Margarita Levieva ("The Deuce") reads Kristine Lloyd's essay, about making a New Year's resolution to attend a cuddle party.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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It tastes good, oh from the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern love, the stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host Magna Chakrabarti, the for some people. New year's resolutions are all about going to the gym. giving money decluttering, that's not Christine Lloyd. I looked further. Really Bizarre, I thought you know I'm not just going to do a little biddy, fearful things. Let's just go off the deep end here, Christine wrote. her resolution in her essay in the new year- more cuddling, it's red, I margarita viva, who plays Abby in the H B, o show the Deuce
ending, a cuddle party was one of my fear. Conquering new year's resolutions for two thousand and sixteen. My other resolutions the list included be dating and taking a hike with a mountaineering club I never got around to speed dating or hiking, but by August I had worked up the courage to sign up for a cuddle party and that's how I found myself lying on a phone pad in a stream. where's floor with my head on the shoulder of a strange man, strange That and didn't know him, of course, but so strange and that he was so thin and boning that cuddling with him is no comfort at all. soon a young woman settled in on his other side and asked if she. Hold my hand. Ok, I said feebly.
We reached out and clasped hands across the man's chest. I felt rigid tense terrified, see phone pads, quilts and stuffed animals covered the expanse of the one room carriage house. Even so, I felt the unrelenting pressure of my hit bone against a hardwood floor. How long when I have to highlight this, what is the acceptable length of time to seem open To experience, while also preserving my dignity,. It have been far too long since I've been he met with someone and Thirty four: I worried that I was becoming slightly sterile. My parents, for forty six years of marriage, we're still having sex post menopause Jerry Geriatric Sex, perhaps but nonetheless.
Meanwhile, I had just shelled out twenty five dollars to cuddle with a frail guy. During the introductions. Our host had said. I started hosting cuddle parties two years ago, because my touch tank was really low, but I knew I wasn't ready for dating her touch tank As we went around the room at least two people said their therapist had told him to try this and one woman, Lester stuffed life Sized Garfield, while the rocking slightly and mumbling about being afraid of people. years earlier. When I had a boyfriend and a constant supply of, cuddles. I saw an advertisement for cuddle therapy and laughed how sad I thought. And yet here I was partly if curiosity, partly challenge myself to stay open to new and frightening things, and partly because I hope to meet someone.
I am an independent professional woman living in a progressive city, but entire days pass in which I do not touch another human being. I never thought I would be here in this place this time in my life. The fear that I'm in some way defective, has become harder to stave off each year. A bell rang Okay, that's twenty minutes, is an opportunity to rearrange and cuddle with new people I wasted no time heading to the bathroom. The Space in this little house, where I can be alone when I emerged, everyone was partnered up, it was a tangle of bodies in the middle of the room I stood in the kitchen contemplating the snacks dry, short
red, cookies and veggies with ranch sauce fortunately, no alcohol that could turn sexual our host had explained cuddle parties are not about sex, but about setting boundaries and connecting. but even with the lights dimmed, entire setup felt more clinical than connective. If we're all enrolled in human interaction, one on one I kept thinking about baby monkeys In college I took an intro to psychology course where We learned about Harry Harlow's experiments with rhesus monkeys and how Infant monkeys prefer to cloth mother to one made of wire and wood. Even when the wire mother was the one supplying the food turns out. Primates prefer cuddly, fake mother. Do a fake mother who actually keeps them alive
This explains my recent craziness and blood pressure. Spikes I had to up to some sort of midlife crisis, but Captchas is too many years of too little touch and affection. I needed put myself out there, but. The longer. I avoided it. The more frightening the prospect became. I was less afraid of becoming a war correspondent than opening a tinder account. yet somehow I managed to corral and of bravery to do this, Should we cuddle, asked him tat guy who had come in late chair I send, since we were the only people, not coddling how about we. Spoon he asked. Do you want to be Nevada and California in California. I said wanting to
all our proximity, and especially in our southern regions, but he didn't seem to want to get too close either leaving at least two. Inches between us. I flung my arm over his side is really quietly stiff as boards. then he started he's nervous chatter I've seen these ads for cuddlers for hire. He said seems like pretty easy money. I was I could do that. Instead of what I'm doing now, I work hospital, but my boss, hates me and she's stupid anyway. I told my therapist. I was coming here tonight and he said too, soon too soon, for what I didn't dare ask He continued chattering away until the host called time again. He feels like a weakness to admit I'm so lonely.
