According to a recent article in the SF Chronicle: "The belief that touch is essential — a biological and social need — but often difficult to find without an intimate relationship is a guiding principle within the cuddling world, which in recent years has emerged as a major commercial industry. There are professional cuddlists who offer private cuddling sessions for as much as $100 per hour. Cuddling has pushed into the retail market with vigor."
A Washington Post article adds, "In the past four years storefront cuddle shops have opened in Portland and Los Angeles, and one-on-one cuddle providers are proliferating across the nation."
The cuddling industry doesn't involve only person-to-person cuddling. There's also person-to-cow cuddling. The BBC reports: "A farm in upstate New York is offering self-care seekers the chance to spend 90 minutes cosying up to cows. The Mountain Horse Farm explains that cows are 'sensitive, intuitive animals' who will 'pick up on what's going on inside and sense if you are happy, sad, feel lost, anxious or are excited, and they will respond to that without judgement'... The farm in New York charges $300 (approx. £225) for 90 minutes of snuggles. That’s roughly £2.50 per minute of cow time."
We recently posted about a Japanese company (Gatebox) that had created a "digital wife"... a device that created a holographic companion for lonely people. Now 35-year-old Akihiko Kondo has married his hologram companion. From sde.co.ke:
Since March, Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a ShSh280,000 ( $2,800) desktop device.
Gatebox, the company that produces the hologram device has issued a "marriage certificate," which certifies that a human and a virtual character have wed "beyond dimensions".
The singer welcomes Kndo home every evening and tells him when it is time for bed. He even sleeps with a doll of the hologram beside him.
I'd bet money that the 'marriage' is a publicity stunt engineered by Gatebox.
The mirror, apparently only available as a prototype right now, has a sexy male voice that will compliment and chat with the woman looking into the mirror. Incorporating a monitor display, camera, and speaker, the device can scan and read the emotions of the user from her face, changing the way it interacts accordingly.
This reminds me of the Digital Wife I posted about recently. Seems like another device aimed at the large number of Japanese people who seem to live alone.
Haven't read the book, but I've got a few ideas. Take your date to the Dollar Store and tell her you'll treat her to any one thing. Or take her to McDonald's and tell her she can get any one thing she wants off the dollar menu.
Impressively, the headline delivers exactly what it promises. It was her own poo she was after, having flung it because it "would not flush" and she was worried her date would find it.
When I first read the story I thought, nah, that can't be true. It sounds too much like some kind of urban legend about a date gone nightmarishly wrong. But the BBC has confirmed it, as has the local Fire and Rescue service.
Algie R. Crook (or "Alja" Crook, as his name was sometimes spelled) was a professor of mineralogy at Chicago's Northwestern University. His great claim to fame, however, had nothing to do with science. Instead, it was that in April, 1901 he allegedly told his undergraduate class that he had never kissed a woman. More specifically, he reportedly said, "I have never uttered a profane word, never have smoked or chewed tobacco, drank intoxicants, nor hugged or kissed a woman."
Given that he was thirty-seven years old at the time, this was considered a remarkable admission. So remarkable that when word of it leaked to the press it became international news.
Great Falls Tribune - May 15, 1901
The media started referring to him as "Crook, The Unkissed." Acquaintances of Crook (or people who claimed to be his acquaintances) readily confirmed the tale, attributing his lack of kisses to his embrace of "austere science." One said, "the scientific atmosphere is inimical to the love germ."
Offers of marriage flooded in, from women hoping to be the one to thaw the professor's icy reserve.
Philadelphia Times - Apr 28, 1901
The French were particularly taken with the story. As reported in the Leavenworth Times (May 8, 1901):
Leading [French] novelists and scientists have been interviewed. Some pronounce the Chicago instructor an "idiot" and a "monster," but a powerful clan uphold his theory that love for woman, even love of the ideal type, seriously impedes a man who would be great and learned.
Supposedly the news even reached as far as China where the dowager empress expressed a desire to see him.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Apr 27, 1901
Crook, for his part, was said to be "abashed and humiliated over the gossip the affair has provoked," and also furious at the "tattling undergraduates."
He issued a denial of the allegation, stating, "I have never told any one that I have refrained from hugging or kissing women, for the reason that I consider it nobody's business but my own."
He recalled having advised a student to do as he did — never to kiss, hug, swear, and so forth. And he figured that's how the story must have started. But he insisted that he hadn't said that he had never done these things at all.
However, it was too late. The story was out there and couldn't be taken back. His denial got buried in the back pages of newspapers, if it was printed at all.
In other interviews, Crook asserted that he had kissed female family members, which didn't help his case much since it implied that he had indeed never romantically kissed a woman. Also, a former student recalled that Crook had made similar claims before, noting, "He is a consistent Methodist, and his convictions sometimes cause him some trouble." So I kind of suspect that Crook really did make the no-kissing claim to his class, but denied it later out of embarrassment.
Whatever the case may have been, the tale continued to haunt him. The following year (1902) a group of students at Northwestern formed an "Anti-osculation Society," claiming that they were "following the teachings of Professor Algie R. Crook, the man who never was kissed." They elected him an honorary member.
In 1904 Crook got married, and inevitably this triggered a renewal of the no-kissing story. "Unkissed Man To Wed," reported the papers.
The Hutchinson News - Dec 28, 1904
Crook and his wife eventually had five children together. He died in 1930, at the age of sixty-six, and the kissing story resurfaced in his Chicago Tribune obituary (June 1, 1930). It was, after all, the achievement he was most famous for:
In 1901 he won fame by being credited with having declared he was never kissed. He denied he had made the assertion after it roused world wide comment.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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