Slogan: "Bump the app before you bump in bed."
And now, from the depths of everyone’s secret dating nightmare, it might be more likely than you think that the person you’re falling for is related to you. Well, if you’re from Iceland. At least that’s what a new Icelandic app, Islendingaapp, suggests. The app, developed by engineers in Iceland apparently sick of running into their significant others at family reunions, allows users to determine if their one-and-only shares their family tree.
It seems simple. Users bump their phones together (slogan: “bump the app before you bump in bed”), technology happens, and then the app tells users how closely related they are. I say how closely, because according to News of Iceland everyone in Iceland is related. An online registry, Book of Iceland, connects the family tree from some 720,000 people born in Iceland to all of its current 320,000 inhabitants. It’s not like everyone in Iceland is related to the extent that 320,000 people show up for every birthday party, but I guess there’s enough of a concern to warrant the need for an app.
If you’re from another country thinking, “How can I get my hands on this?!,” I’m sorry. The app is only available to Icelandic citizens. Like how Scrabble Free app is only available in the U.S., because no other country cares as much about making words connect to other words as Americans do. Or something. “Bah!” you say. “This would never happen in the U.S.!” Except this did happen. Remember that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon finds out she’s dating her cousin? Her cousin with the good hair? I was kind of upset they didn’t try to make it work.
Beyond the sitcom world, I don’t know anyone who has had to break up with a romantic-partner-family-member. But this did spark a memory of one of our Talking to Strangers, when one of our interviewees from Reykjavik said she knew a couple who shared the same great-grandmother. This couple decided to stay together anyway, which shows this really is more of a personal decision than one we want made by our smartphones.
That’s not to say some people don’t want a little decision-making help. One commentor wrote one the app’s website, "If I would have had this app last year I probably wouldn't have gone home with my cousin."
To see the counterargument for this, just search “hot cousin” on Twitter.