Email address stress

06/11/20


After years of waffling, I've recently decided I need a new email address, because my email address (w@desaturate.net) sucks. It's ugly, it's awkwardly imbalanced, it's like a hundred syllables, and I have to spell it out every time I tell it to someone. It sucks in almost every way an email address can suck, which is compounded by the fact that it's an email address I chose (versus one with a generic domain, like gmail.com, of which the holder is only fairly accountable for the local-part.)

Starting with what I know, I know that the local-part of my new email address will be "will", not w. When I chose to start my current email address with w, I was focused on its simplicity and brevity on-screen. What could be more elegant than a single letter? What I didn't consider is that I rarely need to tell someone my email address in text, as the email address is usually provided automatically the exchange, and that when I do need to type out my email address, adding three letters to it takes virtually no effort, and what I didn't consider is that the letter "w" is three fucking syllables where the name "Will" is one, and that most people (and a ridiculous number of websites and apps) are very confused by a single-character local-part, which requires me to actually explain my email address, which at first makes me think, Hoo boy this person is stupid! but then makes me realize, No, this person would understand my email address just fine if it weren't so fucking shitty.

So, I know my new one is gonna be will@.

But now I've spent an absurd amount of time and energy trying to come up with a good domain for a new email address over the last week, as I don't think any of the domains I currently have registered are well suited to what I ultimately want to be an uncool and bland email address. The longer I live with myself, the more I realize that there is a reliably direct correlation between how cool I think something is on Day 1 and how lame I think it is on Day 1+x. Sending out a million emails with an address I think (thought) is cool is a degree of vulnerability with which I am not comfortable. With that in mind, I've written a browser history rife with idiotic and mundane Gandi and Porkbun searches, mostly around the formula of [monosyllabic word]mail.com, and repeated attempts to will supergood.com into open registration. I am open to all semantically employed TLDs, though I am particularly fond of the original generics, but for some reason only .com sounds good to me as an email suffix. Perhaps, probably, because it sounds default. I told my girlfriend my goal was to come up with a domain that sounded like something I might have registered through a free service 20 years ago. "hotmail.com" is a perfect archetype.

I might write a post about this full endeavor later (though plenty of good ones already exist--search around), so I'm not gonna dig into the why here, but one part of this email address change is my gradual emigration from Google. I've tentatively selected Fastmail as my new ESP, and while @fastmail.com, and some other their other options, like the woefully .netted but otherwise excellent @warpmail.net satisfy my stupid rubric, they are yoked to the service provider. Fastmail seems to have been doing a decent thing for a long time, but you just never know when a company's going to go and get shitty, so I would like my email address to be something I can drag around behind me from smoldering ruin to powder keg like the invertebrate ass-end of the half-occupied two-person horse costume that is my digital life. So a custom domain is necessary.

This hunt started with the obvious consideration of will@willbaker.info, but I quickly threw that idea out, because it is so stupid it shouldn't even be considered an idea. So I have spent hours and hours banging my head aginst the wall, trying to come up with an alternative that would be satisfactorily mediocre and, hopefully in such, in a way that would somehow fly under my own radar, sorta cool. Because whenever I see people with email addresses like those, those firstname@firstnamelastname.tld addresses, my most generous reaction is You don't even care, do you? How lame to not care! How lame to go with something so obvious, so thoughtless, so half-assed, so ... bland? Mundane? Uncool? Effortless? But wait--isn't effortlessness the essence of enduring cool? Isn't trying to be cool the least cool thing one can possibly do? Is it not true that something made to be cool will by the browsweat taint of its inception be rendered catastrophically, reciprocally uncool almost immediately? Does that mean ... could that mean ...

I'm gonna sleep on it, but right now I'm thinking my new email address will be will@willbaker.info.