PRESENTED BY GROUVLY
Being single is great: You go out all the time, meet tons of new people, and always have a crop of new, ridiculous stories for your boring, coupled friends
You know what else being single is? Horrible. Especially in Hong Kong. You go out all the time – so you’re broke – you meet tons of new people – and they’re awful (or “just passing through”) – and you always have to tell your coupled friends some new, mortifying story, which they then judge from their high happy relationship horse. Oh, and those horrible people you met? You’ll see them every weekend for the rest of your SAR -bound life. Have fun with that.
You’ve also probably developed an acute form of Tinderitis, a new medical condition characterized by incredibly muscular thumbs and a tendency to try and push things you don’t like to the left. Much like Beyoncé, but at least she had boxes. (“To the left, to the left, everything I hate is a swipe to the left.”)
Okay, maybe that was too harsh; dating is different for everyone. Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people are just completely over it. Regardless of where you stand, you have to admit it’s repetitive. Everyone has a type. Even if we don’t think we do, we do. Take me for example: For the past few months, my type has been weirdos. There was “Hello Kitty”- a lovely lawyer with a bathroom devoted to the anthropomorphic cat who, and I quote, “does not have a mouth because she speaks from her heart”, then there was “Clown” – he is a clown – and finally “Fifty Shades”, who I will not elaborate on for legal reasons. So when a chance arose for someone else to choose my dates, I jumped on it like I once jumped on a guy named ‘Clown’.
Enter: Grouvly. Grouvly isn’t technically a dating site. It’s a “social club”. That being said, I have never heard of a social club that existed for reasons other than banging. The premise is a simple one: Get two groups of friends, who don’t know each other, together, and give them a drink to speed things along. Everyone is pre-vetted by the Grouvly team to ensure they meet the criteria. Said criteria isn’t actually hard to meet – be a young professional, and probably don’t be a neo-Nazi (or any other type of socially uncomfortable political group; unclear where they stand on being pro-Beijing).
I did have fleeting reservations before asking my friends to join me on this adventure. I didn’t want them to think I was in some new, weird sounding prostitution racket, or worse: that I was desperate. Then I realized we’ve all admitted to far worse things. We were all signed up that day.
With Grouvly, it usually takes about two weeks to get screened and accepted, but I’m not a commoner like you, so I got ushered straight to the VIP line. Our date was in two days time. Then I had a reality check and the date pushed back to the next week…ugh. Looking back, I’m actually quite glad we had the delay, it’s nice to experience how normal people live as it really built up our anticipation. One of my friends had actually heard of Grouvly before and had nothing but good things to say, “The girl ended up shagging one of the guys!’ We all made sure to shave.
The day before the date, Grouvly emailed me with the location and the time we were to meet. Walking toward the bar, we checked out every group of guys we passed – excluding the neo-Nazis – just in case they were our not-dates for the night.
When we got to the bar the hostess showed us to our private room (#fancy) and brought us our first round while we waited for the guys. 15 minutes later, we started to worry. “Did we just get stood up? By our not dates?” Perhaps, I thought, this is rock bottom. Instead of worrying I sent a quick text off to Grouvly and went back to drinking. Silvia from Grouvly replied right away and assured me she’d contact the boys – how refreshing to have someone else do the needy texting! With that extra time, we studied the menu carefully, “What the hell is a ‘low-alcohol content’ cocktail?” someone asked, in horror.
We all agreed those drinks should not exist. Some people just want to watch the world burn. Soberly.
The other group did eventually show up: three handsome, young, real life men that were completely different from my usual type. Halle-fucking-lujah, fresh meat and new friends. Dating 5 people at once took a minute to get used to, but I could dig that swinger vibe… Joking! Having two groups of friends to bounce chat off of was fun and far more relaxed than a one-on-one date, though it does make it a bit harder to get instant chemistry. We had a few laughs, talked about the basic stuff but ended up going home pretty early. It was a work night for us all, so we were, regrettably, well-behaved. My friends have already bumped into them once, now we just need to throw in a pinch of LKF’s Friday night magic and see what happens!
If you’re interested in signing up, you just need a computer, Facebook, two friends (see above stipulations) and HK$150. I know, I know – wahh, there’s a cost. But does Tinder get you a drink? No. Does Tinder find you a cool bar? Nope. Does Tinder text your dates for you? Negative. Finally, and most importantly, does Tinder sort through all the weirdos in the SAR and hand pick some non-crazies for your entertainment? Absolutely not (see above re: 50 Shades #shudder).
But Grouvly does, and so I say it’s $150 well spent.