Monday, November 14, 2005

And yet more abominations

Remember the "cuddle party" fad that began in New York? It has made its way to the Bay Area.

For those of you living in the boondocks, cuddle parties..."were created last year by relationship coach and sex educator Reid Mihalko with fellow educator Marcia Baczynski for adults to explore and satisfy their need for non-sexual touch " Source. (Link not safe for children - this means you, sibling.)

Gag me with a spoon.

It's one thing is Aunt Fitz Fitz Fran who you just met gives you a tepid hug and then dives for the appetizers, but it is quite another when a stranger attempts to satisfy their own "need" for human touch. Except that it is not a need, and objectifies other human beings. The Church recognizes that mankind needs outward signs or symbols and Christ Himself gave us visible signs of the Sacraments. We humans are also social beings, needing each other in order to perfect ourselves as human beings, and sometimes that requires signs and symbols in order to be perfected. We do not put infants in playpens, shoving them away in an attic where its cries will not bother anyone, mechanically feeding them. No. We coo and gurgle (or at least the fairer sex does) and show our love so that the infant can participate in and understand it.

But to meet random strangers and become cosy with them? In order to satisfy one's own desires? Is that a "need" in terms of perfection or need in terms of appetites? I have absolutely no confidence in the motives that lead one to such parties, but an extreme distrust of them. These touches goes beyond hugging, stopping only short of that marital act, and tries to masquerade under a guise of innocent child-play. Dog-piling conjures up images of children, albeit, children who are rough in play (there has never been a gentle dog-pile when children play). But the adult dog-pile isn't childish, nor is it even infantile - it's bestial. It isn't good for the soul to engage in such physical acts purely for the sake of the physical touch. It was written somewhere by Maritain that intellectual activity is the highest human act - art is a path to intellectual activity, as is logic and other things like that - but intellectual activity doesn't enter into this picture.

One of my friends put it so: "But to have a whole gathering where the point is to touch (even 'innocently', thus the quotes) is what makes it creepy, and what makes it an internal fulfillment of appetites instead of a person-centered expression of genuine care. Not a hug, but a "I need to get to my 1:00 touching therapy" sort of thing."

It might be fun to go to one of these and screaming "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!!!!!" whenever anyone even makes even a slight movement in my direction.

The clouds have been absolutely gorgeous these days - the sunsets would have had Chesterton all agog and talking about the trailing plumes of purple and azure drawn around an orb of pulsating gold. It's also been raining, which makes me quite happy. The pools of water catch the trees and reflect the sun, the air is swept clean, oxalis (or woodsorrel) is blooming as are the day-lilies and jasmine, and eucalyptus scents waft gently to and fro. Figs are now going out of season, which is sad. There is a fig tree by the office and it bore upwards of 30 figs this season - the smell of ripe figs is a treat in itself, and the god's nectar becomes bitter in their mouths when they smell ripe figs. There is also a persimmon tree on the route home and during its season, people would sometimes pluck unripened persimmons off and bite them --- and then throw them to the ground. Ripe persimmons fell off the tree and were trammeled by the careless, creating an orange carpet of wasted edibles. Wastage is frowned upon.


Anonymous said...

"It isn't good for the soul to engage in such physical acts purely for the sake of the physical touch."

Well there goes the whole massage therapy industry.

Like it or not, we are physical beings. I'm not for any of this cuddle nonsense, but I wouldn't be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There are seniors and cancer patients who are greatly helped by the massaging touch of strangers.

Deirdre said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't think we have conflicting stances here. The massage industry can stay for the very reason (health benefits) you brought up. A massage isn't an act for the sake of carnal touch, but is a practice that is theraputic in nature. Perhaps the sentence you quoted was phrased ill, though: it isn't good for the soul to engage in physical acts purely for the sake of carnal pleasure.

Matter is good!

Hope this clarifies things a wee bit.

Anonymous said...

That makes sense...I guess the difficulty is that touching is therapeutic in nature given that it has a salutary influence on the body.