Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey): “You wanna party? It's $500 for kissing and $10,000 for snuggling. End of list.” – Liz Lemon, 30 Rock, Season 5, Episode 18, “Plan B,” original air date March 24, 2011, teleplay by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Jeff Richmond
Liz, Liz darling, you have just supplied definitive proof that you’re more cut out for writing (or, to be exact, extracting script ideas from maladjusted junior writing staffers) than for business. Because, with that price for “snuggling,” you preemptively eliminated any chance of getting your foot through the door of a major enterprise, one that could prove a lucrative sideline if you ever decide to throw in the towel on comedy writing.
That bible of the business world, The Wall Street Journal, just about said as much in an article in its Friday edition by Stephanie Armour. Betcha never guessed there was such a thing as “professional cuddlers,” Liz. I know I sure didn’t—or even that they could make a nice bit of change ($80 an hour, or up to $400 for an overnight session, according to one business owner quoted).
The article makes a point that demand for the services only really took off several years ago. Just about right, I guess, with all that recession-induced stress. But what if the cuddlers coalesce and form a cartel, hiking prices? Wouldn't that only raise stress once again?
Perhaps I’m slightly naïve, but I’d expect quite a bit for such services. But no—its leading practitioners insist that nothing untoward is involved, just squeezing, tickling and bearhugging. (That last specialty could even work for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, judging by his spontaneous—and, as it happened, short-lived—embrace of Dallas Cowboys’ owner-general manager Jerry Jones last week at a playoff victory for the Texas squad.) Many, thank God, do enforce contracts calling for recipients to shower and brush their teeth beforehand.
See, Liz, your boss Jack Donaghy would never have made the mistake of pricing himself out of such a market. He would have recognized a promising operation, acquired it, then leveraged the whole shebang by creating a reality show around it.
Now, at first glance, I would think that this was one of those fake news stories on NPR’s comic quiz show, “Wait, Wait—Don/t Tell Me,” or Garrison Keillor’s classic New Yorker tall tale, “Local Family Keeps Son Happy,” which explained how the tense teenage son of “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Shepard of 1417 Swallow Lane” had become so much better adjusted now that they had hired a live-in prostitute for him.
But how can one be so distrusting when so many quoted in the Journal piece extol the “therapeutic benefits” of snuggling/cuddling?