In June 2014 I managed to somehow convince Groupon to sell a date with me on their website.It had taken hundreds of emails and a lengthy protest that almost ended in my arrest, but I’d got what I needed. I was a Groupon addict looking for someone to share the adventure with. And the rules of the deal were simple. I’d take one lucky winner out on an all-expenses date wherever they were in the country. And who knew where it might lead from there?Luckily the idea seemed to catch people’s imaginations. Groupon launched the offer on a Tuesday morning and the following day I was front page news on the Huffington Post; I made headlines in the Daily Star; and I did an interview for a feature in Real People magazine. (If you’ve never heard of Real People magazine, then it’s one of those magazines that have stories like ‘I had a holiday romance … WITH A SQUID!’).So word was getting out, and take-up for the deal was strong. Girls were getting in touch on Twitter letting me know that they’d made a purchase:I’m glad that a date with me constitutes an ‘all time low’. But by the deadline a week later I’d sold almost a thousand dates. My ef-girlfriend even got in touch, with this message:It was literally the last thing I had in mind! I now waited anxiously for Groupon to tell me the name of the lucky winner. There was a 1/1000 chance it could be my ex-girlfriend’s dad. I was also genuinely worried that my mum might have secretly bought a date, as a sympathy purchase. After all, she had previous. When I was growing up, there’d always be one Valentine’s Day card waiting for me on the doormat. And I’d pick it up, giddy with excitement, and think, ‘Oooh, who’s this from? Maybe it’s Hannah from the year above?’ And then I’d open it and it would say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day darling! From your secret admirer, Mum’. Which was both disappointing and creepy. But as if that threat wasn’t enough, I was also terrified a man might buy the date. After-all, nothing in the rules banned blokes. And what a waste of time that would be. I was lonely, but not ‘Might aswell become gay now’ lonely.
Eventually Simon from Groupon told me that my date would be with someone called Alex Seabright. ‘That’s a very ambiguous name gender-wise,’ I said. ‘Are you sure it’s a woman?’ He said he had no idea. But there was nothing I could do. I would have to cross my fingers and hope for the best. So I e-mailed Alex to confirm a date and a time, and I booked a restaurant in Soho. They offered me the best table in the house, right by the window. Mainly I think because I booked it under the name Lord Groupon. The peerage I’d bought had finally proved handy.
I arrived slightly early and waited outside the restaurant. My stomach in knots every time someone walked past. Finally, I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned round and it was her. She was a woman and not my mother. I felt like weeping with relief.
What happened next? You’ll find out in the book! Available to buy NOW. Just click here.