This is a common trope
in Live-Action TV
comedies: A bunch of male characters get together for a "date auction," usually for charity, and the plot is usually written from the results. Expect these to happen:
Note there are rarely any bachelorette
auctions. However, there are occasional "basket auctions." In these, a woman will bring a basket to auction, and men will bid on the basket so they may have lunch with the ladies. An example of this is in a Gilmore Girls
episode where Rory is "purchased" by her boyfriend's rival, and Luke is forced to buy Lorelai so she won't be bought by bachelors Miss Patty has found.
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- In the Action Comics backup strip Jimmy Olsen's Big Week (later released as a one-shot), Lois pushes Jimmy into signing up for one of these. Jimmy's narration laments that his life has become a series of sitcom cliches. And then his archenemy, hotshot young Lexcorp exec Sebastian Mallory, is bought by his ex, Chloe Sullivan. Just when he thinks the whole thing is a disaster, a woman offers a million dollars for him. Shame it's Mr Mxyzptlk's daughter.
- A FanFic for Stargate SG-1 involved this trope, as a fundraiser for Pentagon 9/11 victims and their families. Someone who thinks they're hot stuff- check. Someone bid on by rich, horny old lady - check. Thought it's obvious the author is a big Daniel fan.
- My Night With You, a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, did this. Here, the rich old lady was instead an hideously obese hippopotamus woman. Also uses the "purchased by love interest" point.
- In the A Certain Magical Index fic A Certain Date Auction, Academy City sets up an event where anybody can bid to get a date with anybody else. The girls in Touma's Unwanted Harem pool their resources to buy him for 1,760,000 yen. In the end, Aleister Crowley gloats because all the money from all the auctions went to him; that was the whole point of this.
- Groundhog Day features one in the last iteration of the loop. Phil Connors, who by this point has developed into someone who stops the same kid from breaking his leg every day, is bought for $339.88 (the entire contents of his Love Interest's wallet). His cameraman co-worker is bought for 25 cents.
- Coal Miners Daughter has the "basket auction" angle as part of a southern courting thing. Her eventual-husband Mooney bets on Loretta's home-made pie. This prompts this exchange.
Mooney: *Takes a bite and very very carefully chews and swallows it.*
Loretta: *expectantly* Well?
Mooney: How much salt y'supposed ta put in this kinda pie?
Loretta: Silly, ya don' put salt in pie...
cue look of horror on Loretta's face
- Road Trip: There's a bachelorette auction at a party, where the Veronica is to be auctioned off, and knows that a creepy guy will try to get her. She begs the protagonist to bid on her, and the auction leader then ignores any further bids. Note that this is unusual in that the auctioneer stresses that they are not buying the girl, but buying her company.
- Played straight in Coyote Ugly when Violet needs to pay off a $250 fine caused by a mistake she'd made, she auctions off her own love interest to the bar's female patrons. At first shocked and embarrassed, he goes along with it anyway (easily getting her the required amount due to his looks and charm), and later forgives her after all is said and done. Also subverted at the end of the movie when she auctions off her father. Unlike the earlier auction, this was simply a pretense for hooking him up with the cute redhead who was there with him; the two had already shown interest in each other, but Violet's dad had been a bit anxious about actually asking the woman out.
- In a gender inversion, Batman and Robin (in the movie of the same name) are at an auction and try to outbid each other for Poison Ivy, with Batman winning and paying for it with his Bat credit card. *
- White Chicks had a Bachellorette auction where one of the Wayans Bros (Marlon). dressed like a socialite was being bid on. The other brother (Shawn) then went through the crowd to ensure that the bid wasn't won by Terry Crewes character who had been pestering Marlon throughout the film, making sexual advances etc.
Live Action TV
- The plot of Oklahoma! revolves around a basket auction and who will be accompanying (and bidding on) who.
- In Paint Your Wagon, a Mormon comes to California with two wives, and is forced to give up one of them. Elizabeth, the less favored wife, offers herself up for auction. Ben places the winning bid and marries her.
- In The Devils Panties, comic artist Jennie Breeden does at least two weeks' worth of strips a year about "Geek Auctions" she has attended. With special emphasis placed on any strippers or Ho Yay encountered.
- In webcomic Too Much Information, Ace gets dragged into a Bachelor Auction and pretty much gets bid on by every woman with a pulse, including a supermodel and a millionairess. And one without a pulse - the winning bidder is a female vampire.
- There was an Octopus Pie arc where Marek entered a bachelor auction to raise some money and gave Hanna some money to make sure she got him. She was outbid before she even finished. He ended up spending the date talking about Hanna to the winner.