Fundraisers are an ideal venue to meet new people. A charity event attracts people with similar interests who are willing to write a big check for a lousy dinner and boring speeches. Since I wanted to meet eligible men after my traumatic divorce, I put a strategy in place: I identified causes that I was passionate enough about to spend my hard-earned money, and I bought tickets to a series of events, hoping that the karmic payoff might just be meeting the man of my dreams.
My first check was written to a political lobbying group, and the event was held at the home of wealthy donors. When I arrived at the McMansion at 6:00pm on a balmy evening, the first challenge was to decide which strangers to approach. I first looked at what the man was drinking. If it was Diet Coke, I moved on. A little alcohol was at least a clue that he wanted to relax, enjoy the evening, and maybe engage in a little flirting.
My first victim was tall and fit with no wedding ring, and had just ordered a vodka on the rocks. It all seemed good, so I ambled over to the bar and started a conversation. But he was very serious and only wanted to rant about politics in Sacramento (yawn), so I moved on. I had to case the joint quickly -- the cocktail hour was ludicrously short, after which I would have to sit at an assigned table.
I noticed that our host was staring at me. I did not know him, but I had done my homework and Googled him before the event. He was in his 70's, tall and attractive with beautiful white hair. He was retired and had made a fortune in commercial real estate. He was married to his third wife and had two teenagers with her as well as several grown children and grandchildren from his prior marriages.
He asked if I wanted to see his koi pond. Before I could react, he grabbed my arm and led me to the outskirts of his vast lawn. He started to question me about what I did for a living and why I had chosen this event. He was charming and flirty. But the questions soon escalated to my marital status and my cell phone number for a quiet dinner to talk "business."
Alarms were blaring in my head. I was just being sociable to my host, but now he had crossed into dangerous territory. I had no intention of pursuing a married man. Even worse was being viewed as hitting on a married multi-millionaire host of a charity event. I would be blamed for "egging" him on (somehow it's always the woman's fault) and I would be ostracized from the community of do-gooders forever. I had to leave immediately to save my reputation and hope that Mrs. Host or her friends had not overheard our repartee.
I told him that I had to use the ladies room and would be right back, and he promised to move my placecard so that we could sit at the same table. In fact, I fled the event and grabbed a fast food burger on the way home. Fortunately, there were no repercussions, but unfortunately, I was forced to find another charity to support.