Bons mots

Slips of my tongue

PR and online dating: Part Two

This is the second in a series of musings on PR and Online Dating, originally posted on October 14.

Part two – The Nickname and Tagline

For those who have never perused online dating sites, the nickname is your user handle. You don’t want to use your real name and if you ask, “Why not?” I strongly suggest you avoid the Internet forever.  A tagline is a one-sentence introduction about yourself. Don’t make it a pick-up line; this is why women don’t like going to bars.

When coming up with your profile name and tagline, it is best to think of it in terms of branding. Your photo is your logo, your nickname is the name of your product (you) and your tag line is your slogan. All are meant to create intrigue and interest. Much like you do with your hair and clothing, you want to take those extra few moments to make sure everything is in place. Or you risk this:


Uh oh. (Source: The

The Nickname

Have you ever been asked to come up with one word to best describe yourself? It’s an exercise in frustration. This one word is supposed to encapsulate and communicate the essence that is YOU. Which is why choosing a nickname for your online dating profile is the trickiest and most discouraging chore you can go through. How do you come up with a moniker that captures how funny/well-read/cool you are? Some say it can’t be done; I say it can, with imagination, some creativity and a little help from your friends.

The “Nickname”. We all have nicknames bestowed upon us by others. Some are pet names given to you as a child, while others are handles you’ve picked up as you’ve gone through adulthood. No doubt there are more waiting for you in the future.  

Using your nickname in your profile is a good idea. However, if its etymology needs to be explained to those outside your social or familial circle in order for it to be understood, don’t use it.

Case in point: Your broheems call you Stubby because of your fondness for those old Molson stubby beer bottles. Cute, yes. But on a dating site, “Stubby” takes on a whole different meaning. Sure, you can explain your nickname in your profile, but most women won’t even bother getting to it. They’ll be too busy laughing.

Characters. This is easy – just take your favourite character from a book, movie or television show. This works if you’re targeting your audience to find someone with interests that match yours. But if you want to broaden your horizons and attract as many women as possible to your profile, proceed with caution and note these caveats:

  • Anything from Star Trek/Star Wars/Battlestar Galactica. As much as these shows have made strides into mainstream culture, calling yourself Picard, Boba Fett or Starbuck automatically labels you as a nerd.
  • Comic books. With all the inner personality conflicts afflicting superheroes and their foes, tread carefully here. Calling yourself Harvey Dent – do-good lawyer or a maniac with a facial deformity? Superman or Batman – a loner in tights. The Joker – another psychopath with facial deformity. Remember, women read comic books too.
  • Don’t be a smarty-pants. People aren’t going to rush to their dictionaries to look up your name, Hephaestus. Same goes for you, Beowulf. Names like these are foreign to most people – they’ll just scrunch their noses, scratch their heads and move on to Optimus Prime’s profile. I’m not suggesting you have to dumb it down; just keep in mind it is a dating site and from what I heard there isn’t a high representation of Mensa types on there. My nickname was Circe – very few men got the irony.  

Names with “69” or “XXX” in them. The man who has this nickname is the kind who watches way too much porn and has several restraint orders filed against him. It can also scream, “I talk the talk but never get to walk the walk. MOM! Nooo, don’t come in! Why don’t you knock? I soooo have to move out. Oooh, new Number 6 fan fiction!”

Boring1234. If the name you chose is taken, most sites will suggest the same name, but with numbers at the end. For example, Casanova3453. A name like this tells me you either lack imagination or are too lazy to come up with another name. Try again.

Tag lines

Some confuse this with a pick-up line you would use at a bar. Again, It’s more like a slogan. Like an ad exec you be should be creative and sell yourself. Just avoid any advertising clichés like “Over 1 million served” or “Servicing women since 1975.”

“Hey Ladies…” No matter what your intention or affectation is, this always comes across as sleazy. Are you looking for one woman or a harem? If it’s the latter, good luck <snicker>.

The Egoist. Online dating sites are full of these arrogant pricks. “Hey, don’t look any further!” or “I’m what you’re looking for!” Unless you can back that claim up with third party endorsements, lay off the spin. And if you ARE Mr. Right, why hasn’t some lucky lady snapped you up yet?

I actually saw a tagline that read: “Hey! You’ve just won the lottery!” Really? I guess no one wants to claim you. You are the equivalent of the Free Ticket prize I get on Encore: high investment, low yields.

Pop culture references. See “Characters”, above. But with the following caveats:

  • No Scarface quotes. “Say ‘Hello’ to my little friend!” No, thanks.
  • Avoid chick flicks. Unless you want to meet a woman who can recite every line from Pretty Woman and will drag your ass to the latest romantic comedy pukefest. She also has a ton of stuffed animals on her bed and puts sweaters on her cats (note the plural tense).  Here’s a tip: Princess Bride works for a lot of cool chicks.
  • No poetry. Unless you’re Lord Bryon or Smokey Robinson, avoid including your own work. Seduction through words is best left to the pros.
  • Song lyrics. These can be open to interpretation or ambiguity. Choose wisely or go for the completely blatant (Spinal Tap’s “Lick my Love Pump”).

The Eeyore. “No one’s gonna read this” or “Yup, I’m still on here!” Being self-deprecating to the point of cringe-inducing is not going to bring women to your pity party. The concept of “reverse psychology” is so overused that it doesn’t work anymore. Unless you’re Bugs Bunny. 

Duck season, fire!

Duck season, fire!

Coming soon: The Profile


October 22, 2008 - Posted by | Learning |


  1. […] Original bonsmots […]

    Pingback by PR and online dating: Part Two | October 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good posts.

    I online dated for about two weeks and picked the unfortunate moniker of ‘Wilde-at-heart’ – after my favourite writer, Oscar Wilde. Needless to say, no one got the reference or noticed the extraneous ‘e’ and the people who did contact me had rather different expectations than anything I’d be interested in.

    My own attitude was to just try any channel and heck, it was the Bovine Sex Club of all places where I met my husband so you never know!

    Comment by Ilana | October 22, 2008 | Reply

  3. I love it! Definitely dead on categorization of all the awful self marketers out there 🙂

    Comment by asklillie | October 23, 2008 | Reply


    Comment by Daniela | October 24, 2008 | Reply

  5. Love it! I laughed out loud at this line, for some reason: “People aren’t going to rush to their dictionaries to look up your name, Hephaestus.”

    Comment by Chris Clarke | October 24, 2008 | Reply

  6. Oh great, I just changed my handle from “studmuffin69” to “Alcibiades-Picard69”.

    Comment by Leon Wu | October 24, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: