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'Manthropy' Offers Dates With Bachelors for a Good Cause

By Mary Johnson | June 6, 2012 11:58am
Gianluca is among those bachelors who will be up for auction at the Manthropy event on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at the Flatiron Hotel.
Gianluca is among those bachelors who will be up for auction at the Manthropy event on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at the Flatiron Hotel.
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MANHATTAN — Fourteen eligible bachelors are heading to the auction block on Wednesday night in the hopes of lighting a few sparks and raising money for sick children.

For $45, charity-minded ladies can get a free drink and bid on dates with one of 14 eligible hunks on deck — with all proceeds from the auction going toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The event at the Flatiron Hotel was organized by Manthropy, an organization that auctions off men for a variety of charitable causes.

“We found that the easiest part of the undertaking was getting the bachelors,” explained Willa Bernstein, a public interest attorney who founded Manthropy back in 2006. “They like being the ones that are sought after and kind of objectified for an evening.”

Bernstein, who most recently worked at the mayor's office, got the idea for the group after she and a group of her girlfriends solicited their single male friends to participate in an auction to benefit the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

For each event, the informal committee of gal pals sifts through their roster of connections in search of biddable bachelors. The men submit a photo and a five-line bio, and if they make the cut, they head to auction.

The committee looks for well-rounded guys who are successful and charming and, of course, good looking, Bernstein explained.

“Cute is a factor,” she said. “I try to make it kind of a glamorous thing, where you feel you wouldn’t necessarily be able to approach this person at a bar in your regular life.”

In fact, part of Bernstein’s inspiration for the event was a belief that many women don’t take charge of their dating life.

“I think women wait in the corner too much to be approached by men,” said Bernstein, who lives in Chelsea. “For one evening, the women are choosing who they take on a date, which I think is fun.”

Each guy will offer a specific evening out. Some are proposing dinner for two at a swanky restaurant. Others, like Mark Herschberg, are promising a little something different.

“I’m offering a night of dancing,” said Herschberg, 38, a former championship ballroom dancer turned startup entrepreneur.

Herschberg, who lives in the Sutton Place area, said the decision to participate in the auction was an easy one.

“Any time you ask a woman out, there’s always, on some level, the 15-year-old inside of you fearful of rejection,” he said. “I don’t have to deal with it now.”

The philanthropic element of the event made it even more of a no-brainer, he added.

“Everybody wins. Maybe I’ll meet someone through it. The charity gets support,” Herschberg said. “My hope is just not to be the lowest priced bachelor there.”

As money-makers for various charities, Manthropy’s events have routinely been successful, Bernstein said. The average winning bid for her bachelors is a couple hundred dollars, but the highest ever bid topped out at more than $10,000.

As for love, Bernstein said folks have met and married at her parties, but nothing serious has happened between bidders and the bachelors they’ve bought.

“We’ve had some people who’ve continued dating after their first date,” Bernstein said. “But we haven’t had any relationships yet.”

“I’m hoping we have some lasting relationships or marriages,” she added.

The event will be held at 8 p.m. in Toshi’s Living Room at the Flatiron Hotel, located on West 26th Street and Broadway. Tickets cost $45 each.