500 could give me 500 minutes of cuddling."
But, you don't have to be single to enjoy the benefits of cuddling. "There are couples out there where one person is more affectionate than the other. Maybe if they can bring their partner to the convention to show them cuddling is normal," Jensen said, giving us a great idea about where we're taking our cat this Valentine's Day.
Hess says she sees 2015 as the "year of the cuddle" and hopes people will start to see the positives of platonic touch.
And now, here to illustrate this story, is an incredibly awkward, face to face cuddling interview with Samantha Hess conducted by a tall blonde news man:
… That could be us, but you playin'.