An Open Letter to the Company That Suggested I Buy a Discount Vibrator

When I receive a promotional email from you Groupon, I have expectations. Not high ones, just an elementary trust that you’re hooking me up with deals on handy goods and offbeat entertainment and education. A Ninja blender for ten dollars. Abnormally white teeth advertising professional bleaching at seventy-five percent off. Five mime classes for the price of two. So when I opened your message last week, I was momentarily confused by the image at the top of the email: a long, slightly curved, cucumber-shaped object filled with rows of silver beads.

“Oh my God!” I blurted at the sight of the vibrator. Embarrassment displaced my confusion. Thankfully my only witnesses were my dog and cat, which still cast pious glances my way. “Why would they think I want this?”

And let’s be clear: this was not one of those maybe-it’s-a-back-massager-it-might-still-be-a-good-Secret-Santa-gift type of devices. This was an industrial-strength propane-powered Vegas bachelorette blowout electronic dong. The Blush Tickle Me Bunny Vibrator to be exact, marked all the way down to twenty dollars from about seventy bucks.

I scrolled down thinking I’d find a theme in the “Recommended for Keysha” email, but the rest of your hodgepodge-ass suggestions — phone cases, suede-ish boots, an NFL man cave starter mat (whatever the hell that is), and an animal print Sherpa blanket because it’s 1975 — yielded nothing.

Back at the top, the bunny wrinkled its nose at me. Sure, it’d been over a year since I’d had sex, but I didn’t need to be reminded of it. Especially by you, Groupon, you socially awkward binary bastard.

Don’t you know that sex toys are best suggested by one of your drunk friends as you meander the red-light district at 2 a.m. or gifted from someone who loves you enough to wipe your ass in times of sickness or do other pleasurably questionable things to it in times of health? In either of these scenarios, I’m not embarrassed, caught off guard, or offended when my buddy passes me the All American Whopper (or if I had a penis, the Tori Black/Jenna Haze Fleshlight) and says, “I know you’re having some hard times. Here.” And when I lose the sex toy, break the sex toy, contaminate and have to burn the sex toy, I will nostalgically say, “Hey Al! Remember that time you bought me the…and it got stuck in my…?” Kinky gadgets should be acquired this way, with love, not shoved in my face by some electronic strangers who also peddle self-stirring mugs and skinny fanny packs rebranded as “sports belts.”

As much as I’m disturbed that in the Age of Big Data (which even Yahoo manages to use effectively) you sent a generic “Have a Vagina?” ad, I haven’t unsubscribed. I hope you will send me a coupon for something I’ve actually searched for, like discount laser hair removal. Then, I won’t ponder Movember as my one chance to abandon my cursed morning ritual.

In the meantime, I’ll just open the emails with trepidation, in private, since it’s clear you have no regard for how the unexpected sight of a pink penis might make me spit-take my coffee all over my MacBook keyboard. I didn’t deserve that, Groupon. No one does.

Just Go Groupoff Yourself,

Keysha Whitaker