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I Started All My Bumble Conversations With Lyrics From Hit 90s Pop Songs & Here’s What Happened

At one point, online dating must have seemed revolutionary. Speed, convenience, limitless options—consider me sold. But over time, the practice evolved from detailed, online profiles on sites promising compatibility into cringey, swipe-right apps that, for all their technological advancement and millennial appeal, rarely seem to lead to anything meaningful. Personally, I prefer to meet my potential SOs and even casual dates IRL but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to having a little fun à la Bumble every now and then.

The unique thing about Bumble is that, for hetero matches, only the girl is allowed to start the conversation—empowering, sure, but also pretty nerve-wracking. That’s why I decided to stick to my strengths: microeconomic theories about market systems and 90s pop culture trivia. Okay, the first one wasn’t much help, but who doesn’t love the 90s?

So, here’s what happened when I started all my Bumble conversations with opening lyrics from hit 90s pop songs.

Choosing The Songs

True 90s kids know that 90s pop music will live on forever. It is an unmistakable fact that you know all the lyrics to at least one song by the Barenaked Ladies and if you never had an N’Sync vs. Backstreet Boys duel to the death, have you even lived? That being said, it was a fairly daunting task deciding which songs I would arm myself with on this virtual adventure. In an effort to remain as unbiased as possible (and increase my chances of getting actual responses), I decided to let the genre-music gods of Pandora decide this for me. I subjected myself to a weekend of nonstop 90s playlists—not mad about it—like 90s Pop, 90s Alternative and Summer Hits of the 90s.

Committed to a thoughtful process, I even consulted a few of my best guy friends to see what they thought of my quest. They compared it to the inevitable trainwreck that was Kate Hudson’s relationship with Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days. You know, the one where she nicknames his penis Princess Sofia and buys him a love fern before dumping him in the middle of the street. So, obviously, I was off to a great start.

They did manage to save me from an unsolicited dick pic or two by convincing me to scrap the opening line of “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden. The song starts, “I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your fantasy.” Not a great idea.

In the end, I decided on a list of about five to eight go-to songs that I thought had immediately recognizable opening lines, but steered clear of those that included the actual song title. Pro tip: This is not the worst way to spend your weekend.

Dropping The Lines  

Once I lined up a few matches on Bumble, I got to work.

I was nervous that they wouldn’t get it (an obvious sign that it was a bad match anyway) or worse, that they would and I would be stuck conversing in Sugar Ray lyrics for the next 48 hours. Little did I know that there’d be a few award-winning exchanges, literally.

1. Justin On The Block

If I had to declare a winner in this whole ruse, it would be Justin. Not only was he first to catch on but he also turned my own game on me—I was entertained! I started our chat quoting LFO’s “Summer Girls” with “New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits.” And although he knew the song immediately, he skipped over a few lines—a trick I would soon find out was very much intentional. He told me that he liked girls who wear Abercrombie & Fitch, but I couldn’t let the actual next line (“Chinese food makes me sick”) go. He had to pass the test! I shot back an accusatory, “Chinese food doesn’t make you sick?” To which he had a very honest, very funny response about P.F. Chang’s.

This is where I lost control of my own game. Justin, a man who knows his way around the 90s obviously, asked if we could “change the narrative.” It was his turn to test me. Before I could reply, he had already sent me the lyrics to Len’s “Steal My Sunshine.” I had overlooked this song because I thought it was a long shot but I certainly knew what came next so I was keeping up. Next on Justin’s playlist: Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.” I was going to ace this!

Justin had other plans. Readjusting the lyrics in his favor, he reworked his next line to be, “I wanna be your lover…” and I immediately admitted defeat. I didn’t tell him this but that song was actually on my list so I was pretty much blown away. I sent Justin a well-deserved trophy emoji, but it wouldn’t be the last trophy of the game.

2. Breakfast At Philip’s

I sent Philip a cool and casual “You’ll say that we’ve got nothing in common, no common ground to start from” from Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” This wasn’t exactly true since Philip’s bio and photos were all about travel and I was actually intrigued. In fact, as a disclaimer, I genuinely swiped right on each of these guys so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when Philip caught on right away. He played along for a few lines and I decided to throw him a parenthetical curveball.

He went on to congratulate me for my unique icebreaker—thank you, Philip—and tossed me a trophy emoji for good measure. I appreciated this and reciprocated the sentiment. But Philip wasn’t done singing sweet nothings; working the song to his advantage (like Justin did), his follow-up response was definitely impressive!

3. One Week With Boris

Justin and Philip set the bar pretty high, but I was still pleasantly surprised that a few other guys joined me on my walk down memory lane. Boris didn’t disappoint with his top-drawer knowledge of the Barenaked Ladies and their hit breakup track, “One Week.” There’s no way he was Googling this; he was that quick. Two claps.

4. Matthew’s Wonderwall

Matthew was no stranger to Oasis’ classic karaoke song, “Wonderwall.” He even went along with it for longer than I expected but, sadly, added no unexpected twists or funny limericks. Still, a good sport and for that, I’m grateful.

Related: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Date Someone New 

If you’re looking for new ways to initiate Bumble conversations, why not try the lyrics to some of your favorite throwback songs or famous quotes from movies that you love? It’s a great way to ease the pressure of talking first and it keeps things light and fun. Bonus: you’ll know right away whether or not you two have a similar sense of humor. Don’t take yourself—or Bumble—too seriously.

Sydnee is, above all, a pizza enthusiast who occasionally drinks green juice for online documentation (because pics or it didn’t happen). Her lifelong social ambitions include hanging around with Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey at Central Perk at 11:30 on a Wednesday. Lover of the East Coast and the world’s worst cook. Follow her on Instagram @lovesydneemarie.