First the Gays had Grindr. And Grindr begat… Yenta? Allow me to explain.
The Jews have given a lot to the gays. A quick search at lgbthistorymonth.com reveals an impressive list of gay Jews who were/are at the forefront of Western cultural zeitgeist. The names include such luminaries as composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Stephen Sondheim, actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, comedian Stephen Fry, politicians Barney Frank and Harvey Milk, Record executive David Geffen, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, photographer Annie Leibovitz, writer Susan Sontag… I could go on and on and on. And of course there are the gay icons that are Jewish like Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand and even Sarah Jessica Parker.
Now it seems that the gays have decided to give a little something back to the Jews. It all began with Grindr, described as “the largest and most popular all-male location-based social network out there.” Grindr is an app that uses your smart phone’s geolocation service to find similarly minded gay/bisexual men in your immediate vicinity, thus facilitating uh… quick, uncomplicated tête-à-tête encounters. Users upload as much or as little information about themselves to the app and then technology and testosterone take care of the rest. Grindr has enjoyed wild success with 4 million users spanning 192 countries and has been described as “the scariest gay bar on earth that is all over the earth.”
Thanks to the success of Grindr, it was just a matter of time before inspired Jews used this technology to benefit booty bumpin’ Hebrews. This inevitable eventuality came to fruition with the release last week of Yenta (by Findr interactive… get it?). Yenta is basically a Grindr clone for the Jews:
Yenta is a free location based mobile phone application that connects Jewish singles with other singles near them! It’s serendipity at its best, whether at school, work or local hangout you can instantly see who is Jewish, single and wants to meet near you. And when you change your location, a new set of singles appears based on their proximity to you so never miss a potential match!
There’s a lot that’s cheesy here. The developers hope that Yenta will help you find your “Jewboo.” There are a number of grammatical errors and instances of awkward phraseology in the app description. The super easy profile section asks you “what’s your shtick?” and “what will impress my mother?” Those are the only two “essay” questions that really only require one line to answer. Then you have to choose your level of Jewishness – a slider that goes from “Just Jewish” to “Super Jewish.”
But once you get past all that, the bottom line is that it works. And the potential exists for this app to be a game changer, particularly for people using online dating services like JDate to find local matches. And it’s free and super simple to use. Simply download the Yenta app – currently available only for iPhones, and get started. You can log in in seconds using your facebook credentials or create an account. Then you’re ready to go. Now keep in mind, this is a new app, the member base is still relatively modest, but I’ve used every aspect of the app, and it works great. It would be greater if I lived in New York where it seems most of the current membership is based, but this does have the potential to take off rapidly. And when that happens, woo baby, look out!
All I have to say is thank you Internet, thank you gays!
Cross posted on Jewrotica