Yet another Talkeetna Bachelor Auction has come and gone. The Bachelor Society has become my charity/cause of choice; the Society raises money for victims of domestic violence, a cause close to my heart. Plus, they do it in a fun way, rather than the usual hand-wringing way.
And geez, it’s just so Talkeetna. Who could resist?
Last year I got involved at the eleventh hour, worked my butt off, and the boys “rewarded” me by nominating me for VP on the board. (those tricksy bachelors! Make you think they’re giving you attaboys when they’re really just signing you on to some form of indentured servitude. And yet somehow, you like it…)
Last year I helped with organization and agreed to the gig at the auction I lovingly call “bachelor wrangling”. This went well enough, so this year I did it again. It’s fun in it’s own weird way. And very suited to my skills: it involves equal parts pep talks, bossing around, and using the Evil Mama Voice.*
Bachelor Wrangling also involves spending the entire evening in the men’s room. Let me explain (lest I appear to be the weirdest of all fetishists). The Bachelor Auction in recent years has taken place in the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar – our local theater created out of an old airplane hangar. This place has been a huge gift to the community, we are truly blessed. The auction allows women only, except for a few choice volunteers. The bachelors up for auction are only allowed into the event while they are being auctioned and having their photos taken afterwards. So we stage the boys at the pub nearby and they come over in small groups to enter the auction through the john. The bathroom has an entrance from the outdoors as well as a door to the main venue; and as it’s a girl-only event, it’s not used for it’s intended purpose by the public.
So the guys come over from the pub, enter the john from the outside, and meet me. I’m standing there by the inside door with my clipboard, an armload of roses, my cell phone, and holding random fellas’ jackets while they’re on the catwalk. I get them lined up, hand each a rose (to give to the lucky lady who purchases them), and listen for cues from the stage to know when to send out the next
victim catwalk star.
I also hand out general advice.
“That acrobatic number you’re planning? Watch your ass, the catwalk is slippery from snow.”
“See the blonde in the second row? She will totally try to grab your package during your photo if she buys you. So. Good luck with that.”
“Your grandmother is in the balcony. You might want to avoid the comments about your freakishly long tongue. Just saying.”
As you can imagine, the boys are genuinely nervous. They are about to enter a room full of screaming women, get up on stage, attempt to shake their moneymakers and get sold off to the highest bidder for a photograph, a drink, and a dance. It’s like a junior high popularity contest. They’re all full of talk like, “How much did he just go for? I’ll never make that much! Should I take my shirt off? I have to take my shirt off. Oh My God the boss is in there! Is that MY MOM?”
As the evening wears on and the ladies get a little more well-lubricated, I have the added task of kicking curious women out of the men’s room. Some want pictures, some want to give advice (“Seriously, take that damn hat off or no one will want you!” “Will you please sing that one song you did in high school choir…?”) but most want to essentially preview the sale.
That thing they say about women and shopping? It’s totally true. As is the part about women being dirty, dirty girls who put men to shame. Seriously. Wow.
The Bachelor Wrangler is a pretty hectic job sometimes. If someone chickens out (I’d say 7-10% do each year) I have to last-minute get the word to the MC and the DJ so they don’t introduce the wrong man. This can involve flagging down a random bystander to deliver a message; sending a message up onto the stage with a half-panicked bachelor, or elaborate hand-signals sent across a crowded room. I’m also trying to communicate with the guys at the pub – red rover red rover! send bachelors number 10-15 on over!
But the craziest – and most fun – part is dealing with the boys themselves. Our veterans are usually pretty well contained. They know the drill. They have a plan – some will have donated flightseeing trips or restaurant dinners or pie or wine to sweeten the deal. Some will have worked up an elaborate stage entrance. Some will have a costume to fiddle with.
And then there’s the ones who are not so well contained. Most are rookies and just get a little hyper from the nerves.
This year we had a nervous rookie who was also new to town. He sincerely asked me, “Am I going to have to take all of my clothes off?”
Now, we are not a prostitution ring, and we’d probably need some elaborate permit to do a true stripper show. I told him, “It’s up to you. Please – for the love of God! – keep the block and tackle firmly hidden away. After that, your state of undress is up to you. Remember, if you take stuff off, you may never get it back. And be careful near the edge of the stage. you will – i repeat, WILL – be groped.”
Another rookie later asked me a similar question, and got a similar answer. But as he witnessed the man before him being auctioned for big bucks and the screaming responses from the crowd, he nervously announced, “I need to get this stuff off now!” and proceeded to hurriedly take off everything but his cartoon-covered boxers and bunnies, with seconds to go before I shoved him out to the awaiting lions: wide-eyed, Alaskan winter-pale, and visibly terrified. I think he did rather well.
Some of the boys’ nervousness makes them a little over-enthusiastic. Last year, one of my bachelors dashed out the door before the previous bachelor was sold off. I then had to run up on stage, grab him by the shirt, and physically drag him back into the men’s room.
And then there’s the sincerely charming moments of insecurity that I have come to expect from fellow females but don’t often witness from the male of the species.
“Does this make my ass look huge?”
“I spilled wine on my shirt! No one will bid on me, now!”
“I go up after that guy? But I’m bald!”
“I can’t be bachelor number 13! it’s unlucky!”
“IS THAT A PIMPLE? I’m going to die…”
Which is where the mama-skills kick in:
“Calm down, you’ll be great.”
“I believe in you!”
“Remember, it’s for a good cause, and it will all be over in just a few minutes.”
“Take a deep breath. I got you covered. Just do as I tell you when I tell you…”
“for fuck’s sake, shut up and BREATHE!”
And of course, the personal benefit to me is the best. They appreciate me. And I’m the only girl they really get to talk to. This year, I got countless compliments on my innate magnificence, looks, and dress; three kisses, two declarations of undying love, and one marriage proposal.
So, it’s not really unselfish altruism that keeps me coming back. I’m in it for the worshipful adulation of my goddess-like self.
Actually, I’m just in it for the boys.
These crazy, eccentric, scruffy, Real Alaskan Men who put themselves through abject terror and potential rejection to raise money and awareness for those women who’ve been mistreated by other guys.
What’s not to love?
Good job, boys. I’m very, very, proud of each and every one of you.
-Menace Leader (Bachelor Wrangler)
*My children have taken to calling me the Evil Bitchmonster of Doom when I have to use the Mama Voice, but I can’t take full credit for that, as a dearly departed friend was the original Evil Bitchmonster of Doom and she broke the mold. the best i can hope for is EBMOD-in-training. Bless you Erin, you were one of a kind.
Some fun coverage of this year:
General Sexy Bachelor Linkage:
Bachelors of Talkeetna official(ish) website
our groovy little Facebook group
and you can donate too! Make sure you specify that your donation goes to the Talkeetna Bachelor Society Fund for Women and Children in Crisis. (there, didn’t that feel all warm and fuzzy?)