This was comfortably the worst day of my life. I'll be surprised if I'm ever more embarrassed than I was that day at Acqua di Acqua. I went alone. Because believe it or not, it's actually quite hard to find a buddy to do colonic irrigation with you. I mean it's not an easy sell is it? 'Hi mate, what you up to this afternoon? Fancy having your anus flushed out?' I bought it on Groupon, and it was so easy to book an appointment that I hadn't really considered the consequences. I was going to have gallons of water pumped into my colon, using a tube inserted into my rectum. In doing so 26 years of bum gunk would be disturbed and then flow out of my arse, down a transparent tube which would RUN PAST MY HEAD, like some sort of faecal Generation Game.
I had thought of hiding some stuff up there, you know, to surprise the therapist. Something like a small plastic dolphin, or a message in a bottle, or maybe my house keys? Then when they flowed down the tube I could go, 'So that's where they were! What am I like?' But I didn't. The only preparation I did was some light sobbing. The clinic was on the first floor of a LA Fitness gym in High Barnet. It was further from the station than I'd imagined and I got lost. I had to ask a local lady where LA Fitness was, and she immediately said 'Oh you're not having a colonic are you? They do them there you know! OH MY GOD! Are you having a colonic?' I was like, 'Oh God no! A colonic! How embarrassing! No, no, no, I'm here for Zumba.'
She gave me directions and I arrived just in time. That's when the indignity started. In the reception area, I was handed a form to fill in by the receptionist. At the top was the usual name, address, phone number spiel. And then there were some more personal questions, including: 'How would you describe your stools?' How are you meant to answer that question? 'How would I describe my stools? Through the medium of dance of course!' If my shits went internet dating they would describe themselves as 'Shy but outgoing after a few drinks'. But there wasn't a box for that; it's almost as if they hadn't considered poos going dating.
My therapist then came over: it was my turn. Her name was Katerina, a beautiful Polish girl. She showed me to a small room off the reception area and then explained the science. "In your colon Mr Dickins you have 20 foot of intestines, and in your intestines you carry around eight kilograms of poop", before emphasising, 'Which is equivalent to a large cat.' I stared back at her, dumbstruck, before saying: 'I am so glad you put that in cat terms. Because I was lost! Just to put my mind completely at ease, what's that in hamsters?'
The bed itself was plastic and shaped like a pedalo. Halfway up was a stiff plastic tube. Katerina handed me a sachet of lubricant and then winked at me. I got undresses and did what was needed and called her back in. She now had her hand on the tap. 'Ready?' she said. I nodded and she turned it on. Water was now flooding my colon. 'When you feel cramps in your stomach I want you to push,' she said. 'Like when you go to the toilet.' About a minute passed. I couldn't feel a thing. 'Are you sure the tube's in?' I said. She nodded and said 'Oh yes, it's very deep,' in a tone of voice that suggested I'd done that on purpose. Katerina turned up the pressure. Another minute passed; I still couldn't feel anything. She turned the tap up yet again, seeming genuinely worried at this stage. Baffled by how much water I could take in my arse without feeling any pain.
Suddenly I could feel the cramps. 'I can feel it!' I said, absolutely delighted. 'Push! Push!' she screamed. And I really tried, but nothing was coming out. I really felt like I was letting her down. I actually felt embarrassed that I couldn't shit myself in front of this gorgeous woman. 'Sorry,' I said. 'I'm normally really good at this.' About five seconds later I exploded. Katerina, now stood at the end of the bed, started cheering. 'Yeah! Well done! Big chunk!' She high fived me. I started crying tears of joy. So you might be wondering what having a colonic feels like? Well, I've never been bummed, but a colonic is like being bummed by the sea.
Katerina could see I was having fun, so she left me to it, leaving the room. But not before opening the window slightly ajar to help with the smell, which as you can imagine was fairly haunting. However, the window made the room very draughty and suddenly the door blew open, meaning that everyone in reception could now see directly up my arse. I had 12 pairs of shocked eyes trained on me. I began ringing the bell like mad, screaming Katerina's name. She was nowhere to be seen. I thought, 'This can't get any worse.' But at the end of the reception area I saw the handle on the front door beginning to twist. And yet another person walked in. It was the woman who had given me directions earlier. AT THIS STAGE I WOULD HAVE HAPPILY SHOT MYSELF. She stared at me, I stared at her, totally lost for words. She eventually said, 'Oh ... was Zumba full?' And at last Katerina comes to my rescue, slamming the door shut. I began to cry again, this time in despair.
This was one of hundreds of Groupon deals I did to teach myself to be spontaneous. You can read about them all in my new book 'My Groupon Adventure.' Buy it now: here.