Is it stuffie in here or is it just me?
August 14, 2019 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Letter of Recommendation: Stuffed Animals. SLNYT. "Every night I spend a few minutes catching up with my friends. I saw them during the day — maybe one rode along with me on my long commute, or relaxed nearby while I worked from home. But this last check-in closes the evening nicely. I talk to them, imagine what they might be thinking. I pick them up and play out their whims. These friends include Sloth, who is wise and handsome; Patricia the Couch Pigtato, who has a job writing TV criticism; and Mameshiba, who knows many facts about beans. There are tens of others. I squeeze them. I become overwhelmed by their cuteness..."
posted by storybored (38 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I (mid-30s) have something like 100 stuffed "friends," as we call them, between us. We (try) to bring at least one of them to work (support staff at a BIG 10 research university) every day — mostly just to sit on the desk and hang out, but occasionally to provide a hug if need be. Most people think it's endearing — oddly or no, the people who don't seem to like them are the ones whom I have no interest in dealing with, in most cases. The vast majority seem to have a "live and let live" attitude, which is what I try to carry for the peccadilloes of others, myself.
posted by thoughtbox at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2019 [14 favorites]

Realistically, stuffed animals are pillows in the shape of something. There’s some overlap with dolls, and they are definitely representational, so: one step above a rectangular pillow with a printed decorative design of a giraffe or something, in terms of “dollness” or being a simulacrum of an animal (one that may or may not be a viable pet).

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an adult having them if they want them, in other words. It makes sense that they’re comfort objects, since they do stand at the intersection of “pillow” and “inanimate pet.”

Probably someone could write something about the potential cultural intersection between frowning on things like stuffed animals for adults (because they’re not “grown up” items — i.e. not austere) and concepts related to toxic masculinity (favoring hard over soft and repressing emotional expression).
posted by verbminx at 6:59 PM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

The centerpiece of my living room decor is Fat Pony, just chillin on the couch. I have friends who openly admit they visit just for Fat Pony hugs.
posted by btfreek at 7:20 PM on August 14, 2019 [21 favorites]

I own the odd stuffed animal, but this is too much. This author has either had too much therapy or not enough.
posted by poe at 8:13 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: "knows many facts about beans"
posted by Jahaza at 8:28 PM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

I have a 5' tall teddy bear named Tony who I sometimes bring to bed. He's great for sleeping curled around someone because your arm doesn't fall asleep from his weight.
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to work for a big disaster relief organization, and one of the things we always kept in the trunk was a sack of stuffed animals. I assumed when I started that they there were for kids, and they were. But the older volunteers told us up front that an upset and overwhelmed adult may also really appreciate having something soft they can just hold onto, but might not realize that or know how to ask for it, so just see if they look like they might like a stuffed animal and don't make a huge thing of it. I saw big tough grown people take us up on it plenty of times.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:37 PM on August 14, 2019 [39 favorites]

Pro tip: When you have young children, they're < airquotes >your kids'< /airquotes >. And nobody thinks twice. Or so I've heard.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:40 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

There's some organizations that hand out bears to people as well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:09 PM on August 14, 2019

I am reading this in bed, with a bright pink otter and an African painted dog stuffie comfortably tucked in the crook of one arm. They both approve.

Did other people use the word "stuffie" growing up, or did your family have a different term? My parents called them "buddies" when my sister and and I were young and that's always seemed much more fun to me.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:47 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

In the furry community, fursuits designed to be more like stuffed animals than other types of animals (cartoon anthropomorphic or more real like were-creatures) are called "plushies".

I always called them stuffed animals growing up. Tony isn't a stuffed animal. He's a giant teddy bear.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 PM on August 14, 2019

we collect gund bears. they bring us great comfort, like one of the commenters on that article said, life is hard and bears are soft. i don't want to be friends with anyone who would judge me for it.
posted by zdravo at 10:34 PM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

> Did other people use the word "stuffie" growing up, or did your family have a different term?

