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Party Hopping

Heated 'Hunk Auction' Rakes in a Cool $85,000

November 12, 1987|Ann Conway

Talk about doubling your pleasure.

Stephen Bizal couldn't believe his luck at "Bid for Bachelors," a benefit that grossed $85,000 for the Orange County chapter of the March of Dimes.

Two stunners--a willowy blonde and a petite brunette--combined monetary forces Monday night to bid a whopping $4,200 for a date with the dazzling, dark-haired chiropractor.

"I'm at a loss for words," said Bizal, 34, clutching Louise Toth and Laila Levin to his brawny sides. "Still in shock. I've never taken out two girls on one date. This will be a unique experience."

Toth, an interior designer, and Levin, an exporter of used sports cars to Japan, are roommates. "We both wanted him, and we're good friends and . . . we didn't know what else to do!" said a breathless Toth, who had already bid $1,600 for a date with Paul Faus, 35, president of his own terminal-leasing company.

Perhaps it was the description of the "kind of women who find Bizal interesting" that got the two women bidding: "The provocative lady who looks for leadership, achievement, wealth, and one who finds comfort in being treated like a queen," the program said.

Or maybe it was auctioneer Carol Nuss' heated prodding that had many of the women using auction paddles as fans: "Look at that face!" Nuss screamed into her portable mike, stalking the "auction-block" runway at Le Meridien hotel like a panther. "That smile! Don't let this one get away. . . . Remember. He used to be a stunt man!"

The evening began sedately enough. During a champagne reception, the 500 women--some dressed to kill, others in invitation-prescribed "office wear"--perused auction programs, nibbled appetizers and exchanged whispered commentary as they watched the 21 bachelors ooze charm on videotape.

But, when the ballroom doors were flung open at 7 p.m. to the throbbing "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters, a screaming, howling, bobbysoxer-like momentum began to build.

"Yeeeeooooowwww!" some of the women squealed, applauding as the bachelors jaunted down a center aisle, then onto the ramp before taking seats at the front of the room. "Owwwwwwwwwww!," others screamed as the men took their places on the auction block--"the hunk block," as one breezy bachelorette called it.

One at a time, the men were paraded like thoroughbreds before the giddy crowd. And one at a time, the bachelors sold their wares, their way: James Earl Birschbach, 38, tall-ship captain, wore his snow-white, gold-braided uniform and got a $1,600 bid from Jean James; Franco Vessia, 32, general manager of Prego restaurant, flashed handcuffs and got $600 from Johanna Supple; James Gresko, 34, a financier, put together a trip to Singapore and fetched $5,100 from Linda Peden Bill Johnson, 32, vice president of Nautilus Imports, sported a pastel-print cummerbund and bow tie to conjure up Tahiti, a trip won with a $4,000 bid by Debra Cyr ("I collected most of the money from companies who wanted to donate to the March of Dimes," said Cyr, gowned in a froth of black lace).

By 9:05 p.m., the March of Dimes was already $74,000 richer, emcee Tom Wilson announced.

"Ladies! We're running out of men!" he yelled.

Pandemonium. Paddles were pushed higher. Women rose to their feet. The screaming and hooting and howling reached a head-splitting pitch. More money for the March of Dimes: Wendy Cowle anted up $3,600 for John Kohut, 28, and a date in Tokyo; Sheila Meskin said yes to $2,900 for a fling in Barbados with Craig Koehler, 27; Jody Fox donated $2,000 to visit London with Mark Wetherall, 35, and Michelle Stelliscy paid $2,000 to visit Catalina with Stan Tkaczyk, 41.

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