“the oldest mode of communication” — a before-language social lubricant. Towards the end of modernity (forced urban communality, social atomization, scare poisons) the culture of non-erotic body contact nearly disappeared — retreated into the narrowest of contexts, rigidized, awkwardized, inhibiting new generations' socialization and mind development; a “grooming revival” — group hug of the suddenly-on-their-own children — was a major theme of the post-sparsening rush back. The thaw of casual intimacy was accelerated by Change with its physique idealism (last emancipation) and denser skin innervation (toilless, weight-free flying tactility of “tree huggers”); the “cuddle craze” may be over but social hapticity continues to entrench, evolves like language (nativization, creolization, dialectization).

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