Valued (Update to the Bachlorette)

Did you ever think about your value?  Wikipedia ranks value in several different categories- extrinsic (the exchange of money) –intrinsic (the value of a security as opposed to the market or book value).

There are also ethical and cultural values (abstract objects representing their degree of importance)- or even the value of “right conduct and good life”.  So, something that is regarded as ethically “good” has more value than something that is culturally seen as “bad” and, therefore, of low value.

As I am re-evaluating my value (looking for a job has a way of doing that to you!)-I find myself looking back on instances in my life where I have been equated with inherent worth.

So-no surprise that when having dinner with my friends, this subject came up and I was reminded of a funny story about me and my value.

My dear friend Jeff and I regaled a group with this as one of those “Autumn stories” that tend to happen.  This was after recalling the time that I invited Jeff out to wine at Amelie (BEST wine bar in San Francisco BTW), only to submit him to a group of middle-aged swingers with bad fashion.  As a gay man, he is still recovering…..

No matter- this is an entirely different tale.  Back to value-

A few years ago, my friend Kristin (Camels and Chocolate) had a party.  After a few drinks-watching our friend Trish try on a paper mache’ Polar Bear head- I was roped into being part of a Bachelorette Auction.  Sounds cheesy, I know.  But-these were Team In Training runners, curing cancer and such, so I felt compelled to participate.  Of course, this was after a few cocktails and some of Humbolt County’s finest-but no matter.

I’d forgotten that I’d promised to be a part of this Bachlorette Auction, until I received a perky message asking for a profile and photo.  I knew I couldn’t squirm out.  So, I sat and put together a Bio that made me sound sweet-yet sexy, smart-yet fun, a yogini-yet not a total hippie.  I was dating a very nice guy (who I, of course, didn’t like because he was too boring).  I assured him that it would be all friends or friends of friends, thus noone would be bidding on me for real other than he.

The night of the auction, I got really nervous.  I showed up to find that I was to be first on stage, the worst spot!! This is what I get for helping a relative stranger.

Luckily, I was wearing my lucky red dress-the one where a man in the Mission literally chased me down the street yelling (what I will assume were flattering) things in Spanish.  It ALL sounds flattering in a Latin tongue, doesn’t it?

Before taking the stage, I begin bribing my friends, ex lover, bootcamp workout buddies, date-setting it up so I get at LEAST $150 (which is the value of the gift certificate for dinner).  My dear friend Lauren offered for her boyfriend to bid that amount in return for the prize.   So, I would avoid the embarrassment of “selling” for less than the prize was worth.  I also strategically placed friends throughout the room, making them commit to bidding up until the $150 was reached.  Thanks to my maneuverings, I would hopefully not feel like such an ASS for agreeing to be auctioned off.

So, I get up on stage in my red dress (with equally red face) as the person on the microphone starts the bidding. They start with $20 and move upwards in $20 increments.  I feel OK as my friends move up the bidding until $80 when, suddenly, a shout comes from the other side of the room- “TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS”!!!

Everyone gasped (including my date) and no one knew what to do! We had only agreed to bid up to $150!

Not to be outdone, my date yells back “Two hundred FOURTY dollars”!

As they say “You don’t win the silver-you lose the gold” and these two were going for the gold!

The bidding went up and up-until, finally,  I was auctioned for the price of $500.

Of course, I was relieved that I wasn’t the lowest “item” on the auction block-but it did bring up the issue of value.  Here were these people, bidding on one another, based on looks and a quick bio.  And, the things listed were all surface-job, hobbies, favorite vacation spots.  And, while some of those things add to our value, what about the real ones that matter?

I mean, none of the guys listed they would let you cry on their shoulder, buy you tampons if you needed them, carry your purse outside of a Porta Pottie, hold you every night until you fall asleep.  None of the girls said they would ignore your balding hairline, stick up for you in front of your nagging mother, boast of your prowess in front of your friends, laugh at that “Godfather” quote for the hundredth time.

But, in the long run, the great career may end, the looks will fade, the vacation weeks may be filled with kid stuff.  And, all you have left, all that is of value are those little idiosyncrasies that make you hot for someone.

And that, my friends, is worth more than a rose from a Bachelor, worth more than a $500 donation to charity, worth more than can be measured.

And-to say it best- is that surprisingly (or maybe NOT) wise lady-Marilyn Monroe:

Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.

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