Avoid the Name Game Brain Drain - How to Pick Your Online Dating Handle

18/03/2013 18:14 GMT | Updated 18/05/2013 10:12 BST

One of the many things they forget to tell you when you try online dating is that you have to pick a 'name' for yourself - a handle for your profile. Yes, not only do you have to fret about whether your pictures make you look pretty or the quality of your babbling blurb, you also have the added trauma of coming up with a profile name. It has to encapsulate you in one easy, throwaway line. It will appear alongside your picture and could mean all the difference between someone giving a saucy smile and clicking on you to find out more or eliciting merely an eye roll before they scroll on to the next sweetly monikered singleton.

First things first

The default, I suppose, would be to pick your name. James. Sarah. Rita. Alfred. There they are. Names, names, names all over the place. Chances are, of course, that you are not the only single James out there, so what next? A surname initial maybe? JamesD. Hmmm, that's gone - try again. How about adding a number? JamesD1. Exciting stuff. Your profile name is up there with a chatroom handle. How about a more meaningful number? Date of birth? JamesD1975. Yes, this is SCREAMING originality, well done. Maybe something like your postcode? JamesSE17. Hmm, not sure about that one, Jimmy. Can't you at least pick a more salubrious area? So you see the problem. Onward, then.

Hometown glory

One option is to give a nod to your roots. West_Midlands_Wanderer or Blackpool_Bloke both have a ring to them, if you like that kind of thing. Alliteration is key here, for the ultimate effect. London_Lad (mind you, nothing makes me die inside more than a grown man calling himself a "lad") or Scotland_Saucepot are much better than London_Man_Who_Likes_Trains or Edinburgh_Knitting_Expert

Personality disorder

Some use their profile handle to quickly communicate what kind of person they are. It doesn't always work out sadly. Men called Lovable_Dreamer are likely to be premature ejaculators, while ladies who Love_To_Laugh are invariably rotten drunks who sit in the corner of the pub crying. Serious_Thinker, Mood_Ring, Optimist567 and Free_Spirit are probably all rancorous bores with acrid BO. It's just the way it is.

Hobby horse

What about your interests? Like reading? How about Bookworm71? Love to spell words correctly and know your way around a semicolon? Maybe try GrammarBore800. Footie fanatic? I_Will_Spend-My-Entire_Weekend_Watching_Sky_Sports_While_You-Cry_In_The-Kitchen seems to be available. Into baking? Give All_I_Will_Talk_About_Is_Cupcakes a try. I'm sure the offers will flood in.

Literary connection

If you really want to show off and have potential daters pondering your name rather than concentrate on the fact you have either quite clearly lied about your age and your photos are more than 10 years old, go for something quirky out of a book or film. You will think you're being highly original, but you're probably not - do a quick search on the site for anyone using a name that's like the one you're thinking of before you take the plunge. There are probably about a million Holden_Caulfields, Lizzie_Bennets, Sophia_Westerns and Pip_Pirrips all looking for love too. If picking something from a movie, make sure it's not a DREADFUL one or a slightly dubious character. Leave Danny_Ocean, Leatherface101, Baby_Jane_Hudson or Vivian_Ward to one side, perhaps. Also, ladies, maybe give Roxie_Hart a miss too - she was very glam, yes, but she killed her lover and tried to frame her husband.

Grindr name

Okay, so by now you're getting desperate, right? If you're on Grindr or a similar 'hook-up app', just got for the basics as above, or try the standard 'Looking_4_Meet_Now' or 'Vauxhall, 32'. The easiest way to get noticed, though, is to find your 'Grindr name', inspired by the charming men who call themselves "Butt_Cleaner" or "Nuts_Gobbler" (seriously - it's 'a thing'). My new, magic formula couldn't be easier:

1. Body part you wash first or last in the shower.

2. One parent's occupation.

And voilà! Be you a Hand Signalman, Bollock Trucker, Bum Plumber or Toe Psychologist, you're sure to get *exactly* the attention you're looking for. And maybe even a little bit more.