A couple days ago I explained about this social club that is new to DC called Grouper. You tell them your preferences and grant them some access to your Facebook profile and then they match you with someone whose done the same. You each bring two friends and the six of you meet up for drinks, which you have prepaid for over the site to avoid any should-we-split-it awkwardness.
I recruited my friends Ashley and Lena to come along on Thursday and together we fretted all evening until 8pm rolled around and it was time to meet these mystery gentlemen. Lena said it best on our walk over to Urbana, “This feels like The Hunger Games of dating.” Now, I don’t know what that means because I refuse to read or watch The Hunger Games. But it did strike fear in my heart that this would be a total disaster and one of my friends just might kill me to cozy up with the most handsome and eligible guy among the three we were about to meet.
Thankfully, there was no reason to be nervous. We arrived a couple minutes early, were seated in the lounge area and, right on time, in strolled a trio of upstanding-looking young men. Emphasis on the young part. They were cute, well-groomed, respectful, intelligent, and friendly. And they were polite enough not to ask us our age. For the first time, I appreciated that antiquated rule of etiquette. But I’m sure I gave it away early on when one of them asked me how long I’d been in DC and I answered honestly. I’ve been here since 2003. In 2003, I gathered these gents were still in middle school*. Nonetheless, we chatted and joked for about an hour through a round of cocktails before the first and last lull in conversation settled over the table. We all started to give those obligatory pleasantries, “This was really fun…so nice to meet you…” until one of the guys prompted us to exchange info, which we did the old fashioned way on pen and paper.
I’m doubtful either of us will be connecting with either of them again, at least not for romantic reasons. But it actually was a really refreshing way to spend a Thursday evening and a very easy way to meet a few new people outside of my social circle. Grouper does give you the opportunity when you apply to be matched to state your expectations, which I think is really important for having a good experience. I got pretty much what I expected out of it, aside from the guys being younger than us. It was just an easy, low-to-no pressure way to spend an hour or so getting to know some people I didn’t know before.
I would 100% recommend Grouper to friends. Especially to those who are new in town or just want to add a couple new faces to your social circle. I’m going to give it another go in the near future. To its credit, Grouper has an excellent customer service team. They’ll text you just before your outing and follow up with you by email the next day. They seem to love feedback and say they’ll use it in the future to learn your preferences and make better matches for you. The website also has a neat Karma points system where you earn credits by using Grouper, engaging your friends, and also when the people who have gone out with you report back to Grouper about how awesome you and your friends are. The more Karma points you build up the more perks you get to enhance your experience. I’m sure the longer Grouper is around in DC, the more its userbase will grow and the better matches we’ll get. I’m looking forward to trying it again and will definitely keep it in mind for the future whenever my week can use a little extra mystery and excitement.
*To be fair, the one guy that Grouper did match me with was about my age. But the two guys he brought along were a few years younger than him. Grouper couldn’t have controlled for this. And if younger guys was our thing, we’d have hit the jackpot. They were very sweet.