Please Dont Talk About Love Tonight

Bachelors sold like veal! For the kids!

Please don't talk about love tonight, Alicia Bridges growled like a tigress while the well-shod women (including dames Gloria Zigner and Ruth Ko, sans former escort Daryl Gates) nibbled at California rolls and some extremely garlicky bruschetta. Please don't talk about the sweet love. She wants to go where the people dance. She wants actioooooon! She wants to live!

The sex tunes were swirling; the DJ, despite being unprepossessing and (let's face it) old, was pumping out classics that were subtly brainwashing every demurely aloof socialite on the broad patio. This was no time for silly love songs; this was raw—and if not dirty, then slightly more risqué than usual. The hunted would put aside The Rules for a couple of hours and feel the unaccustomed surge of testosterone, while men who had been lions quaked in the green room. That's what you do when you're an antelope: quake and drink beer. Or, if you're an antelope on Fox's Looking for Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska, you either try to bribe the women with bottles of champagne and unlistenably bad verse or walk off in a huffy daze when they "regretfully" choose another stud.

But this is not Alaska; this is the Sports Club Irvine. And this role reversal is not for cash "dowries" but "for the kids." It's an odd power play, the bachelor auction. The men—preparing to be ogled, judged like so much ground round, and sold to the highest bidder—were as freaked-out backstage as Barbara Coefacing Aztlanor Kay Rackauckasfacing a subpoena. Would these men have to put out like a crack whore seeking a fix? More accurately, would they get to? Two friends and another acquaintance begged me to be their backup; if nobody was bidding, would I be so kind? I did not reassure them that they were handsome and successful and would undoubtedly go for big bucks on the block. Let them suffer. My dear friend Kedric Francis, editor in chief of Riviera(the lifestyle mag for the very, very rich), was terrified. "That's because what you're about to do is extremely degrading," I explained slowly and sympathetically, as one would to a friendly 'tard. Then, for the rest of the night, I called him "Veal" and waved a fiver at him. Dance, veal! Dance!

The women of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, which was doing the pimping, had done a fabulous job of being shallow, for which I thank them: every man up there was a prime slab of flesh, though I'd been laughing at one pretty boy backstage for clearly being gay-gay-gay (and that was before he took off his belt and started waving it across his ass) when in fact he was merely European.

Most of the bids were respectable, in the $600 to $900 range. The first young man, a designer for DGWB, sold for less, but that was only because he went up before the women were well-lubed. In a fit of madness, I bid $300 for him (he was real muscley) but then was really, really glad when the auctioneer didn't see my hand and sold him to someone else for $250. The high bid of the evening—$2,200—went for a tall, blond attorney with an orange tan and no smile (though I'm sure if he had one, it would have displayed blindingly white teeth). He was gorgeous, if you like the ice queen type.

I suspect there were some ringers in the crowd: a beautiful "business owner/mechanical engineer" with a Chris Isaakthing going on paid an awful lot of attention to the "total stranger" (or secret girlfriend?!) who won him. He didn't leave her side for the rest of the night, while all the other men circulated, hoping to get in touch again with their inner wolf.

Gay Victor and I pooled our money, hoping to win Kedric (or at least the date package he'd glommed from sponsors, including dinner at Troquet, tickets to Phantom of the Opera, a room at the Beverly Hills Avalon Hotel—with spa privileges!—tickets to the Warhol and more, while most other dates seemed to offer nine holes of golf and drinks at Las Brisas). But between the two of us, Gay Victor and I could only part with $600, and Kedric, being manly and handsome and also offering more bribes in the middle of the auction to up the ante, went for $1,200 to a sweet market analyst named Karen, who kept saying over and over again in a very high, perky voice that she bought him "because he wasn't flashy." That's exactly what men love to hear!

Afterward, in the Sports Club Irvine's full bar (the one across from the sushi bar, as opposed to the one poolside), an orthopedic surgeon whom I had worried no one would bid for because he was black (God, I don't know a thing, do I?) was being jealously bookended by the two youngest blondes in the place. They were having a swell chat. Karen and Kedric got to know each other, as did the attorney and his new date—a very pretty blonde in a carnation-pink suit (and camisole)—who was described by some bachelors as "the woman whose breasts you could see"). And a sad bachelor who had been deserted by his owner got really drunk and kept trying to touch my throat. Remind me not to so brazenly show my neck anymore. It's just asking for trouble.

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