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Brown: Cuddling, there’s an app for that

BY MARCUS BROWN | OCTOBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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Cuddlr is a newcomer to the market of location-based social apps such as Grindr and Tinder, and it hopes to reach the niche audience of those craving a strictly platonic snuggle with a complete stranger. Just to be clear, this is not an app for dating or hooking up. This is an app for when you just need to feel the warmth of human skin on yours to remind you that the world isn’t a barren void deficient of genuine intimacy. Well, perhaps that is a bit melodramatic, because every now and then we all need a hug or … a strictly platonic snuggle.

Cuddlr prides itself on differentiating itself from similar apps that primarily serve to encourage more intimate relationships with strangers 0.4 miles away from your current location. The app boasts a lack of certain features common to other location-based social apps such as photo sharing, personal info, and chat options, which may distract users from the end goal of platonically snuggling with a person they know nothing about.

I suppose the logic is that the more you know about the person, the more likely the platonic snuggle may get a little too snuggly and not so platonic. God forbid I knowingly snuggle with someone who likes cycling and Dr. Who as much as I do.

However, this is beside the point. The point is that the creators of Cuddlr have effectively created the most inhuman way to procure one of the most basic and genuine human needs: touch.

All humans crave physical intimacy to some extent. It cannot be denied that touching and being touched feels good, whether it be a hug from a loved one or reaffirming pat on the back from a teammate. But what is that touch without the emotional intimacy that informs the action in the first place?

The question that Cuddlr raises is whether or not the primeval hunger for human touch can be quantified and reduced to one of a million apps on the app store. At least apps such as Tinder and Grindr try to be subtle about the intentions of some of its users. Cuddlr makes it very clear that this is nothing more than a transaction in the guise of connection between two parties.

Technology has made the world smaller and brought people closer together, but at a cost. In order to compensate for the ease in which human connection can be made available some sacrifices must be made. The files have just become too large to attach, and must be edited to fit the new mediums in which they are intended for. The price we pay for the ability to find a platonic snuggle buddy using just our phones is the desire to do so in the first place. I don’t think we are too far from location-based apps that will be able to pair you with a lactating stranger in a 5-mile radius willing to breastfeed your child. It’s frightening just how appropriate the slogan “There’s an app for that” really is.    


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