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Essentially, Raya is the “you can’t sit with us” of dating apps.
Last weekend, while drinking vodka from a water bottle on Fire Island beach, I was complaining about the pervasive Raya worship to my friend Alan, a 33-year-old filmmaker.
To me, it felt like more people were trying to connect professionally, but in a way that felt really gross and not transparent.
It’s not like Linked In, where everyone understands that you're there for work, and you can apply for a job.
The problem, of course, is that whenever something is defined as being elite or exclusive, it tends to attract status-conscious douchebags.
And while there’s a part of all of us that wants to be VIP or to get backstage or whatever, to participate in a system that prioritizes status in intimate interactions seems like a step too far.
Alan has been in an on-and-off relationship with Raya for more than a year now (currently off).
“Tinder lets everyone in, so you have to swipe through an amazing amount of garbage to find someone in your bracket,” Alan said, applying sunscreen to his nose.
And Raya is the only app on which a match has asked me to tweet a link to their Kickstarter.“Raya’s not a dating app, it's a social-climbing app,” Alan told me.“I think it's good for surfer bros and models, but I don't think many people are actually dating or hooking up on Raya.They interview and then use personal information about their clients in order to pair appropriately matched people.They’re very different from Internet dating services in four respects.
Instead, Raya creates the promise of something romantic, but it’s actually just people trying to be around other cooler people.” He shrugged.