Step By Step

1. Choose a Service 2. Set Up an Account 3. Write Your ProfileThe Screen Name The Headline The Picture The Vitals The Essay 5. Respond...Or Don’t 6. The Email Dialogue 7. The Phone Call 8. The Date

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Step 3: Write Your Profile

The Screen Name

The screen name is your e-dating identity, like a ham radio handle. (If you’re too young to know what a ham radio is, never mind.) It shows up next to your small picture when people are browsing, so it’s one of the factors people will use to decide whether to click your profile. Therefore, you should try to pick a distinctive, attention-grabbing screen name.

Unfortunately, that’s hard to do. Trying to choose an original and relevant screen name is like trying to come up with a create vanity plate. There is only so much you can do with ten letters, and anything that you can think of has probably been done many times over. So don’t stress too much about it. Your screen name doesn’t even have to have anything to do with you. If dates ask me about the meaning of my screen name, I make a joke out of it, e.g. They call me Gonzo (not my real screen name) because of my long beakish nose and passion for chickens (not my real nose or passion). Just try to avoid cliché. If the name, writer_girl, is taken, along with writer_girl1 through writer_girl38, that means the guys who are looking at your profile have probably seen other writer_girl profiles. Do not choose writer_girl39. Do not change the spelling so that you can be writer_grrrl (because writer_grl and writer_grrl are taken too). Come up with something new. You can tell people that you’re a writer in your profile. In general, I suggest avoiding the use of girl, chick, man, guy, or any derivatives in your screen name. Also, avoid cutesy, e,g, SillyKitty or FunkyMonkey. Cutesy is not sexy.

Do not use your actual name as your screen name. That may seem obvious, but I have in fact seen people use their full name as their screen name. Not only does your actual name make for an uninteresting screen name (unless you have a really interesting name), but strangers to whom you don’t even respond will be able to identify you.

If you’re having trouble thinking of anything, use someone else’s name. There are plenty of historical figures, politicians, celebrities, and characters from literature, movies, mythology, and children’s television who are dying to have their names used as your online moniker. Depending on the name, you can show off your sense of irony, knowledge of pop culture, or intellect. But steer clear of mass-murderers and blood-thirsty tyrants: could send the wrong message.