The Saturday Miscellany: Super-niche dating sites; how to complain; can I eat fingernails?


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THE DIGESTED FAD: Super-niche dating sites

By Luke Blackall

For those who find themselves dubbed "too picky" when dating, there is an increasing number of niche-dating websites. Say you have tattoos and want a partner who likes them. It might take you a while to discover if they're into ink on a conventional dating site, but at, they know instantly. Similarly, single fans of novelist Ayn Rand can use the dating area of

Spring/autumn romances also have their place: finds matches for younger men looking for older women and vice versa and for those for whom a cougar isn't mature enough, they can head to where chaps are encouraged to "Embrace your fantasy and hook up with a granny tonight!".

A darker niche is found with new app Carrot Dating, which finds attractive partners for those willing to offer 'bribes', ranging from a coffee to a holiday, and could only be less appealing if it was called Stick Dating.

CAN I EAT THAT? Unorthodox digestion queries, answered. This week: fingernails

By Will Dean

Fingernails are possibly the most popularly consumed of foodstuffs which one really ought not to eat. We were told as secondary schoolers that there were more germs under our fingernails than on the seat of the school lavs – a judgement, having seen said lavs, we'd dispute – but the fact remains, it's a grim old habit.

Obviously, sticking fingers which have been on handrails, sinkholes and shoelaces in your gob is unwise. Besides the germs, it can also damage your teeth and sharp nails can damage the lining of your oesophagus and stomach (though likely only if you're in Florence Griffith Joyner territory).

These are all reasons not to bite your nails. But that's not what we're here for – these bits of hand-grown keratin can go down the gullet. Just wash your hands first.

HOW TO: Make a complaint

By Oscar Quine

The art of complaining can be a priceless one. Jasper Griegson, founder of, is its Da Vinci. We asked him how to moan like a pro:

"Do it in writing, don't waste your time on the phone speaking to customer services and listening to Vivaldi. I often add humour to my letters or write a poem, and often get a poem back. The best one was from Brent Council, strangely."

"Always go to the top, but not necessarily the CEO. The finance director often works because they have a boring in-tray. I had a complaint regarding the Catholic Church and wrote to the Pope and Cardinal Hume, whose assistant sorted the whole thing out."

"It's very British to be afraid of complaining. There's a lot to be said for asserting yourself. Many people find London Underground daunting to complain to. I wrote complaining there was no bench at my local Tube station – and included a picture of myself looking angry, drawn by my daughter."


By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. My daughter has asked for a loan to go travelling. I can afford it, but I'm worried about her safety. Is it OK to refuse?

A. If your daughter seeks the independent adventure of a lifetime, saving up to pay for it is the place to start. Tell her you'd love to help, but you're treating yourself to a fortnight in the Maldives, instead.

@MissEllen E Jones