30 Women Tell Us Their Very First Screen Name
Hannah Burton/Bustle

Isn't it nuts how far technology has come in the past decade? Ten years ago, my parents had just granted me access to AOL Instant Messenger, and crafting a profile along with my very first screen name was one of the greatest thrills I'd ever experienced. I knew my pseudonym had to be clever, but not obvious — an inside joke that everybody wanted to be a part of. I settled on Bluemoonxo15: a nod to the Billie Holiday song because I was a sophisticated sixth grader. Unfortunately, it was only as I entered adulthood that I finally realized that pretty much all of my peers probably thought I was referring to the brand of beer, and was thus, a poser. Don't you miss middle school?

Now that with the simple flick of a finger we can see and speak with loved ones who are living galaxies away, it's quite fun to reminisce about the good old days — when emails took upwards of an hour to go through, and were sent from AOL or hotmail accounts on computers the size of cars, connected to DSL chords that plugged into the walls, and required you sacrifice phone usage. The dinosaur age might be gone, but it'll never be forgotten.

Below, 29 women to share their very first screen name — because during periods of chaos, there's nothing more comforting (or, albeit, embarrassing) than reflecting on civilization's simpler times.


Morgan, 29

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"Cottoncandygurl29. Some of the names were amazing — what were we thinking?"


Martina, 23

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"My AIM screen name was marmarluuuurves (the four U's were very important to me). So cringe-worthy!"


Kachet, 30

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"My first screen name was kaejae6112, which is lame. I wanted Kae Jae (for kachet jackson), but AOL auto-added 6112 for some flair. HA! My second one is way better, and looking back, a pinch vain: UCantTouchThis10."


Emily, 37

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"My first screen name was DivaVonRose. I had a boyfriend whose email was silentneko (cat in Japanese and since I was the talker of the two of us, I used that name)."


Joanna, 29

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"My first AIM screen name was brooklyngirl88. I just wanted to rep my hood!"


Sam, 24

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"This is super embarrassing, but one of my first screen names was SW33TiExUxHaDxME — after the Panic At The Disco song “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off”. I guess I thought it was cute and cool at the time, but now it just makes me face palm."


Lisa, 24

Ashley Batz for Bustle

"Lissapizza111993. My name is Lisa, but obviously needed to make sure I had the double “s” in there so it looked good next to the double “z” in “pizza”. It was also super necessary that my entire birthday was included. I mean, who cares that my entire email was 16 characters long? My fifth-grade self is still so proud of this screen name. My current 24-year-old self? Not so much."


Alexis, 28


"My first screen name was alephkosh98. It was a mix of two names. My name which is Alexis Kae, and my best-friend's, Stephanny Josh."


Megan, 28

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Mine was: LoUdNBlOnDe13. Wow. Just wow."


Nicole, 26

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first AIM screen name was taxingmybrain, which nobody understood as meaning, “thinking really hard.” I should have known I would become an entrepreneur due to my need for originality (no numbers or extra letters in my screen name). I hated screen names that were so unoriginal they had to use a number at the end because the name was already taken by catpower1, catpower2 and catpower3 so you end up with catpower4. What a snooze fest!"


Hillary, 26

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Mine was uxrxmyxsunshine. Typing it was truly a pain. I don't know what I was thinking."


Natalie, 38

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Mine was n00dlegrrrl — an ode to comic book artist Jhonen Vasquez and riot grrrls-tre 90s!"


Leah, 29

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first IM username was tigblue88: my cat's name was Tigger, my favorite color was blue, and I was born in 1988. Duh!"


Wendy, 39

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first screen name was also my email, and it was reddolp79, so chosen because it was abbreviations of several things that were all easily remembered."


Selina, 33

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first screen name was smile4me and I used it in just about every chatroom ever when I was 12 — in 1996. I "grew up" in high school and had a brand new screen name that I used for AIM, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and Ebay: scorpiebaby. I'm a scorpio. And apparently a baby. This name still haunts me to this day, on one or two accounts: that I set it up when I was 18 and I still use it. I'm 33. Maybe it's time to move on."


Lucie, 51

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first ever screen name was HOUSEHEADLUCIEB. I am GAAAGGGA for house music! It's all about house, house, and house!"


Ashley, 32

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"I was so excited to get my first screen name and email address, back when I signed up at my friend's house before I convinced my parents to get online at home. I believed in my pre-teen heart that I was a hippie, and I thought "chic" was a different way of spelling "chick," so my screen name and first hotmail email handle was something like hippie_chic_1998. Later on, my AIM screen name did change and inherit some xX's for effect."


Brooke, 30

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Mine was "ILUVYAPS". I was, and am, a crazy cat babe, and the name of my first feline BFF (who arrived via sleigh ride with Santa on my third Christmas) was named 'Yapper'. Thus, the screen name."


Alexandra, 30

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"My first AIM screen name was QTSwimGrl8 — high school was such a unique time, wasn't it?"


Joline, 27

Hannah Burton/Bustle

"My first screen name was SmartJo123. My mom made it for me!"


Melissa, 25

"My first email/ screen name on AIM was swimprincess4000! At the time, I thought it was the best thing ever."


Nicole, 27

"My first screen name was ForsakenHeartsx. I don't even know where I got that from. I chose it at the same time the underside of my hair was dyed black, I wore a studded belt, and black and pink vans. I also apparently felt AIM profiles were exclusively for Something Corporate lyrics."


Ally, 30

"My first screen name was tommygirl117 (and pretty much dressed head to toe in Tommy Hilfiger to go along with it!)"


Emily, 29


"My first screen name was PottersHotter12 – I was (and still am) a huge Harry Potter fan, so naturally I had to make me a screen name that reflected that!"


Ashley, 30

"Mine was ballerina_8, That was at age 10, and I ended up having a 11 year ballet career, and now run a company that supports artists. Seem's like it's a little foreshadowing!"


Haley, 21

"I wanted to be an actress when I was younger, so I thought it was really clever to have my AIM and email "starringhaley". Only now do I realize how narcissistic that truly was. The worst part is it's still the email synced to my Facebook profile!"


Jenna, 22

"Oh, how this topic brings back memories. I created my first email/messenger account on AOL when I was in fifth grade. The username I chose was Turtlelover4lif because I loved and continue to love turtles to this day. I remember I had to opt for life without the "e" because someone already took "Turtlelover4life".


Michelle, 31

Hannah Burton/Bustle

"MichiT23: my nickname + the first letter of my last name + the day I was born. I thought it was genius in sixth grade — memorable, personal and it rhymed! The problem was, I forgot to capitalize the "t" so it was Michit23, so people kept pronouncing it completely wrong. I was very upset."

Maybe our first screen names are indeed our truest selves — uninhibited by the innate pressures of adulthood, and the desire to present ourselves in a certain way. Our first screen name is a reflection of our inner child: or at the very least, our inner awkward middle school girl who loves emo music, cats, and Harry Potter. On second thought, maybe not that much has changed after all.