Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

New Career Options: Professional Cuddler

Jackie Samuel, a 29-year-old single mother and college student in Rochester, New York, has discovered an interesting way to make a buck: she charges people to cuddle with her. Yes, she’s a “professional cuddler.” She calls her business “The Snuggery” — I guess “The Cuddle Bunny’ was already taken — and charges strangers $60 an hour to cuddle with her in her home. She does impose a rule banning clients from touching any part of her body covered by underwear, which begs the question: is kissing allowed?? What about ear-nibbling? Hair-pulling? And what happens when a client gets a boner?

Clearly, the lines are fuzzy and it’s not surprising that some people are calling Samuel a prostitute.

Samuel says: ‘Some have said I am worse than a prostitute because they think snuggling is more intimate than sex. I’ve been told I’m monetizing love.’

One of her repeat customers said that Samuel’s cuddles helped him through a bad break-up and described the sessions as ‘meditative.’ He even said he would continue to see her while in a relationship. ‘There’s no cheating element, it’s not immoral,’ he said.

Come again? I’m sorry, but if paying some woman other than your partner 60 bucks to curl her body around yours for an hour isn’t cheating than color my chopsticks purple ’cause that’s just crazy (especially when a cuddly girlfriend pillow is a lot cheaper and not so, you know, cheater-y). But, you know, kudos for Jackie Samuels for pinpointing a natural talent and figuring out a way to make a buck off it. “I think I was born knowing how to snuggle,” she says. “Snuggling is healthy, spiritual and fun.” And lucrative. Samuels reports making up to $260 a day for a few hours of work.

[via Daily Mail]

35 comments… add one
  • theattack

    theattack November 6, 2012, 1:04 pm

    “I’m sorry, but if paying some woman other than your partner 60 bucks to curl her body around yours for an hour isn’t cheating …”

    So who are the people paying their partners to cuddle, and why didn’t I know about that? I think my fiance has a big bill racking up….

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 6, 2012, 1:16 pm

    Ahh, I always joke with my boyfriend that he could have a job like this. I’m biased, obviously, but he’s just really good at cuddling & a generally comforting person. (Of course, after I jack up his ego, I tell him this is not a business I’d be cool with him starting, haha)

    But anyway, I totally believe this woman is just selling hugs. Sometimes that is all people want– although, I really doubt no boners are involved.

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  • avatar

    Lilybell November 6, 2012, 1:18 pm

    My office just opened for the first time since Hurricane Sandy (Lower Manhattan). We have no heat and it is freezing in here! I have a feeling if I offered to cuddle my coworkers for money today, I’d have some takers.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 6, 2012, 1:50 pm

      Hope your heat is back soon!!

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      • avatar

        Lilybell November 6, 2012, 2:15 pm

        Thank you! I’ve been doing jumping jacks in the hallway like a doofus. Everyone is dressed like snowmen.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster November 6, 2012, 2:09 pm

      I wish internet hugs were warm because I’m giving you one right now!

      One of my best friends lives in Stuytown and while they have power, ConEd has yet to restore their heat because of something to do with steam and pipes and blah blah I don’t understand it. Is that why you have no heat? And I hope you get it back soon!

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      • avatar

        Lilybell November 6, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Thank you for the virtual hug; it warmed my heart if not my toes. You are right – there are a lot of buildings down here with power but no heat because they use steam. I’m cold but it’s nice to be back at work and to finally see other human beings.

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    • SarahKat

      SarahKat November 6, 2012, 4:32 pm

      Two words: Hand. Hot. Tub….I forgot hot tub wasn’t one word.

      Go to your water cooler, get 2-3 (not 1) wax cups it comes with, stack them, and fill the cup with hot water. The water will be waxy and undrinkable but DELIGHTFULLY warm to hold. Hand Hot Tub.

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      • avatar

        Lilybell November 7, 2012, 11:04 am

        Ha, great advice, thanks! Still no heat today and it’s colder than yesterday. I think I will go make of one these hand hot tubs right now.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay November 6, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Why would that guy continue seeing her while in a relationship? I like how he assumes his future girlfriend is going to go along with that…

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  • avatar

    Jenny November 6, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Woohoo, she’s from my hometown! Right now I live in AZ, but I’ll be moving back there in a few months…perhaps she can get me a job? Or I could loan out my 7 month old for snuggling, I’m sure people would pay top dollar to snuggle with a baby for a little while.

    Okay, before anyone calls child services, I’m not really going to rent out my baby…I think.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark November 6, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Maybe Miss Samuel will kindly hire me to open up an LA office? Her clients and I can get around the whole cheating thing as it’s… uh, just two dudes being dudes. You know, a purely platonic bro-mance thing. Then again, I have a nasty habit of “turning” straight guys… on.

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    • Regina Chapman

      Regina Chapman November 6, 2012, 4:01 pm

      Hahahahahahaha

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    • Diablo

      Diablo November 6, 2012, 4:21 pm

      This must be some new definition of the word “platonic” that i’m not familiar with.

      But why is it that straight men are never allowed to express affection for one another physically? Is it just deeply ingrained homophobia? My good buddy H and I talked about this recently – it turned out we had both often hugged our mutual gay friends C & D, but we had never hugged each other, despite being close friends for about 20 years. So we said, “well, should we?” But it seemed forced at that point. So no hug. Hmm….

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      • avatar

        rachel November 6, 2012, 4:39 pm

        Pretty sure my boyfriend hugs his 2 best friends. I mean, not all the time, but they don’t see each other often, so when greeting/saying goodbye.

