Rejoice, for this Christmas season has birthed unto the world a new dating app: Righter, which has pledged to be an alternative to all the lib-addled dating services that presumably exist. That’s fine! What we urgently needed to know after a minute or so of engaging with it was why Righter has a urologist on call, as part of the app.
Righter generated a modest wave of headlines before it launched; its founder Christy Edwards Lawton demonstrated a flair for a certain kind of publicity, doing things like pledging to sue “liberals” who used the app. (No such rule actually exists in its terms of service, that we can see, and it would be tough to enforce such a non-specific user ban). There were also a lot of social media posts extolling things like “feminine women” and “complementarity.”
Lawton is an Idaho-based businesswoman who, per her LinkedIn, has worked as a consultant for right-wing youth group Turning Point (best known for its too-online leader Charlie Kirk and its members’ enthusiasm for diapers). She was also, according to LinkedIn, previously the proprietor behind something called Street Fox, which pledged to offer love advice to “high net worth” individuals in the Rocky Mountain Area.
That service doesn’t appear to have taken off, though you can still enjoy a cached version of an interview Lawton did with a local publication about the challenges of finding love connections for the Rocky Mountain area’s heavy hitters. “The clients that I am dealing with are people that could never put their face on a website,” she mused in the interview, not entirely convincingly. “They are people that are either well-known—celebrity or tied to celebrity—or they are people that are business owners or CEOs or people that just flat out want their privacy yet they want to find love. How are they supposed to go about doing that in this small town, in this community? It’s been very challenging.”
Sure. There, too, Lawton demonstrated a singular focus on retiring, modest, virginal “feminine women” and the men who love to pursue them. Perhaps Righter will be the golden ticket for all those extremely real people. The app, however, does seem a little buggy: My editor and I, logged in sitting across from one another, were both told that there were “no more people in your area,” which bodes ill for any conservatives looking to find a geolocation-based kind of passion.
My editor then set his app to look for users within 500 miles, which resulted, curiously, in the same lack of matches or even the appearance of another human being on the high, lonesome tundra of this app. (Although, frankly, it could also be an issue with him. That’s a possibility.) The following day, he finally appeared in my list of potential suitors—along with a number of other men from up to 5,000 miles away, even though the app is auto-set to only find love connections with 20 miles, unless you change it manually. My editor, meanwhile, discovered a lone nurse several hundred miles away.
Nonetheless, Righter does have one fascinating feature: a special medical subscription, which for just $24.99 a month allows you online consultation with what they’ve termed the “Righter Medical team.” As it stands, the medical team kind of looks like one guy, Dr. Joseph H. Williams, an Idaho-based urologist.
Urinary health and adjacent issues are important, of course, though they are, many would agree, but one piece of a more comprehensive health regimen. Righter is like that: sort of curiously specific about some details (you have to enter your height to register, for instance), while rather lacking in some more general areas (the app never actually asks whether you’d like to look at men or women; its emphasis on social media is strenuously heterosexual, but you’d think they’d make sure.)
The community guidelines and other legalese associated with the site are also strewn with typos (“Everyone is held to the sake standard”), but really, none of that was more interesting to us than the urology. Lawton did not respond to a request for comment, but Dr. Williams did; he told us by phone that Lawton is an old friend and that he, quite reasonably, sees Righter as a way to talk to a new audience of men about their sexual health.
“I take care of a lot of guys who are having medical difficulties when they’re aging or when they’re re-entering the dating world,” he told us. “And I do a lot of work with guys who are having difficulty with intimacy physically and to a certain extent mentally.” He also said it “takes time and consideration and frequently some medical intervention to help make sure a guy is normally functioning and can have success and frankly be competitive in the dating world.”
Williams was clear that he wasn’t necessarily endorsing the political views of the app. “I’m not a politician and I don’t like to comment on politics because I’m not an expert, but within the context of this app when it comes to the fact that it’s a right-wing dating app, it’s an avenue to reach men. If Tinder had this kind of application and they reached out to me I might consider it. It’s just a venue for providing care wherever it arises.”
Should a woman have medical questions, Williams added, “There are experts on my team who I’ll be able to reach out to to bounce stuff of. We have a neurologist, a female PA. We have our bases covered and we’ll expand the team if we need to.”
While it is of course tempting to continue poking gentle fun at Righter, if an audience of older men use it to seek out medical advice they wouldn’t otherwise try to find, that’s probably a good thing. A free-market solution, if you will.
With that burning question addressed, I was content to quietly delete Righter from my phone, just in the nick of time: I’d both beheld a man in a TRUMP KANYE 2020 t-shirt and realized that after very few swipes, the app rather insistently redirects you to a page where you’re encouraged to purchase “Righter Luxe,” another Tinder-knockoff feature which costs $9.99 a month.
Also, and this is not passing judgement one way or another, but sort of generally noting: This app seems, well, attracted to the president. Sexually. And really, given the app’s apparent audience of aging men who have physical and mental issues with intimacy and are in need of medical intervention, it makes perfect sense.