Tue
Jan 10 2012 8:14am

Lothaire Need Not Apply: Unusual Names Strike Out in Online Dating

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn

Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing that heroes such as Lothaire, Vishous, and Acheron (not to mention Zsadist!) have that whole soulmate thing going on, because online dating would likely not work for them.

A new study released by Social Psychology and Personality Science finds that people view unusual names negatively, and visit their profiles less frequently than people with usual, or positively-viewed names. Not only that, the study finds that not only are people unusual or negatively-tagged names not popular in online dating, “[N]egative names evoke negative interpersonal reactions, which in turn influence people’s life outcomes for the worse.”

Do you find unusual names off-putting? Would you date a guy named Zsadist if you saw his online dating profile?

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15 comments
Isabel C.
1. Isabel C.
Nope. Names work in context: in Middle Earth, "Aragorn" is all well and good, but in the real world...well, there are two ways to go. Either he was given that name, in which case odds are he's grown up to be a Very Serious businessman who hates his geek parents and won't want to do geeky things with me, or he took it on himself, in which case odds are he has a neckbeard and will freak out at me when he hears I play 4E.

Likewise, I wouldn't pick a guy who called himself "Acheron" unless I was into many, many hours of listening to Depeche Mode, probably in a basement somewhere.

I mean, I'm sure there are exceptions--but dating, in my experience, is not the sort of activity where I want to waste my time on "...well, maybe he's a *non*pretentious Ravyndarque Moonchilde?"
Shannon Bastian
2. shannonB.
Vishous is my fave brother, but... If I read his name on an online dating site it would make me think of a chubby, 40-ish balding man in prison with a big I love Mom tatoo.
Christopher Morgan
3. cmorgan
@Isabel That's right he'd freak out, beacuse 3.0 is the only edition worth playing, 3.5 if you want to get fancy. =P

I always wanted to name my kid Charlemagne, guess that's out now...
Danielle Monsch
4. DanielleMonsch
@Isabel @cmorgan I'm all about 3.5 myself

I'm split - I like some unusual names but not others.

A guy named Aragorn = yes, I would have dated someone with that name back in my single years and thought it was cool.

A guy named Vishous (and with that spelling) = I would have laughed myself silly and the mere thought.
Chelsea Mueller
5. ChelseaMueller
Odd names wouldn't be a dealbreaker, but let's be honest here: If you saw the name Vishous, you'd think he made that up and mock him (not to his face, the guy's huge).

Also @cmorgan I will never consult you for baby names.
Wendy Lewis
6. wsl0612
I always wanted to name twins Argon & Xenon. Guess why that's I have cats instead :-)
Isabel C.
7. Isabel C.
Sure, if you like accounting...;) (runs)

I always wanted to name my hypothetical daughter Kitiara, which is a pretty damn good sign that I should not reproduce.
Synde Korman
8. SyndeKorman
Yeah..if I saw someone was really name Lothaire I might giggle myself to death.. Wrath, Vishous, and Rhage same..
Honestly I might be curious about Zsadist though..
and Aragorn... I would seek him out...for reals..
Louise Partain
9. Louise321
So if you wouldn't date an Aragorn would you date a Vigor? He looks great to me, but the "Oh, Vigor!" might be a little weird and throw off the mood.
Cynthia Netherton
10. Cynthia aka Artemis
Oh, I don't know. The names today some people have; it's the parents fault.

I'd check them out and bypass the Herb's and Hugh's.
Isabel C.
11. ratpacksmom
Who looks at the names first? Pictures are worth a thousand words. Then the profile and what he thinks of himself. I wouldn't hold him responsible for what his parents did.
Isabel C.
12. Midnight
I would totally date someone with an unusual name. Personally I would seek out someone with an abnormal name, but then I have always been into the original. And I would name a girl Cyan and a boy Kyrian. Good thing I can't have kids according to that information then. But original names generally lead to more original thinkers. In my opinion of course.
Isabel C.
13. natchan
ordinary names are really no better. My husband loathes his name in modern media (ie books, tv, movies) they tend to be losers. A fact I never noticed until he pointed out. Let's keep in mind that we aren't named for the future. Our names come from a time when our parents were young. What was cool then doesn't necessarily fly today and what we think are awesome names today will make our children cring in the future. As for the world of online dating. Thankfully I got married while it was still in it's infancy. But truth be told I would have been willing to go out with someone with an odd name. You never know. he may be a total sweetie. Why not date Tohr or Zarek? Look at Howard Wolowitz (Big Bang Theory) totally normal name for a geek who still lives with his mother (who still takes him to the dentist, does his laundry, and even cuts his meat.) oh and 3rd and 4th ed...it doesn't matter...I just miss playing...
Elizabeth Halliday
14. Ibbitts
I have an old pole-vaulting pole that had about five feet broken off one end in competition hanging from a couple of nails in my living room. When seeing it for the first time, people used to ask me, "What is that?" and I would reply, "It's a pole, about eleven feet long." Of course, the next question would be, "What in the world do you need it for?" to which I would reply, "To touch things that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot-pole." I wouldn't touch an on-line dating service with a pole of any length, but if I met a guy with long black hair, eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean in the winter and a soft Irish accent, his name being Lothaire or Acheron or Zarek would be way, way down on my list of things to worry about!
Isabel C.
15. Lynne S.
Can't stand the name GEORGE, even though it was the name of a very dear friend who just passed away. Detest names (female or male) that are hard to pronounce--trying to figure out howdistracts me from the story and annoys the heck out of me! I've put books back on the rack after reading a synopsis and struggling with a difficult to pronounce name, even when the story looked god!
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