Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Double Dose of Charitable Fun

Last week, I enjoyed a double dose of socializing for two very worthy causes.

Tuesday, I attended a benefit at the W Hotel in Midtown for Women Of The Congo. Nearly 200 guests schmoozed and listened intently to sobering remarks from some high-profile speakers.

Whoopi Goldberg talked about the urgency of responding to what’s happening in Congo

According to New York Times East Africa bureau Chief Jeffrey Gettleman, despite U.N. and U.S. involvement, brutality toward women in Congo has escalated. Whoopi Goldberg put the conflict in a historical context.

“When I was growing up, women were second class citizens,” she said. “So it’s not unusual for this to go on in other countries where women aren’t seen as 100% human beings.”

Whoopi introduced activist and playwright Eve Ensler, who’s been working on behalf of the women in Congo for years.

Eve Ensler spoke of her first-hand experiences in Congo

Eve shared astonishing anecdotes and statistics -- from a nine year old girl who was raped to the 500,000 women in Congo who have been brutalized, many with guns.

“When you allow human beings to be desecrated in this way, you license it everywhere,” she said.

A few days after Women Of The Congo’s powerful, standing room only event, I headed down to trendy SoHo nightspot Greenhouse for the Lighthouse International’s cocktail party fundraiser.

The crowd at Lighthouse Foundation’s party

I enjoyed some tasty hors d’oevures and signature green cocktails made with Veev, an eco-friendly Acai spirit that also supports the Brazilian Rainforest ($1 from each bottle goes to rainforest preservation). Sweet.

While Veeving it up, I chatted with cute Internet technology entrepreneur Robert, in town from Baltimore. Unfortunately, he lost his charm pretty quickly when he said that I’m nice -- for a native New Yorker.

Speaking of open mouth-insert foot syndrome, I had a good laugh with spirits marketing exec Michelle about this frequent male tendency.

She filled me in about some of her memorable NYC dating experiences. Among them -- a guy who claimed to “know a lot about women” after co-habitating as part of a threesome for years, and the player who insisted that a week was long enough to know someone before having sex.

No wonder Michelle is now happily reunited with her college sweetheart from elsewhere. I might consider that route myself, were it not for the fact that I went to a women’s college.

Coming up…speed dating at last and the small world of singles online.

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