A few nights ago, I went to the Quarter Auction at the Belmont Arena. I learned about this event weeks ago and asked around about how to get a ticket. A couple of women I approached smiled slyly and said that the auction was pretty much a women’s event. You bring a ton of quarters and bid on items that would enhance your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
“You’d be the only man!”
Well, there’s a challenge for you, Bruce. I don’t mind at all putting myself into unusual situations. In general, I love going to Belmont events because I want to meet people and move deeper into the community. So I kept searching for a ticket. And a lovely Belmontonian found one for me.
Up the steps to the meeting room in the arena, throwing a comment or two towards the women who were walking near me:
“I love being the token male.”
“Do you think they’ll be any sports equipment on offer?”
“All these women and me. What an opportunity!”
Some of the ladies smiled little smiles. Some seemed to turn away from me. One girl just laughed. I was on my way.
I gave the hostess my ticket and strolled into the room. Faces followed me. (I love this!) How did this painfully shy teenager turn into a 60-something who loves being the centre of attention? Ha! Ha! I don’t know and I don’t care.
I saw my friend “Melody”. She had invited me to sit with her and her daughters and so I did. They all seemed happy to meet me and were chuckling a bit about my presence in a sea of femininity. They taught me how to do the auction thing, raising my number 46 paddle high when I was bidding on a treasure. There was an orange plastic bowl in the middle of the table, ready for the descent of our quarters. Each item would have a value – anywhere from one to four coins.
There were probably twenty vendors and we did four rounds – about 80 items, of which I had interest in maybe two. That didn’t matter. I told myself I’d give away anything I won. The evening was about fun, not the addition of one more material possession to my home.
As I was chatting with my table friends, I’d sometimes look up, usually to see a woman from afar checking me out and then quickly averting her eyes. Gosh, I was such an oddity. Sometimes I’d walk over to the bar to get a pop and some potato chips. Mostly that was to flaunt my maleness in front of the assembled masses. Some people smiled. Some just stared. Both reactions were okay with me. As the evening proceeded, my scientific analysis suggested that the smiles were climbing and the frowns diminishing.
I decided to have some fun with my tablemates. My pile of quarters lay before me. After a vendor had described some apparently essential item, I’d pick up ten or so quarters and plunk them into the bowl. “But the cost is only two quarters,” someone intoned. I grinned silently. Mouths twitched in wonderment.
Another cool thing to do is drop quarters into the containers of my neighbours when they were looking over their shoulder at a vendor’s presentation. Ho, ho, ho! Mostly, my sneaky contributions weren’t discovered but other folks at the table guffawed to see my deception bear fruit. I never knew I had such a talent for being devious.
The evening’s MC often referred to the “ladies” in attendance and usually added “and gentleman”. The first time she mentioned me I jumped up and threw my arms to the sky, in preparation for the multiple marriage proposals that would undoubtedly come my way.
I kept hoping that the number 46 would be picked for some prize. I would again jump up, this time yelling “Yes!” But it never happened. (Sigh)
None of the results stuff matters. I had a blast. My table friends seemed to enjoy my contribution to the evening. And eighty women were left to contemplate further the question:
What is a man?