I'm supposed to be a pioneer, a break. A single, feminist and afraid to go it alone, except September Saturday night and I'm mean Dinner was staring at my window into the dining room of the family of cross. For me, I watched the primate centre. act through their sliding glass doors Work is his mother in the neck, while she watches dishes. Daughter number one sits and fathers lap reading daughter number two Had father around the neck, do they watch me? Do they wonder wise, The arctic shrew feeding again, not that I haven't had opportunities. I've been engaged twice, the first time the man broke it off the second time I did I've been deeply in love only once
relationships have been more like truces with loneliness. I pretend for months years that I don't need a man to be happy, but in smugly, single, any different from being smugly coupled you come on cuddle with us asked. The woman who had been actually cuddling with the same man all evening. She was maybe ten or She nears older than me ass was the great haired man with her. I was ready to leave, but. I lay down on my back between them. He put his hand on my chest and his arm across my midsection. She started, my forearm, the way my mother used to soft fingernails against skin. I thought I might cry.
Many of my single friends seem comfortable even happy alone. Evolved for a relationship one I mean told me over a bottle of two buck chuck. I nodded pretending to understand. I moved to Seattle eleven years ago in search of love, Alabama abandoned, seemed as if everyone married by thirty but Seattle Was full of thirtysomething singletons every party I attended, held great possibility, and yet most were Stridently single fine with their lives climb. in the mountains rowing across oceans, the less baggage, the better The woman I had laid down by said We knew we wanted to cuddle with you when you were four
introducing yourself and talking about how freaked out you are about all of this. Her hands were soft in my arm. you're, so honest and brave. I asked if they knew each other before this evening. She laughed and told me they met six months ago at another cuddle party. a part of me hoped I would find love here. But, as we went around the room introducing ourselves, I began to realize that I was Possibly the most terrified person there. Maybe even more than The woman hugging Garfield. over the years without noticing I Less available less accessible, walling off my heart, brick by brick, No I continued caressing, my arm in one hand and
and when the other reached across my stomach to hold hands with her man. He seemed to be on the precipice of orgy territory instead of freaking out, though I actually let myself relax and is it is where our bodies were touching warmed. I began to feel physically connected to other people for the first time a long time. Why had I been so frightened of this? Why is anyone? there are now more single adults than married ones in this country. and the number of us living alone has increased to a quarter of all households, require scientific research with monkeys. I stand that we need perhaps above all else, physical comfort in this world.
my resolution for two thousand and seventeen seek it. That Margarita Le Visa reading Christine Lloyd's essay in the new year, more cuddling Margo It says that watching so many of her single friends looking for love and having been there many times herself helped her connect with this essay, I really get it and I really get how much we need human contact and how? especially living in big cities and get so lost, and Connected with the loneliness of this woman and the reading, the part about her almost crying when the woman caressed her arm really got me. I know it feels like and- and I do think
we're humans and human connection and human touches massively important? and without it Not only are we starved physically, but them I think, would become starved emotionally in at least in my world? I think the soul dies a little bit. Thanks very much to Marguerite a visa for reading this. I say she stars and HBO's. The deuce did Christine Keeper two seventeen new year's resolution more after the break. Hmm Car MAX gives you the freedom to shop. However, you, like you, can shop a car on mine and on the lot, once you find the right car you can. I, however, you want buy online. get home delivery in select markets or by our mine entries express pick up at car max and no man.
