The giraffe’s long neck allows it to pluck food from the tops of trees, giving it an advantage against smaller animals. Poisonous frogs’ bright coloration warns predators to steer clear. A hedgehog’s spines make it perfect for starring in a beloved series of video games for Sega Genesis. An animal’s specific characteristics are the result of generations of Darwinian selection. Each creature is at its apex for survival. Its unique traits serve specific purposes. That said, I think my body is evolutionarily designed for snuggling.
Even amongst human beings, there is variation in body type. Some guys have bodies that lend themselves to athletics. They put on muscle easily and move with fluid coordination. You can pick them out by their strong confident gaits and their use of the term “brah.” Others seem perfectly adapted to living in a modern, technology-driven society. Their brains quickly absorb the nuanced applications of the newest devices and interfaces. They’re easily spotted because of their glasses and protruding wires. Looking at me, with my earth-toned sweaters and sympathetic eyebrows, one would get the impression that my body had adapted to the needs of an environment where survival depended on cuddling.
My physique is very snuggle-friendly. My size makes me an easy fit onto most beds and couches. I am of slightly above-average height with a medium build. While I am reasonably in shape, I am certainly soft around the edges. There aren’t a whole lot of sharp corners that would make me uncomfortable to be close to. My musculature is hidden under a protective layer of padding. It’s not a conscious choice. My innate love of pie has made me this way, much like a flamingo’s diet of shrimp gives it its pink coloration. My tender layer of insulation makes me an ideal companion for snuggling.
Moreover, I am covered in fur. Front. Back. Arms. Legs. (Pretty much everywhere except the top of my head.) This fuzz provides a visual cue that I am warm and cuddly, like a male bird’s plumage would. I’m like a teddy bear or a fireplace. Sure, my insulation makes me ill-suited for an Abercrombie and Fitch billboard or a role as a sparkly-torso’d Twilight vampire, but it does indicate that I’m ready to hibernate at a moment’s notice. Sometimes you don’t want to sleep beside a guy that’s all firm and hairless like an unripe avocado. Sometimes you need something warm and furry, like, well… no kind of produce at all, really. Let’s go with a panda. Furry like a panda.
Also, I don’t mean to brag, but I generate a fair amount of body heat. In the summer, this means I get sweaty legs. That is my body’s way of communicating: “Back up off me! Now is not the time for this!” Just as a blowfish puffs its spikes out to indicate it is not to be touched, my leg sweat warns others that it is not the season for snuggling. In the winter, however, when close quarters are more desirable, my warm, dry limbs provide heat without discomfort.
Finally, and most indicative of my true purpose, my natural sleeping position is on one side with my left arm tucked to my chest and my right arm extended straight up above my head. Yes, I am a rare natural big spoon. Reminiscent of the way a koala bear’s toes are spaced perfectly for grasping tree limbs, my body is designed to wrap around another person while sleeping. It’s not something I decided on. It must have been a posture passed down by my ancestors through natural selection on account of a top-notch snuggler’s enhanced ability to reproduce.
After all, that’s what evolution is all about. It’s not one organism changing its behavior. It’s a series of tiny steps towards the goal of optimum reproductive efficiency. But why does a cuddler seem perfect as a potential child-fatherer? Easy. Snuggling shows you’re in it for the long haul. You’re not just there to hit it and quit it (Darwin’s words, not mine). Snuggling shows the impulse to protect and form lasting relationships. Basically, the way I sleep shows that I’m an ideal mate. I’m not sure how I feel about all that, but it’s what my body seems designed for.