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      • JK

        JK November 6, 2012, 4:49 pm

        I´m so used to latinos that I think I would find anywhere else so cold now. Guys here hug (and kiss hello and goodbye) all the time!

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      • Diablo

        Diablo November 6, 2012, 4:57 pm

        You would think Canadians could use the warmth, just for practical reasons.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass November 8, 2012, 12:29 am

        My husband hugs his friends all the time. But they are also friends from elementary school and still very close so it could be different for them. He also hugs his father, and once accidentally hugged my father which I don’t think he’ll be doing again as he said it was extremely awkward.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ November 6, 2012, 2:41 pm

    It’s a service she is providing, of her own free will. It is something that her clients are lacking (a cuddle partner). While cuddling, a person talks. She is a sounding board, a comfort device (much like a blanket on the couch during a cold day). A therapeutic tool. A surrogate.

    I see nothing wrong with her new business. However, I would recommend that she put in place hidden recording devices to ensure that should something happen, it is recorded and can be turned over to the police as evidence. If she were raped and the “client” claimed she was lying after the fact to get more money or publicity for her business, video evidence would help her.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark November 6, 2012, 2:49 pm

      Honestly, I don’t either. If I genuinely thought there was a market for it here in LA — I’d do it.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ November 6, 2012, 3:26 pm

        It’s not that there isn’t a market. It’s the clientele. Not every client is going to look like an actor for a dog food/headache medicine/cleaning product commercial. They will not look like the “after” photo of a yoga class. They will be all walks of life. Gross, pimply, hairy, extremely heavy, extremely thin, shy, outgoing, smelly, sweaty, etc ad nauseum (pun intended).
        And normal people have “pillow talk” when they cuddle. That means you may end up hearing their fears, their problems, etc. How would a responsible “cuddler” handle that? Give advice? Provide resources to therapists?

        I think that in this case, a “cuddler” is much like a high-end, self-employed prostitute. S/he can pick his/her own clients. The right to refuse service is a beautiful thing… having to service a creepy person is never a good experience.

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    • Crochet.Ninja

      Michelle.Lea November 6, 2012, 4:06 pm

      I completely agree. I actually know a few fairly anti-social people that would benefit from something like this that well, aren’t going to have a long time partner, but need a human touch now and then.

      I also agree about recording. like anything when you’re inviting people into your space for touch (this could go for massages too), you’re also opening yourself up for the creepers. sucks, but true nonetheless.

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    • avatar

      Ricky November 6, 2012, 6:13 pm

      That won’t be possible without its own share of legal issues. You can’t just record something for your own convenience. She may have to seek permission from her clients regarding recording their conversation or she might have to display something along the lines of “This place is under surveillance”. Most business do when they have to montior actions or information. I am not sure of what NY jurisdiction says on this but I am quite sure that it must include laws on surveillance and privacy.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ November 6, 2012, 6:29 pm

        Then she should look into it. Even a “nanny cam” would be better than nothing. Respectable clients will not think twice about signing a confidentiality agreement (that goes both ways) and consent to the premises being monitored for “mutual protection”. It ensures that if something were to happen on-property (i.e., an angry spouse/family member attacks, a robbery, theft, or an accusation of impropriety on either side, for example) then they are both protected.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster November 6, 2012, 2:53 pm

    I respect it. That’s the entrepreneurial spirit, girl!

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  • avatar

    kf November 6, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Is that her in the picture? She looks about 12 years old. I’d be pretty creeped out.

    Anyway, I don’t see the problem with “monetizing love”. Paraphrasing George Carlin, selling is legal. Cuddling is legal. Why shouldn’t selling cuddling be legal?

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh November 6, 2012, 3:28 pm

      if you click on the linked article there are more pictures of her. she looks young in this one, but she definitely looks like she’s 29 in the others.

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  • avatar

    redessa November 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Hold on! She’s a single mom and the clients come to HER home? Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl November 6, 2012, 3:44 pm

      Yeah…seems sketch to me.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger November 7, 2012, 3:12 pm

      Yeah but the same can be said for people who sell invitations out of their home, or tutors, or adult piano teachers. Not to mention the therapist, doctors, photographers, etc. that have studios/offices with separate entrances. Lots of people work out of their home when their children are kind of around. I was assume she has a private room, b/c that’d be weird to walk in on, but the “letting them in” to the home thing? That seems like an overprotective worry.

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  • avatar

    bethany November 6, 2012, 4:18 pm

    I actually prefer to snuggle my cat over sunggling a human. He’s just so soft and fuzzy and warm!! Man, I could do that all day.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh November 6, 2012, 4:25 pm

      Sounds like someone needs to start a pet snuggling business. I have a dog available 😉

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  • avatar

    scattol November 6, 2012, 4:56 pm

    ..hmm… she looks like she has one swanky home for a 29 year old single mom. Not one piece of Ikea furniture in sight.

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  • avatar

    Ricky November 6, 2012, 6:02 pm

    If that is her full time job then kudos to her. As easy as that looks, lying in bed for all that time excluding the time she needs to sleep can be pretty hard on the body. There is a chance that she can fall asleep and then there is a chance of developing back aches etc for lying around all the time. I hope she spends her time engaging in activities such as gym, running, going for a walk etc.

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  • avatar

    SallyS November 8, 2012, 12:16 am

    This business plan is not in the top thirty that I would consider for any reason, but hey, if she’s happy and safe, I think it’s a win-win: Physical contact is crucial. Just sad to think of people not having friends and family to get their hugs from.

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