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“But their popularity is ensured by their complete acceptance of their popularity.

Raya is an app that’s supposed to reproduce that sense of cliquishness—it’s like, for whatever reason, are approved as members of a club.”Like in high school, the thing about cliques is, they breed conformity.

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It’s not an app that's for people who are rich or white or in other ways privileged, but it’s for people who are only comfortable around their own kind, who already share their values, their aesthetic.

I’ve met a lot of people in New York who are intensely tribalistic, and that's what Raya caters to.”And this is what really irks me about the app—it confuses wealth and status with creativity and coolness.

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.

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.

Essentially, Raya is the “you can’t sit with us” of dating apps.Rather than being restricted to dating within your neighborhood, like the commoners of Tinder, Raya’s users are global citizens—in a special bicoastal club.People on Raya don’t take the subway; they fly to meet each other.On Tinder you have total autonomy: You’re presented with a bunch of random people and are free to choose who think is hot or interesting.Raya is mob mentality: It’s an app about liking people that other people like.It’s the Soho House world of elitism: They want to draw young, cool artists, but they actually just attract rich people, and dudes in advertising who collect vintage cameras as decorations.” As for the girls on Raya? “It’s an endless stream of photos of girls doing splits on the beach, or a photo from the one time they modeled for, like, Rawanastan or something.”Alan’s main pet peeve about Raya is that, the few times he met girls through the app, what he’d thought was genuine flirtation turned out to be a networking ploy—they were just actresses who wanted work.

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