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I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed sorry that may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first party together- and I wish her out- I think I got it see it J, a c k, P, o g jack. We hit the jackpot panel yeah Elrond, nice, I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times: dot, com, Slash Games, Christie,
Lloyd says that in two thousand seventeen she took steps towards achieving her resolution to seek out touch, but she didn't quite meet the goals we set for herself. I feel that that resolution really set them are high and that to me is sort of meant. Okay, you know in twenty seventeen I'm going to have a relationship by the end of the year, I'm going to be in a relationship and it's going to be awesome. You know that's sometimes how I talk myself up or things, but you know that has a happen and partly again, because I'm sort of backing into a fear corner, but I'm moving toward that ever so tortoise, like you know, I'm starting to get on dating sites which, dear God, don't even get me started about that, but
you know, I'm I'm dipping their toes in I'm I'm you know getting there among her two thousand and eighteen resolutions dating more and she's, also open to attending another cuddle party this time with a different perspective than she had the first time around. I definitely went feeling like this is sad. This is so sad that I'm going to this place where people have to go to get touch and to get cuddled, and so I was very judgmental going into it and that kind of judgment is such a layer of protection right. I didn't want to see myself as part of that group and I When I identify with the people there, I thought- oh I'm so friendly and extroverted, and I don't need this. I'm just checking it out, but you know by the end, I I really did see that it was helping people. You know, and I would like to go back and just kind of experience it again. Now that I'm not as fearful and maybe a little bit more open to the experience from the beginning
and Christine believes cuddle parties can help at least a little in addressing a real problem. You know, I don't know that the touch, that's brief, that we get from a friend or a physician or a massage therapist is enough. Maybe it's what's going to have to do for those of us who in a partnership at the moment. But you know you really do long for and miss that you know the holding someone holding you for a long period of time and it's kind of weird to ask a stranger to do that can you sort of have to skip over any kind of building of a relationship and just have this intimacy with someone who you're never going to be intimate with? So it's very odd. In that sense, she also wants people listening to understand both that it's okay to be alone and that it can be hard
I wish people felt like it was ok to express that and to feel that way and to know that they are not alone and feeling lonely and that there are things that they can do about it, whether it's going to a cuddle party or getting a massage, are going to meet up group and interacting with strangers. Talking about something there, passionate about. I think that the longer we hole up and feel lonely the harder it is to get out right. The longer you don't do something the this if and harder, it seems- and I think that's I guess. The other thing is just to be brave and it's scary when You're, lonely and alone to be brave, because you don't have that both stirring for so best friend who's, going to go. Do that thing with you, but you Do it the Esteem, Lloyd, she's, a writer, and librarian living in Seattle after the
Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times on what this essay taught him about. The importance of human touch the. This podcast is supported by the new Showtime original documentary. Cypress hill insane in the brain part of show hip hop. Fifty celebration, Grammy nominated Group, Cypress Hills, unique ability to blend hip, hop and rock, had icons from all over the map, praising them as profits of the legal weed movement. Cypress hill defied the stigma of the night, nice and cemented their legacy as hip hop superstars Cypress Hill insane in the rain preparing this for twenty. Only on Showtime,
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see, but you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed. Sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first time together and I was out- I think I got it- see it J, a c k, P, o g jack. We hit the jackpot, panicked, yeah, Elrond nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital pulses editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n one times dot com, Slash Games Dan Jones says that he had heard
about cuddle parties, but didn't really know that much about before Christine's peace came in with so many contemporary issues of isolation in some part, because so many more people are single these days and also because of of technology and even handling so many of the relationships that we do have purely through technology. To the point where you know you start to wonder if this is kind of a public health crisis that people are not having physical, contact with other people. You know, on the one hand, is pieces, this light kind of funny at Times squirmy romp, through this strange phenomenon of having cuddle parties and, on the other hand, it's it's really an indictment of isolation and how a contemporary society can cause social isolation to the point.
it's a health problem, the whether or not you're, adding go to a cuddle party to your list of New year's resolutions. We want to wish all of you a very happy new year and here's a pretty what we have coming in two thousand and thirteen, Camille Don Johnny and his wife, Emily Gordon reading overfed on a mother's affection. My mother may not wear her emotions on her sleeves, but that's only because her sleeves are rolled up and her emotions are lying in the bottom of a pot. My rejection of a kimchi chicken is a rejection of what she does who she is. I know this, but I have to push back because there's another woman in my life who wants to cook for me Uma Thurman telling the story of an accident that changed a family. He told me that by the time he saw both boys in the road he was already too close.
If he swerved onto the sidewalk, he would hit Alex if he didn't he would hit Jonathan. All I know is there were two boys in front of me. He said I had to decide in that very moment, and it was so fast. I chose not to hit your brother that day what kind of choice is that Richard Jenkins reading an essay about a man whose partner leaves him for several months and then wants to come home, and then I surprisingly, reluctant hesitant. Perhaps I happier in my loneliness than I had realized. Perhaps I was afraid perhaps all the little quirks that I didn't like I had finally come to outweigh all that. I loved
modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by Jessica, Albert John Parodi, Emory Seaports in and Caitlin O Keefe Additional Sound design by Paul Vikas, here for the modern love podcast was conceived by these Tobin Adler's, our executive producer, Daniel Jones, the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the podcast, courtesy of a p dot m. I make the Chakrabarti see you next week, The.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-17.