Everyone has their thing... One of my friends won’t date a guy who can’t drive a stick shift. Another prefers her men to be meat-eaters, even though she herself is a vegetarian. Whether they insist on a significant other who’s a dog lover or demand a mate who’s anti-mayonnaise, most people partner up on the basis of common likes, hobbies, or interests.
And while online dating sites like OKCupid, eHarmony, and Match.com account for a large portion of the 40 million American singles who use online dating services, a host of new social sites focus on delivering a more...specialized matching experience. Very specialized. As it turns out, niche services abound, and they range from the amusing-yet-useful to the bizarre-yet-terrifying.
Tired of dating fellas who say New Found Glory is their favorite punk band? Make sure all your suitors know who Minor Threat is by taking your custom to PunkMatch.com. Despite the proliferation of piercings and purple hair, this “hottest punk dating community on the web” is actually pretty tame, though it’s probably one of the few sites that offer a profile field dedicated to body art.
A quick browse of the profiles reveals about what you’d expect: A lot of black-clad singles listing metal, rock, punk, and industrial as their preferred music genres—along with a lot of horror movies fans and a lot of people who identified as outcasts in high school. Got $35 and a six-pack to your name? You can try out PunkMatch for three days for eight bucks, or for three months for $40. If you’re more into the Bauhaus than Black Flag, sister site GothicMatch.com fits the bill.
Looking to sow some seed? Want a partner to help plow your fields? Rarin’ to start a family farm family? Then go for a hayride on FarmersOnly.com, and maybe you’ll find the rancher of your dreams. FarmersOnly isn’t for your average urban vegetable gardener or occasional horticulturist; it advertises to folks who are single, lonely, and living in the country. Someone cue the banjos.
The site has a dated, albeit appropriately themed design: Clip art of sunflowers (‘My favorites’), cheery-looking rustics (‘Profile Visitors’), and a barn mailbox (‘My Mailbox’). The clientele skews toward the older end of the spectrum, with most results in the 40–50 age tier. Quite a few hunters are signed up on the site, so apparently ownership of John Deere equipment isn’t mandatory.
Love long and prosper with a partner who agrees that Picard was the best captain, courtesy of TrekPassions.com. Considering the extensive community of Star Trek lovers out there, a dating site dedicated to Romulan Romeos and Deltan Don Juans should shock no one.
Membership is free, and the site touts itself as a personals service for all hardcore sci-fi fans (no anti–Star Wars feuding here). The design screams Web 1.0, and it offers fairly typical profile listings—body type, hobbies, religious views, and the like are all represented. But there’s also a field where you can list the conventions you regularly attend, the better to set up a sci-fi meet-cute with your Klingon companion.
Residents of Washington, Colorado, and Amsterdam can peruse 420dating.org for a smoked-up sweetheart. Dazed and confused users can also navigate to 420singles.net (which cleverly costs $4.20 for two months of service). Roll up a tight profile and bond over your love of Cheech and Chong, blacklight posters, and sativa.
Both sites cater to single individuals looking for a partner who shares their proclivity for Mary Jane. Or munchies. Or hey, both. The sites feature festive palmate-leaved backgrounds, and (of course) members must indicate whether they smoke said substance in their profiles. Not that we’d advocate such a thing. Except for that one time. In college.
Are you lonely? Unable to process wheat and wheat products? Avoid carbs and celiac discomfort on all your social outings by connecting at GlutenFreeSingles. Nope, not even joking: Eating gluten-free is all the rage nowadays, but it’s difficult to bond over a meal when you’re worried about dietary repercussions.
But don’t go pugilistic over pasta—just turn to GlutenFreeSingles.com, which aims to match up like-dieted individuals for romantic or platonic endeavors. Profiles on the site include extensive options for clarifying why one is avoiding wheat, as well as unique relationship types, such as exercise partners and gluten-free support groups.
You guys...I cannot even wrap my head (of lettuce) around this. If it’s essential to you that your darling pookie be as wild about Caesar dressing as you are, maybe you need a site called GetBetterPriorities.com. That said, Salad Match adheres to the idea that a similar diet can trigger mutual interest. This iOS-only app aims to connect singles based on their preference in salad.
