Some of you may remember several years ago, when I started dating someone surreptitiously and then 6 weeks into it outed myself on my blog (there were signs prior to that, but nothing overt). I used to call him Le Squeeze and then after we stopped seeing each other but were still friends he became Former Squeeze (or FS). I didn't get any guff from certain quarters **cough**Max**cough** on that affectation.
This year, however, when I start dating someone (less surreptitiously) and try to come up with a suitable Internet pseudonym, it does not pass without comment. I think part of the reason for that is Max is in love and loves broadcasting it. (This is a great thing, since happiness in love is one of the things he has long deserved but only recently found.)
Most of my friends with public blogs have a pseudonym for their S.O. Janiece has the SmartMan (which is a fabulous pseudonym and I am jealous that she already thought of it), Belsum has Mr. B, Nathan has Anon GF, Carol Elaine has CuteFilmNerd. True, not everyone does this (Shawn loves Donna) but a lot do. I think it varies why, but it has a lot to do with privacy. For me, it also is a reference to the fact that I am telling a story. It is from my point of view, so anyone in it is really a character it the story. It's colored by my perceptions. I do my best to be clear when the story is fact and when it is opinion (to be honest, in my opinion (no pun intended) stories that are mostly opinion only have a very specific and limited use).
I find that I often use identifiers other than names in relating stories. For example, I had invited my sister to the birthday dinner, but she turned me down because she was feeling tired. When we arrived at the restaurant, however, there she was! She had changed her mind and decided to secretly come after all! My brother had brought her with him. Yay! I think that's mainly because I have several circles of friends, not all of whom know my sister and brother by name.
Then there's the notion that on the internet, you can redefine yourself. My mum comments here, but I don't call her "mum" here because that takes away her freedom to define herself as someone separate from (but allied to) myself.
Ultimately though, I think it comes down to privacy and distance. I have a public blog. I'm sure there are people who read my blog who I don't know (not counting you very nice lurkers who came here from a friend's blog). Using a pseudonym gives distance between these unknown people and those I care for.
So, since he's the one who sparked the controversy, I asked my boyfriend what he wanted to be called. (On Janiece's blog he's SmartFriend, but he's more than that to me.) He decided on his internet handle: UrbanDK. Interestingly, that's a much more specific and searchable name than just his first name (which I have coincidentally seen about 3 times in the last two days), but everyone's got their own style. [ETA: Scratch that about being searchable. A quick glance through the Google results show nothing related to him and lots of things relating to music and design.] Besides, it's got clever wordplay in it! How can that not be preferable?
So, you'll be seeing UrbanDK (maybe D for short - we'll see) in some of my stories from now on.
Sorry, Max. Get used to disappointment. ;)