Under pressure from city officials certain that the place was nothing but a brothel with a warm and fuzzy face, a Madison, Wisc., business where people paid to cozy up with professional snugglers closed up shop Friday after just three weeks in business.
On a Facebook page apparently operated by the Snuggle House (though the ownership of the page has not been confirmed), someone posting under the name “The Snuggle House” seemed especially dispirited.
“We will accept any offer on the table,” the “Snuggle House” poster, seeming to represent the business’s owners, wrote. “The push back and harassment is not worth it, honestly.”
When another Facebook commenter expressed disappointment that the business, which faced a high level of official scrutiny for months before opening, “let the haters win,” the “Snuggle House” poster sounded a despondent note.
“You have no idea,” the poster wrote. “Let ’em win.”
Charging $60 for a one-hour session, patrons would get into bed — clothed — with a Snuggle House employee and proceed to cuddle, spoon and snuggle all without sexual contact. The business employed three female snugglers and one male.
But the city wasn’t buying the line that snuggling was purely platonic.
“No offense to men, but I don’t know any man who wants to just snuggle,” Madison Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Silavy said.
Silavy and other city officials worry that even if prostitution does not take place in the Snuggle House bedrooms, sexual assault will.
However, since the business opened its doors on Nov. 15, the city alderman whose district includes the Snuggle House location says he had received no complaints.
“My guess would probably be that they just didn’t have the business that they anticipated,” said Mike Verveer, speculating as to the reasons why the business would close as abruptly as it did.
Similar businesses in San Francisco, Rochester, N.Y., and Boulder, Colo., continue to operate, catering to clients’ “current needs around connection, intimacy and touch,” according to the website of the San Francisco-based Cuddle Therapy.