Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

Amy Laurent gives her side of the blow-up with Tina.

Just when you think things can’t get any worse, you meet Tina Pray. I mean seriously, can’t I catch a break this week?! The biggest thing I push my clients to do, especially if they get dumped or rejected, is to get right back up on that horse and NOT to dwell on the past. As a matchmaker, I know there is someone for everyone. Everyone has a match, everyone has a true love, and it’s my job to find it for my clients -- even if they begin to doubt themselves.



But now that for the first time in a very long time it’s my own feelings and my own heart that feels twisted in knots and beat up, and I’m realizing how much it really does sting to be rejected. It makes me want to be there for my clients even more whenever they need me. As for me, the I-just-got-dumped-depression has set in over the past few days. This time it’s me, not a client, who needs a good “Amy pep talk.” One problem: it doesn’t work as well when I try to do this for myself. Whenever a client is going through heartbreak, I’d throw my dumped or hurt client right back in that dating river with a bunch of great matches to distract them and keep putting that bug in their ear: “These matches this week are way hotter and way better then the chick who dumped you anyway!” It’s how my clients keep from sinking into the blues, and it works. Yet here I am, feeling like a loser and not quite knowing what to do with all of these bad feelings. I haven’t felt like myself, and I’m finding I can’t even get out of bed. It was time to get out of Manhattan, and the best person to reach out to was Joseph. I’m grateful to Joe -- we’ve been friends for years -- because he’s always there for me. And Greenwich, CT can be the perfect remedy.

Thinking about how my “retreat to Greenwich” started off, part of me is laughing and part of me is horrified. Talk about the client from hell. Not only did I agree as a favor to stop by first to Tina Pray’s home to consider taking her as a client -- even though I was supposed to be taking a break from work for the weekend -- but I even invited her to Joseph’s party afterwards. Huge mistake. During the meeting with Tina, I thought something was a little strange about her. First she tells me she’s not seeing anyone, then the next second she’s telling me she’s been sleeping with “a friend she’s known for 30 years.”
 
She’s warm and friendly, then turns resistant and stubborn. She continues to tell me she’s “fired two husbands” and she’s still a savvy dater so doesn’t really need my advice when I throw her back into the dating pool. Oh, really? I think, “Hello!? I didn’t want what has been happening to me lately to happen to her. People get rusty when they don’t date for years!” I require anyone who wants to work with me to be honest and trust me to guide them. If they know it all, they don’t need my help and shouldn’t hire me. See how that goes for you. But if you do want to work with me and allow me get you to success, well, you have to let me do what I do best. There was something very off about this whole Tina meeting, but at the time I could not put my finger on it.Later that evening, I could put my finger on it easily when Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde showed up at Joseph’s party. And I’d have put my finger directly on the Emergency Eject button if I had one that evening. Within 30 seconds of her walking through the door, I could tell someone was up to no good -- there was a weird tension in the air. The next thing I know, Tina approaches me, completely passive aggressively, on a mission to pick a fight and embarrass me in front of everyone. Never in my life have I had something like this happen! Normally if a client questioned my rules, it would be in my office. We’d talk about why they should follow them and how my guidance would help them in the process of finding them true love. This was the wrong environment. Clearly it was Tina’s intention not to leave this party without a blowout. I was not about to play this game and decided to shut it down the moment I saw what she was trying to do.

After humiliating herself and then knocking my own drink out of my hand as she tried to grab me (yet claiming I threw my drink on her!), thank goodness she and her friend bolted. My Greenwich retreat had turned miserable. I mean, could my week GET ANY WORSE?

In typical Joe style, he saved me from spiraling into a state of misery and encouraged me to have a great date with Scott. Scott, we all know, is generally not my type at all. Yet he had the confidence to walk right up to me and ask me out. So naturally, there was something appealing in that. The morning after the party, I was so tempted to cancel and just stay under the covers all day in bed. In true form, being the great friend Joe is, he wouldn’t let me do that. Again, so thankful for that.

Scott is one of the coolest guys I have met in a while. My date with Scott felt so different than my dates with AB or Lewis. And I quickly realized that with Scott I was starting to feel comfortable, happy, and was even -- GASP! -- having a little bit of fun! I like these kinds of dates! Is this what a truly good date feels like? I only want these from now on, please! I like not feeling insecure, not having to impress anyone, not feeling criticized when I’m trying to be good enough for another person. This pretty much rocks. Scott was exactly who I needed to meet. My date with him knocked some sense into me. For the first time in a while I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I forgot about my problems, I was laughing and simply having fun being around him. Turns out I might have forgotten what it felt like to be with a guy and feel HAPPY.

And I even enjoyed a piece of pumpkin pie without giving a rat’s ass about the nutritional content! A sure sign of my being on a good date and in a better place. Now when I tell my clients to get back on the horse, I’ll know exactly how hard it is to do, and how great it can feel when you do it.

 

See you next week!

 

Breakdown Breakthrough

Julia Allison think Andrew did the right thing being honest with her.

Well, hello there! Welcome to the penultimate episode of this first season of Miss Advised. Only one week left until the finale in which... Oh, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? This episode finds us back at my house in Marina del Rey surrounded by my ELLE editor (Keith) and a lovely ELLE photographer who can’t stop laughing at my ridiculous bedroom/closet/home/life. Sigh.

