Head Hunting 

Wanted: A personal assistant who's willing to do some real hands-on work

Wanted: A personal assistant who's willing to do some real hands-on work

The classified ad seemed normal enough at first. "Personal assistant to Nashville area CEO. This unusual career opening is only available to a highly qualified applicant seeking a long-term, high-paying position working intimately with a high-energy technology industry executive," read the employment ad on page 7F of a recent Sunday Tennessean. "Details are available online at www.bizbachelor.com."

That's when things got weird.

"First, I want you to understand that what I am looking for here is a full-time, physically and emotionally intimate companion, to share every facet of my business and personal life," the Web site read. "This is not an arm's length day job. You will live in my home, eat my food, work at my office, travel with me, attend meetings with me, and work each day at the job of being my friend, helper and private companion."

But this adventure, one of the more novel experiments in employment history, has come to an abrupt end.

Clearly, this was more than your average administrative assistant position, which is why the venture—by a Hendersonville businessman who publicly identifies himself only as the Biz Bachelor—has come to a screeching halt. Though the Biz Bachelor received dozens of responses from his highly unorthodox shout-out, his business partners ultimately couldn't abide the concept. Still, the whole affair, dead in the water though it may be, was enough to stir some desperate, or perhaps simply equally adventurous, women to action.

Until the Web site was pulled earlier this week, it told applicants that the job requires candidates to be "young, slim, naturally attractive" and, well, female. Other requirements were computer savvy, intelligence and a willingness to fall in love with their new boss. It would be a way-too-personal assistant job that would come, hopefully, with a lifetime of happiness.

"I've been married four times," the Biz Bachelor said on a recent visit to the Scene's offices, before ultimately abandoning his search after his business partners expressed their concerns. "And all four times I've married housewife types. It ended disastrously, and it was always my fault." Basically, the Biz Bachelor is a workaholic computer guy—he says friends describe him as "a geek with a personality"—whose type A-ness and penchant for double-clicking his mouse always sabotage his love life.

This time, he was looking for a mate to share his neuroses. "I'm an odd guy. I work 18 hours a day." The goal was to find "an equally business-oriented high-aptitude woman" who would join him in running his business. The problem that led to this bizarre classified call for companionship? "I'm picky as hell, and I'm looking for someone who's equally picky."

The anonymity-loving Biz Bachelor describes himself as "on the upper side of average looks, average height and average weight" with short hair, a "smooth olive complexion" and "a sly, boyish grin." (The Scene bites its tongue on this one, but does note that the Biz Bachelor was wearing a Polynesian flower print shirt when he stopped by our offices.) Once he received résumés and photos from job seekers who answered his short-lived offer, he sent photos of himself along. This, he reports, led to a slight drop-off in correspondence.

Indeed, the Biz Bachelor's personal and professional success depended largely on intrigue—and he knew it. That's why he insisted that applicants who pursued the position and learned more about him signed a nondisclosure agreement. The guy wanted—and now that his partners have raised their eyebrows, really wants—to remain anonymous. And he certainly doesn't want those who applied for the job to tell others about his corful, even troubled, past or current business ventures.

You would expect some hate mail about a venture like this. But—get this—the Biz Bachelor, who reports that well over 2,000 distinct surfers visited his Web site before it was taken down, has gotten zero negative feedback. None. Instead, the e-mails he received came from interested women who applauded his "innovative" approach to finding a mate. It was "refreshing," "honest" and "creative," they wrote. "Good luck," many others said. Added one: "Watch out for the 'crazys' out there."

Men, too, wrote the Biz Bachelor to praise and encourage him. "I have been in your situation for over a year now and just don't find the dating scene to be satisfying at all," wrote Gary, a 50-year-old "techno-geek" with plans to emulate Biz Bachelor's aborted gimmick.

Placing a "help wanted" ad for a wife seems weird. Paying an assistant for a full-service relationship strikes folks as funny. But perhaps this is the wave of the future? The only ones who voiced opposition to the Biz Bachelor's plan were classified ad execs at The Tennessean and bizjournals.com, both publications that ran the ad only to cancel it mid-week. (He says the Scene and the City Paper ran it without objection.) "I am not trying to be sarcastic," wrote Michael Montoya of bizjournals in his belated rejection letter, "but if companionship is what you seek then try one of the online dating sites."

The Bachelor has tried those, as well as video dating services, and quite frankly the prospective partners just weren't up to snuff. "Advertising in the employment section is a lot more expensive than selling a lawnmower," he says, noting that he spent $2,000 on the project.

That's a hefty chunk of change to spend on a love-hunt that ended with unappreciative glares from his colleagues.

So now all there is for the Biz Bach to do is come up with a more suitable way to find an attractive, professional woman to, er, assume the position. It's a shame, though, because he had more interest than he ever expected he would from bizbachelor.com, including inquiries from as far away as Alexandria, Va. We figured a link to the Biz Bach's site would have been forwarded around the planet before you could say, "Divorced white male in search of sexy secretary."

Perhaps it's all for the best. As the Bach himself puts it, "I don't expect there's some 150 IQ, master's degree Barbie doll out there waiting to swoon."

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