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So here's the thing...

Wrestling with the Urge to Spend

By Bill Bilodeau

So there I was, trolling through a chat room devoted to the exploits of the World Wide Wrestling Foundation (which then became the World Wrestling Foundation and is now simply World Wrestling Entertainment), disguis-, I mean, ah, using the profile of, for investigatory journalistic reasons, a 14-year-old boy. You see, the primary wrestling forums are made up almost entirely of teenagers (or maybe 40-year-old unemployed journalists pretending to be teenagers). There’s a good reason for this. If you’ve watched a wrestling show recently, it’s not hard to figure out the audience they’re aimed at. Women parade around in next to nothing, barely containing breasts that look as if they should be featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Male wrestlers act out skits written by their children (or in the case of Hulk Hogan, possibly grandchildren) and then run around in and around the ring like the Three Stooges on steroids. In other words, it’s aimed directly at me and others with similar sensibilities (or lack thereof).

But I’m clearly not the primary demographic of the show’s advertisers. Statistically, nearly half of television advertising consists of pitches for cars and drinks (beer, cola, energy drinks, Love Potion #9, etc.). However, 99 percent of wrestling show ads are for either computer games violent enough to nauseate Arnold Swarzen-, Swartzenneg-, Schwart-, Sylvester Stallone, or movies featuring characters designed to be featured in violent video games. The other one percent of ads are for energy drinks. (Editor’s note: Please bear with us, he’s only one more paragraph from the actual topic of this column. Thank you.)

So this was the audience with which I was conversing, or rather, eavesdropping, since I have nothing of substance to add to conversational strings regarding which wrestlers suck most (HHH) or whether Rachel Stevens or Jo Meara is the hottest member of the British singing group S Club 7 (Hannah Spearrit, hands down) when I came across a message directing attention to a Web page, labeled “Buy my Girlfriend!” The girl in question, an attractive 17-year-old English redhead, appeared, in the several photos provided, not to be aware she was for sale. The seller had listed a price of one million English pounds, though when I checked the page, the high bid was $13.75 American.

The page was, of course, part of the international tag sale phenomenon known as eBay.

As I write this, you can buy, if you are the lucky top bidder, a variety of bondage equipment, many items of which I don’t have a clue how to operate. Or, for about $14, you can proudly possess pills to make your breasts or penis grow (or both, if you’re part of the fastest-growing trend in pornography and Village Voice personals today – she-males).

Also available, along with four trillion Lego sets, are: a book on sex ed for the retarded; a doctoral degree from Pimp State University; radioactive marbles (“Mom, Delaney rolled my marble under the sofa!” “Okay, tell Dad to get the geiger counter!”); a freeze-dried baby alligator in a space suit; 10 kangaroo scrotums -- advertised with a sort of scary photo of a smiling infant surrounded by about 20 of them on a bed; the WhereIsSaddamHussein domain name; and a cure for mange.

I recently went on a major eBay splurge, buying five items in the space of a week, and losing out on two more (NOW where will I get a kangaroo scrotum?).

You can get ANYTHING on eBay. I’ve seen ads for human organs, rides in space, even the following ad:

Colin Brown: Actual human slave. Will work for food. House broken. Short curly orange hair. comes with nice cold cage to sleep in, water bottle and wheel. He responds to curly. [sic] he will do ANYTHING you demand of him. Feed 2 times a day. Require regular beatings. Fun for the family.

The minimum bid when I checked was 11 cents (plus $21.50 Shipping and “handling”).

So eBay is fun, and addictive. You can pretty much find anything there. My wife recently became mildly obsessed with actor Colin Firth, about whom most men will say, “Who?” while women will say, “Ohh, Mr. Darcy, yum!” I ran his name through eBay and found for sale, among other things, Colin Firth coasters, key rings, shot glasses, bottle openers and pillow cases (“Snuggle up to Mr. Darcy EVERY night!”).

So I spent much time on eBay. It’s not so much what I bought or how much I spent, but it became a weeklong family adventure. Every day my wife would say to me, “Have you checked eBay? Are we still the top bidder?” She would say this EVEN BEFORE she said, “Have you brushed your teeth yet?” At night, before we went to sleep, she’d say, “I hope we get the Playmobil. It’s much better than the one in the store.” This is because the one on eBay is old, as in used, and therefore far superior to today’s flimsy, pre-broken at the factory, unused version. Also, it came with female Indians.

This was a big point, because my son is nuts for his new, $90 Indian girl doll, and my wife’s master plan is to give him little action figures he can use to act out stories involving this little Indian girl, thereby saving the expensive doll from much wear and tear, and also causing my son to develop an affinity for salmon curtains and eyeliner. I just know it. But on eBay, that won’t be a problem. I can get two pair of Priscilla lace curtains in salmon for only $14.95.

It’ll just mean having to live with smaller breasts for awhile.