Human beings can cultivate some incredibly bizarre obsessions. The weirdest ones, though, often involve the most mundane things — just fixated on to an astounding degree. Fortunately, the internet is here to give these beautiful weirdos a home to call their very own.
Buttons, shoe inserts, lightbulb filaments — no matter how specific or tiny an item might seem, you can almost guarantee that someone out there is collecting it, writing about it, or perhaps even living their entire life around it. If you need proof, the internet is just bursting with enthusiasts discussing the objects of their highly specific desires. We've rounded up 11 of our favourites below, but this is just a taste — trust us, this rabbit hole goes deep.
For the shaving traditionalists amongst us, canned shaving cream and electric razors are for children and/or barbarians alike — not a refined wet shaving connoisseur such as Greg. And not only does Greg know shaving, Greg knows shaving soaps. Lather thickness, slickness, moisturizing properties, irritation, scent, strength of scent — everything is taken into consideration and no soapy stone left unturned. Now we're just waiting for the day Greg decides to go for a beard and starts exploring the exciting world of beard oils and mustache waxes.
How could you possibly review playing cards, one might ask. Don't they all, by virtue of being playing cards, have to be the same? Maybe to the untrained eye, but Scott Carey at Tuck Case takes note of card stock, finish (air cushion, Erdnase, magic, etc.), size, face type, and most importantly, design. Dear god are there some beautiful designs. For anyone who's ever known the joys of a worn, favourite pack of cards, proceed with caution — you will want to buy everything you're about to see.
Save for the denture and braces wearers of the world, nearly everyone can appreciate the joys of gum — and there are a lot of different kinds of gum. So many, in fact, that it's highly unlikely you'll ever really be able to try them all, so don't bother wasting your time with the less savory of smackables; let Gum Alert do it for you. After all, that's the reason they started in on their "quest to find the ultimate in mastication stimulation" in the first place.
This site may no longer be active. And they may have only gotten a few reviews under their belt before calling it quits. But some enterprising young soul once decided that the world needed to hear tell of the weird, bizarre, and neon candy-coloured condoms coming out of Japan, and for that, we will be forever grateful.
Cigars may have a reputation as the thinking man's smokable, but Cigar Lighter Reviews is by no means as pretentious as its namesake might imply. Run by "a dude who likes cigar lighters and cutters [and was] frustrated not seeing real world pictures and reviews," the 40+ reviews held within will give you the working man's rundown of everything from the most basic lighters to the wildly ornate. It's a cigar enthusiast/pyromaniac's dream come true.
We all pass by them on a near daily basis, usually just as we're reaching the front of the checkout line, but these convenient little doodads on keychains are far too often overlooked. But there is far more to the world of keychain gadgetry than meets the eye. Just recently, the site's looked things like flashlights, CPR masks, cash safes, scissors, and tooth picks — all shrunk to itty bitty form so they can fit comfortably in even the snuggest of pockets.
The lathery little bricks seem to be a hot topic for highly specified enthusiasts, but this isn't about hair removal, this site is 100 per cent about soap to skin and everything that entails — which is quite a bit, actually. Raw scoring is based on scent, strength of scent, moisturizing, cleansing, later, appearance, and packaging, but then there's the more subjective portion with words upon words describing just how clean the soap at hand makes you feel. Lady Macbeth would certainly have approved.
Ever since Pinterest and Etsy became all the rage, the internet has been inundated with crotcheters and their many musings. Get rid of all the novelty and the noise, though, and what you're left with is a medium whose versatility depends entirely on a single element: yarn. And Knitter's Review knows yarn. Not only do you become to privy to the fibres, blend, tension, wash, and origin of each tangle of threads, but many of the varieties in fact come with an incredibly rich and fascinating history to boot. You might just be surprised by your newfound passion for all things yarn-y.
Candles are perhaps one of the most overlooked on this list of unlikely passions. By nature, the entire point of candles is pretty much to light them and then forget about them (in the sense that you don't have to keep fooling with them, we continue to recommend against leaving unattended fire in your house). Also unlike some of the others, candles are a much more wholly subjective affair. But as far as we can tell, Candlefind currently employs no less than 10 reviewers — so you're sure to find someone with a similar sense for scent.
The Bottle Opener Review is particularly delightful for two reasons: the fact that it's entirely about bottle openers, of course, but also the fact these fellows have the art of metaphor nailed. Seriously. Just a cursory glance at the front page gives you:
This bottle opener was as old as Moses and twice as good at delivering its people to the promised land.
The Keglined opener proved to be as reliable as your grandpa's rocking chair, and probably as weathered, too.
So even if you don't have a breathless fascination with prying caps from bottles (yet), the Bottle Opener Review will be no less of a joy to read.
Last but certainly not least, we present longtime Gizmodo favourite and rich source of double entendre, Knobfeel. Hi-fi stereos are all more or less the same these days, so one enterprising knob turner is tackling the only spec that matters any more, how the knob — you guessed it — feels. We're treated to a few technical considerations (axis, consistency, temperature, etc.), but the meat of the matter is the knob-twisting video reviews, each communicated entirely in delighted moans and dissatisfied grunts. You'll never look at knobs the same way again.