Samantha Hess is giving teddy bears a run for their money. Two years ago, the thirty-three-year old self-proclaimed professional cuddler started her own business, Cuddle Up To Me, in Portland, Oregon, where she charges a dollar per minute for her cuddling services.
Back up. Cash for cuddle? Hess gets points for originality, but we have to admit the idea of snuggling up to total strangers on a daily basis seems a bit bizarre. Hasn’t this woman ever heard of stranger danger? One might assume a charming woman would run into a bunch of creepy characters in her line of business, however Sam has experienced quite the opposite.
The cuddling connoisseur explains that many of her clients have either recently ended a relationship or have been alone for a long time. What they’re really looking for is comfort and fulfillment, therefore it’s rare to come across a client who acts inappropriately. Sam’s work gives her the opportunity to guide and heal her clients with the restorative power of platonic touch. At the end of the day it’s all about trust and Sam believes putting a dollar value on her service makes cuddling with strangers comfortable and safe. Plus she makes them fill out a lot of paperwork.
Despite its unconventionality, business is booming,4 and Cuddle Up To Me is expanding. Sam is now working on opening a store in Portland where you can hug it out. “Cuddle on Aisle 3!” The real question is: are there really other people interested in becoming professional cuddlers? The answer is yes. Sam received almost 900 job applications upon announcing positions for hire, of which she has now narrowed down to 6 applicants who will move onto the final cuddling round of the interview process. Forget the cutthroat interview culture, it’s time for a cuddle contest.
But what even qualifies these applicants to become professional cuddlers? I mean, it’s not like you can get a degree in cuddling (at least not yet). Sam says it’s all about connection, therefore she will make her final decision based on her perception of the applicants’ inherent understanding and natural sense of human touch.
Sam depends on the strength of the power of human touch everyday to bolster her business and care for her clients, “It really does allow us to just feel, what i hope to bring across, which is loved, respected and accepted for exactly who we are. We dont have to be somebody else, we don’t have to be the perfect version of us to be loved. We can be us today, that’s good enough.”