Abby approached me after one of my classes. She said her grade was not the best, and she really needed to talk about it.
We went to my office to review her semester’s work. Her grade truly was not stellar, but still quite salvageable, so I spent some time telling her what she could do to improve. When we finished, she turned to leave. When she reached the door she paused.
I could sense there was something more she wanted to visit about, so I just stayed quiet and waited. Eventually, she turned back to me, breathed deeply as if seeking courage, and then spoke.
“Professor Howard, do you think I’m pretty?”
I was really taken back by her question. “Abby, why do you ask?”
“Well, you see, there is this fund raiser this afternoon for the Family Crisis Center. I am on a committee that is trying to get food donations, and there is a can auction. People donate things, and then those things are put up for auction, and people bid for what they want to purchase. What they bid is the number of cans they are willing to pay.”
“That is very commendable, Abby. But what does that have to do with whether or not you are pretty?”
“I put myself up for auction.”
“You put yourself up for auction?”
“Not me, personally, but a date with me. Some of us girls, and even a few of the guys, have done it.”
I was beginning to understand. I noticed that she was dressed in a beautiful dress, far more elegant than a person would normally wear to attend class. Her hair was immaculate, and her makeup impeccable.
“So you’re concerned that...”
She didn’t even let me finish before she spoke in a frightened, almost tearful tone. “What if no one bids on me?”
I tried to alleviate her fears. “Don’t worry, Abby. You are pretty, and I am sure someone will bid on you.”
“You think so?”
She smiled for a moment, and then, once more, her smile turned to a frown. “But what if the guy that bids is a real weirdo?”
“I suppose you will know he thinks you are worth something.”
“I hope he isn’t short. I wore my highest heels to make me look taller.” She held up her foot, and I saw an almost six inch heel on her shoe. I laughed. “I’m sure that will help.”
As she once more turned to leave, I wished her luck, and requested an update on how it all turned out. She nodded, steeled herself for the auction, and headed on her way.
A couple of days later she came back to my office to report. She said that the bidding for the date with her eventually came down to two guys, and the winner bid over 200 cans of food.
“And what is even better is the guy that lost was a strange boy from one of my classes, but the guy that won is a guy I like!”
I was happy for her. “Wow! Abby, that is wonderful! And I’m sure the Family Crisis Center will appreciate it.”
But she wasn’t smiling, and I could tell something else was wrong. When I asked her about it, she spoke quietly. “What if I end up falling in love with him?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“How could I ever tell my children that their father bought me at an auction?!”