I’ve swiped, I’ve messaged, I’ve boldly gone where no right-thinking relationship-seeker has gone before (to see a vampire movie on a first date), all in the name of finding love, or at least a cool guy to hang out with.
To this end I’ve been more successful, or perhaps luckier, than my friends.
I don’t attribute this to an alignment of stars, to the mercy of the web gods and goddesses, or even to OKC’s algorithm, which supposedly uses questions such as “What’s worse, book burning or flag burning? Instead, I chalk up my positive online dating experiences -- which, with the exception of a brazen date who rudely shushed fellow theatergoers (referred to amongst my friends henceforth as “the shusher”), has been without horror stories -- to my careful evaluation of a potential match’s username before arranging a date.
Puns and hyper-masculine references were mostly no-gos.
They were, to me, the pseudonym equivalent of a cheesy pickup line.
Much more appealing were earnest self-depictions or vague, consciously nonsensical noun mish-mashes.
They represented a dry humor than aligns with my own.
Admittedly, my personal history of username selection isn’t without blemishes.My first, chosen for a dial-up Compu Serve account, was Pool Princess6030, a blatant ripoff of my BFF's moniker, sport2040.But I’ve since become a more deliberate person (read: adult human) and tend to think my usernames align with my personality.For OKC, I chose my initials punctuated by underscores, and tended to prefer equally minimalistic, cryptic self-representations, as opposed to, say, song lyrics or anything with “Brooklyn” affixed to it.I was curious about whether my tendency to critique usernames more harshly than photos was universal, and decided to speak with a linguist about whether or not the language of our online dating avatars says something about who we are., a book that uses data from the dating site to draw conclusions about message language, message length, depressing discrepancies between male and female age preferences, and more.