Five minutes in, and I’m already sweating. I can feel my heartbeat speed up as the adrenaline courses through me. My muscles tense up and my body freezes as I fight the urge to run from the room with my skin crawling. Internally, I’m dying as whoever felt the need to encroach on my personal space is smiling at me, trying to show just how much they obviously love me. I try to twist my face into some semblance of a smile and hope that the actual grimace I’m bearing doesn’t give me away. It doesn’t last long, usually because I’m emitting high-frequency signals of “get the fuck off of me” but still, any amount of time is usually too long of a time.
Because the thing, while I love and crave attention, I absolutely despise cuddling.
I’m not sure what it is about the extended skin-on-skin contact that makes me anxious. Maybe it’s the close proximity to another person. Maybe I just hate human touch. But whatever it is, after the first few minutes of closeness, I’m already planning my escape.
That’s not to say the occasional prolonged horizontal hug isn’t alright. I’m down for a quick spoon with the bf before sliding over to my side of the bed, putting up my great wall of pillows between us, and passing the fuck out. It’s cute, it’s sweet, and it helps ensure that he’ll dream about me instead of his ex who is maybe hotter than I am if we’re being completely honest.
Cuddling is a form of attention, and as someone whose diet consists of attention, the souls of people who’ve scorned her, and carbs, I need heaping doses of it daily. But as my shrink and lame self-help books that I hide under my bed tell me, my “love language” isn’t physical touch. Like, at all. It’s basically the opposite, if that exists. So, when someone comes sliding over to me, ready to smother me with beefy arms and sweaty hugs, I’m immediately conflicted.
Because sure, I love the fact this human wants to devote their energy to me. Hell, draping your body across mine is a sure way of saying, “Hey! I realize you exist and I like you so much that I’m going to let my dead skin mix with your dead skin.” Super sweet. And I’d love to be one of those cuddly girls who curls up with her friends on the couch or greets everyone with a big hug like they’re the Annie to her Hallie. But I just can’t. I put a firm hand out when I meet someone. I give my best friend a quick hug when I see her 4-6 times a year and that’s about it. One time Veronica casually put her head on my shoulder while we were working on the couch, and my entire body went stiff and I didn’t know what to do. She immediately pulled away, left the room, and fired me (kidding, kidding).
Seriously, though. I’d love to not only embrace cuddling, literally, but feel comfortable enough to respond to it. How, exactly, do you cuddle with friends? Do you spoon? Do you lay ass to vagina? Do you put your head on top of their head when they rest on your shoulder? I just don’t understand the semantics, and honestly, I get too freaked out to stay still long enough to figure it out.
And as much as I’d love to try and change and become the world’s sweetest, cutest, most adorable little cuddler, I just don’t think that’s in the cards for me. I’m too cold, too hard, and too bitchy for that lifestyle. Anything beyond a quick hug or five-minute pre-bed cuddle and I feel almost physically sick. Breathing in each other’s carbon dioxide? Having your limbs fall asleep just so your moist skin can be pressed up against each other? Being unable to move or readjust or stalk your cousin’s best friend’s hot soccer coach because your guy is passed out on you, blowing warm, onion-scented breath in your face? Uh-uh. Nah. Not for me.
Maybe I just didn’t get much physical affection as a child. Hell, maybe my parent hated me. All I know is that now, when I feel the strong arms of a man pull me close or a friend crawl near me, my gut reaction is to politely tell them to back up, put a foot of space between us, and keep their hands to themselves.
Because at the end of the day, getting attention by cuddling is cool or whatever but do you know what’s better? Getting attention in the form of a tangible gift. Because despite what the songs have been telling us, cuddles can’t buy you a pair of diamond stud earrings. And between the two of them, I’ll take the rock over the human contact any day..
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