In the small Northern California town of Roseville, a new business called Cuddle Connection just opened its doors for the first time this week. The space offers five different cuddle zones and is designed to offer a similar experience as to what one might find at a day spa. The owner of the business, professional cuddler, Kelly Peterson, is on a mission to change our views on the power of touch and earn some paper at the same time. Quoted by the local news coverage, Peterson said, “We want to change the way that people think about touch.”
Personally, I would’ve paid good money to be in the room when Peterson, the professional cuddler, showed up applying for her potential business license to sell hugs to the good people of Roseville. I assume she met with a presumably confused city bureaucrat and their conversation went something like this:
“And what exactly do you plan to do at Cuddle Connection?”
“We’ll offer cuddling by the hour.”
“You are a professional cuddler?”
“Yes, I cuddle. Professionally.”
“And that’s all you do… You cuddle?”
“That’s what I do. I cuddle strangers for money.”
“Well, I would cuddle for free but … cuddlers got eat, too.”
If you know anything about Northern California, you’ve probably heard we’re a bit more touchy-feely than other parts of the country. This is, for the most part, true. But not so much in Roseville. It’s a conservative foothill town that’s not too far from my hometown of Davis. And well, I don’t imagine the locals are all that thrilled about the national attention they’re getting thanks to Cuddle Connection. But dear people of Roseville it’s time you recognize, there’s a new cuddler in town … and her name is Kelly Peterson. She came to cuddle and make money doing it.
Describing her approach to her work, Peterson said, “A cuddle is like a prolonged hug.” Talk like that makes me wonder. She might really be on to something here. “Hugs for sale!” could be a super-sexy business proposition for a lot of potential customers. And I don’t just mean dirtbags.
Yes-yes, we all know it sounds like a business idea stoners or children would come up with; and sure, only a fool would thinks “I will hug you if you pay me” sounds like a solid business model. But I have to say, most everyone I see looks like they could use a hug. There is obviously a market and need for professional cuddling.
I’ve never tried to sell a hug. I have no idea if cuddling will generate big profits. My sister is the business-minded one. I’m the beach bum in the family. But you learn things at the beach. One of the things I’ve learned is people are always trying to sell you stuff you can get for free. There are businesses that do really well selling tans and bottled water. And does anyone remember oxygen bars? Maybe selling free stuff is the best business model. Like I said, I have no idea. All I have are questions.
I imagine the quality of the cuddling will be super-important. Like, everyone knows a good hug comes down to who is doing the hugging. If I’m paying someone to cuddle with me, I’m gonna want to pick, or at least have a choice of who cuddles with me. This mean they’ll probably need a staff of a few quality cuddlers for any pain-in-the-ass picky customers like me who like options to decide between.
Of course, other questions spring to mind:
Would there be different techniques the cuddlers would offer?
What if you want the person who cuddles you to be scented?
Can I get a cuddler who smells of lavender perfume and moth balls?
What about maple syrup and industrial strength hairspray, something really sweet, would that be a scent combination one could order?
Also, I would imagine that by the time I’m paying for my third or fourth cuddle, I’m gonna have some opinions about other options that might really matter to me.
Peterson just opened for business, so I guess, we should be patient. We’ll have to wait and see where this is all going. At the moment, she’s concentrating on the take-away experience for the customers she and her staff cuddle.
One of the professional cuddlers at Cuddle Connection, Faviola Rodriguez, says that hugs are healing. Simple as that. I mean it’s right there in the name. Connection.
She told the local news, “I think first and foremost, people are going to walk away with a better feeling of themselves.”
Just as the French fry is a vehicle to sell you grease and salt, the hugs they sell (or rent, I’m not really sure how that works) are a way to sell a customer a feeling of connection, and we all know that feeling is in high demand these days.
Faviola’s right to call it healing and good feelings. If these women in Roseville, which is a name far sweeter than the town is, can spread connection in half-hour increments, if they can generate healing by hug-feeling a customer with their body, I say it sounds like good things for everyone involved.
Interesting side note, Cuddle Connection is not the first professional cuddling establishment. There have been other cuddling pioneers. And in the past, city leaders and civic-minded types have shut down similar cuddle operations, such as one in Wisconsin, after the city leaders were lead to believe that cuddling can lead to sex. (I hope it didn’t take them long to do that math.)
Before she opened her doors to folks in need of a cuddle, Peterson insisted and promised her cuddling comes with no happy endings. There are cameras throughout Cuddle Connection. As well, each cuddle zone is heavily monitored. But we all know just because there’s a camera that won’t keep some bloke from popping a chubby because he’s getting touched by a woman. Peterson claims she’s also prepared for any guy who pitches a tent while she’s cuddling him.
She said, “Let them know that it’s OK, if they get embarrassed, if it happens, it’s OK. Let’s readjust, let’s take the focus off of that.”
Is there a profit to be found in hugging? Can a business dedicated to cuddling keep the creeps away? Will they ever offer custom scented-cuddlers?
We’ll have to wait for answers. For now, Kelly Peterson is optimistic she can help the people of Roseville cuddle their way to a better tomorrow one hug at a time.
If you’re thinking, “Well, that all sounds rad … I’d like to see the menu.”
For a half-hour session, they’ll big spoon you for $29.
An hour-long session of hug therapy costs $49.
If you’d like to see someone get cuddled … here’s a link from Good Day Sacramento, a local morning news show that’s just as cheesy as you imagine it is. Enjoy!