I just don’t see the appeal of hugging total strangers

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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I’ve heard of some unusual social gatherings in my time. Once I even wrote a column about the Cat Cafes in Japan, where people pay to watch and play with somebody else’s moggies.

Well now a new phenomenon, also originating from Japan, has reached our shores.

Welcome to the Cuddle Club!

For £29, you can join 20 strangers for four hours of ‘therapeutic touching’.

Apparently the Cuddle Workshop in London is a ‘safe space for people to indulge in therapeutic non-sexual touching’

Non-sexual? Yeah, right!

They say cannabis is a gateway drug into the harder stuff. Maybe if a cuddle club started up in Portsmouth it would soon lead people into a seedier world of swingers’ parties and the like.

I reckon these cuddle gatherings must be overrun with weirdos and perverts. And I’m willing to bet the blokes must outweigh the women 10 to 1 and that 90 per cent of them have probably been banned from every keep fit and yoga class in the area.

You know the ones, lurking at the back of the class with a cheeky smile, not really joining in.

Their sort used to be known as Peeping Toms, skulking around bushes and peering through windows.

But that’s just not fashionable any more. Not when you can go to an exercise class (or a cuddle workshop) and legitimately get up close to attractive women.

Whatever the Cuddle Club is really like, I just don’t see the appeal of hugging total strangers.

You just wouldn’t get on the number 40 bus and start embracing random people, or walk down the street hugging passers-by.

It’s not British, is it?

Apparently at this new club you’ll find ‘men and women hugging, nuzzling, snuggling and holding hands’.

But think about all those germs flying around – and there are cold sores to consider if someone gets too close. Then there are fleas and even tuberculosis!

And what if someone snuggles up with the breath of a diseased camel and you’re stuck there for half- an-hour in close proximity? Doesn’t bear thinking about.