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Photo by National Cannabis Industry Assn Stevenson/flickr (cc by 2.0)

Guy who can’t spoon for a year decides spooning is wrong

If spooning is wrong, who wants to be right?


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 4, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 4:58 pm CDT

J. Bryan Lowder would like to make a ridiculous simple request of us all: Stop spooning, and start cuddling sitting up. Why, you ask? Well, that’s a very good question.

Lowder is an associate editor for Slate magazine, and he’s… well, he’s not having the best time. His boyfriend is spending a year in Spain to work on his dissertation, leaving Lowder without a cuddle buddy for the long winter ahead. Lowder’s answer to this understandably vexing problem? Get a cat? Get a secret boyfriend on the side? One of those creepy pillows that has an arm attached?

Nope. Instead, Lowder posted an article telling us that we’ve been cuddling wrong this whole time and didn’t even know it! “Suspend spooning—indefinitely,” he urges. But good god, man, why?!  

Well, explains Lowder:

[Spooning] is fundamentally a sexist arrangement, one that casts the big spoon as “the man” and the little spoon as “the woman.” To say that this power imbalance is built into all acts of spooning—whichever the sexes engaged—is not, I think, an overstatement. Indeed, I would argue that spooning is always already a power play, a perverse strategy by which we nightly enact the unjust relations of “big” and “little” privilege that plague our society on every level.

Wait… did you just say you don’t think that’s an overstatement?

Here a few other things we can safely assume Lowder is against:

  • Warm socks on a cold day
  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
  • Kittens in general
  • Ice cream
  • Sweaters
  • Bike rides in the country
  • Birthdays
  • Fresh apple cider
  • Books
  • High-fives
  • Doin’ it doggy-style

Speaking of the world’s unofficial favorite sex position, it’s somewhat striking that the article doesn’t mention sex more. If spooning is sexist, how bad should we be feeling about oral sex? What about the spankings some of us love giving and receiving? What about when your girlfriend reaches around and puts her finger in… OK, I guess it is kind of hard to not let your personal life affect your stories.

We must note, though, that Lowder doesn’t want us to stop cuddling altogether. He’s just calling for what he refers to as “conscious cuddling,” which sounds suspiciously like homework. It’s even possible—nay, probably—that he’s trolling us a little bit when he suggests cuddling sitting up as an alternative to spooning:

Vertical cuddling—whether with an arm loosely p[l]aced around the neck, or a head freely reclined on a shoulder, or just sitting cozily side-by-side—removes much of the risk of physical discomfort and all of the semiotic violence that spooning conveys

It’s nice of Lowder to look out for us, but I think I’ll go ahead and keep spooning despite the “risk” involved. And he is free to keep, as he puts it, “making the world a better place, one squeeze at a time.”

Photo by National Cannabis Industry Assn Stevenson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2015, 8:47 pm CST