The original version of the saying, “A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse.” translating to “you may nod or wink – I will take your meaning either way”. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/nod-is-as-good-as-a-wink.html An extreme example of this is portrayed in a Monty Python skit…
When I was attending school for theraputic massage therapy, I often experienced this nudge nudge, wink and a nod phenomenon when telling others about my new passion for massage therapy. This is somewhat understandable. Our society has a long history of massage being associated with the sex industry. Sometimes, this reaction came from people who knew me well, and would never question my character or professionalism under any other circumstance. Still, somewhere deep in their brain lived this connection that brought on an instant reaction to the word “massage”.
In theraputic massage training, we spent a good deal of time in class discussions on how we as trained professionals can help to bring the public perception into this century through our professionalism. As it stands today, that negative association of massage, and illegal activity, is still very strong. The trained massage professionals continue the effort to improve the public perception of the legal and effective theraputic massage industry, but progress is slow, and not helped by mainstream news articles of how a happy ending massage “saved my marriage”. https://www.fsmta.org/redbook-article-outrages-massage-therapy-profession/
So what does that have to do with the growing community of professional cuddlers?
I recently enrolled in the certification course to become a certified professional cuddler through the certification process at Cuddlist.com. When I was considering this training, I did a good deal of research to try and determine what the current public perception of ‘cuddling for pay’ might be. Sadly, the concept of a monotized non-sexual cuddle session with a trained alternative health professional has in fact met with resistance. One extreme example is where a brick and mortar snuggle establishment was shut down by public opinion. http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2013/12/are-pro-cuddlers-really-prostitutes.html
Thankfully, the founders and team of professionals at Cuddlist.com are working overtime to create a trusted brand name, to educate the public on the potential health benefits of cuddling sessions with certified professionals, as well as assuring that the brand is associated in public opinion as a valued alternative health option for individuals in need of receiving human touch in a safe and honoring professional environment.http://cuddlist.com/press/
As I progress through the training, I am becoming truly excited about the potential benefits of this healing touch modality as taught in the on-line thought provoking exercises, the weekly student phone conferences, the instructor feedback, and the participation of the cross section of students in the course. Like any other training program, you will only get out of it what you put in. The best part of that is there are ample resources and opportunities to grow into the high standards set to become a certified professional Cuddlist.
Is it a rigorous process to attain this certification? My belief is yes from my experience so far. We are being evaluated throughout the course on our participation in learning how to effectively help others through consensual non-sexual touch, but beyond that, a great deal of attention is given to evaluating our intentions, boundaries, and demeanor to assure that on completion of the course we are a good fit for this type of work and the Cuddlist brand. While little emphasis is placed on this in the Cuddlist marketing material, not everyone is accepted into the training, and not everyone who takes the training is certified.
Is the nudge nudge wink wink phenomenon an issue for the growing professional cuddler industry? The answer of course is yes, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the reactions of those who know me, when talking with them about my newest endeavor into professional cuddling. Most recently a co-worker asked me about how the “massage thing is going” as we traversed the isleways of cube land. I responded that I am currently taking training to become a certified professional cuddler. His interest peaked, and he responded that it sounded like a great thing based on a recent Psychology course he had just completed where they studied touch deprivation. Others when told of my intent are asking more about cuddling in general, without a nod or a wink. This is a good sign!
Time will tell how well professional cuddling will be accepted by society, and that acceptance will vary from state to state, community to community, and between government agencies. For me, on the subject of professional certified cuddling, there is no need for a nod or a wink.
While someday soon I may be charging for cuddling sessions as a Certified Cuddlist, hugs and holds will always be free. The next time we meet, you need only say “Could I have a hug?”. Those requests will always be met with an enthusiastic “yes”.
To learn more, or to find a certified Cuddlist in your area, visit Cuddlist.com