The Culture Vulture’s Guide to Online Dating

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While viable options abound on dating sites like Nerve and OkCupid, weeding through all your non-negotiables can be quite the task if you’re determined to find a date whose cultural priorities — not to mentions likes and dislikes — match up with your own. So we’ve rounded up a list of niche dating sites — not including the veggie site that Gawker recently busted for omnivorousness — that’ll help you find that wine enthusiast, bearded foodie, or Ayn Rand fan that you’re looking for.

Tastebuds.fm

Is the first question that you ask when meeting someone new what bands they’re into? Do you cringe and hope to lemon law it out of there the moment they open their mouths and answer Coldplay? Then conduct your screening before accidentally committing to coffee with a Kings of Leon fan.

Tastebuds.fm, jumping right into the serious stuff, asks you what you listen to before it even asks you for your gender preference. And because it’s powered by last.fm, if you already have an account you can simply link it up to the dating site instead of typing out all of your favorite music on the spot. Oh, and it’s free.

Alikewise

Did you bore your most recent date with your stimulating take on Finnegans Wake? We’re not totally surprised. But if you insist that Joyce remain a part of your dating ritual, next time around try your luck on a literary-themed dating site like Alikewise, which matches bookish singles based on what they like to read. Profiles feature daters’ pictures and a list of their favorite books, reviewed by them, so the pressure to be smart and witty is on.

For those who do better IRL than online, Alikewise also hosts bookworm mixers. Their latest is cleverly titled “I Like Your Glasses,” and will be held at Housing Works Bookstore Café in New York on October 13.

The Atlasphere

Okay, let’s get a little more specific. You were the person who got bored of Finnegans Wake dude. But not because you’re a philistine who hasn’t read a book since high school. No, it’s because all that was running through your mind while Mr. Joyce was speaking — all that runs through your mind all day, every day — was Atlas Shrugged. Don’t worry, your love life isn’t necessarily shot, as there are apparently other people out there just like you. And they’re hanging out at The Atlasphere, a social networking website designed for the most obsessive of Ayn Rand enthusiasts.

As they explain, “For many people, Ayn Rand’s novels are more than just ‘a good read’; they inspire us to become better human beings. The values dramatized in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged — the values of reason, independence, hard work, and personal integrity, among others — provide the framework for a unique moral vision, one which can be profoundly inspiring. What, then, could be more natural than to be drawn to others who shared the same reaction to Ayn Rand’s novels?” What indeed.

Given Gift

Maybe you’re a Rem Koolhaas in the makings, or maybe you’re just really good at redecorating your room. Or maybe you are Rem Koolhaas. In any case, you’re artistically minded, and while the first question on your list might not be whether your date likes Bon Iver or Radiohead, you will want your other half to take you to a gallery opening every now and then. Given Gift is a hub for creative types of all kinds — dancers, actors, writers, musicians — and its homepage features adorable hipster couples wearing hoodies and holding guitars.

Cupidtino

Madly in love with your Macbook? With your iPhone? And your iPod and iHome too? Share your love with someone else who loves theirs just as much by finding a fellow Apple fanboy or fangirl at the niche dating sate for the Mac-obsessed, Cupidtino. If nothing else, it’s one more thing to do on your Mac.

Liberal Hearts/Conservatives Only

What’s your idea of the perfect date venue? If you answered a rally, inauguration, or protest, then it’s likely you’re going to want to shack up with a political junkie with similar values. If you haven’t already found him or her occupying Wall Street or volunteering for a campaign, you might want to check out Liberal Hearts or Conservatives Only, depending on your leaning, to meet a like-minded patriot.

Wine Lovers Match

If you need a partner to accompany you to a wine tasting — one that will recognize a petit beaujolais over Delicious Red boxed wine — you need not travel as far as your local Ivy League private clubhouse. Wine Lovers Match, one of several wine enthusiast dating sites, will have you on a date, saying words like oaky and tannins with someone who will love you all the more for it, in no time.

Geek to Geek

Would you rather geek out at Comic-Con than make awkward conversation over dinner? Then find your Princess Leia at Geek to Geek, where there’s no shame in letting your nerd run free and taking your thick-framed glasses and insane knowledge of über-specific trivia out for a spin around town.

DateCraft

Speaking of geeks, DateCraft is a dating site geared toward World of Warcraft players and the people who love ’em. While we’ve read that there’s a serious imbalance in the number of male versus female profiles (shocker!), and it’s not entirely clear whether the site is meant for real life or “in-game” dates, consider this: “It’s really great if you’re looking for fellow geeks to socialize with because if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ve found yourself a new friend.”

HowAboutWe

For those of you who are more interested in where you’re going on a first date and what you’ll be doing — as opposed to nitpicking over someone’s profile and then sending a bunch of emails back and forth — HowAboutWe offers the perfect activity-based solution. Users suggest an ideal date, and then you’re matched up accordingly.