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“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.To me, it felt like more people were trying to connect professionally, but in a way that felt really gross and not transparent.“If all a Raya date is going to get me is one more Instagram follower, well, I just don't need that in my life.”My experience has been somewhat similar.I’ve been on Raya for a year, but it’s the only dating app that I’ve never successfully met anyone through, compared with Tinder, Happn, and Bumble, which have all led to various degrees of dating, friendship, and casual sex.It’s not like Linked In, where everyone understands that you're there for work, and you can apply for a job.Instead, Raya creates the promise of something romantic, but it’s actually just people trying to be around other cooler people.” He shrugged. Multiple times, snooty friends of mine have turned up their noses at the mention of Tinder, assuming I would use a “normal” dating app only if I’d never heard of Raya, or if—shock, horror—I’d applied and been rejected.The problem, of course, is that whenever something is defined as being elite or exclusive, it tends to attract status-conscious douchebags.
Basically, people are praised for being conventionally attractive, having rich parents, hanging out at the “right” places, and wearing the “right” clothes.“If you hang with a group of really popular kids anywhere, you often can't understand why they are the popular ones, and they don’t know either,” Sarah said.My friend Sarah Nicole, a 30-year-old writer to whom I often bitch on the phone, also thinks there’s a BS factor to Raya. “They’re just richer, or have better clothes, or they look better in their photos because they’re more likely to have been taken by a professional.Raya has a lot more to do with class than with other stratifications like attractiveness.Or at least, that’s the impression the app wants to give off.Another distinction: Raya profiles are displayed in a video—a slideshow of your images plays along to a song of your choosing.
So the other night I was at a party, talking to a friend of a friend—one of those special types of New York artists who never actually make any art. The consensus seems to be: Why go to a party that lets everyone in, when you could go to the party that accepts only a select few?