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 (84 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.

  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. 14.5

      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.

  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. pingback
  20. 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 😀

  21. 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.

  22. 21


  23. 22

    What a great article Evan, and cheers from Down Under.  Your audience is spread far and wide, and I have been a fan from afar for some time now. 
    I believe usernames can be quite telling, if used in the right manner. And always sound more intriguing if accompanied by a great profile and appropriate pictures. The username which stands out the most for me, and which had an enormous instant impact, but sadly for all the wrong reasons, was BAKDAFUKUP.  I always wondered what his response rate might have been?  
    I have used online dating, on and off over several years, and my regular username was always ozrockchick.  If you break it down, I thought the message was pretty clear, but still it somehow managed to confuse some people. 
    Following that I used troutseeker at plenty of fish, because I was desperately trying to avoid all the carp!
    During a particularly creative period in my life, I used FiftyShadesExcited, and elicited some rather interesting responses.  Thank you E L James!
    I finally settled for KittyKissedKarma and that seemed to work okay.
    In this fickle world, you only get once chance to make a good first impression, and being a new member on a dating site, with an interesting username, certainly garners lots of attention, positive and otherwise.
    Cheers 🙂

  24. 23

    Hi, Evan! First of all, I want to say that I saw your Ted talk today, and it cracked me up because it’s so true. I just got back into the online dating thing and currently have profiles on OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. Apparently, I did a great job writing the profiles because I’m getting a lot of great feedback. Anyway, I came up with a great username based on a Google search I did for the most liked keywords in women’s profiles. So, I think my username is good to go. However, Plenty of Fish wanted a headline. That’s when I froze. I had no idea what to write. No idea. Not even after extensive Google searching. After giving up, I finally wrote, “Wookin Pa Nub.”  That’s right. Eddie Murphy doing Buckwheat singing the greatest hits.  I’m still getting some messages saying, “How are you?” but quite a few guys have taken this headline and run with it. I have to say, every time I get a message about it, I crack up, and my response is genuinely humorous. I even have to respond to the guys who I’m not interested in dating, and those dialogues have been positive.  I’m thinking about working that headline into my OkCupid profile. Guys need something to talk about and this is just too funny to resist. I have the same complaint that every other woman has about those boring initial emails that I don’t want to answer, but I may have stumbled onto a solution. 🙂

  25. 24

    The best women’s usernames that I’ve seen were ones that actually told me something about her, rather than simply being generic or dull. One I recall fondly was SexyBrains – it evoked all the best traits I could imagine wanting.

    I came up with TTraveller in the hopes that someone would treat it like a puzzle and unravel it – kind of a test to see who was smart enough to figure out what I was getting at. Sadly, no one ever has; apparently most people are pretty literal, and don’t spend any time thinking about things like that. I’ve even had women write me and criticize me for “spelling the word wrong.” Oh, well, another bright idea that didn’t work.

    1. 24.1

      I’ve got it, you stutter 😂😂😂. Probably not one of my brighter moments but I felt like I should comment. Though stutters are cute, and kind of dorky.

    2. 24.2

      Now this is bugging me… Are you from UK?

      1. 24.2.1

        No, but you’re sniffing about the base of the right tree.

    3. 24.3

      Time Traveller?

      1. 24.3.1

        Close – but Solver is on the right track about the two L’s

        1. Lonna

          Time travel lovers

  26. 25

    These were a few I’ve used over the years 🙂


    A little bit cheeky without being over the line or looking like a brain dead bimbo. 🙂 xx

  27. 26

    Ive seen a lot of memorable rapper names over the years such as: Snoop Godd, Medic Dre, and Mackle PorFavor

  28. 27


  29. 28

    I liked what the one gentleman had to say about woman and their picture’s Ben57 I believe. Being new to this online dating, I have taken noticed to the women’s profile, picture’s and username now. Not every guy is on a site for a “hook-up” at least I’m not. Not gay, experienced a very traumatic occurrence which you just don’t say, “Oh Well, move on.”  Anyway, since I could careless about that one the 1st date, I’m looking for someone with morals , manners and SELF-RESPECT. Every women has the same profile. Looking for a good guy, family oriented, funny, athletic and NO HOOK-UP. I have to laugh cause they are almost all Identical. Then their picture’s. Geeez….I can tell you just by looking at the picture’s how long it would take, where I need to go first so they are comfy. its pathetic. Then the username, the key to the hidden blessings. I have only seen one that put effort into it. We would have been perfect, however 2 hours away, yeah I don’t think so. So like Ben57 said, when I see a woman laying down with cleavage shots or making it so obvious, if I was only younger. I’m not. So ladies not all guys want to wine and dine you. Is it so hard to say hello back. If I was out and I met you and said, “Hello,” your ass would at least be kind and say it back. Too many stuck up woman, cracks me u cause their divorced with 32 1/2 kids, but can’t even say hi…….

    1. 28.1

      Maybe it’s not personal…if they have 32 1/2 kids I imagine they’re pretty busy

  30. 29

    Just found and read this blog a couple of days ago. Now I’m interested to try again online dating site but really so confuse on what profile name and how I will manage my whole profile. anyways, thanks a lot on you guys for your comments that refreshes my mind and gave me so much ideas (but still open for more suggestions and help (: ) Hope I can find my right one also just like most of you here. 🙂

    1. 29.1

      I’m curious to see if I can find the right one myself. Glad I found this blog. 🙂

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