Recently, Susan Stoner, my co-host, and I taped a few book discussions with our guests for the next season of Just Read It. (Click) Our shows are 10 minutes long, as we know people are busy. But after the camera stops rolling, conversation continues, especially if we had differing views about the book under discussion.
Ta-Nahisi Coates’ memoir, Between the World and Me, an open letter to his son about growing up black in America, generated much afterthought. Susan offered the hope that Millennials were ready to break a number of social mores, race relations among them. As these young people, born between 1980-200, are 75 million strong, outnumbering Baby Boomers, a change in their attitudes could mean a seismic shift in the direction of our culture.
Madison Avenue is well aware of this shift. Companies like LinkIn and Oracle have been known to pay consultants up to $20,000 per hour to learn how to pitch to this upcoming generation. (Chasing the Mythical Millennial,” by Farhad Manjoo, excerpted from N.Y. Times in The Week, June 10, 2016, pg. 38.) But there’s a glitch. As writer Farhad Manjoo notes, “Millennials aren’t real.” (Ibid pg. 38.) People can’t be lumped together based on their birth dates, although Millennials do tend to be social liberals, marry later in life and are less religious than previous generations.
Manjoo may be right about there being no common thread among Millennials but I share Susan’s hope that they will usher in a kinder, gentler era. A new company is already thinking along the same line. Cuddilist is the latest dot com to address the human need in our ever expanding technological universe. For $80, a person can purchase an hour of non-sexual hugs from a man or a woman, known as a professional cuddler. Any reader who feels a smirk coming on should resist and consider buying stock options instead. As one frequent Cuddilist client explains, her work schedule and that of her husband’s is so erratic they have little time together. Hiring a professional cuddlier is her way of giving herself a treat. “I love affection,” she confesses (“It Must Be True..” The Week, June 10, 2016, pg. 12.) Who doesn’t? Though I might settle for a little chocolate, instead.