The Ridiculous Reason Why You’re Not Getting Any Dates

By Markham Heid/Men’s Health

SexyGuy25? TallRunner12? Both handles feature a flaw that could hurt their users’ chances of scoring a date as much as a crappy profile photo, finds a new review study from British and American researchers.

But it’s not the mistake you might think. Weirdly enough, screen names that begin with letters from the second half of the alphabet perform much worse than those beginning with letters from the first half, the study concludes.

Why? People have a built-in bias for things that are “first,” says study coauthor Khalid Khan, M.D., of Barts and the London School of Medicine. From company names—Apple, Amazon—to educational success, Khan says names that begin with letters from the top half of the alphabet are viewed more favorably. There’s even research showing people with “A” names have more success in school and in business. (The name is just one part of The Anatomy of the Perfect CEO)

“Perhaps we subconsciously give higher value to things that appear to be at the top of the pile,” Khan says. “The higher you are, the better.” He says a screen name with a later letter isn’t a death sentence. It just hurts your odds.

His research uncovered four more effective tips:

• Before you create a name, look through women’s profiles and write down the screen names of those you find attractive. If you notice common themes—like most of the names mention exercise activities—coming up with a similar name will help your odds (e.g., “Fit&Fun,” Khan offers).

• Women are drawn to screen names that indicate intelligence, such as “cultured” or “artsy.”

• When it comes to your name, leave out words that have negative associations—words like “mad” or “bug.”

• In your headline message, long or complicated words are bad. They don’t make you seem smart; they make a woman skip over you, the study shows. Short, simple words and messages are more attractive.