Thanks to a new app dubbed “Tinder for girl friends”, I spent Friday afternoon sipping coffee and taking selfies with a stranger.
Hey Vina, created by developers in San Francisco, is an iPhone app to help women make friends – and build a squad to rival Taylor Swift’s.
Or as one girl’s Hey Vina bio shamelessly read: “Just an aspiring opera singer looking for her Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.”
Television shows such as Girls, Sex and the City and Broad City flaunt the joys of female friendship in the big city, but places such as New York and San Francisco are notoriously transient, and it’s not easy to find a steady girl gang when people so rarely stay put.
Hey Vina is free, only available on iPhone and launched in San Francisco and New York in early February. I downloaded it to see what the fuss was about.
It’s a lot like Tinder: you swipe left for no and right for yes on people’s profiles. All you see is a photo, a line of bio (mine notes “likes whiskey and gossip. Hates cilantro”) and if people prefer wine to coffee, day or night events, etc.
“Let’s get pizza, watch Gossip Girl and take cute IG [instagram] pics,” reads one bio.
“TV & movies & Netflix & relationship talk for days,” says another.
But few people had filled in their profiles, which left me to decide to hang out with them based on photos alone. It’s bizarre to judge future friends based completely on their looks.
But I went ahead anyway, and started swiping: no to anyone doing a yoga position. No to anyone in a wedding dress. No to anyone holding a baby. No to anyone posing sappily with her boyfriend or husband. No to anyone who wrote “recently married!” or “new mom!” in her bio. No to anyone who looked underage and posed in a line of cocktail dress-wearing sorority sisters.
If you swipe yes on someone who’s also swiped yes to you, a message pops up: “Ditto! You and X both want to meet.” Then Olivia from Vina “introduces” the two of you in a private message, suggesting that you arrange to meet for coffee straight away.
In just a few days, I matched with more than 40 women. I chatted first to all of them, saying hi, noting something from their bio. “I like cheese too!” I said more than once.
Just like on dating apps, starting conversations out of nothing is pretty awkward. I chatted about work, Master of None, and eating donuts. I arranged coffee and brunch dates, with one girl trying to organize a group of Brooklyn Vinas for a meal together.
The app itself is buggy, presumably because it’s so new. There are no notifications, which makes it hard to tell if anyone has responded. One day I thought that no one had replied to me at all, until I logged in the next morning to find a stack of messages waiting for me from the day before. It crashed on me several times.
I arranged a coffee with Nicole, one of my first matches. She cancelled on me 25 minutes before we were to meet. (See? Just like actual dating!)
On Friday I met Jess, a psychologist and entrepreneur, for a coffee in Soho.
Chatting IRL was much easier than our awkward app banter. We spoke non-stop for an hour about work, our siblings and what happens when your friends get married and have babies.
We giggled, it was fun, we made plans to hang out again.
“Whiskey and gossip next time?” she asked as I was leaving.
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Tinder for girl friends: can Hey Vina app really be social, female and fun? have 822 words, post on www.theguardian.com at February 8, 2016. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.