Photo shoots with new photographers make me self-conscious as it is, but to have one conducted by ELLE (in my own home, which tends to veer toward the eccentric) was beyond nerve-wracking. My mother was in town at the time, and I felt like she wouldn’t be thrilled with the concept of a photoshoot (She thinks they are “frivolous” and “self-indulgent” -- even though the shoot was my editor Keith’s idea). My nerves stemmed from that, along with anxiety thanks to a confluence of stresses, most notably my blocked writing. So much so that I was breaking out and stress eating. Not exactly what you want prior to a photo shoot.

Plus, Keith sort of...rolled his eyes at my closet. It’s not often you have your boss in your closet, but when you do, you definitely don’t want him to react like that. Especially if he works at a prominent fashion magazine. You start wondering if you just aren’t cool enough to exist, let alone write for said magazine. In a misguided attempt at "cool," the first outfit I tried on for the photo-shoot was this Rachel Zoe maxi skirt in blue (not pink!), which I paired with a simple white tee. It was a look that felt a lot more hip than I actually am. Ironically dressing that way made me uncomfortable. It just didn’t feel ME. But when I put on a vintage pink dress and sat (upon Keith’s request) in a pile of pink tulle on my bed, tiara in my hair, somehow I felt like myself again.

My editor chastised me about my taste (both in fashion and in home decor), but at the end of the day, I sleep in my bedroom every night, and I have to live with myself. Keith doesn’t! I figure it’s more important I like my own space than if anyone else does. Besides, it’s a great litmus test. If something as silly as a pink bedroom or a proclivity toward occasionally wearing frothy dresses scares a guy away, then I’m not convinced he was worth the trouble in the first place!I hope every woman realizes this: you don’t have to smooth away all your “eccentric” personality traits to find the right man. If he’s right for you, he’ll love you FOR those eccentricities, as long as you’re not counting “being a total bitch” amongst them.

As for the writer’s block I discussed with Keith: I DID eventually get through it, although it took some serious work with therapists regarding my anxiety and self-esteem issues. So far, I’ve published seven columns on ELLE.com (it will be eight by the end of the Guinea Pig of Love series, next week) each written at 2,000 words (they ended up getting edited down to 1,000 or so). You can read them all here. For someone who has been as tortured by writing as I have recently, getting through these is a victory for me. I know it could always come back, but at least I’ve won the battle. Next up: trying to win the war!

Ah, and now for the slightly more depressing portion of this episode -- my ill-advised (if you will) trip to San Francisco to see Mister Andrew. So, about Andrew. Sigh. I don’t know where to begin, but suffice it to say that although it seemed that trip was fast, it really wasn’t. Since the first “PROMMM!” date, we had spent time together, including weekend trips. We talked frequently on the phone and sent zillions of texts and emails. He played me music on his guitar and cooked dinner. I had met his friends and he had met mine. It was time to have that talk. You know, the dreaded “where is this going?” talk. I’m not a huge fan of those talks, but things were getting (as Andrew put it during that conversation) “to that depth” where we needed to discuss it. But Andrew did me a favor, and as much as it hurt at the time, for that I thank him. He didn’t feel that he could fall in love with me, and while that wasn’t what I wanted to hear then, it certainly was the right thing for him to say, because it was true. What if he had led me on, allowing me to develop deeper and deeper feelings that he didn’t reciprocate? That would have been brutal and kept me from being able to heal and move on to find someone who COULD fall in love with me. Andrew is a good man, and he couldn’t do that.

I cried quite a bit when Andrew broke up with me. (Oh, let’s be honest, when Andrew dumped me.) But it wasn’t just over Andrew. I started crying over Andrew and segued into crying over every guy who had EVER dumped me, and then from there into every relationship that hadn’t worked out, and from THERE into a future filled with men who would dump me and relationships that wouldn’t work out. It was quite a cry I had, and poor Andrew sat there rubbing my back, wondering what the hell was going on. Had he accidentally killed my puppy? No, I explained to him later. This is simply how women grieve (some women...sometimes). We stack all of these terrible things on top of one another, one after the other after the other, until it feels like our romantic lives are doomed, like we won’t ever succeed, like we won’t ever be loved. It was as if everything I’ve ever feared I looked at and felt completely and totally throughout my body. I grieved for every end I’ve ever had.

And here’s the strange part -- after I sobbed for about half an hour (and drunk half a bottle of champagne), I felt inexplicably better. Like I had gotten it out of my system. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was certainly cathartic. I had been holding in so much pain, so much fear, so much disappointment and regret over my love life, and Andrew was pretty much the last straw to a mini-breakdown. A breakdown I needed to have, as it turns out, to have a breakthrough.What breakthrough, you ask?

Oh, about that. Well, you’ll just have to wait until the season finale for that!



P.S. That slap? That was just a joke. Even in moments of sadness and disappointment we can (and should) laugh.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND ME ONLINE (if you want to read more!)

Me: @JuliaAllison / Facebook.com/JuliaAllison / www.JuliaAllison.com / JA@JuliaAllison.com: email me!

 

My roommate, JP: @JuliaPriceMusic / YouTube.com/JuliaMusic1 / Facebook.com/juliapricemusic / www.JuliaPriceMusic.com