Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Doors – "Touch Me" (1968)

Come on, come on, come on, come on now
Touch me, babe

The Washington Post recently published a long article about professional cuddlers.  Here are some excerpts from that article, which was written by reporter Tara Bahrampour:

The 32-year-old photographer from Virginia had a busy life, but he was single, and starving for physical contact.  “I started to get to a place where if somebody started to greet me with a hug or even being in close proximity to someone, it was almost sort of a shocking feeling,” he said.

And so he turned to one of the country’s newest professions: cuddling for hire.  Once a week he paid $80 to be held, stroked and embraced for an hour in a nonsexual way.  Like most people interviewed for this story, the man, Chuck, wanted only his first name used because paying to get cuddled can feel embarrassing — especially in less touchy-feely areas like Washington.

But demand is growing.  In the past four years storefront cuddle shops have opened in Portland and Los Angeles, and one-on-one cuddle providers are proliferating across the nation.

While paying for touch may sound awkward or unnatural to those who get plenty of it from partners or other close connections, for some people it is an antidote to a culture where casual physical contact seems elusive.  The percentage of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has risen from 39 to 42 percent in the past 10 years, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, and the rise in on-screen interactions means more socializing takes place without even the possibility of touch.

The Post article focuses on the certified professional cuddlists who are listed on the Cuddlist.com website, which contains profiles of hundreds of certified professional cuddlists who charge $80 an hour to cuddle:

The Cuddlist site has logged over 10,000 requests and lists dozens of providers.  The West Coast and New York City are home to many, but the practice appears to be catching on more slowly in the D.C. area. . . .

Jasmine Siemon, 37, a cuddler in Germantown, Maryland who trained in Los Angeles and was recently certified by Cuddlist, said there is a robust market in this area, from stressed-out college students to lonely empty-nesters. . . .

While massage therapy might seem to be the perfect way to fulfill the need for touch, nonsexual cuddling addresses a deeper, more emotional need, professional cuddlers say.

“Massage therapy ethics are all about one-way touch,” said Annie Hopson, a Cuddlist provider in Ellicott City, Md., who is also a massage therapist.

Some cuddlers also host cuddle parties where strangers come together for a communal hug.  These have an eager clientele in the Washington area, said Edie Weinstein, a licensed social worker who has hosted over 300 of them here since 2004.

Dan, 43, who works in finance, said cuddling sessions took the place of an intimate relationship for about a year when he didn’t have one.

“I was aware that I needed contact with people,” he said. “I had been to massage parlors that were not on the up-and-up. I’d leave there with feelings of shame or feeling dirty, and this was different.” 

Click here to read the entire Post article.

*     *     *     *     *

A lot of the comments that readers of the article posted on the newspaper’s website were more than a bit weird.

From henryfpotter:

I've seen, in various books, the claim that physical touch is a necessity of life.

1. All these books were written by women; if a man were to say such a thing out loud, it would immediately peg the creep-o-meter.

2. I haven't been touched since before 9/11 and I'm doing just fine.

From nancykmiller:

speak to people, don't touch them in this time.
we have a big problem with contagion.
you don't really want their germs, they don't want yours.

Here’s what fried003 had to say:

If I casually or accidently touch a female, it might be grounds for accusation of sexual harassment.  If I touch a male beyond a handshake or fistbump – it's something that I learned in primary school not to do.  Moral of the story – it's best not to touch anyone who isn't a close relative.

Another commenter who wanted no part of cuddling was asgoodasitgets:

I live alone and haven't been in a relationship in eight years, but I'm not this desperate.

Another negative comment came from vanative:

Our culture is getting lamer and needier by the day. Paying for cuddles is sad and creepy.

But amytales thought vanative had it backwards:

Or here's a thought: we might be getting lamer and needier in part due to lack of physical contact with other humans.

I’m not sure if zlwonder’s comment was serious:

I don't mind cuddling in a nonsexual way, as long as it leads to sex.

Here’s active999’s take on the article:

Cuddling is a start.  Prostitution (male and female) should be legal.  If the hubby or wife goes cold you can still get some lovin.’  Everybody needs a booty call every now and then.

From globalperspective:

My friend's marriage broke up after her husband began using a cuddler.  Call it what you'd like, but I wouldn't feel real great if my spouse suddenly started seeing a cuddler.

*     *     *     *     *

My original plan was to poke fun at people who pay $80 an hour to spoon with “professional cuddlists,” which strikes me as more than a little ridiculous.

But being deprived of physical contact with others is no laughing matter.  It’s a very, very sad state of affairs in which to find yourself.  

*     *     *     *     *

“Touch Me” was one of the songs on the reel-to-reel tape that played in my high school cafeteria during lunch in 1969-70, when I was a senior.

I’m not sure why the school administration allowed us to play “Communication Breakdown” (Led Zeppelin) and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Rolling Stones) and “Touch Me” over the cafeteria P.A. system while we ate – especially given that my friends and I were wont to sing the rude lyrics that we made up.  

It doesn’t require much imagination to figure out what verb we substituted for “touch” in “Touch Me.”  (Oliver Stone copied our idea in his 1991 movie about the Doors.)

“Touch Me” reached #3 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart in early 1969.  It was released on the Doors’ fourth studio album, The Soft Parade, which I played pretty much to death.   

Here’s the album version of “Touch Me,” which closes with Morrison singing “Stronger than dirt” – which was the well-known slogan for Colgate-Palmolive’s Ajax household cleaner:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment