I Posted A Cuddle Buddy Ad On Craigslist, And The Replies Surprised Me
Friends, holiday season is upon us, and as excited as I am for pumpkin bread loafs and Christmas presents, I'm also getting a case of the winter blues. See, it's cuffing season, and my loneliness is weighing down on me more than it did in the spring and summer.
Cuffing season makes me question my singledom (OK, I do that already, but it makes me uber introspective). It would be nice to have a boyfriend, but what I really want to invest in is a solid cuddle buddy.
Now, don't get me wrong: sex, (albeit casual sex, in my case) is great -- hell, even necessary. As a single woman, I seldom find myself wrapped up in a one-night lover's arms because, hey, we all need that from time to time.
But when fall creeps its way into winter, and when the days turn into nights sooner, and when I've given up on dressing like a boss bitch because all I can think about is how f*cking cold it is, all I want to do is snuggle up alongside someone and make a second home in the nook between his armpit and my nose.
The thing is, I end up craving a cuddle buddy more than I do an actual sex partner. If it were up to me, I'd take a guy who spoons me in solace over a hot guy who'd f*ck me and then proceed to make a beeline for the next bus across town because a) he doesn't care for my cuddling needs, and b) pillow talk is pretty damn intimidating to a guy like him.
What's interesting to me is how we put ourselves out there to get laid, but not to just cuddle. We live in a world that has completely normalized casual sex but views cuddling as intimate and reserved for special people, not just any old stranger we picked up at a bar.
I guess cuddling is for VIP guests because we might even be more vulnerable in little-spoon position than we are screaming mid-orgasm (I suggested "cuddle with a stranger" to my coworkers, and even they got the heebie-jeebies from thinking about being THAT emotionally intimate with someone they hardly know).
So I got to thinking: Is it just single women like myself who crave a cuddler for cuffing season? Or is this panging of mine more of a gender-neutral desire?
To run a test to see what men really want -- the cuddling? the sex? both? -- I put out an ad:
I braced myself, preparing for a slew of creepy, "a/s/l?"-type messages (throwback!) or perhaps an array of dick picks taken by men who are probably my grandpa's age (did I just use the term "dick pic" and the word "grandpa" in the same sentence? Sorry, Grandpa).
For the most part, and to my surprise, most men weren't creepy, sexual or threatening in the way they responded. They were empathetic and sweet in nature.
Yes, there was the occasional creep-a-zoid, whom I quickly marked as "SPAM" and watched GTFO of my mailbox forever. But I was comforted to know that I'm not the only one who misses human bodily contact through the dead of winter.
Here is a list of all the men who struck my attention:
There's the guy who doesn't care for sex.
There are the guys who know the power of a good cuddle.
There's the over-eager guy.
There are the lonely guys.
There are the Netflix-and-chill guys.
There's the guy who really just needs someone to talk to.
As I sifted through these responses in my inbox, I realized the absolute irony of it all: I put out an ad because I needed someone to cuddle with, but it seems as though these men need a cuddle partner more than I ever did. Ultimately, I decided not to respond to any of them. It wasn't just because I did this all for a story, but also because I'm a bit of a heartbreaker (if I do say so myself), and I wouldn't want to lead anyone on.
I kept imagining how I would have felt if this were Tinder and they were responding to a "Wanna bang?" message. By expressing a desire to cuddle (and not f*ck), I felt like I owed these strangers a deep, emotional experience through a non-sexual, but still physical, connection. And fulfilling this seemingly emotional void in these men's lives would have been a lot of responsibility, more so than fulfilling something so primal.
The kind of physical, sexual intimacy that he can find in a bar, the short-lived kind that lasts for a night, is not as profound as the kind of emotional, non-sexual intimacy that he could have built with me in even an hour's worth of a cuddle session, where his only goal would have been to share his thoughts and hold me.
Opening my legs provides a limit to how deep he can go -- literally -- but opening my heart provides limitless potential for human connection.
Still, if I had decided to message anyone back, I would have definitely written the lonely 32-year-old accountant and the guy who needs someone to talk to. They were to-the-point but not too aggressive and, most importantly, just f*cking real.
They were honest about a need that nearly every person who's not in a relationship spends his or her days suppressing by working, running errands, going to the gym -- you name it.
So what's the best way to find a cuddle buddy for cuffing season? Put out a Craigslist ad, and take your pick from the hundreds of men who are looking for the same thing.
It's pretty practical, when you think about it. Who can complain about having a short-term, no-strings-attached boyfriend?