Tales From the Puppy Pile
by REiD Mihalko, Purveyor of PJs
Bill Maher recently declared on his new HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, that “Cuddling is for girls.” He went on to humorously advise against Cuddle Parties for men, stating that the only time a man should say that he needs a hug is if he’s choking.
Maybe a good spooning would sway Bill Maher’s view point, but his humor is right on. The opinion that “skipping the screwing entirely” and going “right to the boring part afterwards (cuddling)” is a sure sign of the “neurotic and emasculated” is funny because it’s so on-target with what many people think. It’s exactly what a virile, All-American, He-Man is supposed to say about non-sexual touch, right?
Real Men don’t eat quiche, and Real Men DON’T cuddle… Or do they?
I must admit, even as the creator of all this Flannel Snuggledom, that I thought men would be the last to catch on to the idea of cuddling as something other than post-coital obligation. That I, a martial artist and ex-collegiate football-player-turned-massuser and sex educator, could see the value of non-sexual touch as healing and socially beneficial for men and women, was just a fluke of life, right? Most of the real men I knew were going to need some coaxing to wrap their “Men are from Mars” outlooks around meeting women in their pajamas and practicing touch and communication so they could NOT get in their pants.
I figured that the only reason men would come to Cuddle Parties would be to spoon all the women who were lining up for a welcomed, pajama-clad break from the grope-fest bar scene of bad pickup lines, or the incessant snoring of husbands and crying of kids.
What we got was something completely different.
What we got was a growing newsletter mailing list with two or three men on it for every woman, and calls and emails from slews of men asking when could they get to a Cuddle Party. For almost every Cuddle Party we’ve thrown, Marcia and I have had to waitlist a handful of men because we had too many RSVP’d to keep the 50/50 man-to-women ratio.
At first, I just figured we’d been contacted by the same jerks and pushy “can I get your number” ding-a-lings who plagued my female patrons all the years I was slinging drinks as a New York City bartender. Of course they’d want to come and cuddle next to all the women, right? And Marcia and I were just lucky that the initial guys who showed up to cuddle seemed to be nice. As a good Cuddle Lifeguard on Duty, I was prepared to step in and put an end to those brainless pickup lines as soon as they started.
But the “pick-up line guys” never showed up.
The dolts who can’t take No for an answer aren’t the men who are coming to get their cuddle on. Nor are they the “neurotic and emasculated” mass that has Bill Maher’s PJs in a bunch. The men who are coming to spoon, massage and nuzzle are the kinds of guys I, and my female friends, didn’t think existed, much less roamed the globe in large numbers.
After seven months and 60-plus Cuddle Parties, I can say with what was at first astonishment, and is now warm satisfaction, that REAL MEN DO CUDDLE. And they’re coming to Cuddle Parties.
REAL MEN DO CUDDLE. And they’re coming to Cuddle Parties.
When I say “Real Man” I don’t mean the Fonz from Happy Days meets the Last Action Hero meets Gone With The Wind’s Rhett Butler. I mean smart, funny, kind men who know how to touch, who respect a woman’s No, and who give women space to decide what they actually want. The kind of man who not only gets all this, but realizes WHY it’s important. I’m talking about men who are interested in getting to know you before getting your number.
And I’m not talking about skinny, oversensitive wimps either.
I’ve met men who are just as into fixing your flat tire as massaging your tired feet. I’ve seen men show up in their $1200 business suits and change into their Old Navy PJs and not even blink an eye. We’ve had millionaire Cuddle Monsters and blue collar Cuddle Monsters, lawyer Cuddle Monsters and computer programer Cuddle Monsters grace our puppy piles. Insurance salesmen and college professors, artists and architects… and what do they have in common? They get it. Or at least they’re tired of what they’ve been getting.
Let’s face it, as fun as the bar/dating/hanging out scene can be, it can get old trying to play the role of the pick-up guy. And even the greatest relationships can be vulnerable to the occasional predictability.
For me, as a man, it’s been awesome meeting other like-minded men, men who respect women and aren’t afraid of acting like it. It’s as if I’ve finally stumble onto a whole secret society of males who have taken the concept of what a “Real Man” is and upgraded it beyond a competition of “who banged the most chicks” and “let me impress you with my Rolex.” Men, I admit I misjudged you.
And now, ladies, a question: what if Indiana Jones or Rhett Butler asked you to spoon and it wasn’t just after sex?
If you want to meet a man who enjoys loud music and drinking, a bar might be the perfect place to look. If, on the other hand, you want to surround yourself with funny, intelligent, REAL men who like to cuddle, who aren’t afraid to communicate what they want, and who want you to say No when you’re feeling like a no (and, incidentally, say Yes when you’re feeling like a YES!)… Well, then, Cuddle Party might be the place to look.
The “Real Men,” it turns out, do cuddle.