Spoon with a stranger: App connects cuddlers

By Emma Solak / Staff Writer

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If you’ve ever wanted to spoon with an absolute stranger, now you can. 

Cuddlr, similar to other location-based social meeting apps like Tinder and Grindr, can connect strangers looking for a little TLC.

According to the app’s website, Cuddlrapp.com, it gives users a list of the closest prospective cuddlers within walking distance. From there, users can send someone else a cuddle request, to which the recipient has 15 minutes to respond. If the potential cuddler accepts the request, the app provides walking directions to the location of the cuddle-mate. Post-cuddle session, users are encouraged to rank their partners and even upload a picture of the cuddle.

Charlie Williams, developer and founder of Cuddlr, emphasizes that Cuddlr isn’t a dating app. 

Rather, Williams said, Cuddlr, which was released for iOS on Sept. 18, strives to connect strangers and promote nonsexual physical intimacy. 

The profiles of users don’t display anything other than a first name, a picture and a history of their successful or failed cuddles. According to Williams, this factor of anonymity encourages people to cuddle with anyone — no matter age, gender or sexuality. Users don’t even have the option to chat with each other before meeting up, like with Tinder and Grindr. 

“This is by design — one weakness of dating apps and websites is that they encourage messaging to such a degree that many people don’t ever get out there and meet anyone; they just chat forever,” Williams said in an email.

With Cuddlr, Williams said, the idea is that you meet up with someone right away, in public, and have a chat. From there, you can talk about what you’d like from your cuddle, and listen to what your partner wants.

Some students are wary of the app’s purpose.

“It sounds like a ‘Criminal Minds’ episode waiting to happen,” said Julia Badyna, a sophomore neuroscience major.

Scott Feryus, a sophomore business major, echoed Badyna’s sentiments. 

“You could be meeting up with a serial killer or getting catfished,” Feryus said. “Tinder isn’t about getting up in someone’s personal space, like cuddling implies.”

The intimacy itself turned off other potential users, such as junior psychology major Kyle Kaufman.

“I’m not downloading it, because I don’t cuddle,” Kaufman said. “Cuddling is too emotionally involved.”

The app cannot guarantee that the cuddle session won’t turn into something more. People meeting up via Cuddlr might become more physically intimate, Williams said, which is something that can’t be prevented. 

“If you’re looking for hookups, there are some very good apps for that,” Williams said. “If you meet someone on the app, you’re [expected to have] a cuddle and nothing more.”

Though meeting up with a stranger might seem risky, the app has taken means to create a safe environment for users. Users can block cuddlers with whom they don’t wish to meet up, and the user’s location isn’t shared until they have confirmed they want to meet up with a potential cuddle-buddy. Users consistently blocked will be banned from the app, according to Cuddlr’s website. 

For some, cuddling with a complete stranger poses no issues.

“That actually sounds amazing. Who doesn’t love a good cuddle?” said Ben Zwang, a sophomore global and supply chain management major. “My only question is, can you specify big spoon or little spoon?”

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