Ali C is New York’s first professional cuddler. Check out her work in my latest video project:
Cuddle Up: Touch Therapy with Ali C “by” Kayle Hope
Ali C is New York City’s first professional cuddler. She runs Cuddle U NYC out of her studio apartment downtown and charges $80 for an hour-long cuddle session. Ali’s cuddles are based on a re-parenting therapy rooted in nurturing touch.
ALI: I think that it’s often easier for us to as a stranger for what we might need than someone who we have a relationship with..
NAT SOUND CAR – TAXI – SCENE
ALI: My parents were not overly affectionate so I didn’t have that kind of nurturing that a lot of people have but my experience is not uncommon, there are many people who have had childhoods you know where their parents weren’t particularly affectionate. And they are my clients now.
DOORBELL RINGS, RACHEL ENTERS
RACHEL: Hi, You’re Ali?
ALI: I am, nice to meet you.
RACHEL: Nice to meet you. (hugs)
ALI : Come in. (giggles)
RACHEL: Thank you
RACHEL: It’s like the same thing when you get a tattoo.
ALI: I’m going to set the timer and then we’ll just move over to the bed. You’re not nervous anymore, are you?
ALI: Well hop on!
RACHEL: Okay, I’ll hop on.
ALI: We can start out if you want..we can spoon, or we can just sort of connect.
AMBIENT NOISE: Silent cuddle time
ALI: Its a little bit different and also its very different when its two women. Men seem to like..I don’t know it seems to be easier to cuddle with the opposite sex, I don’t know, but.
ALI: I am New York’s first professional cuddler and what we do is we or I offer cuddling sessions to clients who feel the need for some nurturing and comforting touch.
AMBIENT NOISE: Silent Cuddle Time with music
ALI: What have you been doing for yourself, I mean since the breakup. Obviously its good to spend time with family and friends but are you doing anything else, extra special, for yourself to help you…
ALI: To help yourself feel good, you know,
ALI: I mean its a really good time, and I don’t know where you are in the process of getting over him and feeling happy..
RACHEL: Actually it’s a her.
ALI – Oh, a her. Okay, okay.
ALI: Yeah, But its fun to like, not fun, but kind of healing to tap into those things that you enjoyed doing as a child, when you are going through dealing with a breakup like that and getting over somebody.
AMBIENT: Silent Cuddle Time
ALI: So how are you feeling?
RACHEL: Good, good, relaxed. Relaxed!
ALI: Good! Let me give you a big hug. You are lovely.
ALI: In a perfect world, nobody would need what I do, in a perfect world, there would be absolutely no need for someone to go to someone else for love. Its not love that they are coming here for but a loving energy and acceptance and nurturing.
Music Fades Out.
As technology becomes evermore present in all our lives, People are getting far less face time and human interaction than ever before. Ali C., runs a business out of her apartment where she offers cuddle sessions to New Yorkers. Ali says many people find it strange that someone would go cuddle with a complete stranger, but what they don’t understand is that cuddling is actually rooted in touch therapy and a technique called inner bonding, developed by Dr. Margaret Paul. People always assume that there’s something odd about touching someone you don’t know, but in reality the cuddle is completely nonsexual. Ali even has a screening process where she looks at the client’s online profiles and talks to them on the phone before ever letting them come over for the cuddle. She does this to weed out an potential clients who might have those kinds of sexual intentions.
There are a number of reasons why someone would sign up for a cuddle session. They may be going through a breakup, lost a loved one, or just going through a stressful time in their life.
The client in this film, Rachel, is a friend of mine who had recently gone through a breakup and was interested in having a cuddle session. Ali says her work stems from a long history of feeling like she was able to nurture people well. As a teenager, Ali volunteered in a convalescent home where she would spend time with people who were wheel-chair bound or had Huntington’s or Parkinson’s disease. Ali worked in web design and social media marketing before she founded her snuggle business four months ago. So far Ali has had more than 40 cuddle sessions, and people keep coming back for more.