The Yes Man | Notables
The "Yes" Man
aren't a girl's best friend. Mike Bloomberg is. His resourcefulness and
creativity help even the most romantically challenged pop the question in
By Rick Waters '95
Perhaps it's a quiet
table at a New York bistro. Or a moonlit night on the
shores of a private beach. Or maybe something simpler,
closer to home, like a picnic in the park.
Where is the perfect place to pop the
"It depends," says Mike Bloomberg. "The
marriage proposal has nothing to do with who's doing the asking. It's all
about who is being asked."
That may be a warm fuzzy, but it's
true. Where was the first date? What's her favorite flower? Ever been on
vacation together? Guys, you need to know this stuff because the answers can
be the starting point for creating a one-of-a-kind magic moment.
And whatever scenario can be imagined,
Bloomberg can make it happen.
Bloomberg '99 (MBA) is the founder of
an 18-month-old marriage proposal consulting business called An Exclusive
Engagement, designed to help the romantically challenged get in touch with
their creative side.
"A lot of men don't understand what's
important to a woman. They think, ‘I can just give her the ring. It speaks
for itself,' " he says. "Wrong. This is a moment that happens only once in a
relationship. Women expect something clever, something memorable."
And they should. A memorable proposal
is like a family heirloom.
So Bloomberg offers a variety of
services, from merely helping brainstorm the big moment (for which he
charges a flat fee) and the client does the legwork, to completely arranging
the occasion and, for an hourly rate, tending to every behind-the-scenes
He has hand picked candles, sprinkled
rose petals, lined up paparazzi-style photographers, finagled a way into
sold-out hotels, even chartered an airplane.
All in the name of love.
And every client he has helped has
gotten a "yes."
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A lifelong Fort Worth
resident, Bloomberg seems an unlikely source of relationship
advice. In high school, he was the guy all the girls wanted
as a friend. He was the caring, thoughtful Mr. Sensitive
who'd remember your birthday, pick out a perfect gift and
compose a greeting card message that Hallmark would envy.
Now 37, he's straight, single and has
no girlfriend (although he's dating). He has never been married, never
proposed and never claimed to be much of a ladies' man.
So where did all this romantic mojo
come from? Bloomberg credits his grandmother, who frequently took him as her
dining companion to fancy restaurants. "She's the epitome of a classy woman.
She loves long dinners with drinks, hors d'oeuvres, all the courses,
dessert, and of course interesting conversation."
He shops at Bed Bath and Beyond and has
regular pedicures, but he's also ripped and lives in the gym, formerly
trained by two-time boxing champion Paulie Ayala.
Call him metrosexual, a girly-man, a
romantic's romantic. Bloomberg has heard them all, and each one makes him
laugh, except one: "The Marriage Proposal Guy."
That one he likes.
It's his niche. As one of only two
proposal specialists in the country, he considers this his true calling.
"I wasn't in a band. I didn't play
sports. I can't sing. Can't play music. Can't draw. This is my canvas."
It all started almost seven years ago
when Bloomberg helped a buddy arrange a creative (and successful) marriage
proposal. Always the "go-to guy" for romantic ideas among his friends, he
thought, "How fun would it be to do this for a living?"
That dream did not escape his thoughts
for more than five years as he bounced from finance jobs to organizational
Then he just decided to go for it.
Realizing that he needed strong
word-of-mouth to get the idea up and running, he made a list of everyone he
knew and sent out postcards announcing his business.
He also knew he needed some type of
"quality control" to convince potentially skeptical men clients, so he
organized a secret sounding board of women to whom he would pitch his ideas.
He calls it his Chick Tank.
"Every proposal is woman-tested,
woman-approved," he says.
The group has about 50 members – young
and old, single and married – who rotate on and off as they're available.
Every month, Bloomberg hosts a dinner party with four or five of them to get
their feedback on his current projects. Almost always they confirm what he
One client was determined to use his
letter jacket some way to pop the question to his longtime high school
sweetheart and would not budge, despite Bloomberg's pleadings. Sensing a
dud, the Chick Tank rejected the idea and offered a proposal of its own:
Take her back to her hometown and ask her in her parents' backyard gazebo.
The difference is in the details.
When a new client comes to Bloomberg,
they sit down for an hour or two and the Proposal Guy starts asking
questions. How did the couple meet? What was their best date? Have they
traveled together? What's her favorite leisure activity?
Before long, a plan emerges, and
Bloomberg summons the Chick Tank. After that, he is available to clients via
phone, e-mail and text message to provide support and oversee the details
until everything is finalized.
"We might be tweaking up until the week
of the proposal," he says. "It's fun to see the other side of guys. They
tear up. They get emotional. They want to make it special and unique."
But what they don't want is for their
fiancées to know they had help. "Ninety-five percent want to be anonymous."
The fun proposals involve destinations.
They're challenging but also the most exciting and romantic. One recent
client surprised his fiancée-to-be with a waiting limo and a gorgeous gown.
The couple flew first-class to New York, where they donned evening wear and
hit the town for dinner and dancing, followed every step of the way by
paparazzi-style photographers. The night ended with him on bended knee at
Another client took his sweetheart to
Washington, D.C., and asked in front of the Smithsonian's Hope Diamond. His
love for her was so great, he wanted to give her the 45-carat monstrosity,
but would she settle for a 2-carat and his heart?
Of course she would.
Not all proposals are so far-flung. One
client asked his love on a balconied suite at the Renaissance Worthington
Hotel in Sundance Square, complete with a bouquet of yellow daisies with a
single red one in the center bearing a ring.
"Proposals are the ultimate pranks,"
Bloomberg says. "It's like being on ‘Punk'd' but more romantic."
The more elaborate the proposals get,
the more his business grows. A few months after he started,
PremierSingles.com tabbed him to be its "hip, masculine, but not brutish"
columnist of a biweekly feature called "The Men's Room," which addresses
dating issues. Then, DailyCandy.com asked him to write, too. He has appeared
on CNN, NBC and been interviewed by Time magazine. Dozens of high-end
resorts and hotels across the country now offer his services to their
Sony Pictures proposed a matchmaking
reality show as Bloomberg as a love doctor and likes the Chick Tank concept.
An independent production company Bloomberg can't name is interested in a
show based on the daily challenges of his business. Still another is
considering him for a Valentine's proposal special that may air on The
Bloomberg has since expanded his
tailored proposal business to include a date-of-the-month club through his
Web site in which he suggests an idea for one good night out every 30 days —
perfect for birthdays, anniversaries or special occasions.
"Now all I need is to go on ‘Oprah.' "
As for Bloomberg's own dream proposal,
he hasn't planned it. "It will depend on my future fiancée. I just don't
know who that person is yet."
But when the
time comes, he will have had a lot of practice.
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