Hugs for hire: Seattle man starts professional cuddling service

SEATTLE -- Hugs for hire? There's a man for that.

A Seattle resident has created a business offering hugs, cuddling, and spooning - for a price.

Mitchell Diers, who was once an actor and ballroom dance instructor, started 'Snuggle up Seattle' about two months ago, after he says he learned the importance of touch.

"This is an idea whose time has come and I believe in it," said Diers, who lives in Seattle and is a father to a 6-year old boy. "I believe in the philosophy behind it, of being there with somebody and offering them touch and kindness."

Most of Diers' 'sessions' involve meeting clients in a coffee shop - for hand-holding or for conversation - or traveling to their homes. Cuddling is part of what he offers, as is snuggling and spooning or even watching a movie together. He has strict policies about hygiene and does not allow inappropriate touching.

"It's nice to have touch. We don't have that in America as much," he added. "Touching is a basic human need, and it's something that I believe in."

Prices start at $35 for 30 minutes and $60 for an hour. Diers also offers his services at corporate events.

"I've also gone to a couple of cuddle puddles before," he said, smiling, referring to the slang of a group of people cuddling together.

Similar businesses have popped up in Portland and in New York.

Diers says he doesn't have a significant other - so he doesn't worry about making someone jealous. His parents, too, weren't an issue.

"Both of my parents are artists and hippies, so when I told them about this, they were like, 'OK. Great!' " Diers said. "I think everybody really does get: yeah, touching and human contact is nice. Why wouldn't somebody want that?"