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Americans are using online dating sites in record numbers — a recent Pew survey found at least 11 percent of us have tried to find a match on the Internet. Due to this explosion in digital matchmaking, the sites where you can find a cyberdate are proliferating at a pace with which it’s tough to catch up. Through a little informal research, I found that there are more than 1,500 dating sites available in the U.S.—many charging a fee. I’m clearly in the wrong business.
So, I wanted to know—where exactly are all these sites and who is using them? As it turns out, it seems like there is something out there for everyone. EVERYONE. In 2014, we’re not just online dating; we’re niche online dating. And, the specificity of the sites out there is staggering.
Religious-based sites like JDate or Christian Mingle were the first to enter our collective consciousness, but those sites aren’t nearly niche enough to qualify for my top 9. I had hundreds (possibly thousands) of much more specific communities to choose from. I was initially inspired by a post I read on Mashable last week: 7 Super-Specific Dating Sites Only the Internet Could Spawn. I even stole two of their picks for my list. However, Mashable just piqued my curiosity. I had to dig deeper.
So, I spent the last few days trolling the Internet for the most interesting niche online dating sites I could find. And, the list below is what I came up with. Needless to say, I was not interrupted by any actual online dates of my own. I’m now thinking of launching a site for men who are obsessed with chocolate and grooming products. Chocogroom? Cocopommade? C’mon, I know you guys are out there …
Anyway, here’s my top 9:
9. GothicMatch.com – The #1 online social networking community for Gothic singles and friends.
I think the name says it all. I registered. Everyone hated me.
8. FarmersOnly.com – Farmers Only markets itself as a dating site for farmers, ranchers and “good ol’ country folk.” The company’s slogan is “City folks just don’t get it.”
I didn’t get it. It was awkward.
7. VeggieDate – VeggieDate is considered by many to be the premier vegetarian dating site in the world. Their members include vegans, lacto vegetarians, ovo vegetarians, pescatarians (fish and vegetable eaters), semi-vegetarian, those who are becoming vegetarian and macrobiotic eaters. Many raw vegans, raw vegetarians, and raw foodists are among their vegan single members and their vegetarian single members.
So, I mentioned the pork hocks I had for dinner the night before. Big mistake. omg.
6. Alikewise.com – Alikewise is a dating site that allows you to find people based on their book tastes. Anything from cooking to politics to yoga — they can find others who would like to talk to you.
I thought I might fit in here because I like to read things. Turns out they’re really hung up on books. No one wanted to talk about grooming products. Whatever.
5. BeautifulPeople.com – A dating site where existing members hold the key to the door. You can meet REAL beautiful people who actually look in real life as they do online. You may be ‘discovered’ (rumor has it they found April Levine here—before she changed her name to Avril Lavigne). You can be part of the largest most exclusively beautiful community in the world. No ugly people allowed.
I can’t really talk about this one. It’s too depressing. And, the whole experience made me vaguely nauseous.
4. TrekkieDating.com – Set phasers to flirt! TrekkieDating wants to welcome you to a dating community that is light years ahead of others. You can find like-minded friends, romance, & convention dates with other Trekkies TODAY!
I asked someone if it was true that Captain Kirk was gay. It did not go over well. At all.
3. SugarDaddie.com – “Where the classy, attractive and affluent meet.”
ummmm … let’s just say, DO NOT GO THERE. Ever. There is not enough money in the world to make this a pleasant experience.
2. The Atlasphere.com – “Connecting admirers of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.” The Atlasphere, which boasts a total of 26,000 members, is made up of two parts. The first component is a network directory of all users. The dating website, which has around 15,000 users, is an extension of the network directory and focuses more on establishing romantic connections.
I swear I ran into Paul Ryan, which was kind of hot. But, otherwise the whole thing was creepy. It left me cold (minus the Paul Ryan-ish thing obviously).
I entered with caution. But, after reading Emily Straubel’s post here yesterday, The Sex Files | Date A Cat Person: 4 Reasons Cat People Are Amazing In Relationships (& Bed), how could I not check it out? Let’s just say … I may have a date. Meow.
For more on niche online dating you can check out: Niche Online Dating Promises A Different Site For Every Preference, NPR
IMAGE CREDIT: BeautifulPeople.com