Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My First Cuddle Party

I went to a cuddle party last Sunday. The rules are simple: wear sleeping clothes, like pajamas, no sex, kissing allowed but no tongue, and cuddle all afternoon.

I was invited by a friend. She just came back from New York a few months ago, where she experienced her first cuddle party, which had the same rules. It's strictly by invitation and you pay 1,000 PHP to participate, which covers the food and facilities.

As far as she knows, this is the first cuddle party in Metro Manila. At least, of this kind anyway. She was holding in her Makati condo.

I didn't know what to expect. I had visions of my high school soiree, with boys on one side of the gym and us girls on the other, and this huge basketball court in between. When I got there at quarter to seven (it was scheduled to start at 7:00 AM), there were already a handful. About three girls and two boys, plus my friend and her boyfriend. They invited ten people, and all confirmed, just to see how it goes.

No one under twenty-five years old. This is their own rule, not a New York rule. They have this theory that being a quarter of a century old means something. They oldest person they invited was 39 years old.

I was introduced to the group. It wasn't so bad. They were already in their pajamas and everyone looked so comfy. They each gave me a hug, it was part of it, just to break the ice, so to speak. I went to a guest room to change clothes.

By 7:00 AM, we were nearly complete. One guy was missing. We were all told beforehand that late people will be turned away and invited to the next party. This will be strictly implemented: they had to build trust within the group, based on a strict agreement on the rules.

Again, they ran through the rules. Anyone who breaks any of the rules will be asked to leave and not be invited again. The goal is to establish boundaries and intimacy.

And then they told us to begin.

Go ahead, hold each other.

My friend and her boyfriend approached us and started steering us toward each other, guiding us to the floor of the living room, covered with rugs and pillows and sheets, like a giant, endless bed.

Instinctively, I approached the girl next to me, about my age. I opened my arms and looked at her eyes. She agreed, and we hugged. I didn't know what to feel. It was scary and comforting, painful even. We fell to the floor and never let go.

We chatted a little. Hi. What's your name. What do you do. Then we just hugged. Her breath smelled good, minty, like mine. You had to brush your teeth and use mouthwash: that was one of the smaller rules. Bad hygiene is disrespectful.

After a few minutes, we quieted down, and I closed my eyes.

Bit by bit. I remembered all hugs and touches and holds and nearness throughout my life. The good ones, the bad ones. I remembered the violence.

I felt a breath on me, then a voice: you're crying.

I opened my eyes. My hug-mate was looking straight into my eyes. Grabe ano? she said. Want a glass of water? I nodded.

We let go and she stood up to get water. I looked around and the room was littered with clumps of people. I was in the middle. We looked like a litter of new-born puppies. We were so cute. It must have been the soft morning light and the pastel colors of the room.

Only then did I realize there was music, softly playing in the background.

She came back with the water and I drank it gratefully. She wiped the tear lines on my face with her thumb, then she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Come, she said, let's join the others. And we did.

The cuddle party lasted all afternoon, until four o'clock. We were all shooed away, gently of course, even lovingly, to resume our regular lives. We were all invited to next month's party. Tell your close friends about it, they said.

5 comments:

CK said...

Hi I am staying here in Qatar and I like your idea of cuddling party. How can I join this group.

CK said...

I would like to join this party during my vacation to Philippines to make it memorable.

vandolph said...

What's the point?I find it like a psycho thing (the cuddling). no offense meant. unless you know each other and just want to be more intimate then maybe it works. like u said, it's nice to cuddle someone with nice breath, what if that person smokes? defeats the purpose

prezader said...

The virtual world is too detached for you? The physical touch, nothing quite like it – skin on skin; dendritic – the neurons emancipated, intense.

Ironic is it not? The density of population, everybody is touching, yet everybody is deadened, unfeeling, anesthetized really. The LRT or MRT - fully packed, the long lines, the mall – places of congregation; almost nowhere to go for a moment of awe-inspiring privacy.

Why do people have to touch? Social instinct? Is it the psychoanalytic theory for self-preservation, pleasure, and procreation?

A former girl friend of mine use to say “can we just cuddle?” I don’t see that in the Kama Sutra girl, but sure – we can do that later. Is cuddling supposed to be foreplay, or is that after the act? Just by itself? With strangers?

Are we all that desperate for a moment of touch? You talk about the jubilation of the deliverance of being alone – unencumbered, no responsibilities to anyone. Why the cuddling party. Is it a much needed sabbatical?

Do you guys have like a bouncer in case somebody breaks the rule? Are cell phones with cameras allowed? Sounds like an interesting concept. Funny that it comes from NY; such densely populated and just simply rude bunch of freaks from that part of the world.

Mang Mags said...

Hey! Im staying in Qatar too! Im surprised to hear that such groups exist perhaps thats what I need right now. Maybe CK could start a group here. Ummm... could you point me into CK's direction? Thanks!