Never Initiate

Amy shares one of her most important dating rules.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Emily and Julia for several years, and I truly admire them both. They’re strong, successful women, and a lot of fun. And I’m well aware of the fact that there are going to be different opinions among the relationship experts. With that in mind, while I do respect the other women’s opinions, I can say with confidence that MY RULES WORK. They serve a great purpose. Trust me, they have been used to great success with hundreds of clients over the seven years of my business. Lately, I’ve been reminded of the truth of the rules, as I’ve used them myself! Now that I am dating again after the AB hiatus, I can attest to the fact that whenever I go against the very rules that I have laid out with purpose for my daters, I get burned. There should be nothing surprising about that.

No one is perfect, and dating is not easy. But I realize now more than ever how important it is to have a clear guide for how to date, and how to handle the challenge of it. (I believe this so much I wrote a book about it! Out in August from St Martin’s. More here! If my new dating experience has done anything, it has reinforced my confidence in the guidelines and advice I give my clients. And it’s reminded me that the rules are for everyone: matchmaker, expert, dater, or Dr. Phil (OK, he’s married, so nevermind).

The rules aren’t cumbersome, and they don’t compose a long, rambling list, either. They are few and they are simple -- easy for practically anyone to follow. Unfortunately, no one follows the rules all the time. It’s hard when your own heart is involved. The important thing is to look back on a situation and own your mistakes -- and learn from them. With my clients, I have them give me feedback after every date, and check in every week so we can talk about what’s happening. You’d be amazed how much you can improve as a dater when you spend some time reflecting. And you’d be amazed what men will tell their matchmaker about what they like and don’t like in a woman’s behavior. And I’ve got 7 years of feedback to tell me what I should have known:

I lost my marbles for a second with my phone call to “farm boy” Lewis. (And he’s 28! Yikes!) A woman should NEVER call a man, never text him first, and certainly never ask him out on a date. Men like to chase! And there’s nothing more unattractive then a woman who takes that role from him, and becomes the one chasing.

I’m fully aware I should have not called Lewis. That’s why I’m single and my guys and girls are in happy successful relationships! Ha! I have certainly been a lot better at being the coach for you over my 7 years then being on the field myself. But this is good. This is very good. No pain, no gain. And it’s time for me to have a little work and personal life balance in my life for once.

Anyway, the most annoying part is that Lewis is kind of growing on me. With his dopey smile and goofy farm boy laugh (LOL!). What is really unfair is the fact that he somewhat resembles Superman and right now he’s distracting me from my recent upset meeting with AB. Unlike THAT situation however, this time around with Lewis, I am going to stay in control and keep a wise guard up. I’m not just going to fling my heart and emotions to him. I have to admit, it’s rather nice going out on a date, even if it was a cheesy one. Ice-skating, hot chocolate, and chicken pot pie? I haven’t ice-skated in years -- longer then I’ve been celibate, but who’s counting?! I actually had a great time. I honestly enjoyed myself. It feels good. So this is what my clients feel like on their dates! Maybe I should do this more often!The only thing that would keep me away from dating would be from seeing my girl Emily with what’s his name! Wow, what was that? Or should I say, who does that? Ha, he does, I suppose. I wanted to fly in like Wonder Woman with the blue bottoms and white stars with lasso in hand and save her! If Miss Em were my client (I would be honored!), I would tell her gorgeous self that we all want to be nice, but that doesn’t mean we have to say yes in order not to hurt someone’s feelings. We must be kind yet firm. Sweet but assertive. Feminine yet confident. Men love that, I promise you. I know because my male clients tell me constantly that it turns them on.

On top of that, it saves you from a date spent flying down the rabbit hole! Emily looked like she was getting a root canal under that smile. Maybe he didn’t realize it, but Em, my sweets, I knew it! You can’t hide that stuff from me, I could totally tell. Trust me ladies, you don’t owe it to anyone to waste your time. “Thanks but no thanks” was definitely in order.

And JULIA! I feel for her, and I couldn’t watch her beg that guy for a kiss! Here’s exactly what I believe happened. When Chris explained to Julia that men actually “like a girl who initiates some of the time,” I immediately called BS and screamed it to the TV set. Yes, he was lying! Don’t believe that malarkey. No, men do not like it when a girl initiates. I don’t care what men might tell you, males want to pursue the female. Period. Any guy will lose interest once they sense a woman is aggressive in pursuing him. Our DNA doesn’t work that way.

That’s clearly what happened as Julia dialed up the pressure for a kiss. I’m assuming she was simply going off of Chris’ random comment that “guys like a proactive woman.” Oh, it annoys me just to think of that outright lie! I’m sure Julia was feeling a bad case of mixed messages, and my heart went out to her when she was pretty much rejected by him. If the lovely Julia were my client (my most fun, if she were!) I would remind her of this pesky little fib sometimes told to women and what my rules are in sitting back and letting the guy do the legwork. You can respond and influence throughout courting, but never initiate. Ever.

Meanwhile, her hot roommate is in the same room successfully making out with the bimbo blonde. So awkward! But I can already tell Chris wasn’t her type anyway. I would have never matched those two together if they were my clients. Yes, he was cute. Yes, he was fit. Yet it was immediately obvious he’s too regimented (with a splash of judgmental) for her speed. These are not bad traits, per se, but the prototype does not match what Julia needs. That’s OK, because not everyone is going to be a match. I could have saved them both a lot of time, though.

I believe that Julia needs someone who is driven, talented, perhaps even traditional, but also has a creative and open side that is amused by Julia and appreciates her for being her. I don’t think Chris gets it and he probably is more suited with a southern girl who is an LA transplant, who is a bit more bland, yet with a faux edge about her. I think that’s good enough for Chris. So Julia, my dear, onwards and upwards!

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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