Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Miss Advised:" Being Julia Allison

Bravo’s “Miss Advised” rolls along. Three so-called relationship experts roll from one dating calamity to another.

It’s as though a television producer decided that it would be interesting to show the world how not to do it. Each week we find the three making new mistakes, and, regrettably, getting hurt in the process.

It’s painful to watch. Yet, I keep watching, for the same reason that we all watch train wrecks.

Take Emily, for example. She’s a sex expert; she has a radio show where she talks about sex; she shares her intimate secrets with her listeners; she is willing to kiss whoever comes along.

Now, for the past two episodes men have propositioned Emily… to participate in threesomes with them and their girlfriends. Apparently, these men like threesomes and their girlfriends have a special fondness for women.

The surprising part: Emily cannot understand why men see her as threesome material.

Can anyone be that naïve? Apparently, Emily can.

A question for today: how smart you have to be to be that clueless?

And then there’s Amy. A professional matchmaker Amy gives great advice. For some reason she never takes the great advice she gives herself.

Amy has been trying to develop a relationship a younger man, one Lewis.

Amy is in her mid-thirties; Lewis is in his mid-twenties.

It’s a long shot, but sometimes it does work.

On her second date with Lewis Amy broke one of her own rules and told him how she felt when he took too much time to call her after their first date.

Amy told herself that it was the wrong thing to say. She said it anyway. She wanted Lewis to understand how desperate she was and how difficult she could be.

Amy thought she was being open and honest. Lewis saw stop lights flashing. For him it was a deal breaker.

On their third date he took Amy to a diner where he announced that their “relationship” was over. Amy never saw it coming. Apparently, her ability to read dating situations needs improvement.

Maybe she turned him off with her inopportune remark. Maybe it was the age difference. Who knows?

Amy was crushed. We would have a better feeling for her pain if she had not erased most of her facial expressions with Botox.

But, you will think, Amy wants to look young. Who doesn’t?

She would do better to follow my rule in such matters.

If a woman is 35 and she dates a man who is 25, in his eyes she will look old.

If a woman is 35 and she dates a man who is 45, in his eyes she will look young.

Keeping this rule in mind will save a lot of women from the indignity of Botox.

If the ladies of “Miss Advised” are competing to see who can behave the worst, Julia Allison is currently leading the pack.

Last night, Julia decided that she had to be who she is because otherwise she would be a fake. She is wise enough to know that men do not fall in love with fakes.

As I was watching her version of being herself I started thinking that most people do not have a clue about what it means to be who you are.

Julia doesn’t, and she went to Georgetown.

So, thirtysomething Julia tries to figure out who she is and she decides that she is: an eighteen year old prom queen.

She arranges a date that will allow her to relive her prom. Unwilling to relinquish the least bit of control she turns herself into the impresario, ropes in a guy named Andrew, and organizes the whole thing. She has never met Andrew but she has been corresponding with him on Facebook.

Rather than share this special moment with someone she knows and cares for Julia chooses someone who has passed the audition.

Before the date, Julia tries explaining the idea to a new friend, named Jessica.

It often happens on the show that the three experts receive good advice from friends and family. When Julia divulges her plan, Jessica is horrified. She is even more horrified when she learns that Julia has kept all of her old prom dresses, ready and waiting for just such an occasion.

Jessica tries to dissuade Julia from making herself look like a complete fool. To no avail. Julia does it anyway.

So, Julia and Andrew go out on her high school prom. It isn’t half bad. Andrew is a good sport. Since he knows he is being filmed, he does not have much of a choice. Perhaps he also believes that he is going to receive a great reward for being so cool. 

I hope that Andrew received his reward, because he deserves it for suffering the indignity of being case in someone’s own private psychodrama. As the show portrays it, Julia has to beg him for a good night kiss. This is not a good omen.

One does not want to plumb the depths of the insecurity that would convince an otherwise intelligent young woman that a high school prom date be a good way to get to know a man.

Julia might believe that she is being true to her authentic self by acting this way, but she is most definitely not.

Here’s a hint: she is no longer eighteen. She is no longer in high school. She is not going to the prom. It’s time to put away the toys of childhood.

In truth, she is acting out a drama, playing a role, and being completely inauthentic. She has found a way to go out on a date and not relate to her date at all. It’s effective as self-defense, but that's all it can ever do.

One needs to mention that along with Julia’s closet-full of prom dresses there is the matter of her bedroom. It is all pink, pink on pink, to the point where, even if you have a special fondness for pink, it cloys.

Call it a defiant assertion of girliness. It’s not an assertion of womanliness. Julia’s bedroom would be fitting for an eight-year old.

The first rule to knowing who you are is knowing how old you are, and acting your age.

Julia is pretending to be young and spontaneous. She comes across as a consummate fake. Amy is pretending to be younger than she is. Her prospective paramour is not fooled. Emily, at least, is acting her age, though she is completely clueless about how her well-constructed brand might affect the way other people see her.

