Professional Cuddlers: Yes, They Exist

And at $80/hour, they might be making more money than you.

Yesterday, The Atlantic published the article “The Calm, Gentle Rise of Snugglers for Hire”, written by Olga Oksman, and I don’t know how I feel about it. The article goes in depth about how you can apparently rent cuddlers to embrace or, if you’re not about that life, platonic friends to do platonic activities with, like go walking together.

Where do you find them? Online, of course! There are apparently a ton of companionship businesses. For example, rentafriend.com, where there are over 526,000 new friends waiting to bake a cake with you, made of rainbows and smiles.

All you have to do is type in your location, select the gender of the friend you wish to interact with, and you’re off! The result is like a weird mix between Amazon and Craigslist.

Help! Should I blow off some steam with Chrissie or listen to Julia play the piano?!

RentAFriend’s founder, Scott Rosenbaum, said the website is often utilized by business travelers who don’t want to eat alone, or newcomers to an area who don’t know anyone yet.

But people who want to cuddle with a stranger can check out websites such as thesnugglebuddies.com. Want a sleepover? That’s going to cost you $400 for 10 hours (which includes approximately 6 hours of sleeping).

“The idea of paying to cuddle may sound laughable, desperate, or even skeevy.” — Olga Oksman, The Atlantic

The Atlantic pretty much stole those words out of my mouth, besides “skeevy” because I have never said that word out loud or in my head, for that matter. I don’t think I could ever become a professional cuddler (*cue parent’s sigh of relief*). It just seems too creepy. But maybe I’m thinking about it all wrong.

“Paying a stranger for a massage in a semi-undressed state has long been socially acceptable, so why would cuddling while fully dressed be all that bad?” — Olga Oksman, The Atlantic

Oksman says these websites are simply serving a diverse group of people with a variety of needs.

One professional snuggler, Samantha Hess, said to Oksman that she’s often “spent” after a day of cuddling. She carries multiple t-shirts with her in case “clients” cry on her.

One paid companion on RentAFriend, Lorraine Christie, described herself as a “speed-dating therapist.”

In a society driven by technology, it’s so much easier to socially isolate yourself. Everyone is on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Netflix and well, you can’t go bowling with your computer. At least not yet. Thirty years ago, 20 percent of adults said they were lonely, but that number has since doubled to 40 percent. No wonder everyone is trying to seek out a friend.

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that people actually do them, but hey, if both parties are happy, what can I say?

As one of my close (real) friends often says, “don’t yuck their yum.”