Monday, September 24, 2012

Where can I buy a man around here?

(Stolen from the internet)
Friday night I went to a bachelor auction that was put on by a local group of young professionals who are advocates of Planned Parenthood. They do all kinds of fun events and fundraisers.

I'll say up front I did not go to buy a man. I went to support a couple of friends who were being auctioned off and to support Planned Parenthood. Most of the bachelors were young -- in their 20's -- and I'm no cougar.

Here's how the auction works. A woman nominates a guy to be in the auction, and she then becomes his handler, for want of a better word. It takes a lot of balls for these guys to let themselves be auctioned off in public, so their handlers stick with them at the auction and help them introduce themselves to potential buyers -- a little hand-holding for those who need it. It also seems less creepy for a man who wants a woman to spend money on him to be introduced by another woman.

Each man comes with a date package, many donated by local businesses or non-profits. For example, some of the date packages were a day at the local Oktoberfest, dinner at a nice restaurant, a Pilates class, dance lessons, a football game. The date package for one of my friends was a professional massage, a trip to a salon, dinner at an upscale downtown restaurant, a salsa lesson, and dessert at another upscale restaurant. He went out and gathered some great sponsors. Other date packages were much smaller -- just dinner. But still nice. And one was a private airplane ride to another city for dinner and dessert back at the hanger afterwards. A whole range depending on the bachelor.

Lots of publicity led up to the auction. Some bachelors were interviewed in a promotional video or on a local TV show. There were photos and Q/A's on the group's website and Facebook pages. Some of the bachelors did a lot of personal promotion to sell tickets.

The event was held in a private club at the top of the tallest building in the city -- 29 stories high with walls of windows on every side. In addition to a panoramic view of the city, we were treated to a slow misty fog creeping in, lit by blue strikes of lightning and later rain running down the windows. It was worth the price of a ticket to spend an evening sipping wine in the spell of that view

Through a rain-drenched window

Our tickets in bought us light hors d'ourves and a cash bar. A well dressed crowd mingled with the bachelors and their handlers. One single male friend who attended just to support the cause said he'd never seen so many pretty single women in one place.

The bidding was silent, on individual date boards created for each bachelor. But two hosts also brought the men on stage in groups of 5 or 6 to be interviewed for the crowd. See what I mean about needing courage to do this? I give kudos to every one of them.

I have to admit, it was a lot of fun being solicited by charming young men who wanted me to bid on them. No, it wasn't personal. It was all for the cause, but that's what made it fun. Like I said, I didn't go to buy a bachelor. Most of them were too young for me, and I would have felt silly going up on stage at the end of the night and claiming my purchased young date.

But I certainly didn't mind those young men flirting with me and trying to get me to bid. One handsome state trooper with very strong thighs -- he insisted I feel them -- offered to put his handcuffs on me. Silly him. I let him think that's how it would go if we went on a date.

Another bachelor who wasn't quite as young offered to .... well, I don't want to bore you with the flirting. I have a point to make.

There were plenty of young women (and a few older ones) there who came to bid, and bid they did.

And that's where my perspective completely changed.

I assumed most of the women who came were there to bid on dates because they found the man attractive and wanted to share his date package with him. I'm so naive! Women are far more cunning than that, far more calculating.

A lot happens in the lady's room, am I right? It's no secret that's where the real truth comes out. One woman about my age, whom I had met in the elevator on the way up, told me as I was peeing that she'd bid on the airplane date package (he was the oldest of the bachelors), but didn't win him/it. Here's a synopsis of the rest of the conversation.

She said, "I really wish I'd won that plane ride."
"It looked like a fun date package," I said. "Very romantic."
"Oh, that's not why I wanted it," she said. "I have family in that city. I wanted to go see them."
"Seems like an expensive way to visit your family," I said. I admit I was taken aback. I'd never consider taking my family on a date.
"If I'd won it, it wouldn't have cost as much as driving, and it would be a lot faster than driving," she said.
I stared at her as I washed my hands. "So, you were just buying the plane ticket? If you had won the bid? Not the date?"
"Sure," she said, and she looked at me as if I were a little bit slow. "I really wish I'd gotten in the last bid."

I realized then that I hadn't even considered buying the package and not the man. But she wasn't the only one who did. And fuck me, I'm a woman. I should have figured this out for myself.

One young woman told me she bought her best friend, whose date package was expensive tickets to a wild masked ball next month, another much bigger fundraiser. She paid less for the date package than they would have paid for two tickets otherwise. And who knows ? Maybe her best friend was more than a best friend. It wouldn't be hard to stretch the definition of "single" just enough to get into the auction. (Not saying that happened. Just saying it could.)

Another guy was disappointed to learn he and his date package had been purchased by a married woman. He suspected she would take her husband on the date instead of going with him. He was disappointed because he was looking forward to showing some lucky woman a great time.

A group of several women bought one bachelor. I don't remember what his date package was. If it was a dinner, I wonder if they expected to share one entree. I hope he wasn't looking for the girl of his dreams. (This is the third year for this auction. Two dates turned into committed couples, and one turned into a marriage with a child. One of the goals really is to bring single people together, ideally not just for one date.)

