By Shana Lebowitz

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that asking for your date’s last name is becoming taboo — only permissible when the relationship is getting serious.
  • More people are meeting through online dating services, many of which only require a username or a first name.
  • If you know your date’s last name, you can look them up on Google and on social media, which may led to unwelcome discoveries.

I once met a guy named Steve at a Jewish holiday dinner.

At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers. I felt weird about asking for his last name, so I entered him simply as “Steve Shabbat.”

On a date a few weeks later, I went to show him something on my phone and a text message from him was still on the screen. “Steve Shabbat?” he asked. I laughed nervously. I still didn’t know his last name.

It’s been a few years since I’ve left the dating scene, but apparently, not much has changed in the surname domain. Nicole Hong at The Wall Street Journal reports that modern daters are reluctant to ask for last names until the relationship has gotten more serious.

That’s largely because more people are meeting online, where often you can get by with simply a username or your first name, depending on the dating service. One woman quoted in the article had been dating a man she met on Tinder for three months before he asked for her last name.

Some people may want to avoid finding unsettling information about their date online

People who spoke to The Journal explained the rationale behind not asking for a last name. Once you’ve got someone’s last name, it can be hard to resist the impulse to find more information about them online.

“The less I know, the better,” one comedian told The Journal, noting that if he saw a woman liked “bands that suck” on Facebook, he might break it off.

Nicole Ellison, a University of Michigan professor who has studied online dating, told The Journal that learning someone’s last name is like opening a Pandora’s box of potentially unsavory information. “You can go to their social media sites, Google the person, look up criminal histories,” she said.

In 2014, Maureen O’Connor at The Cut called not Googling your date “the new abstinence,” noting that people seem to be divided on whether sleuthing helps or hinders the relationship potential.

Over on Reddit, people shared their thoughts on how and when to ask for a date’s last name. One Redditor said they sneak a peek at the person’s credit or debit card. Another uses one of two tricks: “ask to see the picture on their ID and steal a glance at their last name” or play the “whose last name is more hard to pronounce game.”

Still, some people try to be straightforward about it. One Redditor wrote: “I just ask and usually on the second date if its still going well after a couple of hours. It’s a good pause in conversation question, and let’s the guy know I’m into him if I am willing to also give up that info!”

Read the full Wall Street Journal article »

Originally published at

More From Business Insider:

11 things unsuccessful people do over long weekends

8 things successful people do after getting back from vacation

14 things successful people do over 3-day weekends