We used the term "stuffed animal". A "stuffie" was one of these.
posted by not_on_display at 10:56 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sadly, offer not valid for those of us with dust mite allergies. My last teddy bear got kicked out of the bedroom a decade ago as a result (but yes, that was in my twenties).
posted by nat at 11:16 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

It’s fine so long as you don’t assume I will be pleased to join in on your special times with widdle snookums.
posted by Segundus at 11:26 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine made me an 7ft (including tentacles, the body is about 4ft) stuffed squid from short nap fleece as a type of sleeping pillow/decorative object/buddy and it looms plushily over my bed as I write this. I consider Calamari to be the best gauge of character if I have a bedroom visitor.
posted by zinful at 11:53 PM on August 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

I received a stuffed Snoopy when I was two years old. I would carry him around by the pompon nose until it fell off, and there are several pictures of me as a small child with a noseless Snoopy. When I was twelve I found the pompon shoved in one of the back drawers of my mother's sewing cabinet - clearly she'd meant to sew it back on and just never found the time. So I did it.

I am turning 50 in February and I still have Snoopy. I watch A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS with him every year. And when my roommate and I watched the first episode of the show YEARS AND YEARS, which ends with a nuclear strike scene that lasts a full six minutes, I fetched Snoopy from my room and curled up with him,grumbling "say NOTHING" to my roommate as I did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:33 AM on August 15, 2019 [16 favorites]

We went on a vacation to Vermont about five years ago and took a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company factory. Mrs. Mosley was seriously considering getting one of the four foot bears. Then one of the staff mentioned the phrase "Therapy Bear", and Mrs. Mosely's eyes lit up as if this was the realization of a serious hole in her existence that neeeded filling.

Needless to say, we bought one. The original name was to be George (as in "I will love him and squeeze him and call him" fame), but our daughter was convinced it was a girl, so Georgina it is. And damned if Georgina hasn't served the very purpose the clerk proposed and served it well.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:37 AM on August 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Does a big teddy bear count as a passenger in the HOV lane?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:03 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am named after one of our stuffed animals. His signature move is the Grumpy Bump.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:04 AM on August 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Did other people use the word "stuffie" growing up, or did your family have a different term?

Critters! That was absolutely my family's word for them, and I get the occasional odd look if I use it anywhere outside of the family.

I never liked dolls very much, but had a full anthropomorphic zoo of critters, which had elaborate family structures, handmade clothing, etc. I remember my mother having to shop one year for a stuffed dog who could be appropriate "husband material" for one of my other dogs.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:48 AM on August 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Buying the GIANT beanbag-chair/Snorlax from ThinkGeek-- their name is Snorli Snurlaschild the Sumptuous Snorlax of Slumber-- was legit one of the best things I have ever done for my mental health, and assists with my sleep apnea, also.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 7:39 AM on August 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Hey, zinful - my sister made me one of those giant squid too! Mine is named Gary, and he's kind of a neon plaid.

As a kid I slept with a ring of stuffed animals around me, that were made to perform musical numbers - that's how I got to sleep. Today I don't usually sleep with them (although my husband has a Gund bear that is generally somewhere under his arm) but the spare room's bed has two alligators living on it.
posted by PussKillian at 8:00 AM on August 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

My favorite stuffed animal was a small mouse I got for Christmas when I was 6. I decided it was a "him", though I no longer recall what I named him. I brought him to school for show and tell one day in 3rd grade. The bully of the class snatched my mouse from off of my desk, and threw him out a window before I could stop him.

He landed in a filthy puddle, and by the time he could be retrieved by the janitor, he was filthy and soaked clear through. Mrs. Cole said he had to be thrown away. She made the bully apologize to me and sit in the corner. ::eyeroll::

Reader, I kicked that boy's butt during lunch recess—and no one stopped me.

Come to think of it, that was my last stuffed toy. These days, I think I could use a feline stuffed animal, as I'm unfortunately horribly allergic to actual cats.
posted by droplet at 8:20 AM on August 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

Metafilter merch idea: a stuffed crouton!. Soft and wonderful to pet.