You go, girls!


Bizzy Brain said...

Back when I was 25, a woman five years older, let alone ten, would never be serious relationship material. Someone to go out and have a "good time" with? Yes. Relationship? No.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I'm not so sure that it has changed very much... even though a lot of people keep saying that it has.

Ari said...

Emily is in your words a "sex expert"? Sounds to me that she's more of an expert on the mechanics of sex.

If she was a sex expert, she would be married and happy.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I should have said-- self-branded sex expert...

Dennis said...

If one just depended on what one reads, sees on TV, peruses in academic studies et al one would be led to the opinion that there are no American women who are happy about anything. One has to keep reminding oneself that all of this seems not to reflect what one knows of the women they know. Can there be that much of a disconnect between reality and what one reads? Do American women have that much trouble coping with life?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

To me the most amazing thing is that these three women are respected by their peers and by other young women. Julia Allison writes for Elle; young women read it; they take their cues from it... I agree with you that there are a lot of women who do much better than these three... but why don't they have the same amount of cultural influence?

Anonymous said...

It was painful to watch! If Amy didn't like being ignored by Lewis, why, oh why, didn't she simply say to herself, "Next!"? Good grief! Instead, she goes out w/ him and blames him b/c she's PO at herself for agreeing to go out w/ him! DUH!!

Thank God, Lewis had no problems saying, "Next!"

And WTH is wrong w/ Emily's mother? Why didn't she take her daughter by the shoulder's and shake some sense into her? So much sadness. Even meeting up w/ her old crush was sad. He isn't looking at her as a possible serious relationship. What might have worked out, had she chosen another profession, will never work out now.

She believes she doesn't deserve to be loved and respected by one man and is determined to prove that she's right.

As far as Julia Allison goes, Stuart, you summed up her situation perfectly. She's hasn't a clue what it means to be true to herself.

Anonymous said...

Julia Allison isn't respected by her peers. They picked up right away on how phoney she is. They set up blogs making fun of her.

Is Emily respected by her peers? I doubt that. Even her radio partner sees how screwed up she is and is trying to help her.

Dennis said...

I suspect that a significant number of women are too busy living their lives, trying to be the best they can be both as a mother and wife, and ensuring that their families are taken care of and provided for to spend their time whining about what a lot of these rather selfish women do. Writing for a publication, being in the media, et al is NOT the end all of living. It is a job and nothing more. If the job defines one then one is a failure.
As I have stated before the more mature I become the more I realize how easy most things are to do. We are the ones who make life a joy or a misery. When one strays from the basic responsibilies of life then one suffers their own self limiting journey. One becomes, in the words of n.n, dysfunctional. As the wise man once said, "Those who seek to deceive only deceive themselves."
Ask yourself, "Who seems to be always complaining and whining about almost everything in their lives?" Who is constantly blaming everyone else, especially men, for their failures? Who is it that seems not to like who they are to the point of avoiding the characteristics that define them?
When I was a young man I liked the early feminists and somewhat agreed with them. I like women, but loathe the current iteration of feminist. One just wonders how much damage do they have to perpetrate before even they recognize the damage they have wreaked on large number of people.
Their penchant for passing every responsibility to government may one day make slaves of us all.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I find it encouraging that Julia Allison has inspired her share of detractors. And yet, how does it happen that she is writing for Elle, which is certainly a mainstream publication.

Phil L. said...

I have a personable and attractive friend who is 58 now and never married. She has been looking for a suitable man all her life and has had several marriage proposals. Her situation with men is that those who are interested in her are not good enough, and she, in turn, is not good enough for those she is interested in. No amount of advice will change that dynamic.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

It's good to be reminded that there's nothing inevitable about people waking up and changing their ways.

Bad habits die hard, and sometimes not at all.

Anonymous said...

Stuart, I suspect that Bravo set Julia Allison up with the "job" at Elle so that she would appear to be employed during the filming of this show. She was fired from her previous writing gig with Tribune Media Services. She might call herself a journalist but perhaps everyone should start adding "self-styled" to it.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

It's certainly possible that Elle saw an advantage to having itself constantly mentioned on a reality show... good marketing, I suppose.

Then again, for all I know they are both owned by the same media conglomerate.

I agree with you that it's not about the quality of the writing or the strength of the insights.

Anonymous said...

So being an expert at sex = happy & marriage ? Get with the program Ari, a happy person in a happy marriage might also have some expertise in sex but they are NOT mutually inclusive. Prostitutes are expert in the area of sex but rarely married or happy. The article was great & an intelligent exposé of this ridiculous show I have been watching so I am not sure why Stuart made a correction & didn't pick up on the ridiculousness of your comment.

Anonymous said...

Those that can DO, those that can't teach. I know this as I am an expert in my social field & teach, coach, advise & lecture others, but deal with the same problems I lecture on in my own life. I guess when it comes to psychology & social issues, we all think we've got to answers but it just doesn't always work as easily in life as in the text books!