The company, Just Salad LLC, a popular NYC-based restaurant, recognized that its customers were hitting it off in line and decided to play matchmaker over the romaine. Users simply select the type of salad eater they are (you know, completely not-crazy categories like ‘chef-designed’ or ‘I only eat wraps’), and the app then displays photos of devotees of similar salads. If two people are mutually interested, they can start chatting. Hopefully about more meaningful topics than whether their favorite green should be referred to as arugula or rocket.
Here’s an unfun fact: Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States every year. So how do you tell your new honey that you’ve got the herp? Well, it’s a lot easier when you’ve met your new beau via PositiveSingles.com.
A site that aims to take the uncertainly out of the equation by providing a safe and private online dating service for singles with HIV, herpes, or other STIs, PositiveSingles makes those awkward (yet responsible) conversations a little less so. Let’s face it: Finding your one and only is likely to lead to an intimate encounter, and it’s best to be prepared for full disclosure on both sides. We give props to this service not only for taking away the stigma of STIs (which affect a lot of people), but also for offering a live dating advisor, STD care locations, and treatment tips. Date safe, y’all.
Cupid is, apparently, an Apple fan. The proof? Cupidtino, a play on Cupid and Cupertino (the California city where Apple’s headquarters are located, for the uninitiated). Geared toward singles who wear their Apple fanboy/fangirl badge with pride, Cupidtino works only on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
The service is crawling with designers, photographers, and creative types who have drunk the iKool-Aid. Profiles include fields such as ‘I became a Mac when...’ and the service is so Apple-centric that my requests for special press access on my Windows PC went unanswered. The layout even echoes Apple’s designs, with plenty of white space and clean lines, as well as tabs for ‘My basics’, ‘My photos’, and ‘My favorites’. Given the zeal with which people defend their mobile platform of choice, this seems a natural way to weed out those weirdo Windows Phone users. So...how about expanding the service to Android fans? I’m guessing those cricket sounds mean no.
A pretty face and a basic misunderstanding of evolution are all it takes to become a member of this site, which limits membership to specimens of humanity who are considered truly “beautiful.” Among the extensive list of no-nos that the site uses in its unnatural selection process are disproportionately large ears, teeth that aren’t straight, out-of date-fashions (you beast!), and nerdy glasses.
With taglines like “Online dating minus ugly people,” this is a great site for overinflated egos, classic narcissists, and anyone with a skewed understanding of Darwinism. You can rate users on a 1–5 scale, marking them ‘Ass-like’ or ‘Awesome’, or use the ‘Chimp Calculator’ to find out if you’re evolved enough to register for membership. Not good for: Anyone who understands science. Or knows that “survival of the fittest” has basically no connection to hours spent each week on hip abduction machines. Or isn’t a total jerk. But hey, if you’re open about being a superficial tool, you may love this site.
Those with coulrophobia can skip ahead right now. The rest of us can rubberneck over the (tiny) car crash that is ClownDating.com. Though it’s easily the creepiest service on this list, the users on ClownDating.com are not actual clowns. For the most part. Thankfully.
The service leans more toward individuals who self-identify as “class clown” types, with a host of other entertainers thrown in for good measure. Regrettably, the profiles don’t seem to have any clown-specific filter—would it have killed them to include a field about balloon animals?! But the homepage alone earns this site a badge of weird, starting with a link to 25 percent off “clown fancy dress.” You know, for all those formal occasions that require a red nose and squirty flower boutonniere.
You know, when your friends told you to “lock it down,” this was not what they were talking about. Still, there’s something to be said for having a captive audience—and no one is more captive than the incarcerated. Could this be where the term pen pals originated?
Prison puns aside, the mission of the site is actually kind of sweet, stating that “receiving a letter is the highlight of the day for most prisoners.” The idea is simply to connect users as pen pals, which by itself, doesn’t make us want to run screaming for the hills. However, this snail-mail-only service does require plenty of disclaimers, such as “Know the rules of the institution.” The service, which has been connecting inmates to the outside world since 1998, has its own disclaimer that states it accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the posts that the inmates themselves write, and that “appropriate safeguards” should be used in communicating with people you meet through the site. We really shouldn’t have to tell you to tread carefully with this one....
This story, "Love conquers all on these 11 highly unusual dating sites" was originally published by TechHive.