I hereby disclaim any rights to profit from this idea. but I would like one gratis plush crouton if possible please/thanks
posted by wires at 8:22 AM on August 15, 2019 [18 favorites]
posted by wires at 8:36 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I myself have several stuffed food products, including a Pop Tart, a candy corn, and a buttered toast, and I would completely unironically love a stuffed crouton.
posted by holborne at 8:49 AM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have a bunch of older stuffed animals (they were ALWAYS referred to as stuffed animals in my family, we are supes proper barf) in the wicker foot locker I've had since I was a baby (yes, it moved countries with me). I loved these animals with a fiery passion and value them still. Charley was the first I selected on my own, he is a dog, and he is Ultra Comforting.

I have one fairly new stuffed animal. A very long, neon-green lizard, who represents my primal brain and how it doesn't control me, who is of course named Eddie Lizard.
posted by wellred at 9:13 AM on August 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

I wonder if this is how Shamanic Totem animals grew into being.
posted by aleph at 9:42 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to have a lot of stuffed animals as a child, and my mum would knit sweaters for them. I'm not sure what happened to most of them, but I still have Lenny the Lion that I won in a draw from a drug store when I was about 6. He lives on a top shelf in my closet because otherwise my puppy would destuff him, but I take him out and squeeze him every so often so he knows he's still loved.
posted by twilightlost at 10:50 AM on August 15, 2019

I just fell in love with this guy at a shop this morning, and am trying to figure out if his sparkly feet (and legs, and neck, and beak) make him not sufficiently manly enough for my son to really believe I got it for him...
posted by Mchelly at 11:20 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a small shelf in my bedroom with a dozen stuffed animals I've collected over the years-- from some recent Sierra Club animals I received after donations to them all the way to my very first stuffed animal, Baby Teddy Bear, who is still in fantastic shape (and still has the childhood smells to boot!). It's gonna break my heart if I bring a woman into my bedroom and she chastises me for the small collection.

For some reason, I'm so sentimental towards stuffed animals-- my younger sister is due to clean out her childhood bedroom and she's basically disinterested in most of what's there but I'm strongly urging her to keep her haul of stuffed animals (which she probably will).
posted by Baphomet's Prime at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2019

I have always inordinately loved my stuffed animals. Croaky is a frog whose husband Croaker presented himself a few years later. I remember my family teasing me that I'd take them to college. I did, and I'm 37, and they're in my house now. Too precious to sleep with.

Now I have a mandrake that I sewed myself. It is the perfect size to prop my head up just right when I sleep, and I take it with me when I travel. I have two My Little Ponies that were on my bed for awhile too, but they took up a bit of room, so they have their own place now.

And my two possums are favorites, both from my partner, both super soft. One moves around the living room, often hanging by her tail, and the other is either on my nightstand or in my bed.

I love hearing about other adults that like something to cuddle when they sleep. I just don't have any shame about it whatsoever.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2019 [4 favorites]'t know what you're talking about.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:07 PM on August 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Did anyone actually buy any of those stuffed bacteria that used to be sold on one of the 'geek' stores?

I gave my daughter a stuffed robot. She said it was cute, but it didn't act as the seed to a passion for engineering.

Our cat has a favorite stuffed shark. It's about 4 inches long. To avoid triggering stuffed-animal lovers, I won't describe what the cat does with the shark.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:40 PM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a large collection of Giant Microbe stuffies. They hang out with my baby cthulu and the very small bear (Desperado) i got at burning man the year mr supermedusa and i met. I dont sleep with them though.

Growing up we called them stuffed animals.
posted by supermedusa at 3:14 PM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who makes a tapeworm. :D
posted by Glinn at 3:41 PM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Grumpybearbride wanted me to let everyone know that her moniker is derived from a literal "bear bride" that I won at some fair somewhere. It is a bear with a wedding veil on. Her catchphrase is "BEARBRIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE!!!"
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:09 PM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

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