Ever since conservative-only dating app The Right Stuff launched, it’s been the subject of ridicule.
The backlash isn’t surprising, given that the invitation-only app’s marketing backed by conservative PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel reads like a Saturday Night Live skit.
“Stop swiping, scrolling and finding the wrong people. There are people like you,” the site promises, while guaranteeing “pronoun-free profiles” and a way to “connect with people who don’t get offended by everything.”
Fun at the very existence of The Right Stuff grew after Apple’s App Store was flooded with reviews from people who claimed to have been contacted by the FBI over their use of the platform. According to one-star reviews, authorities were contacted by responses that users shared on the platform’s built-in prompts such as “January 6 was…”
A spokesperson for The Right Stuff said it determined the reports of contact with the FBI to be false. “Just trolling people,” they added. The FBI declined to comment.
But even if you strip away the allegations of FBI meddling, the App Store reviews are still far from glowing. Many potential users have lamented the invitation-only aspect of the dating platform, while others have criticized the clunky and difficult-to-use interface.
Aside from various issues with The Right Stuff, I joined the conservatives and trolls shortly after it was published to see what the dating platform was all about.
The first step was to create my profile, a requirement that users must complete before they are even accepted into the app. In an effort to conceal my identity as a liberal journalist, I painted a picture of myself with vague details. I described myself as a writer rather than a journalist, and listed my interests as simply “books,” “dogs,” and “exploring New York City.”
As for my photos, I ended up using the same ones I uploaded to a recent Hinge profile. However, I was assured that my election worked after showing it to a friend and fellow reporter, who commented that it looked “like a bottle-blonde Republican.”
After completing my profile and sending out random invitation requests to some of my more right-wing phone contacts in hopes of expediting the process, I patiently waited to be accepted.
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I was pretty sure my account would be denied. A quick Google search will show that I’ve reported on the ridiculousness of The Right Stuff, the barrage of negative reviews that have flooded the app store in recent weeks, and how the app’s downloads plummeted after just a month.
Turns out, none of that mattered, as I was eventually granted access to the conservative dating group.
When I first opened my profile, I found that I already had 19 likes. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to see everything there was to see in the app, I made an immediate mistake. I didn’t realize that once I had moved on to the next profile without matching the potential suitor, I couldn’t go back to the profiles I had moved on.
Well, my loss. I continued to focus my attention on eligible Republican singles available to drop by.
Since I’ve written extensively about the app and its target audience, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from its users. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Swiping through the first profile that came up, I was confronted by a 25-year-old named Matthew (I’ve changed the members’ names) who, instead of sharing just one “favorite liberal lie,” decided to list five. The first took aim at the concept of protest, with Matthew claiming that it’s a lie that protests are “fun and really make a difference”. He added an “LOL” to drive the point home.
As if he were reading a list of the most touted conspiracies among Republicans, Matthew shared that his second favorite liberal lie is that masks work. His third focused on the transphobic belief that there are “no more than two genders”, while four and five pertained to climate change, which he doesn’t seem to believe in, and Elon Musk (clearly a supporter of the billionaire).
At this point, I noticed that my preferences were still set to the app’s automatic settings. I had wondered why I was seeing profiles of 18-year-old Republicans, but once I adjusted my age range to a more appropriate 28-45 and narrowed my distance parameters to filter profiles outside of a 15 mile radius. , I resumed the journey.
When it comes to the types of photos the men of The Right Stuff choose to represent their best selves, it almost goes without saying that every roll featured a new fishing photo with a medium-sized fish in hand. The same was true of red MAGA hats and men posing alongside Republican fan favorites like Tucker Carlson, far-right conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene and former President Donald Trump.
Another common feature is weapons. There are many, many guns in The Right Stuff.
“I’m proud of the Second Amendment,” one person declared on his profile, before promising he can “teach anyone how to shoot.”
“Yes, even you. First date?” she added. Others clarified that the guns proudly displayed in their photos were for hunting animals, with some of the profiles splashed with images of dead deer surrounded by men in camouflage hunting gear.
