Friday, September 26, 2014

ff

did you hear about cuddlr?

of course you did.
cuddlr, released just last week, has blown up. it is everywhere. new york times & late night with seth meyers & salon & jezebel & the bbc & mtv & cosmo & the onion &&&&...
(i am doing a little thing for a tv program next week, too, which i'll tell you all about when it is done.)

cuddlr is an app that allows you to find someone in your city to have a cuddle with. a hug, a hand hold, a nap-in-a-park, etc. for me, i'm thinking i might like to braid someone's hair. or have my hair braided. or both. that's a really nice thing to do and have done. anyway. that is what it is for. for those touch-ey things. and not for sex. not for a sexual relationship. you can read about it in the words of one of the creators here if you've missed it.

oh yeah, and, duh. it is created by my brother in law. you know. that charlie dude! and a friend, jeff, who made it look real real beautiful, ooof. so i'm not affiliated, but i am. i am biased. noted.

i am SUPER EXCITED about it all, and i have 8 million thoughts, and i'm trying to think of the best way in. so i'm not just thought-vomiting all over this here blorg. but that is a point just there in itself. i am excited because the more i think on it, the more i read of the reactions, the more i could say. i have attempted to write a few different pieces this week, every time i go towards it i'm thinking 'YES, BUT ALSO I COULD TALK ABOUT!!! YEAH! YES!'

okay. first. charlie's words. here are some of them:



{from charlie's pre-launch piece on medium}
YEAH! right? a lot of thoughts about those things. but i'm gonna go at it in another way. in response to a piece written by caitlin dewey:


YEAH! but also, yes exactly: and therefore...
i agree with a lot of what caitlin is saying. but that is precisely why i am stoked about cuddlr.
i have been a girl on the internet for a long while, but particularly for the last 5 or 6 years. i am a girl on the internet who writes and reads about feminism. i am a girl on the internet who has used okcupid, tinder, lava life, eharmony, facebook, twitter, and so on and so on. i know what it is like to be a girl on the internet. the worst. often.
i am used to men being inappropriate towards me online. i am used to getting messages from people who obviously ignore every detail on my profile to ask me if i wanna fuck, send me pictures of their dicks, neg me so offensively and blatantly i struggle not to spit-take all over my computer, and all kinds of other annoying/hilarious/tragic/terrifying things. i am used to being called every name imaginable when i respond saying 'no thanks' or when i don't respond at all. believe me. i know about creeps.
if i said to myself 'well, erin, that's what happens so i guess no dating app or site, or social app or site, will ever be useful to me, alas, too bad, better stay away' then i would be missing out on all the good bits too. the nice people and the interesting conversations. the good dates, or even the not good but not bad dates. the chance to expand my circles, yadda yadda.
also: worth noting that that is no different from: everywhere. being a girl in this culture can be just the shittiest. and it isn't just online that assholes will talk to me like i'm not a human person because: tits or whatever.
i hate all that. you know it. i talk about it a lot. i am angry a lot. there is a problem with our culture.
AHA! yes. and isn't that the point? i don't know how to fix the problems outright. i sometimes despair that it might be unfixable. but. isn't it better to aspire to the culture you want? the changes you want? i think that it can only be valuable to push for it, even if you don't fully believe it can happen.
(if not me, who? if not now, when? holla, emma watson.)
here are some things i want.
i want men, particularly straight men, to be comfortable being physically affectionate with each other.
i want people who are living in new cities, new circumstances, to have the ability to reach out and connect with another human when they are feeling lost, scared, alone, excited.
i want straight men and straight women to have a comfort with each other's physical selves that allows for something other than partnered-for-sex or not. i want for there to be a mentality that your partner-for-sex can touch and be touched by more than only you. that wanting physical warmth outside your relationship does not diminish, but support it.
i want there not to be such gaping spaces between our understanding of each other's bodies, be they female, male, or something in between or beyond.
i want to do away with the idea that you get everything from one person OR ELSE, because that is not possible, not sustainable, and leaves un-coupled people (like me) in this void. i want to lean on a whole network of people, and to have them lean on me.
i want there to be less fear. i want touch to be less leading. i want to stop worrying that someone i thought i was loving well and loved by will accuse me of 'friend zone-ing' them because i don't want to have sex.
i do not want a partner to somehow trump or eliminate all of the other relationships i have built and experienced.
i want to braid someone's hair from time to time.

i live a live that has these elements most of the time. i am lucky. my people, my friends, they tend to think similarly. i want that for more people.
cuddlr is holding up ideas worth looking at. a philosophy i believe in. it will be misused, of course it will, like every other social media tool. that doesn't negate the value of the tool's existence. it shouldn't be the focus of the conversation. the idea is a good one and i don't want it to get lost, derailed.
i am usually more cynical. it is true. i am usually more tolerant, drawn to the snarky side. i don't generally get too bright-eyed hopeful. but i know charlie, and i know how earnest and honestly he comes to this project. he isn't naïve. he is scrutenizing and thoughtful, and i am glad. i am glad that cuddlr is.
happy friday, cuddlers.