One of the very best things about the internet is that it allows us to remain anonymous – to be anywhere in the world and to say and do things with no repercussions. We don’t use our real names, and we don’t need to give away any other personal details, and this all means that we can have debates in chat rooms and pledge our allegiance to various causes without ever needing to suffer the consequences. We can practically live two lives, or three, or eight…
When it comes to online dating this too has many benefits, specifically allowing you to meet people and to find out about them without having to commit in anyway, and while withholding the ability to immediately cut off all contact and disappear off the face of the planet if things seem to start going badly.
What’s in a (User) Name?
A dating profile username then is your pseudonym and your disguise when dating online – it is your alter ego that allows you to meet people without sharing your details and that gives you far greater control over how a relationship pans out. It’s a much safer strategy as well as one that can be liberating and empowering.
But your username is more than that – it’s also your avatar for your communications – it’s the only thing that your prospective partners will have to base your personality and looks on before they get to know you (other than any pictures and details you may wish to share) and this can really colour their judgement of you. Create the name ‘xXBubblyCandyXx’ and you have created in their mind the image of someone relatively young with a vibrant personality and possibly a garish kitsch dress sense. Call yourself ‘StilettoVelvet’ meanwhile and you now create the image of someone more lithe, more professional and possibly someone who is a little more assertive and even sexually dominant. Even if the name isn’t overtly descriptive – such as ‘JumpingMonkey207’ this is still enough that we will create an image in our mind. Jumping monkey is certainly someone who is relatively small and probably quite playful/cute. So the name is very important.
Your goal then is to create a name that is flattering, but that is at the same time relatively accurate in describing you. If your name doesn’t paint a picture of you or someone like you then it’s not appropriate. Even if it’s a nickname that people have for you – remember that these people don’t know you and will be judging the name on its own merits. Think then – if you were an animal, what would you be? What are your best traits? What film/TV heroes do you associate with? What adjectives are fitting for you while being positive?
Your other goal though is to be memorable and unique – you want this person to find you again and you don’t want to be ‘Carl200123014’ when the last message they got was from ‘Carol23123’. This makes you uninteresting, unimaginative, and suggests you didn’t put much time or thought into your creation. It invites cases of mistaken identity and worst of all it tells them how long you’ve been on the site – and after a while this starts to become embarrassing if you’ve not had any luck.
Things to Avoid
At the same time you want to avoid putting anyone off of your dating profile at the first glance of your name. ‘xXBubblyCandyXx’ for instance will immediately put people off as it sounds puerile – and it doesn’t help that ‘bubbly’ is widely understood as internet-code for ‘overweight’. Something like ‘FlourishSpiderMonkey’ or ‘Wiley-D-Squirrel’ is descriptive while not putting yourself into boxes. It creates a persona while remaining relatively neutral. To achieve this then stick to things that aren’t too descriptive, avoid anything that is sexual or flirty (save this for your actual conversations) and certainly avoid any kisses, asterisks or smileys which suggest you’re about 12. It’s also a good idea to avoid anything with a number such as a date or which can be misconstrued as a date.
Note: You don’t need to have the same username on all dating sites you use, and in fact you don’t even need just one user name on each one. If you’re torn between names and not sure of the best option, then try setting up more than one profile and finding out this way which strategies work best.