While trying to have a conversation with a user who asked me how my week was going, he informed me that his week would have been better if he had been able to go hunting like he had the previous week.
There are a good number of profiles that refer to people who want to go to church and love God who are looking for a partner by whom they can feel “understood and accepted”, but there is also a lot of hate on the application, specifically when it comes to people who identify as transgender, non-binary, or anything other than the sex they were assigned at birth.
“I recently found out that men can get pregnant,” was a common snap response, while another man claimed, in response to the “science is settled” question, that “there are only two genders.”
There are also a number of profiles so comically right-wing that it’s impossible to tell whether they belong to actual conservatives, bachelors, or trolls mocking Republican values.
According to a 25-year-old man named Lance, he recently discovered that “there’s no need to travel internationally” since “the United States has them all.”
Site member response to request
Site member response to request
In response to the question “Do you agree or disagree with this,” Lance wrote, “January 6th should be a national holiday.” Another user described the insurrection as “light dust”.
Another man, identified only by his initials, described himself as a “liberty patriot who believes in freedom and justice for those who deserve it.” My initial reaction was that he seemed uninterested in finding a romantic partner, an assumption he seemed to confirm with the next sentence.
“Looking to connect with people who want to do MAGA,” he wrote, marking the first time he’d seen the acronym used in a sentence as a verb.
As for a “random fact” he loves about America, he said: “Freedom. That’s it.”
Others seemed to be more self-aware. Another man, presumably joking, replied to the message “give me travel tips for” with “the US Capitol.” Comedy, or really planning to attend the next uprising.
While the men on the app certainly aren’t shy about proudly voicing their opinions or showing off their kills of the week, one of the things I found most interesting was what appeared to be self-consciousness in New York City. users, who seemed to have doubts about using the platform in the mostly liberal city.
“Joining this app in New York City” one man responded to the message “biggest risk I’ve ever taken.”
The men who lived a few miles away from me also seemed to struggle with their Republican values and how they relate to innocuous things that most people enjoy, like snacking. Brunch has no party affiliation, but to these men it belongs to the Liberals.
One man, in response to a prompt to share a surprising fact about himself, revealed that he “lives in Brooklyn, but still prefers church to breakfast.”
Another user, a 31-year-old lawyer, who said he was looking for a “woman loved by God with a good heart”, described his perfect Sunday as church and brunch, before remarking that the latter is “something what libs do well.” “.
A 29-year-old named Mike agreed with the idea that New York City could be a tough place for Republicans to find love. In response to the question “I’m convinced that”, he replied that he must “go back to Texas to find a wife”.
According to another user from New York, he is proud to “be proud of God in a city that rejects him,” while Tommy, a 26-year-old user who messaged me to ask what “inspires me to write,” it seemed. equally sick of New York City. After replying, “Everything! I think New York has such good material,” he replied, “Yeah, there’s some crazy people here.”
I ended up matching a 42-year-old single father who noted in his bio that he loves “guns, God, and freedom.” According to Mark’s profile, he wanted him to “change his mind” about “Trump being the best president ever,” while he wishes more people knew “the truth about the pandemic.”
Interestingly, he also described himself as an “ambassador” for The Right Stuff. In response to a boring introductory message I had sent, I sent a reply complaining about the app’s usability.
“I know, and it’s not the best with notifications etc. It still crashes,” he admitted.
After a week of swiping, I happily deleted The Right Stuff from my phone with a sense of relief. It may be marketed as a dating app, and it even looks a bit like one, but your time on the platform is more like the moment you accidentally stumble upon your uncle’s obnoxious Facebook page than to a true attempt to find love.
As for the few users whose profiles don’t proudly boast bigoted views or love for the 45th president, it makes no sense why they would use the app. There are objectively better options when it comes to online dating.
Overall, The Right Stuff feels like a great joke, with the built-in prompts, bugs, and troll-like users contributing to the bit. Then again, I may be biased.
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