Since I’m back in school, I’ve started volunteering again. There’s a really handy website called One Brick that lets you sign up for events and simply show up the day of.
It’s a convenient way to find out about volunteer opportunities around Boston. It usually consists of normal stuff, like working in a soup kitchen or handing out water at a charity run. But last weekend, I saw an event that looked a little bit different.
A non-profit called Project Smile was putting on a charity date auction, naming it “Boston’s Largest Fall Singles Event.” With such a declaration, how could I not be interested? Me and three friends RSVP’d for the event.
Not that we’d be participating– we all signed up as volunteers. Still, it sounded like an interesting way to spend a Friday evening. Date auctions are one of those things I’ve only seen in the movies. Were they really the same in real life?
The event called for “cocktail attire.” So, after class that day, I ran home, geared up, and got my game on.
My friends and I headed to the venue, appropriately named “Venu.” Inside, we found a fancy nightclub, decorated for the occasion.
There was a silent auction…
…a backdrop for photos…
…and a table full of vibrators.
This was going to be interesting.
I was assigned to the money-handling table. Here, the auction winners would come up and pay for their date. My job? To make them sign a waiver.
As we set everything up, more and more people started filing into the nightclub. Soon, the entire place was packed. The bachelors and bachelorettes being sold wandered around, chatting with prospective bidders. Finally, at 7:30…
The auction started out strong. Miss Massachusetts was at the event, presumably as the celebrity guest. She was invited to the stage to say a few words. And then, a surprise:
Whoa, you can’t just spring that on someone! Onstage, she has no way to say no! What if she wasn’t okay with this? The bidding began, quickly escalating higher and higher. She is a beauty pageant winner, after all. Man, I was getting nervous for her.
Finally, when the bids reached over $300…
To my relief, Miss Massachusetts’ own boyfriend had stepped in and offered the highest bid, which ended up being over $300. This was a hard act to follow. Maybe we had a tough crowd that night, but it became hard for the MC’s to get anything beyond the initial bid.
It started to get kind of desperate.
For one lady, the awkward silence got so bad that the MC bought the girl himself.
The MC’s even encouraged people to buy more than one date. One gentleman ended up buying three or four girls.
As weird as that sounds, though, I think he did it out of goodwill.
The entire date auction wasn’t a bust, though. No, sir. There was a savior up ahead. The crowd started out lukewarm– but it wouldn’t last.
You see, my friends and I hadn’t signed up for the event just because it was a date auction. We signed up because we saw the flyers.
You read that right.
We were interested.
The MC’s brought the first firefighter on stage. Not only was he a firefighter, but he was also a paramedic. A double-whammy lifesaver. This was the guy that we had all been waiting for.
You could hear the panties dropping. Or, more literally, the bids escalating.
The bids stalled around the upper 300’s. Then, the MC offered:
Almost immediately, an old lady raised her hand, pulled out her wallet, and bid $400. High-pitched cheers erupted across the room. The DJ put some sexy music on.
Luckily, the firefighter was a good sport. He proceeded to strip down– first his vest, then his shirt, then his undershirt, then: no shirt. The MC even gave him a pink firefighter cap to complete the look.
As this was happening, of course, the bids continued to rise.
Finally, the MC pulled out the big guns.
The crowd went wild, and the rest was history.
After that, everything seemed to loosen. Bids went higher. The crowd seemed more at ease. And, most importantly, clothes just kept coming off.
It was the most awkward and hilarious spectacle I’ve ever seen.
Project Smile raised $18,000 in just that one night– all thanks to the shirtless firemen.