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grouper2Slightly awkward. Super exciting. And lots of fun.

That pretty much sums up my first Grouper experience last night, when myself and two buddies met three girls for the first time on a six-person triple blind date.

Grouper, as I explained in this post yesterday, is a new online blind date matchmaking service that allows groups of six — three guys, three girls — to meet up at a time and location determined by Grouper.

Going in, I was a little nervous — after all, it was my first blind date and I really had no idea of what to expect. But while there were definitely some weird moments throughout the night, when it was all said and done, my friends and I had a great time.

“Despite any awkward moments or imperfect matching, I felt as though most everyone wanted to be there, wanted to have fun, and was down to try something new,” one wingman told me. “It was exciting and worthwhile.”

In fact, I’m already looking forward to the next Grouper. Here’s a quick recap of what went down.

7:30 p.m.

Chips and guacamole were consumed on this Grouper date.

At this point I feel more excited than anything. This is going to be fun.

Before leaving, I spend some quality time with my roommates. We talked and laughed, wondering what the girls would be like and how the night would end up. The roomies even contemplated coming to the same restaurant so they could spy on the action.

Those already with significant others started brainstorming ideas for “Friendster” — a “Grouper,” but for meeting friends without benefits.

“It’s hard to meet friends after college,” one said.

Soon it was time to go. Grouper told us to be at a Mexican restaurant in Seattle by 8 p.m.

8:08 p.m.

My two wingmen and I walk through the doors fashionably late and tell the hostess we’re here for Grouper. She knows exactly what we’re talking about and walks us to our table — an empty one, that is.

The girls haven’t arrived yet. We banter for a few minutes, trying to strategically sit in the chairs that would allow for optimal conversation.

8:15 p.m.

Every time the hostess walks around a corner I’m facing, I wonder if it’s them. It’s slightly nerve-racking and the fever pitch is at a new high.

Soon enough, our Grouper friends approach the table. To our surprise — and delight — there are four girls, not three. But unfortunately, girl No. 4 tagged along since she was meeting her boyfriend at the same restaurant. What a letdown.

12 handshakes are exchanged as the ladies sit down. We immediately order our first drink, which comes with the $20 Grouper charge.

8:23 p.m.

It’s a wee bit awkward, of course. Everybody is smiling, but no one really knows what to say.

To break the ice, the girls start with a quiz.

“Can you guess what our jobs are?” one asks.

A teacher? A medical student? A realtor?

This might be the hardest test we’ve ever taken. Eventually, they reveal their occupations, as do we.

I tell them I’m a reporter with GeekWire (but don’t mention this post). One girl says she’s heard of us from that “one time I was looking at weird shit.” Well, OK then.

The next 15 minutes cover the basics of a typical conversation with someone you meet for the first time: Where do you live, where did you go to school, how did you all meet, etc., etc. By the time our first drinks are consumed and we get past the first 10 minutes, everyone seems a little more comfortable.

A photo from a past Grouper date. We didn't get to do this, unfortunately.
A photo from a past Grouper date. We didn’t get to do this, unfortunately.

8:45 p.m.

It’s already bathroom break time for two of the ladies, who scamper off to el baño laughing to each other. This actually ends up happening at least four or five times throughout the night, always in groups of two girls. They’re almost certainly discussing which of us three boys they like or dislike, perhaps taking “dibs,” on one, two or three of us.

Worst-case scenario they are disappointed and figuring out how to leave, but that seems unlikely given that conversation thus far has been good.

8:54 p.m. 

It’s time for the popular “Never-Have-I-Ever” game.

If you aren’t familiar with this one, here’s how it works. You put five fingers up in the air and go around the circle saying something you’ve never done. It can be anything — going to a particular foreign country, breaking a bone, something sexual, etc., etc. If you’ve done this certain something, you must put one finger down. The person who puts down all five fingers the fastest loses, and also is likely the most adventurous of the group.

We learn interesting information about each other this way.

9:02 p.m.

One of my wingmen proposes another game: “Text-Shot.” This one involves taking your friend’s phone and writing a text message to anyone on that contact list. Then, your friend can either send the message — likely an embarrassing one — or take a shot instead.

But the girls don’t want to do it. Too risky, they say.

9:28 p.m.

Remember girl No. 4? The boyfriend arrives, and he’s brought a buddy.

Well, this is weird. The girls start talking to the two non-Grouper males, and somewhat disrupt the flow of everything. It’s slightly annoying. But this ends soon, thankfully.

It’s interesting watching the dynamic of conversation with six people. For most of the time, one guy converses with one girl. Sometimes it’s two girls talking to one guy, or vice versa. Depends on the topic, or if there appears to be obvious flirting going on.

We used another new tech tool, Uber, to get home from our Grouper date.
We used another new tech tool, Uber, to get home from our Grouper date.

10:30 p.m. 

After a few more rounds of drinks and three baskets of chips, the restaurant is closing up shop. It’s time to leave. But where do we go?

One of my wingmen, who is also my roommate, suggests our house as a destination. We end up using another new Internet service — Uber — to drive us back to my house, making it a true 21st century modern date.

I won’t bore you with the details in terms of what happened after that.

But like I said earlier, the entire experience was well-worth any awkwardness and the small fee we had to pay Grouper for organizing the event. It was really nice having a date set up so easily like that.

Thanks, Grouper, for the fun night out. Let’s do it again sometime.

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