A few weeks ago, an app came out that is designed for strangers to meet and cuddle. It’s called Cuddlr. It makes sense.
OK, let me rephrase that. It makes sense to a creepy 30-year-old man with nothing else to do with his life than cuddle in a field with a slightly manic college student who just broke up with her boyfriend.
The app is designed to be nonspecific, gender-neutral, age-neglecting and non-psychopath-detecting.
To figure out how it works, I took the liberty of downloading Cuddlr myself. In Bloomington, there’s a fair amount of people who are using the app at the moment, and it looks as if they’re mostly college-aged IU students.
One boy had his picture set to himself standing next to his grandmother, which was quite endearing.
But then there was Charlie, who made his profile a picture of a penguin. As much as I would love to believe that Charlie is a cuddly penguin who knows how to use an iPhone, I can’t.
All one has to do to get a quality cuddle is go to a person’s picture and click “ask XYZ for a cuddle.” Then there’s a “cuddle now” option at the bottom, and it gives people 15-minute opportunities to meet the other person for an impromptu cuddling session.
It sounds a lot like a PG-rated Tinder to me.
At first, I thought this was fine. Weirdos can be weirdos.
But this isn’t about cuddling. It’s about strangers cuddling.
When I cuddle with friends, it’s amicable and familiar. It makes me feel better.
But with strangers, you’re not friends with them — so the only motive to cuddle is for physical reasons. If you’re cuddling for the physical aspect, then it’s full of desire for touch, and with desire comes some sort of sexual insinuations, which is where things can go south.
Because the app displays the other individual’s location, it creates the perfect treasure map for rapists and kidnappers.
Aside from the eminent danger that Cuddlr presents, it works like any other dating app. But instead of getting a one-night stand, you’re getting a noncommittal, platonic cuddle from a complete stranger.
In case a cuddle goes wrong and someone experiences discomfort due to this sexual desire, users can report if their session was inappropriate.
The creator of this app, Charlie Williams, advises that Cuddlr matches meet up in communal areas. This lets them avoid private places for safety reasons or for Williams to avoid future lawsuits.
Essentially, Cuddlr is the same thing as Tinder, but with a nonsexual excuse. Sadly, this excuse revs up the sexuality even more, since the physical contact is so forced.
Two strangers can’t snuggle with each other. It just doesn’t make sense.
Besides the fact that the person could be a serial killer, there’s no way for Cuddlr to sense a person’s cleanliness.
An app unfortunately doesn’t come with a scratch-and-sniff button to detect body ordor or, even worse, lice.
Overall, the idea of touching strangers is weird.
We don’t like brushing hands when we borrow a pencil from someone. Just imagine being their little spoon.
This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 9 September 2014.