My friend Rachel is a therapist. She can’t tell me anything about who she sees or what they talk about, but she did say that there is a lot of anxiety going on lately, which is not shocking really.
This planet is such a crazy, unstable ball of war that is only getting increasingly smaller (and hotter, thanks to climate change), so it seems inevitable that at some point we will all be a mental mess.
This is coming from a one-time hippie. In case you didn’t already have anxiety, you’re welcome, you can now be part of the modern medicine movement and go see your doctor for some Valium. And don’t forget to give me some.
I have anxiety, too, but the root cause is probably not that common. I am afraid I am going to choke.
Before you get concerned and think I am a total freak, know that my worry is legitimate. It stems from a fast-eating disorder that requires me to eat at such a rapid pace that everyone else at the table has only started when I am licking the bowl. It takes other forms, too—like, I have to stuff my mouth full like a feral chipmunk. If you watched me, you might think I was missing my teeth because rather than bite food I just shove it all in my mouth. Or maybe I think I’m a snake and can unhinge my jaw and can’t be bothered with chewing, just go straight to digestion.
The other day I put a handful of about 20 almonds in my mouth, partially chewed them for five seconds and then, before I even swallowed, I shoved in about 20 more. Here’s a tip—throats don’t like that. I had to actually spit out a chewed almond ball into my hand because I was choking. I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty sure this happens to toddlers. But this should not be happening to adults. I should KNOW BETTER. Knowing how to eat is typically just a given for people over four years old. So, you can see why I am worried that one day I’ll fall over and pass out and be found with a Cliff Bar lodged in my throat. That’s EMBARRASSING. Luckily, there’s a cure for my anxiety. I just need to start chewing and, you know, that should solve it.
But it’s not that easy for everyone.
One theory about anxiety, mood imbalances, instability and general fuck-up-ed-ness is that you didn’t get enough hugs and snuggles when you were little.
My fast-eating disorder requires me to eat at such a rapid pace that everyone else at the table has only started when I am licking the bowl. It takes other forms too—like, I have to stuff my mouth full like a feral chipmunk.
This could very well be true. Physical contact is really important to brain development, and little passages that send happy chemicals are created in early childhood with repetitive positive touch and interaction. This is what Rachel and I were talking about when she let me know about cuddle therapy.
Cuddle therapy is exactly what it sounds like. You make an appointment with your therapist, aka cuddler, and spend 60 to 90 minutes in a blissful sweet embrace.
Actually, it can be embracing, spooning, handholding or, the one that really kills me, eye gazing.
This is like, all the un-fun parts of sex, without the actual sex.
And guess how much these snuggle bunnies charge? Sixty dollars an hour! Do hookers even charge that much? Listen, this cuddle therapy, it does not include any sneaky hanky panky. No snuggly boob grabs or hand slips, either. Which may be really hard to do since in the background there are some sweet ass tunes you may have played at your last make-out party, like Norah Jones, Feist or Hozier.
One website features the self-proclaimed cuddle founder. He says he offers one-on-one cuddle sessions or, for those a little more adventurous about getting their cuddle on, “conscious cuddle spaces.” This is a safe space set up for “conversation and cuddles,” or what we non-cuddlers call making the moves. Listen, buddy, I’m not paying $60 to snuggle and spoon with a boner in my back for 60 minutes.
If you don’t have the $60 for a private snug sesh, you can always go to a cuddle party!
And don’t worry, according to the online hostess, she is certified. Certified in what and by whom she doesn’t say. Don’t ask questions, just snuggle, dammit! This “party facilitator” wants you to know she’s been leading cuddle parties since 2007, so clearly she knows what’s happening in the cuddle world. There is lots of talk of boundaries, messages and comfort zones. Let’s see how all this works out with a few cocktails in the mix. Pretty sure it’s called an orgy.
Great, all this looking into cuddle therapy has created more anxiety for me. One, because I think a cuddle party for me would actually be a punishment. The thought of just lying there is bad enough, add in the spooning and gazing and I’d rather choke on my almond ball. Two, because I just realized I’ve done all these cuddle searches on my work computer!
Can you imagine how embarrassed I will be when the computer overlords look into my history and see terms like “cuddle parties, phoenix,” “snuggle sessions” and “cuddle therapy”?
Just the thought of it is giving me a serious cringe. Quick, someone give me a Valium, or if that doesn’t work, maybe a cuddle.