Men fear it. Women love it. Children live and breathe it. Cuddling. This past week I instituted it into my Savasana adjustment series. Along with the head massage and foot rub, on occasion I’ll slide next to a few lucky students (female) for a cuddle. Some of the warm and wonderful comments I’ve heard:
“This is nice. But you smell.”
“My husband is on the mat just to our left.”
“Um, ah, I hate this.”
“Actually I’m a man.”
Oh cuddling. What a wonderful expression of love. In that perfect moment of comfort, to wrap your arms and legs around another. But for one reason or another, “cuddle” is not a word that men use around other men. In fact, “cuddle” is one of the Top 5 Least Used Words Amongst Straight Men in addition to “feather,” “dinky,” “hunk,” and “teeny.”
Just as a test, while watching the NBA Finals the other night, I left early and when harassed as to where I was going, I said in one groundbreaking sentence to my buddies, “Gotta get home and find a place to cuddle because the feather mattress this dinky hunk dropped off earlier today is way too teeny.”
Not sure where I’m gonna be watching tonight’s game.
But wait, to dudes out there for whom this blog is getting too touch-feely, consider a
NY Times article on touch which reported that the most successful sports teams “tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.” Why? A warm touch releases oxytocin, thus enhancing trust.
This same article reported that humans have a much more articulate sense of touch than previously imagined. In an experiment, volunteers tried to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, with about 70 percent accuracy.
Touch nourishes a human being in ways and places that words and gifts could never reach. So next time you’re seeking a special gift on a special day, consider the cuddle. As Shel Silverstein said, “I will not play tug o’ war. I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs, where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, where everyone kisses and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles and everyone wins.”