I was dismayed by this report in yesterday's Times (£) to the effect that the British aren't getting enough cuddles.
Six out of ten people want more affection in their relationships than they currently get, a study of 2,000 adults aged 25 to 54 found. Busy lifestyles and hectic work schedules were cited as the main reasons for the decline in cuddles and other forms of physical contact.
This is a matter of regret in itself, of course. You have to wonder why, if they want and need more cuddles, people don't ask for them from their ever-lovings. Perhaps they find that hard to do - in which case the cuddle deficit would be indicative of deeper problems in their relationships, would it not?
But an additional cause of my dismay was the failure of the Times report to mention how things stand with snuggles and - not the same thing at all - sniggles. A snuggle is a more extended and continuous form of the cuddle, and is often best accomplished under a blanket, particularly if the room is chilly. A sniggle is thinner than a snuggle and more side-on: as when the two of you are sitting on the sofa reading or watching TV. The multi-tasking aspect of the sniggle has to leave you some capacity for doing the other thing you're doing than sniggling, and so is suited to our contemporary condition, evoked by the above report's reference to busy lifestyles and hectic work schedules. The sniggle isn't an adequate substitute for the full-blown cuddle, much less for the rich and extended snuggle. But it does have its place alongside them in the cupboard of homely affections.
Yet, of people's experience with snuggles and sniggles the Times report says not a word. We need more fine-grained research.