Haven’t you heard? Everyone’s doing it! Last year my friend who lived in New York told me about this trending social club spreading through the metropolitans of The United States. It’s this cool concept where you and two of your friends are set up with another set of friends (ultimately absolute strangers) and go on a “Grouper”. You simply register to this new way of online dating via your Facebook account. To initiate a Grouper you as the “instigator” invite two of your wing women. To confirm your Grouper, each person pays a fee of $20 which gets you your first drink on your “social outing” and the set-up fees. Set-up fees!? I know that’s what I thought also, but Grouper organizes the entire outing. Nowadays, going on a “blind date” does not exist with the access to Google, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and the list goes on. You know what I’m insinuating- don’t act like you’ve never googled the potential love interest your mom tried to set you up with…once upon a time. Grouper doesn’t disclose of the names of the people you go to meet. It’s completely anonymous upon arrival.
So finally, I went on my first Grouper last week and had no idea what to expect. My colleague at work was the instigator and invited myself and another friend as her “wingwomen”. At around 3pm on the day of our first Grouper, we get a text message from the friendly Grouper Toronto rep, Erika who informed us that Pravda Vodka bar is where our three guys will be expecting us at 8:30pm. Arriving to the venue, we had no idea what to expect. You’re given absolutely no information about the group of friends so you’re unable to do your social media due diligence.
We arrive and the hostess at Pravda gladly takes our coats and points us in the direction of our group-er of guys who stood on our arrival, they were two clean shaven “7’s”(in my opinion) and we approached the table to introduce ourselves. One guy won tickets to the auto show and opted out last minute leaving us two guys and three girls. The conversation at first was friendly, asking the standard set of questions when you meet someone for the first time; Where do you live in the city? What do you do for a living? Your favourite thing to cook for a love interest? Oh and….what are you doing for Valentines day tomorrow? That’s right, our first Grouper was on the eve of the day where chocolates are most consumed, flower shops are blooming with orders and you’re so much more aware of all the couples walking on the street. One of the guys was quite the jokester responding with “watching The Vow and crying myself to sleep”.
All in all, we had a great first experience although there was no love connection and we ended the night with the same amount of contacts in our address books. If any of this intrigued you, here are some helpful tips to keep it fresh and friendly and survive your first Grouper:
1. Engage with everyone in the group and keep the conversation G-rated. No one ever appreciates a Raunchy Rachel.
2. Talk your friends up, making your friends look good will be reciprocated.
3. Make eye contact with everyone as you tell that funny story about the time you went on that date and he made you time him as he ate a pint of ice-cream without offering you a bite.
4. Take a unique and creative pic of the entire group- human pyramids welcome and jump on the #groupergram band wagon.
5. Be yourself, go with the flow and have a great time!
1. Make fun of the other people in the Grouper at the next table.
2. Expect the guy’s to pay the next round- we live in the 20th century.
3. Take a selfie with just you and your wing women- stay cool and modest.
4. Turn your Grouper into a group makeout.
5. Leave any wing(wo)men hanging if they’re not in any conversations.
All in all, first groupers are like first dates. If there was no spark- on to the next one!