Sorry, to break your gluten-free, urban-farming, cat-loving, Ayn Rand-worshiping hearts, but your precious niche dating sites and picky dating habits are now mainstream.
The rise of niche dating sites like Farmers Only (self explanatory) gets the trend piece treatment from The Wall Street Journal. "A growing number of niche dating sites have popped up to serve people who think they know exactly the type of person they want," The Journal writes, highlighting the mind-numbing statistic that Farmers Only has over 100,000 users.
One hundred-thousand farmers looking for other farmers to love speaks to the beauty of the Internet. Being able to specify one trait that you want to find in a potential partner, and finding people who do the same in some corner of the Internet, is now a reality. And in all honesty, it isn't that far removed from adoring that one obscure punk band that your record store didn't have and then discovering a whole message board dedicated to that band. And that specification of potential mates has resulted in thriving sites like GlutenFree Singles, Atlasphere (a site where Ayn Rand fans find love with one another), Trek Passions (Star Trek fans), Sea Captain Date (mariners), and Pounced (furry fandom).
The obvious question is whether or not these people are missing out on really awesome people in their lives by narrowing down potential loves to one or two traits. And what happens to opposites attracting or meeting someone by chance? The devotees to niche dating don't believe in any of that. The reason they join these sites is because things like liking Ayn Rand and not eating gluten are deal-breakers. The Journal reports:
Shannon Roberts, 36, of San Diego joined the site because her gluten-free needs were a huge point of contention with her ex-husband. "My next partner needs to be Mr. Gluten-Free. I don't care if he's Brad Pitt—if he's not gluten-free, nope, not going to happen."
The only thing standing in these sites' way it seems, is popularity. As in indie music and Comic Con, the Internet has a funny way of turning niche interests into mainstream playthings. How long before you Farmers Only is inundated and ruined by hipsters? Or what happens when people who join Gluten Free Singles only consider gluten-free as the seventh most important thing in their mates? Heck, you may have to go out and actually meet someone.