I've never been good at Valentine's Day, even when I've been in a relationship. The last time I actually had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day I managed to get dumped. It was meant to be a joke. In the morning, totally deadpan, I gave her a DVD on modern farming techniques that I'd bought in the Pound Shop. The plan was to make up for it with something much more romantic in the evening. I never got that far. I was dumped by text at lunchtime.
If you're a single man on Valentine's Day, things can get very bleak very quickly. Most likely you'll spend the evening masturbating so much, that when you ejaculate it's just an I.O.U. note from your balls. But there's an alternative! I've spent the past 12 months doing every Groupon offer I could find: literally hundreds of absolutely bizarre activities. And here I outline five cheap, wacky alternatives to crying, slumped in the shower:
1. Lady Dinah's Cat Cafe in Shoreditch
Looking for single women? Then what better place to find them than at a cafe dedicated to cats?! Essentially this is a normal cafe, but with lots of cats mincing about like aloof French jazz musicians. There are about twelve cats in total. To be honest, I was disappointed by that. I thought there'd be a lot more. I basically thought I'd be walking around the cafe wearing a suit of cats.
But no, there were only a dozen felines, and most of them were asleep. Which I thought was poor form. These cats are basically sort-of cat prostitutes. And so I expected them to paint on a smile, slip on their slinkiest bikini, and sell their wares a little bit. But most of them just lay there, supine in their bed. It was like having a coffee on a coma ward. Finally one of the cats woke up and wandered over. It then winked at me, as if to say "Shhhh I'm actually a dog", and from that point on I fell in love with the place.
2. Ab Toning Belt
Babes dig abs, right guys? Trust me, I'd know: I haven't got any. But not for much longer, because I've recently invested in an "electronic ab toning belt" on Groupon.
It's the sort of gimmick that you see advertised on Eurosport in the middle of the night, when they've run out of skiing to show. You've seen the adverts. Most of them are American. Terracotta Gods, stomachs like vacuum packed soap, telling you that you can have it all: a great bod, zero exercise. They show "before photos" of dumpy Texans. They're wearing baggy polyester clothes, and barely have faces, so they look like a thumb in a maternity gown. Then they show an "after photo", newly chiselled features glow back at you. They look down the barrel of the camera and tell pathetic old you, slumped on the sofa cupping your clammy testicles, can of lager in hand: "If you use this toning belt for JUST TWENTY MINUTES a day, then you can have the body you always dreamed of". It's so tempting.
My ab-belt has four different settings; I don't know what they do: I haven't read the instructions, obviously. No-one ever does. There could be a photo of the manufacturer executing a dolphin on page five for all I know. Last Saturday I had my first proper work-out. I sat watching The Voice, with a glass of red wine, and some crumpets, toning belt on. I did 20 minutes on level two. But because in life you get back what you put in, I poured myself another glass of wine and did another 20 minutes. I live for the burn. The next evening I sat down in-front of the Women's Darts World Championships on Eurosport, with a ready-meal, and did an hour. What can I say? I'm goal orientated.
3. Become a Lord
If you're going to be a success in the competitive dating game, you've got to have a USP. Which is why this time last year I became a Lord. I'm Lord of Dunans Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Yes, I'm a Lord! And I'm legally entitled to use my new peerage. In fact, I rang up Santander and got them to change the name on my bills to Lord Dickins:
Alright, I bought it on Groupon for about 12 quid; but the women on Match.com don't need to know that. I AM A LORD! And I will insist they call me that throughout the date.
4. Baby scan
Chicks dig babies. If you gave a woman a baby, lying on a scatter cushion, holding a candle, she'd probably explode. And if you can't physically have a baby, then why not have a baby scan? Then you can come across as empathetic and curious, rather than what you actually are: a desperate, predatory moron gagging for a shag. That was my motivation when I bought one on Groupon.
Having applied the lubricating gel, my nurse Sylvia then rubbed the ultra-sound scanner on my tummy.
And there he is: my son AKA "the fanny magnet".
Best of luck this Valentine's Day lads, and if you want to read about more bonkers adventures I've had then you can check out my new book "My Groupon Adventure". I can't publish it without you, so please pledge to support it here.