Londoners of various ages find warmth at cuddle workshops
LONDON (AFP) - The lilting beat of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" sets the tone. Green and red scatter cushions fill the floor and nervous strangers sit around awkwardly, preparing to get up close and personal at a "cuddle workshop".
Organiser Anna Nathan announces the rules in a comforting voice. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to do," the 36-year-old tells the two dozen men and women sat round in a circle in a dance studio in north London. "Keep a layer of clothes on. Place your sexual energy to one side. No kissing."
Today's students include a recently divorced 30-something "in need of a hug", some long-term singletons, a young man who's "very annoyed" with his girlfriend, and a retired man - who are all about to get to know each other much better.
The room is cool, and apart from one or two people in T-shirts, the participants are all wrapped up warm. Exercise one: walk around in time to the music, clicking your fingers, and get to know people by briefly touching their fingers, shoulders, feet, ears and finally their hips.