American social club Grouper debuts in Toronto
Thanks to the social networking website Grouper, which will be launching in Toronto on Halloween, your next relationship (or a group of three new friends) is just a short algorithm away. The premise of Grouper is fairly simple. First, you sign up, linking to your Facebook profile and answering some questions and then, you're connected with a compatible Grouper member of the opposite sex. Finally, the two of you meet at a time and venue arranged through Grouper over that time-honoured social lubricant, a round of drinks.
Sound run-of-the-mill? Grouper differentiates itself by asking that you bring along two friends each (male if you're male, female if you're female), and harkening back to the days of the wholesome group date.
Grouper is an import from the U.S., and Toronto is its first international venture (with Vancouver and Montreal set to arrive shortly). The service was founded in 2011 as a way for founder Michael Waxman to meet people following a break-up. This last part will, I think, resonate with anyone who's let friends fall by the wayside while in that blissful relationship Xanadu-for-two, or who suffers from painful shyness following the collapse of said paradise.
Grouper terms itself a social club (read: not a dating service), but the insistence on opposite sex connections has obvious connotations. Fortunately, if any red flags are raised along the way, your entourage provides a helpful buffer. And yes, it's obviously capitulating on the wingman culture made popular by How I Met Your Mother, as well as the "choose your mate" element of The Bachelor and (my own personal guilty pleasure) Love in the Wild.
Toronto bars slated to host these potentially awkward get-togethers include Hair of the Dog, Stirling Room, and Habits Gastropub. Your first round of drinks is pre-paid, which guarantees you'll give the loosely-veiled set-up a chance.
What do you think? Would you give Grouper a try? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo by HilarioDCGIII in the blogTO Flickr pool