Your username is so important! Don’t you dare get lazy with that little field. 🙂


Your username in an online dating profile matters more than you might realize. I know, I know; none of the sites make it clear enough. None of them force you really take time to think about that step, or let you fill out the other aspects of your profile while you ponder the all-important “username” field and come back to it once the creative juices are flowing. Dating sites are a work in progress. But trust me: usernames MATTER. Don’t create a totally random one that you gave a mere second’s thought!

Check out this link about a JDate user who picked an icky name. I confess I had no idea what “tossed salad” meant, but it turns out it meant something kinda kinky that did not convey what this gal intended. I’ve had ever so many users come to me with usernames that either convey something totally off (wrong gender, for example) or just failed to help them stand out and shine.

Your username, coupled with your profile picture, is the MOST visible thing in search results. It’s the first thing potential dates see, and as this humorous article indicates, it makes a big impression (sometimes unintentionally). It’s either a huge advantage, a huge disadvantage, or a missed opportunity.

I’m mostly not going to cover really really bad stuff. Frankly, you subscribers are a smarter tier of online dater, and you don’t tend to make these kinds of mistakes that are really grossly bad usernames. But just in case, check out this link with a decent round-up of some of the very worst usernames! Avoid those. 🙂 Now, on to more relevant strategies for you smartypants subscribers who would NEVER use a douchey name like the ones in that list. 🙂 (RIGHT?)

What’s an example of a GOOD username? Something playful and light, relevant to what you’re like, and funny if you’re a bit of a jokester. Puns are fine here. Let’s analyze a couple usernames designed for a straight guy* and think about what they convey to potential matches.

CoolGuy4u69 – No! Very bad! Wrong!
PRO: Nothing, absolutely nothing.
CON: The “Cool Guys” part is boring and the rest is borderline creepy/offensive to most gals. Even if sex is important to you, you come off like a complete jackass if you actually spell that out with middle school shorthand. As covered in the roundup link of bad username ideas, avoid anything sexxxxy here. Trust me. The sex comes later; you can’t frontload it in a username. You WILL get laid eventually if you come off as a human and not a sexbot troll douchebag. Also avoid awkward SMS-speak like “u” for “you” and “4” for “for.” You’ll alienate more people than you attract, even if that is in fact how you communicate in short form like text messages or casual emails. Remember, this is your VERY first impression. Don’t you usually wait until a couple texts in to get that lazy with someone new? 😉

Jeremy1987 – Bad
PRO: Inoffensive and uncontroversial
CON: Booooring! All this tells me is that you’re a dude (probably) who’s named Jeremy (probably) who may or may not have been born and/or graduated and/or created this profile in 1987. Er. This is not useful data. Life is short and there are waaaay too many dudes online you’re competing with; you’ve got to find a way to stand out a bit more than this. So don’t just go sticking in the number of your birth year or area code or whatever. Numbers = not remotely compelling, unless you manage to work the Fibonacci sequence in there and you’re an actual mathematician or something. That would make them relevant and witty, and likely to stand out to similarly math-minded gals.

PinotGrizzly – Maybe
PRO: Sounds playful with subtle word play; indicates that this user likes wine and has that Northwest-scruffy vibe (you know, like a bit too much stuff from Filson and a few days’ of stubble). Sounds somewhat hot/sexy yet sophisticated.
CON: Could possibly signify “bear,” which is a slang term in the gay community for guys who are a bit hairier/less effeminate. Could send the wrong message about your orientation, despite you self-identifying as straight on the site. (As my husband would jokingly yell, “WORDS MEAN THINGS!” But he’s right. Think about the double-entendre and maybe check the terms you want to use inUrban Dictionary, but with a grain of salt.)

SkiRainier – A-OK
PRO: Totally inoffensive, and devoid of awkward numbers/underscores; conveys a bit about your potential interests which can help spark a conversation and appeal to similarly outdoorsy singles (or singles who find skiers hot, or singles who want someone to help them learn to ski, etc.)
CON: Still a little boring, but you’re getting there! There’s nothing bad here, but it doesn’t elicit a huge reaction other than “oh, I guess that guy likes to ski/be outdoorsy.” We can do even better than this, but it’s certainly not bad. I just aim higher, and you should too!

PhantomScrollbooth – Pretty good
PRO: It’s a bit geeky and witty; relates you to beloved children’s book that heavily features math, and makes a subtle joke that shows levity and a sense of humor. It stands out from other usernames in a list. Obviously, if you don’t get the pun because you’re not familiar with this book, or you didn’t particularly like the book much, then it wouldn’t work so well. But if the shoe fits, then this is a fun playful username that sets you apart.
CON: It’s kind of inane (unless you’re a UI designer by trade who actually deals with scroll bars and such). It doesn’t convey quite as much as it could, but it’s still heads above most usernames out there.

SingleMaltBrisket – Better
PRO: Grabs interest with a slight play on words; clearly indicates that you like a) whiskey and b) meat. Anyone who isn’t comfortable with a partner who consumes those substances is likely to skip you, which is actually  in your best interests if this username fits your vibe. (Again, this is an “only if the shoe fits” example.)
CON: Potentially makes you sound drinky. But if you live a lifestyle in which you do enjoy whiskey fairly regularly, then that shouldn’t be a problem; the rest of your profile is going to be so well-written and whip-smart that you won’t sound sloppy or alcoholic. RIGHT? (Don’t forget that I can help with that, haha.)

So there you have a few examples! Maybe you can’t tell, but it’s really hard for me to come up with these pretend examples. So don’t feel bad if it’s hard for you too! The goal is to blend your sense of humor, activities, and some kind of word play or joke that makes someone go “hmm” (in the good way, not this way) and give you a second look. Of course, this will be paired with a GREAT profile picture, and a GREAT profile. How can she resist!?

As ever, if you struggle with this process, set something up and I’ll help guide you. That’s what I’m here for! And if you’re already a client, come on—you know you can just ask and I’ll weigh in on your quick username questions for free. ♥

*Realistically, straight guys have to work a lot harder than straight women or gays of any gender do at capturing and maintaining their target dates’ interest. So that’s why they get all the examples here. 🙂 But the principles outlined here apply to anyone who wants to be snappy and stand out with their username!


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