i gave in, thanks to the convincing of my co-workers and friends, to embark upon the latest social dating scene: grouper. an event where i get two of my girlfriends to go with me and meet up with three fellas. a three-on-three date! a three-on-three, blind date! a three-on-three, blind, mega date! let the stories begin.
we were sent our date information. eight thirty. park bench. first round of drinks already paid for. don’t be late! i rushed home after work to tame the mane that is my very full head of hair; i didn’t want to scare these guys off too soon. after talking it over with my brother earlier that afternoon about what to wear, i decided to keep things casual: jeans, chambray button-down, michael kors boots. didn’t want to look too put together. okay, so maybe the michael kors boots aren’t exactly casual, but they go with nearly everything, i swear!
jamie picked me up and we navigated our way to the bar. hannah arrived shortly thereafter and we made our grand entrance together. the doorman pleasantly welcomed us, told us the guys were already inside and that we should stop at the bar to grab our drinks. well, here we go!
as we waited on the bartender, i decided i’d go ahead and break the ice. the guys were standing right there near us, so i walked up and charmingly (at least that’s what i was going for) asked with a friendly smile, “are you gentlemen here for the grouper?” the look on their faces was priceless. one of them quickly replied, “um, no, but i’m going on one next week!” i could have just died. i threw my hands over my face in over-exaggerated embarrassment and waited for someone or something to save me from my complete lack of tact. there was laughter around the group and i humorously recovered by stating, “well, maybe i need to start with two drinks tonight then.” we awkwardly made introductions with them since we’re southern ladies and then politely excused ourselves. wait, did i mention that one of them is my co-worker’s roommate? did i also mention that my co-worker batkinson was going to be at this same bar later that night? yep, it’s a small world sometimes!
we turned back to order our drinks and the bartender welcomed us. “your dates are right over there,” to which he pointed across the room and yes, there they were, our three dates. note to self: next time ask first which group of three guys is for us…we ordered our beers, walked on over all cool and collected, and met our actual dates. wait, something to mention! i knew one of them from college! sam and i were both information systems majors at uga and had worked on a couple of projects together. again, it’s a small world sometimes. it was quite nice to see him, seeing as how it had been nearly four years. the other gentlemen, brian and kevin, looked familiar, too, so we all quickly got the short run-down on who was who and who did what. it turns out brian and kevin both went to uga as well. and kevin? he, too, was an information system major who i actually had classes with when i was there. wouldn’t you know it! oh, wait, you want more fun facts? sam worked at microsoft for their AX practice, which is the practice hannah works for at our company. as for GP, kevin actually is an internal user of that system at his law firm here in atlanta. and we’re not done yet! jamie went to middle school with kevin, and brian now works with the sister of an old roommate who lived with hannah. i kid you not! as these thin threads weaved us all together in the oddest of ways, i took a swig of my beer and wondered to myself, “how on earth did this group of people get paired together?” nothing else to do but go with it!
we spent the next hour or so switching stories and experiences with one another. conversation came quite easily among the group, something for which i was quite thankful. i don’t usually mind being the ringleader and social starter, but it’s nice when other folks are making the effort as well. kevin and i were quite chatty throughout the evening, hitting it off from the start. sam leaned over to me and whispered, “he’s into you.” “how do you know?” i asked. “we have a signal.” i didn’t know that was something guys actually did! “are you into him?” “well, yes,” i answered almost shyly. “cool,” was sam’s response. “so, what’s y’all’s signal? are jamie and hannah into any of us?” “um, i don’t know. we don’t have a signal.” “sure, you do.” “no, we don’t,” i answered with a laugh. “ah, whatever.” sam shook it off and took back to his conversation with jamie.
after more beers and more music, the dueling pianos started up to entertain us all. i love dueling pianos, so i was quite excited for them. we filled out suggestion cards and threw tips in the jars for our requests. what do i love even more than dueling pianos, though? singing along with songs i know. i can hardly carry a tune (ask anyone who knows me), but i’ve spent a lot of time on the road, so the radio and i have been best buds for a while now. play me a song and there’s a good chance i’ve heard it. kevin did comment that the next stop should have been a karaoke bar. oh, a sight that would have been!
us girls tried to get the boys a little loosey-goosey out on the dance floor without much luck. brian had peeled off from the group and was hitting on other women, sam was bouncing all over the place, and kevin, bless his heart, was very kindly standing near the dance floor, not quite on it, but trying anyway, cheering us on. hey, at least he was out there! the evening wound on, benny and the jets made an appearance, and then our dates had to hit the road. i exchanged numbers with kevin (i mean, if there’s a spark, maybe there’s a flame, too?) and waved goodbye as they disappeared out the doors.
we stayed just a bit longer for a few more tunes and headed home ourselves. so, what’s the verdict here? was it fun? yes. would i do it again? absolutely. here’s the thing: even though you’re meeting at a bar or some other expected social location, everyone in the grouper group (ha, see what i did there?) is there because they want to be there. they’re invested just like you are, so the intentions are already on the same page. also, the odds of your dates being outgoing are pretty decent. not just anyone would put themselves out there in this kind of setting. and you know what? i did it! i went out into the world of adult dating and had a fabulous time! i promise you all, they’re out there. the other single people of the world aren’t hiding; they’re enjoying life and creating evenings that may turn into something more or may just be a good story to tell at the water cooler. leave the stresses and pressures of dating at the door and enjoy the moments you’re spending with others. let things happen naturally; don’t force something that isn’t there. and above all else? have fun.