5 Rules for Your Online Dating Handle

Are you scaring prospective daters away before they even read your profile? You might be crashing and burning because of your online dating username.

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There are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to online dating, and all too often, unfortunately-named ones get thrown right back in. Are you sabotaging your dating success with a bad username? We asked the members of Marie Claire Ask & AnswerMarie Claire's online Q&A community for dating, sex, and relationship advice—what's in a name. Their rules:

Don't Be Creepy

So you want to come across as sweet. You love long walks on the beach and endless cuddles in front of the fireplace. Leave that to your profile. Yours truly has been victim to online dating emails from a retirement-age MrHugs. It's not endearing to attempt to communicate your love of spooning in a eight-character username, so don't try.

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Don't Be Overtly Sexual

If other members feel like they're being sexually harassed via your username, they probably won't be interested in learning more about you. A username can be a great way to hint at your hobbies or skills, but keep them out of the bedroom. Your online dating username is not the place to reveal your favorite sexual position, number of past partners, fetishes, or bedroom skills. Save the dirty talk until the first date, at least. Utahmom says "I found this out the hard way a zillion years ago when I picked my very first screen name, Secsegal. I work in finance—the Securities and Exchange Commission—get it? Either people thought it said Sick Seagull or they thought I was a hooker (SexyGal)." Answerology member Chesterdad bluntly adds, "Whenever I see these provocative-looking screen-names from the ladies, they're either butt-ugly, or obvious sexual come-ons."

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Brag a Little

Answerology member Barbb says that when it comes to reading into dating site usernames, the name is "either what they think they are or what they would like to become." Love Russian literature? Go with something like BookNerd. But take care not to tell tall tales. Pre-med? Don't log in as DoctorMike quite yet.

Don't Be Cheesy

Usernames like "mrloverboy, coolmyjets, muscleman, jlopezlukalike, and hotnready" are total turnoffs, says Answerology member Anonymous. That hottie you've been winking at may never get a chance to get your particular brand of humor with a name like that, so when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Get Creative

If you're not up for pondering your username for hours on end, most people won't penalize you for using some variation of your real name. But avoid trying to convey just how normal and boy-next-door you are with a name like RegularGuy23. Variations on this are ramptant on dating sites, and unfortunately so, because they don't say "normal"…they say "dull as a box of hair."