In the world of online dating, the giant sites can sometimes look a little overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be better to narrow your search to the really important things – such as whether your future lover has a moustache (Stache Passions) or loves cats (Purrsonals)?
There are sites for those explicitly looking for marriage, or just a casual hook-up; sites for those over 60, hippies, pagans, naturists – almost anything you can think of. And lots you would never dream of.
The availability of dating-site software means that it is now easier than ever for individuals, or small companies, to set up their own niche dating sites (for instance, one company runs more than 240 dating sites, including ones for those into Star Trek, raw food or mullet hairstyles).
If niche dating sites really do prove that there’s someone for everyone, here are just a few highlights:
The Ugly Bug Ball dating site has the tagline, “Dating for the aesthetically average”. The Ugly Dating Site is a bit more direct: “Mingers only.” Still, a browse through the profiles on the site reveals its users are far from the hideous creatures they perhaps imagine – and surely they’re a more modest, less self-absorbed bunch compared with those who sign up to the raft of beautiful-people-only dating sites.
Turned on by Twilight? Desperate for Dracula? Vampire Passions is a site for vampires, and fans of vampires (and, more worryingly, “vampire hunters” – though surely this site eliminates much of the detective work). Search by location – or blood type.
If blood – human or animal – isn’t really your thing, there are numerous sites for vegetarian singles. Veggie Date started in the US and is one of the biggest dating sites for vegetarians and vegans. The UK-based Veggie Romance has been going since 2003.
For those blessed with height, or for those who want a partner to look up to, there are numerous sites catering for tall people and their admirers. One is 6 Foot Lover, while Taller Singles is for people a more modest 5ft 9in and over.
The theory is you can tell a lot about someone from their bookshelves, and a site such as Alikewise is the online equivalent. Users list their favourite books and explain why, so you can wheedle the Haruki Murakami fans out from the Harry Potter ones.
Singles in uniform
There is a practical, if deeply unromantic, reason, explains the site Uniform Dating, for seeking out someone in a job where they have to wear a uniform – they tend to understand what it’s like to work shift patterns or be away from home for a while. But we all know it’s more about the hotness of those work clothes. The site attracts police officers, nurses, doctors and military personnel – and the people who want to meet them.
Rich people (or men, mostly)
If you’re a man, you need to earn $85,000 (£51,000) before the dating site Wealthy Men will even look at you. Others, such as Sugar Daddie and Millionaire Match, appear to raise the bar to entry even higher. A new website, the Secret Diamond Club, is already running in Europe but recently launched in the UK and is very upfront about whom it matches: rich men with beautiful women. Its male members pay up to £60,000 a year to join, while women are judged by a panel and pay up to £30, according to how good-looking they are considered to be. Its founder, Gus Terkelsen, says: “Coming from a Scandinavian country, we know Britain as a country of ugly women. There are a lot of wealthy men here but the women are not very attractive and it is difficult for the men to meet good-looking women.” And has the charming Terkelsen found himself in a happy and fulfilling relationship? “Obviously, I’m single,” he said last month.