Great Usernames are Usually Puns or Plays on Words

As someone who has been an online dating coach since 2003, I’d venture to guess that I’ve not only seen more usernames than just about anyone on the planet, but I’ve written more of them as well.

Why do I think that usernames make a difference, when everyone knows that it’s all about the profile and photo?

Because when you’re dating online, which is an extremely competitive medium, you need every advantage you can get.

A great username is a differentiator – a unique brand name – something that completely sets you apart from every other person on a dating site. And when your ideal partner is scrolling through hundreds of names – Sally102, JenNYC1, LawyerGal – a great username can be the very reason that someone contacts you.

Most people take one of two wrong tacks when coming up with an online dating username:

1) Putting ZERO thought into it: Bill10247, ClaireT, AllyCat

2) Putting minimal thought into it, using a literal description: TallDoctor, GorgeousGoddess, Fun2BeAround

The problem with these efforts, of course, is not that they’re “bad”, but rather that they’re BORING. There’s nothing unique, memorable or distinguishing. There’s nothing that evokes a smile. And so the names fall flat. And you become convinced that usernames don’t matter.

They do if you are clever about it.

In my opinion, a username should be a pun or a play on words. Something familiar-sounding, with a twist.

WineNot – for the wine aficionado
LadyGoGo – for the world traveler
BachToBach – for the classical music enthusiast
TenderLegal – for the soft-hearted lawyer

See the common thread? All of them are plays off of real names, idioms or catchphrases, which is why they evoke smiles from readers.

One of my favorite usernames was TheGooseWhisperer, written for a client named Bobbi in 2005. Bobbi had a farm with geese in the yard and instead of using TheHorseWhisperer, which was way too overdone, we changed one word to great effect. Dozens of people commented on it.

One of them turned out to be her future husband.

So if you’re wondering how to come up with a clever name that gets attention, and attracts a like-minded person with a great sense of humor, I have an exercise that can help you come up with usernames just like the ones I mention above.

It’s in Volume 2 of my Finding the One Online audio series, and is the cherry on top of your new online dating experience. In Finding the One Online, I give you 7 hours of audio, a 180 page transcript, a 35 page workbook – and tips on everything from choosing the right site, to writing a compelling online dating profile, to taking the right photos, to flirting effectively via email so that every single person will want to meet you in person.

Click here to learn more.

What’s the most memorable username you’ve ever seen on a dating site? I’m quite sure our readers are not going to copy them for their own personal usage. Right, readers?

2
2

Join 5 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (27 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Karl R

    The most memorable (in a good way) were aBlondMoment, Polyglotapus, and Toe_Tap_N.

    My username combines my first name and a nearby street. The street name carries connotations (like Soho in NYC), and it reflects the sort of person I am, the type of interests I have, etc.

    If I get back into online dating, I’ll probably try to come up with something more clever.

    Usually I’ll steer clear of someone’s name for the same reason I’ll steer clear of their profile … it reflects that we have wildly different interests. I also tend to steer clear of ones that include their astrological sign. I don’t believe in astrology. In those cases, I might not avoid them just based on what’s in their profile.

  2. 2
    happygirl

    Anything that has the word fun in it or a sexual innuendo. Also user names that sound somewhat sad like they have not gotten over someone I try to steer clear of.

  3. 3
    benh57

    A username would probably not make me more likely to contact a woman.
    It might make me less likely though, if it is something sexual. For that matter, overly revealing photos make me less likely to contact a woman on a site. Not that i’m a prude at all, but that does say something about someone’s personality, i think which is not attractive.

    But, perhaps i’m different from most guys. :P

  4. 4
    Paul

    I just hate it when people give no thought to their names and the body of the profile and pictures. It says something about them I think, and that is they really haven’t given much thought to what they’re doing and/or really don’t care all that much.So many cliches like “I’m sensitive, funny, can dress up or down, like long walks on the beach” that sort of thing that takes no imagination. I learned a lot just by going on things like this that are free (sorry Evan). If someone, especially a female, has sexual inuendos in their profile, wow, that says a lot…I can see it from some dumb dude, but a woman? What kind of person does she think she’ll attract? I think you’ll get out of it about as much as you put into it. Mine was kinda corny…”007type”. Real creative!

  5. 5
    Cilla

    Like the others, I try to avoid anything that’s too blatantly sexual, as well as men who claim to be great kissers (usually that means they’re not), and men who claim to be picky (if his moniker advertises it, you know he’ll never find anyone good enough). I also avoid references to hobbies I’m not interested in (e.g. football, video games, etc.).

    And what about the ones that damn themselves with faint praise? “AllRightGuyFred4U,” “GoodEnoughToDate,” “OKMan,” “AverageGuy418,” etc.

    And the crazies: “DoneWithIncarcerationReadyToDate,” “BipolarBob,” and “DoingBetterOnMeds.”

    Or the ones who only identify with their roles as ex-husbands or parents: “GreatDad123,” “MyKidsComeFirst,” “ThirdTimesACharm,” or “NotLookingForMyExWife.”

    The other thing I hate is guys who use their full names as their user names. Is that so women can look them up in the phone book and bypass the dating site?

    My screen name involves a literary character, so it piques the interest of people who read, and has several layers of symbolism that seem to intrigue erudite men. It gives them a way to start an online conversation, but it’s not so ivory tower that no one gets it.

