By Mollie Mansfield
An OAP widow has revealed that he earns £20,000 [$26,000] a year from SPOONING strangers – to help cope with the loss of his wife.
After visiting a professional cuddler to help deal with his wife’s ovarian cancer diagnosis, Nick Fowler, 74, was surprised that the sense of touch helped uncover his suppressed feelings.
The grandad-of-three then decided to become a ‘Cuddlist’ himself after his wife, Dawna, 71, lost her cancer battle on October 13 2017, to help others deal with grief and fear in the way he did.
Now, Nick invites strangers into his home in Whidbey Island, Washington, US, to cuddle, spoon and even offer foot rubs five times a week – charging clients between $60 [£45] to $100 [£75] per session.
Nick said: “Cuddling helps me to fulfil some of the physical touch and emotional intimacy that I lost when my wife left.
“But I make sure I am there for the client and meet their needs, as opposed to letting my pain get in the way of the session.
“I provide time and space for people to become clear on what they want and need, and learn to ask for it.
“My time with clients usually consists of things like holding hands, sitting together, spooning, getting a back rub or foot rub.”
Nick initially became interested in becoming a Cuddlist after he had an appointment with a professional cuddler himself.
He said: “I had spent a decade as a manager and executive coach in a large manufacturing organisation when my wife was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.
“I retired and dedicated my time to supporting her journey toward healing and I realised that it was the physical touch which allowed her to tolerate the pain and fear.
“I heard about Cuddlist from a friend and located a Cuddlist in Seattle.
“I had a couple of sessions with her and was amazed to find how powerfully it touched my own suppressed fears of losing my beloved wife.
“I discussed it with my wife who immediately told me that I would be the perfect cuddlist and encouraged me to begin the Cuddlist training programme.”
Alongside losing his wife, Nick believes that having three young grandchildren also allows him to connect with clients better.
He said: “I am fortunate enough to have three grandchildren who live near me, so I get to spend a lot of time with them.
“They offer inspiration in the sense that they have few hang-ups about asking for what they want, and I encourage my clients to be like them in that respect.
“I have shed many tears over the last year so am comfortable welcoming the tears of people who have been holding in their grief and loneliness often for years.
“I love the fact that I am holding a safe space for people to allow themselves to relax into a healing relationship that usually involves some kind of platonic touch.”