Want to cuddle? There's an app for that: Meet Cuddlr

Do you yearn for the simple things in life, like cuddling a total stranger who a geolocation app tells you is nearby? Then rejoice, the internet has finally come through.

App's staying power depends largely on buzz, McMaster University expert says

Do you yearn for the simple things in life — like cuddling a total stranger that an app tells you is nearby?

Then rejoice, the internet has finally come through for you. Introducing Cuddlr – the app for people who just want to find strangers to cuddle with.

Yes, this is a real thing.

And yes, people in Hamilton are using it.

Cuddlr is a brand new "location-based social-meeting app for cuddling,” modelled after hook-up apps like Grindr and Tinder. The app was released on Sept. 18, and in that time, it has garnered 130,000 users – with 14,500 of them in Canada.

Though there are definite similarities to apps like Tinder, Cuddlr is inherently different, says Charlie Williams, the app’s co-founder. “Those are hook-up apps, but that’s not always what people want to do,” he said. “This is about connecting with another person, but not sexually.”

Searching for strangers to cuddle

Here’s how it works. Users attach their name, location and photos to a personal profile, and then search for cuddle buddies nearby. When a user finds someone they’re into, they can send them a cuddle request.

If two Cuddlr users are mutually interested, they get the option to message each other and set up a meeting.

Cuddlr then shows both users real-time walking directions, geolocated on a map to lead them to each other and let the cuddling begin. Users can then review their cuddle session with a thumbs-up, or report inappropriate behaviour from other users.

Williams says as a society, we’re “culturally ready” for an app like this. “Ten years ago people thought online dating was insane and the end of times. Now look at us,” he said.

Williams does concede that giving someone geolocated directions to where you are at any given moment can appear a little creepy, but stresses that it’s only an option after two people express a mutual interest in each other. “If you’re concerned, maybe don’t meet at home or start your journey from there,” Williams said. “A little bit of caution always makes sense when meeting new people.”

'Feels a little like a novelty'

Though the app has been successful in its first week of release, whether or not it has any staying power really depends on raising awareness of its brand and keeping buzz going, says McMaster University communications expert Alex Sevigny.

“It could very well be successful if your measure of success is serving a very niche demographic,” he said, adding that it almost turns intimacy into a commodity, in a way. “It’s turning what used to be private into a public performance,” he said.

“But it does feel a little like a novelty.”

Though Cuddlr is billed as a PG-13 app, some users are reporting that some people (mostly men) are attempting to use it for quick hook ups (as some men on dating sites are known to do).

Williams has a simple message for those users. “I hope people downvote those people and don’t cuddle them.”

And if some form of attraction does spring up, mid cuddle? Well that’s fine, he says – just wait until your cuddle is done to mention it.

“Don’t try to upgrade your cuddle mid-way, so to speak.”