So you say eHarmony leaves you feeling a little blasé? Match.com makes you say, “Meh”?
Not to worry: An explosion of niche dating sites is making it possible for picky date-seekers to find, well, just about anyone. There are sites for people who want to cheat on their spouses, meet inmates, date British guys, hook up with fellow cat lovers and find people who share their health problems or tastes in music.
The options — and the level of specificity — are mind-boggling. Here are 26 sites to help you find that special, unique someone:
Farmers are so down to earth
FarmersOnly.com brings together farmers, ranchers, agriculture students, horse owners, livestock owners and "cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo fans and country wannabes."
The site's founder says you don't have to be a farmer, "but you do have to have good old-fashioned down-to-earth values," and the site's motto says it all: "City folks just don't get it!"
As Meet-an-Inmate.com boldly announces on its homepage, there are all sorts of "lonely attractive inmates" out there who would love to have penpals. This site gives you the opportunity to become a penpal to two kinds of inmates: "male inmates" and "lady inmates."
The site makes this observation: "Even though these men and women are in prison, it doesn't mean that they are bad individuals. The majority of these inmates are loving, clever, reliable, sexy and very passionate. They enjoy sports, music, arts, etc., just as you do. However, they are convicted felons and caution should be used."
Love long and prosper
Love sci-fi? Love "Star Trek"? Love "Star Wars"? Then check it out: The motto of TrekPassions.com is "Love long and prosper."
This is a site where it's perfectly acceptable for people to describe themselves as "Geek to the max!" or "Uhura Seeking Her Spock" or "Romulan assassin in training seeking partner for long-term missions."
If you want to behold survival of the meanest in action, check out DarwinDating.com. Here's how the site describes itself: "Sick of dating websites filled with ugly, unattractive, desperate fatsos? We are.
"Darwin Dating was created exclusively for beautiful, desirable people. Our strict rules and natural selection process ensures all our members have winning looks." Those strict rules ban, among other things, "saggy boobs," sweat patches, nerdy glasses and cackly laughs.
There's no shame at all in being a ginger at Redhead-World.net. In fact, at this site, redheads are celebrated!
And the site has grand ambitions, too: "Redhead World doesn't want to just provide a great toolset for meeting redhead singles and friends. Language projects are already under way and new languages will be continually added. We want to bring together the worldwide redhead community."
If you're tall and you find it challenging to meet other tall people to date, TallFriends.com has got you covered.
The site highlights tall men and women who live in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe -- and "height" is a required field when you fill out your profile. (There's even a choice for people who are taller than 6-foot-11!)
Make sure your computer has virus protection before you click on AshleyMadison.com. Why? Well, consider the site's motto: "Life is short. Have an affair."
AshleyMadison.com helps facilitate discreet affairs for "attached adults" -- both through its website and through handy smart-phone apps, which don't leave any traces of infidelity on home or work computers.
Calm down, it's just salad
Oh, to be young, hip, single, fashionable and employed in Midtown Manhattan. Wait -- that describes almost everyone working in Midtown Manhattan. No wonder SaladMatch.com is taking off.
This dating site -- which is connected to the New York City restaurant Just Salad -- lets busy professionals meet their "salad soulmates." Just create an online profile, identify your favorite salad ingredients, and voila! You could soon be meeting a special, compatible someone at a Just Salad location and "enjoying a freshly chopped salad" together.
Shared illnesses, shared love
It's not surprising that singles with specific -- and sometimes highly personal -- health issues might want to meet other singles who have the same condition. These days, plenty of dating sites make that possible. One such site, STDmatch.net, connects people who share the same sexually transmitted disease. Other sites include:
- Dating4Disabled.com, a site for people with disabilities
- POZPersonals.com, for adults who are H.I.V.-positive
- CancerMatch.com, for people living with cancer
- DeafPassions.com, for the hearing impaired
- NoLongerLonely.com, for people with mental illness
- Prescription4Love.com, for people with an array of health conditions and diseases.
You could "find your first mate" at SeaCaptainDate.com, a dating site that connects men and women who share a love of the ocean.
After noting that "dating can be a stormy sea," SeaCaptain.com CEO Bill Kay implores, "In the unforgiving ocean of love, let us be your lighthouse."
Looking for Brits
Here's a site specifically for people who are attracted to British men: DateBritishGuys.com.
A lot of the Brits featured on the site live in Britain, but plenty live in the United States. The site wants to help you find "your very own David Beckham, Hugh Grant, Orlando Bloom, Jude Law, Sean Connery [or] Prince Harry," wherever you may be.
Enter the Atlasphere
People who love Ayn Rand REALLY love Ayn Rand -- so maybe it stands to reason that they could love each other as well? TheAtlasphere.com is a dating site that connects "admirers of 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged.'"
As the site explains, "For many people, Ayn Rand's novels are more than just 'a good read'; they inspire us to become better human beings."
Pounced.org is a personals site for furries -- that is, people drawn to "furry fandom."
Not sure what that means? Here's a good description from the BBC News Magazine piece "Who are the furries?": "No standard definition exists but generally furries are people who have a fascination with anthropomorphic animals. These are animals that are given human traits, like walking and talking. They can be anything from cartoons characters like Bugs Bunny to computer game personalities like Pokemon. The scene has its own art, animation, comic books and literature."
It's 4:20 somewhere
420Dating.com, a free, private dating site for people who smoke marijuana, has the motto: "Why toke alone?"
Lots of people describe themselves in their 420Dating.com profiles as "laid back," "kicked back" and "mellow"; some profiles talk about wanting to find a special someone with whom they could "burn a little."
Most mortals need not apply
"Smart is sexy" at RightStuffDating.com, an ultra-exclusive site that bills itself as "the Ivy League of dating." To join, you must be a graduate or a faculty member (proof required!) from a select group of "excellent" universities and colleges.
Want to guess which schools appear on the list? Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT -- yes. Greendale Community College -- no.
PURRfect for cat lovers
Before you click on PURRsonals.com at work, turn your volume down! Otherwise, piano music will start to play, and a woman holding a cat will enter from stage left and keep putting strong verbal emphasis on the word "purr."
That said, if you adore your cat (and cats in general), and if you want to meet someone who feels the same way about cats, then this is the place to be.
As the lady holding the cat explains, "Cat lovers from all walks of life can celebrate the photos, the stories and videos of their beloved family member. And if you're single, here's your chance to meet someone who's PURRfect for you."
What's your favorite band?
The folks who started Tastebuds.fm are fascinated by the idea that people's music tastes say a lot about the people themselves -- and about their potential compatibility with others. This dating site allows you to enter a few bands you like and be matched up with people around the country who share your tastes and want to meet someone.
A co-worker of mine who heard about this site had this to say: "Where was this site when I was single? Do you know how hard it is to find attractive females who'll tolerate round-the-clock airings of The Stranglers and Killing Joke?"
And that's not all...
Bibliophiles can turn to Alikewise, which attempts to match strangers based on their taste in literature. Are you a nerd and proud of it? Geek 2 Geek pairs off “special” kindred spirits. Even Apple product fanatics can find true romance on Cupidtino.
For a lonely heart in the modern world, there will be a website for you dedicated to the pursuit of just the right kind of love.
This updated story was originally posted Feb. 8, 2012. Rebecca Ruiz contributed to this story.