Great Usernames are Usually Puns or Plays on Words

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?

Join our conversation (86 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  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

    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.

    1. 2.1

      Me too! Guys that use 69 in their username are doing themselves a disservice even if they were born that year.

      1. 2.1.1

        hello kelle

  3. 3

    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. 😛

    1. 3.1

      How refreshing Ben!!

      1. 3.1.1

        Yea Rachel

    2. 3.2

      I totally agree with your thoughts.   I think it makes them look easy and cheap.   I too will not even look at a profile of the man’s main picture is shirtless. it a total turn iff

  4. 4

    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!

    1. 4.1

      Your right paul that was corny.    Next time try, Theycallmetripod or Westlypipes or something funny I mean really 007?   PS those are two that I’ve used.

  5. 5

    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

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

      1. 5.1.1

        Ha ha. DoingBetterOnMeds. Thanks for the laugh!

    2. 5.2

      Cilla those are awesome! Thanks for the chuckle.

  6. 6

    @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.

    1. 7.1


  8. 8

    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

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

      1. 8.1.1

        What if they were quite innocently born on 6th September and simply their first name was taken as a username?

        1. Konnect

          Doesn’t matter. People tend to be negative and judgmental, as you can see here. The days of “just be yourself” are long gone, so if  things must be done a certain way to prove you’re a decent person worthy of acceptance, might as well have fun with it. I’m a big supporter of “do whatever works to get what you desire,” whether that be friends, relationships,  job interview,  etc.

          Although, personally, I have no problem with people simply being straightforward and honest and then showing me their personality in real life (I think that’s much easier, but that’s just my opinion). However, I can see how a catchy name can make things seem more interesting overall.

  9. 9

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

  10. 10

    What you think of those




  11. 11

    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!

    1. 11.2

      If I were to see this ( He Lied ) as a username, I would NOT look at their profile and maybe even block them. To me it says she has really bad issues, isn’t over the “Liar” and will most certainly make me go through hell and high water as payback For what HE did to her. I speak from experience, lol but when I realized what was going on ( 3 months into the relationship ) I ran out of that relationship like a bat out of hell.  

  12. 12

    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 .

    1. 13.1

      I’ve seen this one and liked it but to me it was way too long for a username …….  
        to me it’s clever, at the same time it makes me feel like I’ll be walking on eggshells because I’ll be scrutinized over everything I do or say.  

  14. 14

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

    1. 14.2

      Don’t get it.  

    2. 14.3

      LMBO …

    3. 14.5

      2thknee was an ex’s plates.,ha!

  15. 15

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

    1. 15.1


  16. 16

    I find this one quite funny;
    P.s; Dof is a term used in rp//roleplay, meaning two people fight and the loser leaves the chatroom.

  17. 17

    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!!

    1. 17.1

      I agree with benh57. I too don’t look at profiles that have sexual usernames and if I see a pic of a woman wearing a baby doll,thong, in bed trying to look naked having the blanket go just low enough to give the idea or anything, anything that would be demeaning not only to herself but to other women, I keep going and in the off chance I get contacted by someone like this, I don’t answer. I guess it because I was raised to respect women, admire them for who they are, not what they look like and to cherish this blessing we men were given when God made woman for man.  
      Nowadays it’s very,very hard to find a woman with decency, morals and value.  

      1. 17.1.1

        I agree with benh57 too. and I admire you lavoz24 for having a respectful mind and for being such a gentleman. but it’s not only woman with decency, morals and value are hard to find nowadays, man too…… :/

        1. Justin

          It’s not easy finding someone who is respectful enough to trust. Or someone who is compatible with your views and your values in life

    2. 17.2

      What Ben said doesn’t show respect for women, it’s incredibly misognystic. He’s slut shaming women who have sexual autonomy and so are you. It doesn’t show insecurity if a woman wants to show off her body, it shows confidence in her body. I expect this kind of rhetoric from men, but it always irritates me when I see women buying into this patriarichal bullshit and hating on other women.

      1. 17.2.1

        As a woman, showing too much also doesn’t show much respect for yourself.   It shows how desperate you are for the sexual type of interaction and possibly nothing more.

    3. 17.3
      Hugh jaynus

      Dianna, I hate to break it to ya but Ben is full of sh_t. He’s just trying to look like mr.nice guy, like mr. Night in shining armor….hes a phony and he knows it. And he’s  probably one of the first guys to message one of those types of girls. Ben is like every other guy online, actually he’s worse cuz he doesn’t have the balls to come right out and say that he has np going after an overtly sexual female. He’s a phony nice guy with no backbone. Nice try Ben, but I see right thru ur phone act.

      1. 17.3.1

        RFLMAO. You’re a LOON. I’ve only ever met “nice” / good guys – so, they exist. I can never get all the man hate, because of it. If you’re having problems meeting one, it’s YOU honey. I clicked here to find a username for my Yahoo mail and New commenting account).

  18. 18

    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

      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

    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!!

    1. 19.1

      That might be the best one I’ve seen so far!

    2. 19.2

      I agree, very clever.  

    3. 19.3
      Hugh jaynus

      David, the only people who are going to understand ur name are Star Wars fans 35 yrs old n up. That’s an old movie that barely the generation who grew up with, would remember.   It’s outdated and obscure, that’s why no one messaged you. Maybe if you picked something that wasn’t almost 40 yrs old, youd have better results.

      1. 19.3.1
        Connie Lingus

        Yes Hugh Jaynus, you tell him 😀

        1. Jaqi

          Oh god. Like Connie Lingus and Hugh Janus aren’t (isn’t) the same person. /rolls eyes

          So unoriginal, by the way. What did you do, pick the first names from the first site to pop up in a Google search? LOL.

  20. 20

    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.

    1. 20.1

      I never respond to men who ask my ethnicity or start with a joke that may turn ugly.  
      By the way, I ham Jewish.   🙂  

      1. 20.1.1

        I know exactly what you mean, Lilly.   I’m the same way with people who are too sensitive to be able to laugh at themselves.   Life is simply too short to worry about every single word that comes out of their mouth possibly offending someone.

    2. 20.2
      Dewish Lady

      So David,

      Isn’t it better to throw that joke on the first call rather than wait for first date?
      That would save you a great deal of time and the cost of a dinner and a movie..

    3. 20.3

      I’m a little slow, can you explain the joke to me? Sweet cycling hams.

    4. 20.4
      Hugh jaynus

      David, your so called joke is #1 hardly a joke and #2 too obscure that most ppl will not get it. And whether or not someone gets it, is not an indicator of high intelligence. You live in your own little bubble. You come off lime you’re way too impressed with yourself. I suggest you dial it down, you are not as witty as you think you are.

    5. 20.5

      David, I once received a message asking me if I was Jewish, but when I replied “No, why?” the comeback was “Oh good! So, do you wanna go for a drink some time?”.

      So I guess there’s two very different ways that intro can go.

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