October 18, 2013

Atlas Hugged


As Wonkette reported last January, and Angela Chen of the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, eligible Objectivists no longer need to waste time in bars buying drinks for other singles uninterested in discussing the free market.

For a better return on their investment, they can turn to the Atlasphere, an Ayn Rand “appreciation site with a dating component,” or, as Maclean’s put it, “Atlasphere: For devotees of Ayn Rand, because no one wants to date one of those by accident.”

“If you assume that maybe 1 out of 500 people is a serious fan of Ayn Rand’s novels, on a normal dating site you have a 1 in 500 chance of someone sharing the same basic values,” [Atlasphere founder Joshua Zader] says. “On the Atlasphere, every profile shows you what you want,” he says. The 10-year-old site has seen a spike in membership in recent years—it has more than 16,000 dating profiles—after two “Atlas Shrugged” movies were released, says Mr. Zader, a Web developer. User handles include “Atlas in Arlington” and “ObjectivelyHot.”

He founded the site after attending Objectivist conferences, where the “open secret” is that most people are there to meet potential partners.

Atlasphere hosted more than 16,000 dating profiles when the article was posted on Wednesday. That number inevitably rose this week as reporters from Vice and the Atlantic Wire examined the sites for follow-up stories.

These reporters, like other visitors to the site, had to rate their bodies from “ample” to “very cuddly,” fill out a series of questions about their “virtues (and what they would change),” views on fitness, and their level of interest in the “cashflow game.” (The term “very cuddly” only seems to make sense if the site had been named “Atlas Hugged.”)

Jokes about Objectivists and dating practically write themselves, but it’s astonishing a site like this doesn’t exist for other authors. Surely George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling would have been more likely candidates for a fan-based dating site — and couldn’t you find plenty of people over 18 to invest $9 a month for a singles section of Pottermore?

Melville House’s dating site for fans of Jean-Christophe Valtat is set to launch in 2017.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.