I just never would have thought of buying the package and not the man, although I suppose I should have. In the elevator on the way up with 4 other women, we were talking about the imaginary man we'd like to buy, and I said I'd definitely bid on a handyman. I thought I was joking, but I'm telling you now, that's a date package that would sell.

I suspect the men thought they were being bid on because of their charm and good looks too. Some of them made slightly risque comments from the stage, jokes that assumed the women bidding would want sex. And I said to the friend I went with, "A couple of them have forgotten they're talking to women. Women don't buy sex."

It's true. Women will buy sexy, although this auction shows it's not a priority, but we don't buy sex. There's a difference.

If anything points out a couple of glaring differences between men and women, it's this auction. Here's why.

First, women are obviously more practical than men.

Second, I can't imagine a bachelorette auction. Hell, the word bachelorette isn't even in spell check. Too many people would be appalled by the idea of selling women in an auction to men. And oh my god, it's easy to see why for so many reasons. (I'm going to be general here, so if you're a man who doesn't fall into the stereotype, good for you. If you're single, email me please.)

1. Men expect sex when they buy a woman. Let's just put that one out there first.

2. If men are buying women, they aren't looking at date packages. They're looking at the woman's package. Men want to buy young, sexy, beautiful women. A woman the age of the oldest bachelor, the one with the airplane, probably wouldn't sell, even if she did own a plane. And she certainly wouldn't bring in the highest bid of the auction like he and his package did. No matter how old or decrepit most men get, they still think they deserve a young, beautiful woman, especially if they're paying for her.

3.  Men expect sex when they buy a woman.

4. Most women wouldn't think they were worth auctioning. And can you imagine women being taken around with their handlers to flirt with potential buyers? We call that pimping, don't we?

5. Most men expect sex when they buy a woman.

6. Most men expect sex when they buy a woman.

Does that sound harsh? I'd be happy to entertain differing opinions, but I'm going with the general here and I know I'm right. Yes, I know plenty of men who might be able to control their baser instincts at a bachelorette auction, but I have enough experience in the world to know a lot wouldn't.

Have you ever noticed the difference between how men approach a strip club and how women do? I noticed this years ago when I was a kid, when Phil Donahue first interviewed strippers on his show.

Even in that venue -- which was not a club -- most of the men in the audience looked at the women strippers differently. They obviously wanted her. They were hyper-focused on her, like hunters. Like she was something to be acquired and devoured. It's a solitary look -- as if in his mind, it's just him and her.

Women, on the other hand, treat male strippers like entertainment, not a conquest. They laugh and yell and, yes, treat the men like meat. But not meat they're going to take home with them. Hell, we don't even care if the guys are gay as long as they give us a good show and we can laugh with our girlfriends and have a good time.

OK, the men at the auction weren't strippers, and the women there didn't treat them like sex objects. I think a few of the men wouldn't have minded that though. In fact, that's another difference between men and women. Most men would be glad if the women at the auction saw them as big old packages of sex.

Change the sexes though, and the whole thing would feel quite different -- if you could even persuade any women to participate.

(I'm not saying I can't imagine a man buying a woman -- even one he wouldn't have sex with -- just because she came with a pair of football tickets. Dinner, no. But football tickets, hell yes.)

Like most of my posts, this has gotten quite long. And yet, a significant number of readers have berated me for not writing for a while; some have even threatened me in public. You asked for it. Aren't you sorry now?

Too bad. I have one more thing to say.

The bottom line is that this auction was for a good cause. All of the proceeds went to Planned Parenthood, an organization that does a shit-ton of good all over this country. And we should all support their sexual health advocacy. The assholes who try to make us believe Planned Parenthood is nothing but an abortion clinic should be spanked and sent to bed without supper. I get so sick of their lies.

As for the businesses that donated the date packages, they got what they paid for too: lots of good publicity throughout the advertising campaign and at the auction. And they'll probably get some new customers too. It's a win for them no matter who uses the packages. (Too bad about the woman who doesn't get to see her family. She's on her own unless the woman who bought the package is willing to let her tag along.)

Will I go back to the bachelor auction next year? Hell, yes. I may even nominate somebody and agree to help promote him. It was fun getting dressed up, mingling and meeting new people in a spectacular setting, having my perceptions turned upside down. And let me repeat what I heard so often Friday night: It's for a good cause.

Besides I came home with a handful of chocolate-flavored condoms in my purse. The last time that happened .... well, that's another story.


  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this. I silently (until now) boycotted the event because the whole idea of buying and selling people, even all in good fun and for a great cause, would be too awful for me. I wouldn't be able to stop thinking of the men, women and children who are bought and sold in my own city, possibly even next door to me, for much less positive and empowering purposes.

    That said, it sounds like they pulled this off as a fantastic event that was handled with a lot of class. At least by the guys and the promoters.

    1. They even had a couple of date packages that didn't come with a man for the married participants. And each of the women who had the second place bid got a gift certificate. I can certainly see your perspective about the word "auction," but because it was a silent auction, it didn't feel like they were on the auction block.

  2. Sounds like a VERY fun event! Wish I could've gone with you! :)

    1. Me too, Sue. We would have had a lot of fun. And you would know the rest of the story too! (There's always a rest of the story, right?)