If accent grabs you, just click

Linda Shrieves

ORLANDO, Fla. — When you meet a stranger, what do you notice first? The twinkle in the eyes? The shy smile?

Or could it be the accent?

If your interest is piqued by someone’s accent — whether it’s Southern or Brooklyn or London — then an Orlando woman has the online dating site for you.

Rochelle Peachey, a British expatriate, has launched iloveyouraccent.com, a dating Web site with an unusual twist. It’s aimed at Americans looking to meet men and women with British accents, and Brits who are looking to meet Americans.

There are hundreds of specialized dating Web sites on the Internet, including sites that promise to help spiritual people find one another, sites to match up plus-size people, ones for married people looking to cheat, even a site aimed at wealthy men and the women who want to meet them.

Peachey, however, aimed for an unusual niche: People with accents.

Peachey came up with the idea after thinking about her British and American friends who weren’t having much luck on the dating scene. Her British girlfriends wanted to meet American men, while American friends were interested in Brits.

What these people need, she thought, is a chance to meet people outside their own circles. Meeting someone with a different accent, she said, is just the beginning.

Sure, an accent seems a flimsy reason to start a relationship. But Peachey says the accent is just the beginning of the attraction.

“Really, the question is: How do I go beyond my circle of friends?” Peachey said. “But it doesn’t have to be about dating. There may be people who dream of going to London, but they don’t know anyone there and don’t have anyone to travel with. Here, they can meet some people — and travel to London, where they’ll know someone who can show them around.”

Lylletza Mateo, 28, signed on to the site because she finds that British men are curious about American women.

“When I used to walk around London and people heard my accent, doors opened up for me,” she said. “People wanted to talk to me. They wanted to talk to me about places they’d visited in the States. They wanted to hear about growing up in the States.”

Though Peachey launched the business late last year, 1,500 people have already posted profiles and photographs of themselves. Right now, there’s no way to hear people’s accents, but Peachey’s Web site developer will soon add a feature that lets users upload their voices.

Then you’ll be able to hear the accent right away.

And the accents you hear may not just be British. Although she has only marketed the site in England and the United States, it has attracted people from Dubai, Australia, Greece, France, Germany and Italy.

The site is free now, though Peachey plans to begin charging between $20 and $25 a month for the site when it attracts more users. And, though relatively new, her site has matched several couples, including a New York woman who is now dating a British air force officer about to be dispatched to Afghanistan. And some of the matches have been local — like the Lake Mary, Fla., woman who met the Kissimmee, Fla., man.

Peachey, who has lived here for 13 years, said there are differences between Americans and Brits, particularly when it comes to dating. “With American women, the first date is like a job interview,” she said, while British women are more subtle.

That’s one reason Lylletza Mateo posted a profile on the site. A 28-year-old ad saleswoman in New York, Mateo is tired of dating New Yorkers.

“In New York, if you want to move in with someone, you practically have to have a blood test, a credit check and a background check. The friends have to like you, the parents have to like you,” she said. “The Brits are more open. They say, ‘We get along nicely. Let’s try to have a relationship.’ They’re easier-going and it’s not that complicated.”

For Alan Reed of London, the Web site was a lark. The 52-year-old signed up in November, when he heard about it from Peachey’s husband, an old friend. Soon he found himself conversing regularly with an Orlando chiropractor.

“The funny thing was: I wasn’t looking for someone overseas,” said Reed, a stand-up comedian. “But I was in a photo with a dolphin and she lives near SeaWorld, so we began talking and we became friends.”

E-mails led to phone conversations and those conversations soon led to trips abroad. Late last year, Reed flew to Orlando to meet the chiropractor and he’s been coming back once a month since.

“I think meeting someone from another culture is exciting,” said Reed. “And believe it or not, I like the American way of life. I have an American car, I drive a Harley…and she has a Harley too. While I’m here, I’ve been riding her Harley.”


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