Do I hear 250??

While I've been living in the La la land of engagement rings and wedding planning, two of my best gal pals, Jules and Sonia, have hardly been fairing well in the dating world.

Jules has spent the last 6 months dating a nice enough man, but he isn't fully relationship ready having just recently divorced from his wife of ten years. Sonia, on the other hand, has decided to limit herself to dating only men that share her same religious tradition-- a very minority religion--thus ensuring her hunt will be as tedious as the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. And while I support the relationship decisions of both my girlfriends, sometimes it is hard to watch the women I love trudge through the murky waters of the dating pool.

Tired and weary as well, Jules and Sonia were understandably disheartened with their current state of affairs as single women. With Max off securing his parents' blessing for our upcoming nuptials, I decided to use my alone time to do what any decent friend would do. I was going to surprise my sisters with a night on the town, but not just any old night...

"What did you say we are doing tonight?" Jules asked for clarification just after I requested she come to my home in a formal gown. It was wrong of me to inform her of the dress code just hours before the event, but this was part of my master plan to keep her off guard until the very last minute. After all, had I told her where we were REALLY going, she probably wouldn't have accepted my invitation.

"Oh, it's just a fund raiser-- a charity event for the battered women's shelter." I replied.

I gave even shorter notice to Sonia, because I doubted she had met a date-worthy man at church the previous week.

"I'm picking you up at 6:45p on Saturday night. Wear that black gown I gave you. And for goodness sakes, please put a pair of thongs underneath. We can't have you showing panty lines tonight."

Sometimes, I wonder why my friends don't just slap me.

We entered the hotel lobby and spotted many women dressed to the nines. Off to our left, the buffet line was forming as the sounds of live music echoed from inside the main ballroom. A woman approached with programs in hand.

"You're here for the bachelor auction?" she asked.

Sonia and Jules look at her as if the woman had two heads.

"Yes. We're here for the auction." I responded.

I took the programs and handed them over to Jules and Sonia. I hadn't lied to my friends. This WAS a black tie fundraiser for the women's shelter. However, I had neglected to mention that all monies spent also went toward the pursuit of local, eligible men.

At the event, women could woo a bachelor one of two ways. The sure fire, and most expensive, way to secure a date with the man of your choosing was to be his highest bidder. However, if you didn't want to pay the big bucks (the bachelors went from $250 - $3,500 this particular night), a woman could possibly secure a phone number by participating in speed dating rounds, couples dances, and other harmless activities with various bachelors by using what was known as "diva dollars."

I gave both Jules and Sonia book worth 20 diva dollars.

"Go! Be fruitful! Populate the room with your phone number to as many men as possible," I commanded.

Out of curiosity, does Max know you are doing this?" Jules asked.

"Who do you think bought our tickets?" I answered. This had been the very same bachelor auction Max had participated in a year earlier. A date with Max went for a mere $800--a bargain if ever I saw one.

At first a little leery, Jules and Sonia quickly got into the spirit of the event by flipping through the program guide, which featured profiles of all the bachelors to be auctioned off that night. Forty men from the ages of 20-60 had made themselves available for sale. A few were local celebrities-- a saxophone player for a popular band, a newspaper columnist for the News and Observer. Others were successful businessmen--a nightclub owner (who Jules found particularly handsome), a real-estate developer, doctors, lawyers, and the like. As Sonia flipped through the many pages to determine her preferred bachelor(s), she ran across a few with whom she'd already crossed paths.

"Oh my god. I KNOW him! ... And this one... I dated him!" she laughed.

Jules and I agreed that Sonia had been trolling through waters of our local dating pool far too long. Sonia was at the point where she ran a high probability of catching men she'd already thrown back once. Nevertheless, even Sonia saw a few new faces among the bachelor profiles. It was time to get to work. Together, Jules and Sonia proceeded to the speed dating tables, while I made my way to the cash bar. My work for the evening was now complete.

I looked around the large, stately room. By my estimates, 800 women, representing all ages and races, attended this event. A few, like me were there for moral support, but the vast majority was single women looking for a new venue to meet eligible men. I did the numbers in my head--40 men for 800 women--and couldn't help but feel a twinge of uncomfortableness.

As the evening progressed and the various rounds of bidding proceeded, my uneasiness was replaced with a little embarrassment for the desperation displayed by some of the women present and even more outrage at the cockiness of a few of the bachelors. I turned to a woman seated next to me.

"Could you ever see men bidding on women, the way we do with men?" I asked.

"Yes, sweetie. It's called prostitution," she replied flatly.

She was right. Still, my friends were thoroughly enjoying the evening, participating in all of the events with as much seriousness as you'd have walking through a carnival fun house. And in the end, fun was really all I had hoped for. And as a bonus, Sonia had handed her number to no fewer than six of the bachelors. It seemed like there were still some fish out in them there waters. It was just a matter of trying out some different bait.


kenju said...

If I ever lose mr. kenju, I know where to come for help!! LOL

jayfish said...

*very* cool. you're a great friend to have!

The Daily Randi said...

Wow...What A Terrific Fundraiser! Sounds like A Blast!

utenzi said...

"Could you ever see men bidding on women, the way we do with men?"

That's funny, Diane. That's the only way the dating game is played. Men paying for women either directly as suggested by prostitution or indirectly via flowers, paying for meals, et cetera. It's nice to see the tables turned every once in a while. LOL

AmyD said...

You are a GREAT friend. And that was the 1st time I saw that pic of Maximillian...woo hooooo! Nice catch, lady! ;o)