When I first heard about the concept of Grouper I was intrigued, but instantly was turned off by it. Grouper is a social club that sets up drinks between 2 groups of friends: 3 guys and 3 girls. I immediately thought, but what if the guy I like likes one of my friends? That always sucks when that happens! You also get no choice as to who you are set up with so it’s a totally blind group date (except you know what your 2 friends look like because you invite them). You also have to pay for Grouper and I have never used a dating site I had to pay for. Grouper costs $20 per person plus a 10% tip for your server which covers their introduction and concierge service and a free first round of drinks at the bar they select for you (the concierge part).
Grouper is actually not claiming to be setting you up on a date and people who sign up don’t have to be single (but God would I be annoyed to go out with a group of guys who were all in relationships wtf). They are planning a night for you with the perfect girl to guy ratio and giving you ideas on how to make it fun. These ideas include preparing “two truths and a lie” before the date for a fun discussion or playing the iPhone game “Phrase Party”. I will say that going on a Grouper definitely takes a lot of the pressure off of the conversations you’re having and you feel less like you’re on a job interview and more like you’re hanging out with friends which is nice. Going out with friends also forces you to be a more authentic version of yourself because your friends might call your ass out or tell the embarrassing stories you might have tried to avoid which does help you get to know each other much faster. It also forces you to actually make a plan instead of getting stuck in chatting or messaging back and forth purgatory.
On to the specifics- I showed up a few minutes early and my two friends were there already so it was nice to see them and chit chat about our anxiety. As is typical of 85% of my dates the guys were late. Seriously what are you dudes doing? Buttoning your shirts? I really don’t get it. They were polite enough to apologize at least. From there the conversation flowed relatively easily and we just ended up telling lots of fun stories and laughing a lot (my two girlfriends are stand up comedians after all). These guys were very nice and fun and seemed like good dudes. One odd thing was that the guys all lived very far away (the closest one lived in Pasadena for all of you LA people) which means I would most likely not have agreed to meet up with them from Tinder or Okcupid because I’m not trying to start any long distance relationships. All three of us girls were new to Grouper and only one of the guys had done it before and his group was ditched when they said they wanted to move to another bar (not cool ladies that’s really bad dating karma!!).
We all stayed pretty engaged in the group conversation for nearly 3 hours. This was good because it was fun, but it was bad because it meant there wasn’t really any good opportunities to talk to each other individually and see if there was any chemistry or any point in taking things to a second date. Around 11:30 I was beat and had to get some sleep because I had work early the next day. The end of the date gets a little tricky as well if you’re actually interested in one of the members of your preferred gender because you’re all standing around in the group and I’m a lady so I wasn’t asking those dudes for their numbers, but if they wanted to ask one of us they had to basically say “I want YOUR number and not your friends’ numbers” right in front of the other 5 members of the group which would be really tough. At least one of the guys ended up exchanging numbers with one of my friends and they made plans to meet up as a group again at one of their stand up shows.
They also encourage you to take a fun picture and tag it #groupergram for a chance to win a weekly prize. My group wasn’t really coming up with a fun idea so we just took a regular pic (if I make it tiny then it’s semi-anonymous right??):
1. If you’re shy go with your outgoing friends.
2. I read this on another site- if you want you can make the point person who set your date up the person who gets first dibs. They can say a secret code out loud to let the other two know who they’re interested in. Just think of a stupid question like “are you more of a Harry Potter or a Lord of the Rings fan?” and then you’ll know the person your friend directed this question to has now been claimed.
3. Just like most things in life, it’s easier if you’re drinking. I think if there was more boozing happening it would have been easier to split off into 1 on 1s, but I wasn’t really interested in boozing or 1 on 1s that night.
4. Keep an open mind and remember that this is a great way to meet someone you wouldn’t have necessarily chosen on your own which is a good thing. Sometimes in order to change you need to try something new. I think Grouper is a good idea if you are having trouble getting your friends all together (if they cancel last minute they lose their $20) haha and it’s good for getting you out of a rut.
5. I did read one article that recommended the girls come a little late so they can choose where to sit based on a quick judgement of who they’re more attracted to. This might also be another good tip if all 3 of you are very ready to mingle.
I want to work on a what to wear on a first date post, but I wear the weirdest stuff! Also the clothes I wear in LA I would never wear back in Florida. This night I was wearing black leopard print textured pants, a black tank top, black booties with a small heel since I didn’t know how tall these guys were and I’m 5’9, and this pink blazer with shoulder pads that makes me look like I’m running late to a business meeting in the 80’s or I’m about to sell some Mary Kay.
Follow my friends on Twitter @AnnabelleLee417 and @JMSComedy you can also follow me and see me get in fights with people on Bravo’s The Singles Project on @blushinginhwood! You can also read more Blushing in Hollywood dating posts here.