Will Cuddlr do for hugging what Tinder and Grindr did for sex?

Maybe the new app will  make it more normal to reach out to strangers when we’re feeling lonely

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The Independent Online

A new app has been released that enables strangers to meet up and hug. No, that isn’t slang for some kind of weird new drug or sex craze– users actually meet to cuddle.

Cuddlr is a location-based app that allows strangers to meet others in their area for a strictly PG hug. Users can build up a cuddle rating, and chose partners based on their spooning position preference.

Before you knock it, we should bear in mind that desperate times call for desperate measures. There has been an influx of news recently about how lonely our younger generations are, and we were recently voted the loneliest country in Europe.

The general response to Cuddlr will probably be along the lines of how weird, or even pathetic, it sounds, but I have no doubt that some people will be secretly pleased. After all, not everyone has a cuddle partner on demand, and human contact is a basic need.

Unfortunately, the operative word here is “secretly”. How many of us read the news of Cuddlr and announced to the office that their perfect app has been created, and if anyone needs them at lunchtime they’ll be in the park spooning strangers? My guess is none.

Anyone living a big city knows that even lingering eye contact isn’t welcome with strangers. On the morning commute even looking in someone’s direction can be disastrous.  And we all learnt how eager Londoners are for stranger-loving with the enraged backlash of Talk to me London, a project that encourages strangers to talk to each other. Add touching into it and we’re likely to run a mile.

There’s no denying it is a bit of an odd concept, especially when it specifically states that it’s “strictly PG”. If someone had to preface a hug with the promise our genitals won’t touch, I’d definitely opt for loneliness.

But maybe, just maybe, the app may make it a bit more normal – as well as easier – to reach out to strangers when we’re feeling lonely. If Tindr and Grindr can change our attitudes to sex on-tap, maybe there is hope for Cuddlr. Swiping through people’s faces and gambling our future happiness on a quick glance at an out of date snap doesn’t seem much worse than walking down the road for a quick cuddle, does it?

‘PG fun’ with strangers could make a dent in the country’s loneliness – instead of opting for sexual contact, perhaps giving cuddling a go first can help to build more lasting relationships with others. And if not, we can just take the rush of oxytocin and be on our way.

Needing a hug and not always being able to physically have one isn’t weird – we’re just conditioned to think it is. But while smokers wouldn’t give it a second’s thought before satiating their nicotine craving, and chocolate-lovers wouldn’t dream of foregoing their daily nibble – if we need a hug, we should be able to have one.

After a stressful day working too many hours, a relentless stream of depressing news and gloomy weather – being able to use our phones to get a quick cuddle could make us a happier, friendlier nation. It could elevate our moods, cause an unprecedented surge in productivity at work and boost our economy to booming heights. But let’s slow down and take it one step at a time – after all, it’s just a cuddle.