App promises friends with benefits
Single this Valentine's Day? Feeling frisky? The brainchild of three twenty-something Californian dudes, Bang With Friends is a new app pairing up people who want to, er...bang. Who needs a candlelit dinner when you can skip straight to dessert?
The premise is this: you sign up, using Facebook. It won't show up on your newsfeed or profile, but you will be able to see who is already using the app, and when signing up, future users will be able to see that you've signed up too. Next, you select the Facebook friends that you'd like to bang. They won't know that you want to bang them unless they sign up and are interested in banging you too. Once both parties express interest, the site will send both of you an email notifying you that the other is ready to rumble, and the rest is up to you.
I decided to test it out.
Upon signing up via Facebook (mercifully, the fact wasn't advertised on my profile, as promised), the site takes you to a page full of all your Facebook friends of the opposite sex - you can switch to same sex, or both sexes if you choose. Their profile pictures appear, along with a message underneath - Down to Bang. So if you're a heterosexual female, like me, that's all your male mates, whether they be straight, gay, married or single. Bang With Friends is not yet equipped to rule out homosexuals or other inappropriate parties. My little cousin? Down to bang, apparently. As are all my friends' boyfriends, my work colleagues, ex-uni professors, my Dad - you get the drift. It's a little confronting.
I asked a friend to sign up too so I could go one step further. We both clicked on each other's profile to indicate that we wanted to bang each other - new status: Awaiting Bang - and received an email notification from the site.
"Pimpin" sent us an email.
"Hey there, sexy!" it read. "You've got a bangin' match! Your friend wants to bump uglies with you!" Bump uglies. Is there a more unerotic phrase in the English language?
There's a credit too for the currently anonymous co-founders. "This f*** is brought to you by Bang with Friends." Thanks guys.
My friend's profile then appeared in the page on the site titled "Bangs". He messaged me using the inventive default message already supplied. "Hey baby, let's get a little more comfortable," it read. The only thing missing was a Barry White soundtrack.
You're then free to converse at your leisure, and then hook up and presumably bang, if using the site as intended.
The site is just over a week old and its makers claim to have attracted 260,000 users in the first eight days, and facilitated over 15,000 hookups. The Bang With Friends Facebook page now boasts 13,000 likes, and is decorated with images of big-breasted women in various stages of undress. A recent picture depicts what looks like a woman rubbing her (clothed) anus with a broomstick handle. The image on the sign-up page of the site itself shows a half-naked woman, her skirt lifted above her head so that she is faceless. There are no images of men anywhere on the site or on the Facebook page.
Last week, the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in the US labelled Bang With Friends "the evilest app ever". "Never before has a new technology so blatantly unleashed our sinfulness, our selfishness," wrote the blog author, Adam Jeske. "I wonder how many abortions this will lead to, how much heartache Bang with Friends will cause."
My IT boffin buddy who agreed to be my Bang With Friends test dummy (in terms of trying out the app, not following through with the banging part) had a more pragmatic complaint.
"I must say, from a pure usability point of view, it wasn't that easy to find you out of the list, some form of searching would be handy,"' he said. It's such a painfully simple system too - I reckon I could build it in one day."
I don't doubt that he could, and also improve on the search function to eliminate non-singles and er, family members from the mix.
So outraged is Jeske by the app that he has appealed to his followers to voice their disapproval on Twitter. "Want to give the best Valentine's Day present ever? Promise the one you love that you'll never join Bang" reads his customised Tweet.
The app's co-founders, who consider themselves the "cupids of boning", have dismissed Jeske and others who share his concerns as "prudes".
What about you, what do you think? Is the app a fun and safe way to "bump uglies" with friends, or yet another pernicious tool facilitating meaningless exchanges and encouraging infidelity? Would you dare to sign up?
- Sydney Morning Herald