It is pretty much recognized that US dating scene has changed in modern era. Relationships tend not to be arranged; courting, dowries, and scandalous showings of ankles are old hat and not practiced; attending sock hops and sharing a milkshake during a date are more likely to be shown on an AMC movie marathon; chaperoning parents were foregone in high school; and even speed-dating seems to be semi-vintage by the standards of many late-Millenials such as myself.
Enter: the internet. When internet dating entered the scene, it was a horse of another color. People who felt like they couldn’t connect with the people around them were given the chance to connect to people anywhere in the world, who shared their interests, their dislikes and compatible personality traits. Looking for someone with a similar religious belief? Sites like ChristianMingle.com cater to that. Looking for a long-term relationship? Try out matchmaker.com, match.com and eHarmony.com. Where there were more than enough pay-per-month agencies working, soon a new crop began to show…the free dating site. Sites like zoosk.com, plentyoffish.com, and okcupid.com took off.
I know a lot of people who have had wonderful, long-lasting and happy results from online dating sites like match.com and I have a lot of friends who are member of OkCupid with a few dates and mixed results (read: mostly bad with the rare gem of good). They always seem surprised when a genuine request to get to know them arises, or so I’m told, because the day usually ends with a creepy personal message accosting the man or woman for sex, in lurid and graphic details. My friends groan, wonder if it has ever worked for them and question why they’re trying to look for a skeezy hookup through a casual dating site. Well, if the male creators of the new Facebook App Bang With Friends is an indicator of some of the hookup-mongers of free dating sites, they’re tired of pretending that they like the girls they go out on dates with when all they want is the sex. It’s like an OkCupid upgrade, because you don’ even need to go out and need new people, as it uses your friends list.
“One night, we were shooting the shit about how online dating is broken. What a lot of people want is just to skip all the shit and get to the sex. […] It would be great, as guys, if you could find out which girls are actually into you and not dance around anything.”
Socially awkward individuals who have a problem striking up a conversation with the opposite sex, rejoice! BWF was made with you in mind, because rejection sucks when all you really want is to be in close proximity to someone sucking (insert anatomy here). In short: BWF is a Facebook application that takes you through your friends list, where you rank someone’s fuckability, by clicking a subtle button called “down to Bang.” If they find you equally bangable, you are alerted that they have given you a thumbs up, which then leads to you both exchanging messages that are along the lines of “lulz ur hot,” “omg ur hott 2,” “dtf?,” “duuuuh.” And then the naughty tango happens. As long as you’re heterosexual, of course (they’re supposedly working on allowing same-sex pairings, however it’s not an option yet).
There are a few stipulations, of course, in that it won’t match you with a family member. However, BWF disregards relationship status and the creators are “[…] not too objective [sic] to hooking up with that cute secretary across the office if she has a boyfriend already,” BWF is reporting 5 new members (“Bangers”) a minute and is boasting the invention of an app—for booty on the go.
Alright, before I delve into all the wrong that I think this is, I’ll have a disclaimer that I’m pretty old-fashioned, and while I’m not “prude,” I’m not exactly a card carrying member of hookup culture, which I think is probably the norm, but I don’t want to get lambasted for being ~~closed minded~~ or whatever. I don’t even think anything’s wrong with sex: if it’s mutual, fucking go for it (or at it, if you would). It’s your prerogative. That said, I can’t identify or find use for this application revolving around casual sex, because it’s sexist, pretty gross, and isn’t exactly a positive sign for where relationships are going.
Ready? Here we go:
– Encourages a lack of face-to-face contact.
This is the era of “forever alone,” where many people sit behind their computers and wonder why their ideal mate hasn’t jumped through the window in a shimmering veil of perfect. A lot of singleness isn’t self-imposed, I know, but at the same time, an app like this isn’t going to turn things around for you. Our generation already has an illustrious reputation for relying on technology to communicate, not just in love, in every aspect of day-to-day human life. Examples: Facebook, instagram, twitter…it’s all sensorial, fast-paced and done behind a screen. I think, while an initial interaction can be planned online—like a first date or basic howdya’dos—in order to truly know someone, there needs to be physical contact, something that people seeking a relationship or interaction shouldn’t shy away from. It’s a building block and a pretty important one at that. BWF is designed to avoid rejection and human contact entirely, until, of course, and assuming that the user gets someone who gives them the double thumbs-up, the other person sees them in their entirety (see what I did there? Damn, I’m so clever.).
Let’s think about this. If you can’t handle face-to-face contact, what makes you think you can handle genital-to-genital contact?
Besides, it kind of reminds me of those middle school notes passed back and forth between people with things like “do you like me? Check yes or no,” only now it’s “will you bone me tonight? Check yes or no.” Social skills of a grade schooler, ooo so attractive.
– They are called dating sites for a reason.
Online dating sites were created to facilitate, wait for it, dating. Such a shocker! Know why all of that pesky, getting to know the other person shit happens? Because that’s what it was created for. There are a lot of ways to get an easy hookup, I’m sure. Like…craigslist.
– Noncommittal sex with friends will inevitably turn into an awkward situation.
Someone is going to get their feelings hurt along the way, which seems pretty counter to their anti-rejection mantra. Just because the initial boning ceremony was based on a mutual attraction doesn’t mean that someone isn’t going to have feelings for the other person and get totally let down when they’re like “sorry dude, I was just in it for the sex.” Yikes. But, that’s not the point of the app is it? It’s not about the emotional component, it’s just about getting rocks off.
– Douchebaggery abound.
This app was obviously made by heterosexual males, for heterosexual males, not surprising, because it was made by three College-age Californian dudes. I have a lot of non-jerks in my life and yet, one look at the entire set up of BWF would turn even a fair-weather-feminist like myself into a permanent drinker of haterade. Allow me to show you:
Maybe it’s the suggestive pose of the woman that has no face (because the vagina is the most important, duh). Maybe it’s the stick woman getting plowed in the upperhand corner by a stick figure dude. Or, maybe, it’s the “How It Works” tab, that has a convenient instruction manual for how to put on a condom while cleverly boiling the process down to four simple steps (at least they’re practicing safe sex?).
Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the online commentary (not articles written about it) on this app, which have been mixed, with a lot of women basically saying “er…nay,” and presumably hetero males jumping on the insult bandwagon with charming comments like “that’s because no one would want you,” “your naïveté is cute, I hope you don’t find out your husband’s gay anytime soon,” and “get off the internet and try to find a man in a pumpkin patch somewhere bitch”—which I don’t even understand. Sadly, I feel like that’s a pretty good reflection of the usership and their accompanying respect for women. Just a gut feeling.
Know how I know this? Because one of the creators doesn’t want his little sister joining and joked about being able to block such a site from younger brothers or sisters.
“I would definitely block [my little sister] from using it,” said one creator eventually. “We should actually create custom alerts if any of our younger siblings log on,” he said to the others. “And then just completely shut down the site for them. Be like, “Sorry, we know you.”
It’s not a good sign if your app is too trashy for your siblings and you’re fully aware of it. Don’t want people creeping and marginalizing your little sister into a sexual object? Then stop enforcing and encouraging that kind of behavior. Freakin’ simple, dude. However, judging by how popular the site has become in such a short amount of time, it’s safe to say that I have the unpopular opinion.
Honestly, if this is what dating is turning to in modern day society, I’d rather be Ralph for Valentine’s Day until the day I die.