Tuesday 7 February 2023

From Bristlr to TrekDating: Find Love On A Niche Dating Site

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Pia Strobel and Dale Graff, the couple met on GlutenFreeSingles. Photograph: Jessica Lowry for the Guardian
Pia Strobel and Dale Graff, the couple met on GlutenFreeSingles. Photograph: Jessica Lowry for the Guardian

QDATING – We’ve all heard of match.com, OKCupid and Tinder. But where do you go if you’re looking for a very tall vegetarian who likes silent movies? As increasing numbers of us go online to find love – match.com alone now has 59 million users – our requirements are getting narrower.

We need a way to sort through thousands of profiles and put aside the “time wasters”, says Bradley Mills of Tip Top Dating Services, which manages more than 100 niche dating sites including TallerSingles and ShorterSingles. “Otherwise you get bombarded with people you’re just not interested in.”

For those who are picky about hair colour, there’s Redheaddates or dateginger. Moustache-lovers are catered for by stachepassions – the site is even divided by style, including Walrus, Dali and Pencil. And while Uniformdating.com might sound like it caters to those with a fetish for helmets or tabards, it is in fact for people with busy lives: “When you have unsociable shift patterns, a demanding job, or you’re stationed overseas, finding love can be tricky,” the site acknowledges.

 Angela Petrovic and Connor Jupp who met on Bristlr, a dating site for beard lovers and those with beards. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer
Angela Petrovic and Connor Jupp who met on Bristlr, a dating site for beard lovers and those with beards. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer
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There are niche dating sites that cater to pretty much every passion you can imagine, including vampires, clowns and Disney lovers – yes, adult ones. There’s even a site for those who work in the death industry, Dead Meet, started by mortuary worker Carla Valentine. “I noticed people who did similar jobs gravitated towards each other,” Valentine says, “an embalmer was dating the mortuary manager, a mortuary technician was dating an undertaker. If you both do the same thing, there are no silences over dinner or shocked expressions when you describe how bad your day was. But sometimes you need to cast the net a bit further than your immediate working circle.”

So does it work? Can a passion for beards really form the foundations for lasting love? We tracked down five very particular couples to find out.

Continue reading theGuardian.com about the beard lovers who met on Bristlr, the hikers who met on OutdoorLads, the sci-fi fans who met on TrekDating, the couple who met on GlutenFreeSingles, and the music lovers who met on Tastebuds.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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