Recommended wine for today’s entry: Tomorrow is my daughter’s 21st birthday (no way!!) and she came home from college last weekend to
celebrate with us collect her presents. One of the things mommy picked out for her was a bottle of Korbel California Champagne. You know, champagne is great for celebrations, but it takes very little effort to think of something to celebrate today … how about the approach of Spring? Or Samantha’s birthday? Late Valentine’s Day toast? Whatever reason … pop the cork! Cheers!
Charity fundraisers are a wonderful time to get all gussied up, drink too much and buy a bunch of things for which you have absolutely no need. Oh, and many times they offer a “signature drink” — often a brightly colored concoction like a blue martini — that leave you not only hungover but alarmingly stained in the morning. At the time, though, the events are really fun. And hey, no matter how crappy some of the stuff you buy is, you have an equally crappy relative that you can unload it on next Christmas!
After grabbing a blue drink recently, my husband and I immediately headed to the silent auction tables. We take totally different approaches to bidding, to wit:
He takes the Analytical Approach: 1) He heads to the tables that close first; 2) Evaluates the high bid-to-stated-value ratios; 3) Determines need as opposed to want; and 4) Establishes a top price he’d be willing to pay for each item on which he is preparing to bid.
I take the Oh-Wow-This-Blue-Drink-Is-Delicious … And-STRONG! Approach to bidding: 1) I hurry to the table with jewelry; 2) I frantically sign my (husband’s) name and our bidding number as quickly as I can, to as many things as I can; 3) In the breathing period before the next group of items are about to close, I butt in the bar line and get a new blue drink; and 4) If necessary, I start a bitch fight with those bidding against me for the jewelry that I have already determined to be mine.
As you may imagine, sometimes the bitch fights aren’t the only kind of fights happening at charity events.
But I’m getting more mature and I haven’t gotten into any fights lately. The hubbie and I do, however, like to observe our fellow silent auction participants. We’ve decided that they fall into three categories:
The Stalker: This person — usually a man who likes to gamble — writes down a low bid, then spends the next hour until the auction closes, pacing back and forth, checking and rechecking that no one has had the audacity to outbid him. He is way too cool to merely stand next to it; he has to act like he’s got a number of deals in the works, so he darts away for a minute, then back, then away…
The best person to beat a Stalker is
The Closer: This person lurks next to the item that he’s fixated on until the powers that be are j-u-u-s-s-t approaching to tear off the top copy, then WHAM! He slips in and trumps the high bid. This rarely scores a bargain deal, but as it is for a good cause and you’re drinking “free,” you don’t mind paying $500 for a $200 gift certificate to a perfectly mediocre restaurant. Well, you don’t mind until you actually have to give up a perfectly good weekend night to go to the Godawful place. The Closer usually gets way too caught up in the hunt-and-pounce and has a dearth of friends.
(Expert tip: A proven method to foil the Closer is to take away all the nearby pens when you put your last bid down; even if they do have a writing instrument on them, they don’t allow enough time to root for it.)
The closer is sometimes trumped by…
The Bully: This person generally uses non-verbal communication to “protect” the item she has targeted, but I actually was once verbally attacked. In my experience, the bully is usually a woman, probably still pissed off that she quit her high-paying managerial job to stay home with unmanagable children and hence she is now the boss of no one. Here are some of the methods a bully uses:
- The Stare-Down: Self-explanatory. A glare goes a long way, especially if the person you’re trying to intimidate is drinking an appletini … or a blue drink.
- The Block Out: Physically putting yourself between the would-be outbidder and the bid sheet works wonders; most people won’t shove while wearing heels — too easy to tip oneself over. No one likes to fall down at a posh charity event.
- The Distraction: The best way to keep someone from approaching your prized item is to spill your drink down the front of their dress. Accidently, of course. This method, while also buying a little insurance against others who may have thoughts of treasure-snatching, does have the downside of the occasional revenge pour. Also, if you utilize this method, you are going to need to have a backup drink, because you can’t leave your post to go to the bar.
- The Verbal Attack: This actually happened to me a long time ago … at a fundraiser for the ballet, the bastion of culture. I was bidding on a costume sketch, complete with swatches, from The Nutcracker, and it got down to a pissing match (culture talk) between this lady and me. Well, I was just tipsy enough that I had to have this stupid sketch and we kept upping the bids. Finally, I was standing a looong way from the coveted item, totally behaving myself and making snappy conversation with a high-powered local politician or the greasy teenager working the coat check, when BLAMMY — this mean lady with REALLY red lipstick and REALLY long fingernails that looked like they already had chunks of someone’s skin under them — grabs me by my pathetically flaccid upper arm. Well, she let me know — in no uncertain terms that were delivered amidst no shortage of rich lady spittle — that the Nutcracker sketch was going home with her.
Well, as I explained to you earlier — if you were actually paying attention — in my former life, I wasn’t one to shy away from a bitch fight.
Although I do vaguely remember waking up the day after the ballet benefit and seeing my blue lips and wondering if I had died. I’m not sure that makes me a winner.