Okay, kiddies. There is a way to do things, and there is a way not to do things.

On a first date:

Do compliment the other person if you think they look nice.

Don’t arrive late.

Do bring your first date to somewhere unique, preferably where you both have an excellent opportunity to get to know one another’s sassy little personalities with a pretty backdrop.

Don’t, oh…beseech your first date to let you photograph the two of you together so you can win money once you conceive your first child. Mmmkay? It’s in the first chapter of the Creepy Textbook.

See, as you might have heard, Groupon is proposing a new dating service.

Okay. Hmm. Well, I love Groupon–I think their deals rock face, and I enjoy that the company had a spine and rejected Google buying them out, even though I’m sure they were offered absolutely immoral heaps of green. And dating services themselves are…well, not my brand of whiskey, although it bears noting that I do maintain an online dating profile that I visit from time to time. Mostly for the entertainment; I liken it to visiting the zoo a few times a year. Not that I’m dating furries. Or bears. Or cougars. All right, it wasn’t that complex of a metaphor. I digress.

But somehow in combining these two things (deals and dating), Groupon has managed to stir up a big old cocktail of awkward, impersonal, unnatural, and disturbing propositions and make it the concept for a dating site. And more personally disturbing to me—an encouragement to spawn and make Groupon babies.

For real, though. I thought it was a joke at first, since they have such a great sense of humor over there in the Groupoffice. (I assume they do that with all their words.) But, no. They are literally encouraging you to make Groupon babies. They are giving out 2 scholarships a year to couples who can show photographic evidence that their baby was the product of a couple who went out on their first date using Groupon. Groupon spawn. Grouspawn.

(My assumption—and bear with me—is that Groupon’s motivation is creating a terrifying Groupon army that will inevitably snatch up our prized American traditions and culture, ruthlessly homogenizing our youth into an infestation of date-worthy creatures who are only interested in locating suitable mates by their willingness to bond over coupons. Then all our teenagers and twenty/thirty-somethings start breeding lovelessly for cash prizes, terrorizing cities by irritably demanding half-priced fares from only the trendiest establishments. Aggghhhhh! Your fears have been realized, Huxley–It’s the Brave Frugal World!)

Okay. Sometimes I get perhaps too excited. Possibly I’m a little low on blood sugar. Must seek out a lunch of some sort… I have a Groupon in my purse for—aggghhh!  *drops the Groupon and stares in horror*

But seriously, how not-okay is that for a first date? I want you to imagine yourself getting ready to go out with someone you’ve never been out with before. Let’s assume you barely know them, if at all. Your beau arrives for your very first evening together. It’s getting-to-know-you-time. You fish around somewhat for a conversation topic with common ground, he or she takes you out to a dinner they’ve bought a coupon for (possibly ever so slightly tacky on a first date, even for someone thrifty like me, but whatever). And then, once you sit down … they take a picture of the two of you, explaining that it’s just in case you breed? I’d … I mean … I’d just like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

You know? Like, eww. Go home, stalker.

Hell, I once didn’t go out on a second date with a guy simply because he brought me a bouquet of store-bought flowers on the first date. Yeah, already way too committed. Let’s keep this light, Prince Charming. Easy there on the crazy-grand romantic gestures, Endless Love.

So I can’t even fathom a relative stranger taking me out with the wink-wink, nudge-nudge anticipation that I’ll be the future mother of his child so that he can win $60,000. I’m sorry. Do what, now?

See, that just sucks the romance right out for me—dating for procreation and cash prizes. I mean, where’s the broken condom strewn haphazardly across a heated bed, post-one-night-stand? Where’s the teary-eyed, secretive peeing on a stick in the ladies’ stall at work? Where’s the shotgun wedding? All wrong! Romance is dead.

[Joke. Yeesh… I was making a point… *tugs at necktie* Someone warm this room up for me. No respect. No respect at all.]

Again, I love and use Groupon, and I myself would like to sire progeny with the best of them some day. But Groupon here has hit a ball to a very weird and undeniable place in our culture’s… outfield. Shut up. That worked, and you know it.

So when did dating become Gattaca? Don’t two crazy kids just meet and hit it off anymore? Just check out the web site for Groupon’s dating service—Grouspawn. There’s a link on the page: “Want a Groupon baby? Visit our dating service.”

Gah! *recoils, hisses* Don’t hit the button! (I suspect it’s a legal agreement to be frugally inseminated.)


You don’t join a dating service to have a baby. You join a dating service to find a mate. And then kids can come later. Want a Groupon baby? It should link to an adoption site.

