How I sold my life, soul and sense of self-worth on Groupon
I became a Lord, changed my name and bought land on Mars
In July 2014 I was sold on Groupon like a piece of meat:
But how did my life come to this? Well, it came after an avalanche of Groupon deals. Hundreds, in fact. Including colonic irrigation, alligator wrestling, and baby scans. Along the way I became a Lord, changed my name by Deed Poll to Max Groupon, and bought land on the planet Mars.
The descent into madness started almost a year earlier. I was dumped by my girlfriend. In a cemetery.
“But Jen, I don’t understand!” I said. “We’ve never had a row? What’s the problem? Is it because of that time I made your blind uncle stroke an aubergine and told him it was a dolphin?”
“I didn’t know you did that.” She said. “If you must know … it’s because you’re just not very spontaneous,” she said.
Then, ironically, I spontaneously burst into tears.
But in the weeks that followed I realised that she was right: I was stuck in a rut. Doing the same things, in the same places, with the same people. And to win back the love of my life, I needed to try something new, to become this new spontaneous guy. And Groupon was my tool to do that. It was spontaneity of beginners, a Narnia of possibility. And bit by bit I changed myself.
I started pretty tame. I went alpaca trekking in Kent.
Apparently in a carpark. I went life drawing too.
Admittedly not very successfully. Things quickly got more hardcore. Including the most harrowing day of my life: colonic irrigation. If you’re wondering what having a colonic feels like, the best way I can describe it is that it’s like being bummed by the sea.
A quick tip-from-the-top with colonic irrigation: be careful what you eat afterwards. Certainly don’t have vindaloo. Seriously, I was in tears. And there was absolutely no resistance left in my bowel. It was like dropping a marble down a lift shaft.
I was doing a deal every week. Often more. And when word got out about my Groupon obsession, people started buying Groupons for me. That was how I came to have a baby scan.
I asked my friend Dave to join me for some moral support. We entered the clinic and went up to the reception desk.
“Hello sir, how can I help you today?” said the girl. “Oh hi, yes, my name’s Max Dickins. I’ve got an appointment for a baby scan.”
“A baby scan, sir?” “Yes that’s right, a baby scan. This is my boyfriend, Dave.” Dave bit his lip. “But you’re a man, Mr Dickins?” “Lord Dickins. I’m a Lord.” “Right. OK. But you’re a man, Lord Dickins.” “Yes. Thank you. I am aware of that … well, it’s just, we forgot to use protection the other day and we just want to make sure that … you know.”
“I see,” she said. “The scan costs 80 pounds, Lord Dickins. You do realise that? It is non-refundable?” “Yes, I know. But you can’t put a price on peace of mind,” I said. “And anyway: I’ve got this Groupon voucher…”
Other deals foisted on me included pole dancing classes, laser hair removal, and a spray tan:
I reached my spontaneous peak wrestling alligators in America:
The only advice I was given beforehand was, “Don’t hesitate, and don’t let go.” And then I was shoved into a swamp filled with 15ft alligators. The guy who ran the classes only had one hand. It was absolutely terrifying.
So, by this stage I had learnt the superhero power of spontaneity. But from this point I started using it for evil, not good. I quickly descended into addiction, bankrupting myself with bizarre and egotistical deals. Like getting a variety of stuff customised with photos of my own face:
And changing my name by Deed Poll to Max Groupon:
In the end, I totally failed to win back my ex-girlfriend’s heart. Believe it or not, someone addicted to Groupon deals, sleeping under an enormous photo of his own face, isn’t as sexy as it sounds.
But I did win something much more important: a sense of adventure. I was no longer a fallow human: I had resuscitated my life using the oxygen of new experience. Which is how I came to sell a date with myself on Groupon.
We sold over a thousand dates, and I went on one and met someone amazing. Things had come full circle. And I finally had someone to share the Groupon craziness with. What happened next? You can find out in my new book.
‘My Groupon Adventure’ is out now. Buy it here.