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HEYU. Yes, you. What kind of VANITY plate owner are you?

Van•i•ty | \ va-nǝ-tē (noun)
1: inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance : conceit
2: something that is vain, empty, or valueless
3: a bathroom cabinet containing a sink and usually having a countertop
4: the quality or fact of being vain
5: a fashionable trifle or knickknack
6: a small case or handbag for toilet articles used by women

Somehow this traditional definition of VANITY doesn’t fit you. You’re a little more three-dimensional than that. But WHORU, really?

The way I see it, there are 7 different types of vanity plates, and thus 7 different types of plate owners. So you must be one of them.

Personal Brand Pushers

Are you the type who sees a vanity plate as a way to spread your personal motto, your mantra, your lifestyle? Perhaps you see everyone else as needing help, missing the point, stuck in the details, overwhelmed by the frantic pace of life? Your mission is to INSPYR others: CARPEDM, you say. Or perhaps PZOUT. BNICE always. TNKBIG, and UCNDOIT. YOLO. KWIM?

Business Owners

Perhaps you have a business you’re looking to advertise. Maybe you display one of these plates: ABOK4U (florist). INVEST (financial planner). NOPCME (urologist). 10SPRO (tennis coach). ACCT (accountant). 2N2R4 (teacher). AVI8R (pilot). ASSMAN (from the classic Seinfeld episode). SFCRKR (locksmith). IRESCU (an EMT). CUNQRT (attorney). If your plate advertises your business, you’re using your message for a higher purpose. Good for you for making your marketing dollars work for you.

Status Seekers

Are you the type of person who would pay six figures for a vanity plate? That says a lot about you. And about society, too.

Sports Fans

Some people are so obsessed with their team they want everyone to know they are the Best! Fan! Ever! Plates like these are highly appreciated at sporting events and tailgates. However, try driving through the I-95 New York-to-Boston corridor with an 04 SOX plate. Or perhaps IH8NYY? Go on; I dare you.

Hookup Artists

Some types seem to always be searching for that special someone. CM4AD8! RUAGR8D8? RUBZ? URSOHOT! UNI2NITE? Can’t say any of these grab me. I’d like to see some clear data on the effectiveness of using vanity plates as a dating strategy.

Ego Trippers

Do you have a plate like 2GOOD4U, IDH82BU, THEMAN, or PNS NVY? Really? This is the message you want to put out into the world? ‘Nuff said.


Okay, so maybe you’re the type who thinks you have a killer sense of humor and you love to smirk at everyone. Maybe you think others are too dull to “get it,” and you’ll leave them scratching their heads as you whiz by. IAMYYZ4U, you say. Or perhaps you spell something out in reverse, which will only reveal itself when mirrored: SRUOY PU, maybe. Or: EM KNAPS. Or, if the DMV was really asleep at the wheel: 2 UKUF. Gosh, you are SO clever.

Of course there are many more types of plates out there than these. People will always want to tell the world they are a PUGMOM, or they LVGOLF. They view it as putting personality on their car.

Because, of course: YBNRML? And if you’re the type (like me) who has TRUBL decoding some of these plates, check out the online vanity plate dictionary. Ahh, WHOCARZ, anyway.

Heather Shaff

Heather is a book designer based in Boston who, when she’s not writing or taking care of the fam, can be found racing her bike, enjoying nature, or just daydreaming.

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