Random Musings

What do your vanity license plates say about you?

Vanity license plates. With 7ish numbers and letters (depending on the state and plate type), you have a platform to let the world know exactly who you are. What would you say on yours?

My family has taken a few road trips this summer so I’ve seen a lot of them. I think it takes a careful balance to come across as clever and not just, well, vain. Here are a few real life examples I’ve observed*:

*I changed the states because I don’t know the legal mumbo-jumbo on these sorts of things. 


Who do we suppose drives a car with a plate reading:

GODSGAL Vanity Plate Replica

Vanity plate replicas created at Acme License Maker

Could she be a pastor? Or a nun? Or even a rabbi? There’s no mention of Jesus, just God, so we can’t assume on this alone the driver is Christian. Maybe she’s just a church-goer spreading the love.


I think we can tell this is the license plate of a die-hard Twilight fan:

FORKS WA Vanity Plate Replica

I wonder if he or she is Team Jacob or Team Edward?

Just be careful, if you couple your FORKS WA license plate with your “Forks, WA 98331” bumper sticker you might come across as a little obsessed.

Forks, WA 98331 Sticker

Do we think the driver is an R-Patz-crazed teen? Or a middle-aged mom (with the obvious throw-back to the 90’s logo of Beverly Hills 90210)? Tough call.


Something everyone should know: If you’re going to drive a fancy car and get yourself a fancy license plate with (what I’m assuming) is your name, you probably shouldn’t involve yourself in acts of douchebaggery. Like double parking your BMW in a crowded lot to ensure no one scratches your precious car. 1.) No offense, dude, but a BMW isn’t all that impressive. Nice? Sure. But it’s no Aston Martin. 2.) Come on. Doing this makes me want to key your car…kind of against the point, right? I’m looking at you,

JIMMAY Vanity Plate Replica

Is he Jim May? Or is he using some super cool phonetic spelling to make Jimmy sound like Jim-ay?


Maybe though, you don’t really want to say who you are as much as what you think.

One of my favorite license plate stories comes from a college buddy. The state of Michigan offers license plates with college logos. For a nominal fee you can get a plate displaying your alma mater. Given the big divide between the two Big Ten schools in the state (MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY and the university of michigan), these are quite popular.

My friend originally had a plate displaying the block S logo of Michigan State University. He’s a laid back guy, so his personal mantra was always, “Eh. Screw ’em.” If you told him you had a bad day and you were angry with someone, he would say, “Eh. Screw ’em”. Let ’em roll of your back, no need to ruin your day over it. That kind of thing.

My friend combined the provided block S with “CREWM” (his remaining 5 character allotment). Thus the plate said SCREWM, or screw ’em. Perfect. Until my friend got a job as a police officer in Ann Arbor (home of the dreaded other). Apparently the students and alumni in his town weren’t too pleased with what they thought said “Screw M” for Screw Michigan (the block M being the logo for that university). Enough complaints were filed saying his plate was offensive and the state recalled it. Hey, this is the town where the street signs are blue and yellow (instead of the standard green and white) so did we really expect anything less? Yay for free speech!

CREWM Vanity Plate

My friend, being the clever guy he is, decided to get another vanity plate. This time with the M logo and the letters “ORONS” following it. MORONS. I tell ya, if that man gets sick of his career in law enforcement, he could get a job as a comedian.

Morons Vanity Plate

So far, the plates have been allowed to stay. I’m not sure what that means–do the morons not know the joke is on them? He was allowed to keep the old one as a decorative plate (Michigan does not require official plates up front, so those can say anything).


I don’t have a vanity plate for my own car. I just don’t have anything I want to commit to that much. What should I have mine say if I ever change my mind? Some options: WRTRGRL (writer girl).  MOM23 (Mom to three, it must be taken). CRZYMOM (crazy mom, because let’s be honest…being a mom to three sometimes makes one crazy).

What would/does your vanity license plate say? 

Just for fun, a mash-up of vanity plate blogs and resources:

The Driving Vain–A collection of America’s best vanity and tackiest humor, all shown at bumper level.

Oedipus The King (Of the Road)–By Daniel Nussbaum. An Oedipus retelling using 154 vanity license plates. Hysterical if you can translate the plate-speak. Unfortunately this page won’t let me link directly to the Oedipus post, so you have to click the link in the 2nd paragraph.

The Biggest License Plate Collection Anywhere–So says coolpl8z.com

Dictionary of Custom License Plate Terms–You know you’ve driven behind one that made you say, “Huh?” Translate it here.

Acme License Maker–Make your own license plate replicas for free


10 thoughts on “What do your vanity license plates say about you?

  1. For years my mom’s plate was “IM DE MOM” (I’m the mom). Unfortunately the blocking of the letters made it look like “I MDE MOM,” which sparked a lot of “I made Mom what?” questions, and suggestions that the speaker was perhaps arrogantly claiming to have created their mother.

  2. Fun stuff 🙂

    I used to have ‘4ATHAT’ for the line “For a’ that, and a’ that” from the Robbie Burns poem “Is There for Honest Poverty?” Man, was I disappointed when I moved and had to turn those babies in. Of course, I was always having to explain them which was a fun way to start conversations 🙂

  3. I’ve always thought about having a vanity plate; not because I want to express who I am or what I’m “into”, but because I can never remember my license plate number! maybe “HERE IAM”, or “MARSATRN” well, maybe not that one, I’d probably forget it which two planets I chose. Ah, well, I guess I’ll just have to write down my plate numbers in a stylized tattoo!

    • It certainly would aid in remembering them to have a vanity plate. Genius. If you get the tattoo for purposes of remembering your plate numbers, make sure you get it somewhere easily accessible. It would be awkward to be standing in, say, a hotel lobby and have to take a peek at your bum for your license plate number :).

  4. I’ve thought about getting a vanity plate several times, but I can’t figure out what to say! Crazy, huh? Wouldn’t you think that a writer could find the perfect word for a license plate? But it’s only ONE word (or two). Committing to 1-2 words to describe myself to the whole world is tough.

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