Johnny Depp and I have a lot in common. We’re both scintillatingly good looking, former lovers of Kate Moss, and obsessed with Groupon. A friend of Depp’s told Heat magazine ““If he can get a good price for something, he’ll go for it. He just bought a new barbecue for the patio of his house in LA.” I’ve never bought a BBQ, but I do two of three Groupon deals a week. And, like an addict, I now require bigger and bigger hits of novelty for it to have any effect. My current hobby is to buy stuff on Groupon which I can customize with photos of my own face:
It wasn’t meant to get like this. My Groupon Adventure started in November last year as an attempt to inject some fun and spontaneity into my life. I’d got out of the habit of having fun. I’d become a workaholic bore, stuck deep on a rut. Groupon was my ladder out.
I’ll never forget the day I discovered Groupon. On the front page alone was “Learn how to fly helicopters!” “Drive Ferraris!” and “Go Wakeboarding!” Suddenly the world felt full of possibility again. I could do all these things! But helicopters and wakeboarding seemed a bit extreme to me. I wanted to break myself into my new lifestyle slowly, and so when I saw “Acupuncture and Massage” come up I thought: “This is much more my scene”.
Which is how I ended up in Oriental Healthcare in Leyton. The first stage was the consultation with the Chinese doctor, who spoke with a perfect cockney accent which really freaked me out. He reassured me about what was about to happen:
“Don’t be scared! This acupuncture guff is a piece of piss! Anyway, have you seen the guest book?”
I had seen the guest book, and it was impressive: testimonial from testimonial from delighted client, all written in the same handwriting.
“Oh yes”, I said, “I had no idea Tom Cruise was such a loyal customer”.
Next, he leads me into a small room and asks me to undress and lie face down on the bed, before leaving me to it. I do as I’m told: I take off my clothes and lie on the bed which felt oddly moist. He comes back in, and goes: “Why have you taken your pants off?!”
I said, “You told me to get undressed?!”
“Yeah, but obviously keep your pants on! What sort of place to you think this is? We’re from Shanghai not Bangkok. But I suppose we all look the same to you don’t we? Look…Just put your pants back on.”
He leaves. I put on my boxers. But I was in such a rush that I accidentally put them on back to front. So the flap was now on the back, like I had deliberately left a door to my arse.
Luckily, he seemed not to notice, and he began stuffing my back with needles.
Acupuncturists believe that illness is caused by an imbalance in our life energy, our “qi” (pronounced “chee”), and acupuncture unblocks the flow of “qi”.
And it acupuncture wasn’t my cup of qi, then his next treatment certainly wasn’t either. It was called “cupping”, and basically they stick a load of jam jars on your back, but they burn out the oxygen first, so the effect is that the oxygen sucks up your skin. It’s a bit like getting a love bite off a hoover, a friend has told me.
As he did it, he said “this might leave a bit of a mark, but nothing serious”. This is what my back looked like two weeks later…
A BIT OF A MARK?! I LOOK LIKE IVE FALLEN ASLEEP ON THE HOB.
Now it was time for my massage. The doctor tells me to lie there and wait for the masseuse. I was worried about the massage. I’d never had one before and I was really concerned I might get an erection, which would be terribly awkward to explain away especially after the pants debacle. The masseuse came in. I thought I’d have a lovely little Chinese lady. It turned out to be a massive Spanish man called Juan. So immediately my erection worries trebled.
And God he was good. With his big Catalan hands, like warm plates. And so strong, riding me with his powerful thighs like a Pamplona bullfighter. I was heaven. Anyway, he flipped me over and finished me off-not like that-lit a candle, (nice touch), and with that disappeared off into the night like Zoro.
“Thanks mate” I said, as he headed off. “No worries son”, he replied, also in a cockney accent.
I dribbled into the reception area, too relaxed to move. The doctor was there again and giving it the hard sell like a fruit and vege man down Romford market. “Juan’s the dogs bollocks isn’t he?” “Yes”, I said, “Terrific”. “So I suppose you want to sign up for some more sessions?” He assumed. “Umm….I’m a bit hard-up at the moment to be honest”. “Alright…I’ll give you six sessions for the price of four and I’ll throw in a bag of turtles cocks for free” he said. I politely declined.
Cut to today. My Groupon Adventure has taken in colonic irrigation, bee-keeping, graffiti, becoming a Lord and a million other things besides. From a deep rut I‘ve slowly emerged a new man, having rediscovered my passion for life, resuscitated by the oxygen of new experience. But it’s suddenly begun to feel a bit superficial. Groupon doesn’t hold the same mystique that it once did.
Back in November, I thought filling up my life with new experiences, new things, would make it feel less empty. I poured Groupons into my life, as if were a bucket, believing that once it was full I’d be happy again. But the thing is, I’ve realised that life isn’t like a bucket at all: it’s got a massive hole in the bottom. It’s more of a tube. You can never fill the bucket up, it’s futile. If you want to be happy, you’ve got to somehow transcend the bucket. It dawned on me that what I really need is love. And I thought: “Groupon has solved every other problem in my life, perhaps they can solve this one too?” So I put out a plea to Groupon: help me find love by selling a date with me on your site.
And they said yes! From today you can buy a date with me on Groupon. It’s totally free, I’m literally giving myself away. Anyone can buy the voucher, which could be dangerous. I might end up going on a date with a fifty-year old male cockle-picker from the Shetland Islands. Two years ago I had a stalker: I might end up going for tapas with her. Or I might end up having a candle-lit dinner with my Mum who, true to Valentine’s Day form, will definitely buy a voucher in case no-one else does. So, if you are a sassy singleton looking for a giggle then why not make a purchase? We’ll have a fun evening and you’ll end up being name checked in my Edinburgh Festival stand-up show all about My Groupon Adventure this August. I promise it will be less painful than acupuncture.
Max Dickins will be performing his show ‘My Groupon Adventure’ at the Edinburgh Fringe from 30th July – 24th August 2014 at 3:30pm, The Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets
More information about how to win a date with Max Dickins on Groupon.