The word alone – cuddle. Definitely an onomatopoeia (what a word that is too btw), a word that sounds like what it means. Cuddle. Or ‘hug’. No, give me a cuddle any day. My indispensable etymological dictionary says that the verb ‘to cuddle’ in Dutch (knuffel) can be traced back to ‘doing something in a clumsy manner’. Makes sense. We’ve all experienced those clumsy cuddles from time to time.  

WHAT can you do?!

It’s quite something a cuddle. There’s no more personal space, no buffer zone protecting you from those around you. Someone just comes along and grabs hold of you. And you have to respond. You can of course simply stand there, stiff as a board, and wait until it’s all over. But then comes the moment that the cuddler moves away. Do you stand there looking like you’ve been licked by a dog or smile manically instead? You’d never dream of saying: Don’t You Ever Do That Again. You can also decide to immerse yourself completely in the cuddle and cuddle back even harder. Or, better still: don’t let go. A sort of: let’s see who can cuddle the longest competition. Or fall gracefully into the arms of the cuddler and go with the flow. Some days you seem to attract more attention from cuddlers than others. Apparently you’re unwittingly walking around in a cuddledressy that screams ‘cuddle me quick’. Look, you brought it on yourself. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that everyone who passes wants to embrace you. Happens to me sometimes. Maybe it’s because I’m rather small in stature. Easier to devour, if you know what I mean. Which I sometimes welcome.

But what to do when you don’t fancy a consolatory-congratulatory-cuddle? You make yourself bigger, that’s what. Back straight, chin up, hands on hips. A bit like Angela Merkel, for the sake of example. They quickly change their minds; I can tell you. Indeed, it’s only when you’re in really dire need of a cuddle that, ta-da, you make yourself as small as possible, throw on your sweetest cuddledressy and flutter your eyelashes Bambi-style at the hunter. And then you don’t let go, of course, you don’t let go.