For the past few years, I’ve been asked to participate in the Starlight Starbright Dream Date auction. Thrown by a children’s charity (the money raised goes toward bettering the lives of seriously ill kids), it’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, but I’m usually at the Grammys that weekend.This year I decided to forgo a celeb-studded weekend in L.A.-since I’m moving soon, it seemed like the responsible thing to do-which meant I was finally able to take part. Held Friday night at Park West, the event drew about 700 people; I was one of 15 B&Bs (bachelors and bachelorettes) who auctioned off entertainment packages. Contrary to what most people think, the B&Bs are not actually auctioning a date with themselves-although a winning bidder is certainly welcome to invite the representing B along on the date or trip.
As a participating bachelorette, I was asked to arrive early: by 5 p.m. When I walked in at 5:30 p.m. after being held up at work, a line of good-looking B&Bs was already assembled on the stage, receiving instructions from master of ceremonies Michael Williams and auctioneer Jeff Brown, both of whom have been involved in the event for 14 years. (They told me Danny Bonaduce emceed 15 years ago, when he hosted a radio show in Chicago.)
The first thing I noticed: I was the only B not wearing black. Since we were asked to wear formal attire-men in tuxes, women in long gowns-I opted for my “Oscar dress,” a gold-, champagne-, and blush-colored silk Nicole Miller number I wore to the 1997 Academy Awards.
The guests started rolling in at about 6 p.m. Ten of my friends attended to support the cause-and me. It helped knowing there were familiar faces in the crowd when I launched into my best catwalk strut, set to my last-minute musical request: Kanye West’s “Golddigger” (due to my gold dress, naturally!). My turn around the stage was a hit, and my package-a four-night stay at a seven-bedroom, ten-bathroom, 10,000-square-foot mansion in Park City, Utah-went for the biggest purse of the night: $8,000! A bidding war erupted; the lucky winners were none other than two of my good friends. We might use the house for a group getaway sometime this year.
The auction raised $77,000 that night; one of the highest-grossing events the charity has held yet. It probably didn’t hurt that the B&Bs were all good-looking, charismatic types hand-picked by Barbie Adler’s upscale dating service, Selective Search. I even made a couple of new friends: Kacey, a beautiful cosmetics marketer, and Brian, a former Northwestern football player.