    1. 5.1
      laura

      And the crazies: “DoneWithIncarcerationReadyToDate,” “BipolarBob,” and “DoingBetterOnMeds.”
      Love that comment!!!

  6. 6
    Jennifer

    @Cilla #5- your examples of screen names gave me a good laugh this afternoon!

  7. 7
    minnesota nice

    worst one I’ve seen so far: “MILFhunter”

    Really? How many ladies are gonna respond to an email from that guy? Hahaha
    I blocked him after several attempts to contact me. Didn’t even look at his photo.

  8. 8
    Dana

    Some usernames seem to prove that many of us can’t see the log in our own eye.
    Needy, Defensive, Entitled and Sexual. (I don’t even think there’s any tags with 69 in them that haven’t been used!)

    1. 8.1
      splendachai

      I never reply to men who have 69 in their profile. Sadly, that knocks out about 20% of them sadly.

  9. 9
    Dana

    But any intriguing name that can start a conversation? Pure gold!

  10. 10
    Troy

    What you think of those

    ITripleDogDareYou

    UcanQuote_me

    lower_case_sensitive

  11. 11
    Rach

    I liked this one:
    S(he) be(lie)ve(d)
    I thought it was clever although it doesn’t have anything to do  with dating!

  12. 12
    Carla

    The worst ones I’ve come across was 8incheslength and comengetmebabes – hotsexymale – I thought YUK YUK YUK!  Any username that says boredman or dave123 just sends me to sleep!  I don’t know, it’s difficult isn’t it.  Some men are just so dumb and yes the ones who write in their real names, really imaginative!  It’s a tough one.  My best username so far is hastobedone which is a play on words HAS TO BE DONE OR HAS TO BED ONE.  Both great for a dating site!  My username at present on a dating site is thatusernamecannotbeused !

  13. 13
    =)

    @ Rach. I personally loved S(he) Be(lie)ev(d). I am doing a website all about a womans broken heart and I was looking for a user name to fit the topic and ran across that one and It completely BLEW ME AWAY ! – so thank you .

  14. 14
    Candy

    A good one is “All the way to the elbow”.
    Usually gets a positive reaction 

  15. 15
    slimm

    “MILFhunter” LOL!  that’s a good one! good one for a laugh… ah man thats funny

  16. 16
    Maddie

    I find this one quite funny;
    D(id)she(do)fh(er)
     
    P.s; Dof is a term used in rp//roleplay, meaning two people fight and the loser leaves the chatroom.

  17. 17
    Dianna

    I liked what you said benh57, for I see so many women that are very insecure, and feel the need to express themselves in such a demeaning way. It is not necessary to exploit themselves to attract the opposite sex. I guess what they were doing did not work, so therefore they go overboard, and try to get attention in the wrong way!!!! Very sad! I must say, it is refreshing to hear a man that has respect for a woman in the sense that, sexual photos are a turn-off! Usernames really do say a lot, when you are trying to attract the opposite sex!!

  18. 18
    maggie

    I am currently trying to come up with a user name for a dating site and almost everything is taken.  I don’t want to do something generic or boring.  I never do sexual names, I don’t like that.    I  will think of something that I like and then wham, it is taken.   The suggestions they give me are a joke also.  I will keep working at it.

    1. 18.1
      David

      I’m not sure what you’re musical tastes are but what about a play on the title of one of Rossini’s most famous operas?  ‘ThievingMaggiePie.’

  19. 19
    David

    The one username that really stood out to me belonged to an absolutely gorgeous woman: YoursForTheTalking While the stunning (and very tasteful) pictures of her caught my eye, the brilliant, albeit simple, play on phonetics held my attention. She was definitely an intelligent woman in a sea of illiterate fish. Another original name that stuck in my memory was QT31415 “CutiePi” or “Cutie Pie” (for those mathematically challenged, Pi is 3.1415, and represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). Although she wasn’t even remotely cute, the name most assuredly was.

    My username is geared to find someone who, at the very least, enjoys one of my four main passions: Cycling, music, reading and Sci-Fi. The name? Scruffy Nerfherder. While I am not now, nor will I ever be, someone who dresses up as a character and attends conventions, I do enjoy quality Sci-Fi. I figured, what better way to catch a like-minded person’s eye than the slur Leia threw at Han on Hoth? Thus, my screen name. I have literally encountered zero people who even remotely made the connection. Most even think it’s in reference to something sexual. So…I’m thinking I need to make a change. The question that vexes me, “What do I change my name to?!” CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!!

  20. 20
    David

    As a follow-up to my previous comment, I have decided on SweetCyclingHams as my screen name. This is a pun I often throw out on a first date to test the person’s sense of humor. I will tell them, “I hope you’re not Jewish.” Invariably, they’ll always reply with, “I’m not. Why?” To which I retort with, ” ‘Cause I’ve got some sweet cycling hams!” If I get a laugh, chances are good that they not only have a great sense of humor but are also intelligent, quick-witted and at least somewhat well-read. No laugh or smile generally ensures a second date is not forthcoming.

    BTW: Just to be clear, I have nothing against people who are Jewish or of Jewish descent.

  21. 21
    Gary

    YouveGotMale
    USmale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>