Furthermore, in a coupon-inspired dating service where the outcome is to have a coupon kid, my imagination assumes you get matched up by how cheap you are, and then you’re given a (very reasonably priced) hotel room for the evening. (In my case, I’d be passing on the gift of life with some broke-ass person who has no true working concept of money, if they were to be my equal.) Go nuts, kids.  Have fun with all the fertilization! Hey, why need a first date be fruitless? Why wait and see whether it pans out enough in the long run to have a Groupon baby? Get knocked up now, save money later! It’s like an ounce of prevention…

So, just. Yeah. NO to all of this. No to you, if you even briefly entertained the thought of proposing Grouspawn to a first date of yours. You’re better off asking him or her over dinner conversation whether they could please scratch your hard-to-reach psoriasis for you than using any progeny-directed line Groupon will feed you here. Bad Groupon! Bad! What are you thinking? Go sit in the corner. Sit in it. Sit.

Not to mention, is it just me, or does “Grouspawn” look too close to “Groupspawn,” which would be a slightly more alien-movie way of saying “the tragic result of a group sexual endeavor”? Because that’s how I read it for the first 5 minutes. Who picks these names?? If someone I barely knew asked whether I wanted to engage in a Grouspawn with them, I’d shoot their eyes full of pepper spray and blow my emergency rape whistle after having groin-punted them into another room.

So, to recap, no. No, no, no.

No. Groupon—no.

No.

Original Chicago Tribune article on Grouspawn.

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Damn. I didn’t get the dress code.

Now—despite being awash with witlessly talkative crowds of booze-sweating, open-mouthed, gum-chewing, body shot-downing, Jersey Shore-worshiping, tone-deaf, topless, hopeless, bright orange, lost-souled, salt- and lime-covered cretins—I have a totally valid and unabashedly cool reason to grace Cancun’s tourism with my humble (and clearly nonjudgmental, yes?) patronage.

I want—nay, need—to take in the Cancun Underwater Museum.

I mean, how completely amazing is this?

Where’s Waldo?

This aquamarine-saturated collection capturing stunningly graceful moments of daily life is an elaborate sculpture museum submerged off the coast of Isla de Mujeres and Cancun, Mexico.

Hmm.

Designed by master artist Jason DeCaires Taylor, these sculptures were actually all based on individual local residents of the area. Which is so amazing, it takes me from a nearly notarized, written vow of, “When I am King, I will enact a law enabling me to flatten with a giant ACME mallet any person who utters the phrases, It was totally sick, man and Cancun in the same conversation,” to an envious, “Why can’t I live there so my bodily features can be immortalized forever as an underwater spore hotel?”

I never thought I’d live to see the day. I was wrong.

Does anyone else feel splashes of rain?

Because this is just beautiful.

Yes, cancel that tuna for lunch, please.

And this image brings up a great point—I believe I would work so much better at the bottom of the ocean. Truly. I’d be so relaxed, I wouldn’t be bothered by office babble, my skin would finally stay hydrated while doing my job. True, I’d have parasites growing on my eyelids and terrifying, fishy-tailed predators weaving around my head, but what office doesn’t have its drawbacks? I mean, I currently have to put up with paper cuts and coffee spills. Underwater, both those problems—eliminated. I’m contacting HR right now.

Please bring me a Kindle for Christmas.

The finished project contains 400 of these sculptures.

Don’t cross the mob, or you’ll get what’s comin’ to ya.

I don’t know whether you’ve ever scuba-dived before. Scuba-dove? Scuba-swam in a downward motion. But it’s really a breath-taking experience if you ever get the chance to do it. (Just make sure you plan ahead, because you might not be able to do it so many days after or before a plane trip, if I remember correctly. Something having to do with the change in pressure being dangerous.)

Do Not Touch

I like the DO NOT TOUCH sculpture here. I wonder if there’s an EMERGENCY EXIT sculpture or a GIFT SHOP sculpture. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY made out of barnacles. Or, like a giant stone map with a YOU ARE HERE sculptured arrow pointing at a cloud of fish on it.

Best pets ever.

I think the above one is my favorite of these ones.

I got nothing. These are just awesome, and completely beautiful.

Additionally, I find it fascinating how the marine life growing on these sculptures renders them living sculptures, in a way. That’s kind of deep.

Get it? Deep? Like deep sea?

You liked it.

In sum, I’m adding this to my list of things in the world I need to see once this blogging gig starts gently plucking the soft little heart strings of my readers (both of you) and I begin to receive loving cash donations in the mail with notes like, “Thanks for making me a better person through your inspiring, life-affirming blog entries.” It’ll be on the list with the Pyramids of Giza; various places in Africa where monkeys freely roam about; which leads me to think of Rome, naturally; the Parthenon; Bohemian Grove; Xanadu; that place Three Dog Night is singing about; all the worlds and lands Disney; and Tori Amos’s dinner table (but, like, invitation only. I have no current plans to come in through the bathroom window or anything).

Sorry. I lost my train of thought when naming awesome things.

Article in Chicago Tribune where most of these pictures originated from:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/virtualvacation/la-trb-offbeat-cancun-underwater-museum,0,7067989.photogallery