There are certain things that really highlight the differences between men and women. An affinity for cuddling is definitely one of them. Whether it’s your garden variety snuggling on the couch, or some post-coital spooning, at some point in your romantic career you’re going to have to succumb, men. I’m sorry. But just because it’s the right (read: sweet) thing to do, doesn’t mean you have dedicate hours to it. In fact, in this girl’s opinion, there’s a limit to the cuteness.

How can something so fundamentally adorable come with a shelf life? Easy – because guys generally hate doing it. Any woman who has a boyfriend/husband or just access to a man she regularly cozies up to should understand this fact and behave accordingly. It’s like shopping: Women know you hate it, and yet they still expect you to accompany them, for some crazy reason. I’m staunchly opposed to making your man shop with you – unless it’s for home improvement things. But cuddling is different, because not only do we need it, we actually like it. And we want you to like it, too.

Of course there are some obvious issues to overcome when snuggling with your significant other. Sometimes it’s hot, or you’re tired, not to mention that one of you always gets stuck with what I like to call “stupid arm,” where your arm is pinned arrow straight beneath both of you. It’s an all together clumsy business at times.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated. In general, you’re much bigger than us, and we love how in your arms we feel small and safe. Plus, it shows us that you care about keeping us around, even if it’s only for 15 minutes and after you’ve gotten laid – whatever, we’ll take it.

Women need reassurance way more than you guys do, it’s just science (or something). Men who raise the bar in the cuddling department by kissing our foreheads, stroking our arms/backs or just generally giving really good hugs are especially revered. If there was a formal ranking for such snuggling skills, these men would get five stars.

But where should you draw the line? That’s easy: When the expected cuddle time exceeds 30 minutes (an hour even…but that’s pushing it). That’s usually when people start to get antsy. Or – and this is my steadfast rule, please heed – when you’re in public. Fun fact: Miss Wingman is strongly anti-PDA (I’m also anti-using the word “canoodling,” too, it makes me want to vomit). I’m anti-making out, anti-nose nuzzling, hell – I’m anti-anything other than hand holding, an arm around each other or quick kisses while in public spaces or in the presence of others.

Why? Because that’s for you, it’s not for everyone else. And the rest of us don’t really want to see it, frankly. Let it be known that this is coming from a person who highly values affection and could never be with a stoic, unaffectionate male. But even I think that there’s a time and place for this stuff, and it’s usually behind closed doors. What goes on under the covers or in the comfort of your own home is your business, kindly keep it that way.

So now that I’ve made you think that I’m the kind of person who would throw things or hiss at unsuspecting couples (never!), let’s clarify your obligation – especially since Valentine’s Day is approaching – the mother of all cuddle-intensive holidays:

Do try to show your sweet side, as often as possible. Upright hugs and hair stroking are not only viable alternatives, they’re welcomed and appreciated. Don’t expect that it always requires spooning, there are other ways to show you love us…like us. My bad, where’s my head?

Do make sure to tell us how you feel from time to time, even if it’s just with a sweet email, a flower for no reason or a note tucked away somewhere. And don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel like her cuddling expectations are unreasonable. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and a polite, “Maybe we can work on a happy medium here,” suggestion shouldn’t make you boyfriend road kill. At least I hope not.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN


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