Where should we meet?
There are hundreds of Internet dating sites. Here’s a sampler of some of the most frequented and the most innovative.
Bigchurch.com: Christian daters can search for each other by favorite gospel and verse; not for same-sex partners.
AdultFriendFinder.com: Offers to match up like-minded thrill-seekers of any bent and maintains a head-spinning number of blogs, fantasy chatrooms and links to exhibitionists’ webcams.
Match.com: For a few years, it was the site to go to. Now, detractors complain it’s too mainstream. It’s still well-traveled and has a good keyword search function that allows you to get in touch with fellow ferret lovers, ballerinas or whoever strikes your fancy.
Yahoo! Personals (personals.yahoo.com): The site’s highly refined search function lets users specify whether a potential date should speak Portuguese, flirt at parties or live with parents. Yahoo! asks users to agree to a few basic terms of netiquette and morality, among them: “I am single.”
Nerve.com: a long-established online magazine that calls itself “more forthright and topical than ‘erotica,’ but less blockheadedly masculine than ‘pornography.'” That attitude is reflected in Nerve’s extensive personals section.
OKCupid! (www.okcupid.com): is entirely free to use. Programmed by math geeks from Harvard, it quizzes users on their opinions about everything from politics to intimacy, classifies them into one of 32 dating types and generates lists of potential matches (and mismatches).
Craigslist (chico.craigslist.org): still offers free, old-school-style, online personals, sorted into categories from “Strictly Platonic” to the more sordid “Casual Encounters.” The downside to Craigslist is spam, mostly in the form of fake ads that link to commercial porn sites.
Myspace.com: Probably the closest thing to an online version of the greater world. Each user gets a whole page for stats, photos, blog entries and links to friends’ pages. Myspace is not just for dating. It’s for any kind of interaction or self-promotion.
Newsreview.selectalternatives.com: CN&R’s very own personals section, with bios and photos of local singles. It’s all free, too. If you’re feeling up to it, there’s also the “Spicy” version, featuring ads of the whips-and-chains variety.