First Impressions: User Names
When I first signed up for JDate, I thought really hard about my user name. The instructions said I should pick something that says something about me, and warned me to think very carefully, because I would not be able to change my user name later.
I wanted something clever but informative. Something that would stand out. Those who know me know how much I appreciate acronyms and alliteration. After much thought, I decided upon NoisyNightOwl. I stay up late, and I'm a talker. And it's an alliteration. I realized only later that it made me seem overly chatty and lazy.
eHarmony doesn't ask for user names. They just use your first name.
Match.com requires user names. Again, when I signed up for Match, I thought and thought. Finally, I came up with TheEditrix. I thought it was smart and sexy, a feminized version of my job as an editor.
Brutal truth time: I haven't gotten a very good response on Match.com. 90% of my emails have gone unanswered. I've seriously revised my profile 20 times. Though I haven't actually counted, I don't think I am exaggerating. I've changed my pictures, worked on the writing, and still I get next to nothing. It was only when I received an email from a guy "joking" that he was nervous about my user name because he wasn't an S&M English nerd, that I started to worry that my user name was part of the problem. I then received an email that ended with "I know I'm not the best at grammar... no need to go all madame editrix on my ass."
Really? I mean, I know guys' minds are always in the gutter (usually mine is too), and I obviously saw the connection between editrix and dominatrix. But it didn't occur to me that it would actually scare guys off... I thought they would think it was sexy.
I started to wonder what other girls used as user names for their online dating profiles. Instead of "Woman searching for a man," I chose "Man searching for a woman" so I could see the profiles of my competitors. It's what any ambitious company would do. (The various ladies I perused were probably somewhat confused when saw TheEditrix as one of the people who viewed their profiles.)
Were there similarly clever, informative names? No. Quite the opposite. The vast majority were names like Shelly2345. CaliforniaGirl8. Shoelaces94. Boring, unimaginative, impersonal identities. There was the occasion creative name, like Dangerouspiece and HistoryRox18. But most names were some variation on their first names or feminine adjectives.
So, I caved. I gave in to convention. It hurt my heart to conform and "dull down" my fabulous personality, but online dating is ALL about first impressions. If my user name scares guys off before they even click on my picture, there's no chance of them getting to know me. As some friends and coworkers said to me later, if someone already knows me, TheEditrix is funny and sexy. But since they don't know me from Eve, I have to go with an innocuous name so I can get their foot in the door. So now I'm PJgirl27. Once they know and love me, THEN I can pull out my Madame Editrix costume and red pen whip.