Will Spoon You For Money

Two interesting stories in the news today about asking other people to touch our bodies, non-sexually, in exchange for cash. In the first, a woman opens up the world’s first professional (and platonic) cuddling parlor. It’s in Portland, of course.

the shop is called Cuddle Up To Me and is already very busy. “This business has taken off,” Hess told Fox 12. “I’ve gotten as many as 10,000 emails in a week.” Hour-long sessions cost $60 dollars and include hair strokes, hand-holding and a plethora of different cuddle positions. Hess says the business is in no way adult-orientated, and that she got the idea for it during a low point in her life. … Sessions are taped to ensure the safety of both cuddler and cuddlee. … The shop is open Monday to Saturday. Talking is optional and pyjamas are encouraged.

Speaking of talking, in the second story, a woman recounts her experience paying for a more hands-on kind of therapy.

Being with Ann E. feels a little like being in psychotherapy, except you’re usually lying on a massage table in your underwear. It costs about the same for a session, although it lasts a lot longer and she doesn’t care if you doze through most of it. …

She finds it very effective:

Ever so gently, she slid one hand under my shoulder and then even more gently, laid her other hand on top of it, holding it as lightly as you would a baby bird, and in an instant I was sobbing uncontrollably. What she was doing did not hurt and there was no sadness — or any specific feeling — attached to the crying. Tears streamed from my eyes, and my chest heaved. It went on like that for maybe five minutes, and then the crying stopped suddenly and completely, as if it had never happened at all.

And without moving a muscle, I could tell that my shoulder had changed.

I tried something like that for a while! It was called the Rosen Method; the practitioner really put the therapist in massage therapist. My experience wasn’t quite as revelatory as that writer’s, but it definitely gave me a new way to think about how the mind influences the body and vice versa. Plus, because the guy I was working with was still a student he only charged me $40 an hour.

I had never tried actual talk-to-a-person therapy before, so the Rosen Method was a bit like a gateway drug; I realized that if I could cry about my feelings while basically naked with a stranger, I could probably do the same while clothed and looking the person in the eye. Even if I would then have to figure out how to pay for the latter.

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