Where Should We Meet in Cyberspace? 

There are hundreds of Internet dating sites to choose from. Here's a sampler of some of the most frequented and the most innovative.

On Bigchurch.com, a Christian dating site, users can search for bible passages by gospel and verse while looking for love (no same-sex searching allowed). On the other end of the spectrum, 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 Web cams.

Match.com was, for a few years, the site to go to. Now, detractors complain it's gone too mainstream. It's still a well-traveled site for general-interest dating and has a good keyword search function that allows you to look for ferret lovers, ballerinas or whomever strikes your fancy. For those who find that Dr. Phil's photo or his trademarked relationship-approach strategy (it really is trademarked) on the front page of Match.com doesn't suit their style, another all-purpose industry standard is Yahoo! Personals (personals.yahoo.com). The site's highly refined search function lets users specify whether a potential date should speak Portuguese, flirt at a party or live with parents. Yahoo! asks users to adhere to a few basic terms, among them: "I am single."

For the tasteful hedonist, the site to visit is 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. Their personals are currently being revamped so you might encounter some technical difficulties.

OKCupid! (www.okcupid.com), the new kid on the block, has one-upped just about every other site. Most sites eventually require a subscription fee to see more profiles or get more detailed info, but this one is entirely free to use. It's programmed by math geeks from Harvard, and it quizzes users on their opinions about everything from politics to intimacy: Are you saddened or annoyed by homeless people? Do you pay your bills on time? Have you tried kinky stuff? (Would you like to?) Do you floss? They don't post the test answers though; they use them to classify you into one of 32 dating types and generate lists of potential matches (and mismatches). While OKCupid! is free, there are not very many Idaho residents on the site yet, making for some slim pickings.

On most sites, in order to see more than the most basic search results, you have to create an account and post a profile. Craigslist (boise.craigslist.org) still offers free, old-school-style online personals.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you need a Soviet wife, a foot-fetishist or just a Frisbee partner, there's probably one out there looking for you. Happy surfing.

--Kris Vagner

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