LA WEEKLY: Miss Advised – Bravo’s Latest Relationship Experts Are Still Single But Don’t Seem to Care
Miss Advised – Bravo’s Latest Relationship Experts Are Still Single … But Don’t Seem to Care
By Ali Trachta
July 26, 2012
Emily Morse and Amy Laurent, two of the three stars of Bravo reality show Miss Advised, are settling in for lunch at Tart, near the Grove. Julia Allison, the local girl and most famous of the trio, is late. “She’s fucking her boyfriend,” Laurent quips, and Morse smacks her with a giggle. Suddenly Laurent realizes her dress isn’t properly fastened. Asking Morse to zip her up, she ad-libs, “No, I’m the one who was fucking my boyfriend.”
She’s kidding, of course. None of these women have boyfriends. That’s the whole reason they were picked for Miss Advised – a show that chronicles the misadventures of three relationship experts — in the first place.
Morse is the host of her own radio show, “Sex With Emily,” in San Francisco, Laurent is a matchmaker in New York City, and Allison is a freelance dating columnist based in Marina del Rey. All three are hotshots in the field of sex and relationship advice, but they’re also single, and — the horror! — over 30, which creates an open door for mockery.
In Bravo’s trailer for the show, which carries the tagline “Those who can’t do advise,” Morse, Laurent and Allison are depicted as tragic love goofs. “Oh my God, I’m a shitty dater,” the matchmaker complains. Leaping into the arms of a man who looks semi-repulsed, Allison observes, “I tend to be really aggressive, and I can start to reek of desperation a little.”
Morse, the group’s wild child, comes off as a misguided fille de joie, making out with “queer polyamorous sluts” while musing about her love of threesomes. In the trailer, they’re close to a literal clusterfuck. “Where is he? Where’s my husband?” Allison pleads at the end.
“When it comes to falling in love, these experts need to practice what they preach,” the video’s caption reads — an attitude it’s easy to assume the women share about themselves. With a marketing campaign like that, it would make sense if their perpetual manlessness makes them feel like fools.
Yet, even before the salads are served, they’re diving into whether traditional marriage is a sham.
“You read Sex at Dawn, right?” Allison asks Morse.
“Yes!” Morse gushes, explaining, “It’s this amazing book that talks about monogamy, and maybe that it’s not a very natural choice.”
“It’s changing my perspective,” Allison says.
Allison was the self-proclaimed Rules girl, known for having a 73-point checklist for her phantom husband. She still has that list, but it’s no longer such a credo. “I added some by the end of the show,” she says. “I added some and I eliminated some. I went through a metamorphosis through the course of the show and decided some of what was on the list was negotiable.
“I added No. 79: Create a satisfying, experimental, open sex life.”
“I like it!” Morse pipes up.
“And there’s an exclamation mark,” Allison adds.
“Good, honey, that’s good!” Morse says, beaming.
“After eight weeks,” Laurent interjects. That’s her rule for how long one should wait before sleeping with a suitor.
A debate breaks out over who should decide when sex happens. Allison wonders if a woman taking the lead exerts too much masculine energy. Laurent counters that the woman should run the show and only let the man think he has control. Morse simply isn’t worried about it.
Yet the anticipated woe-is-me cry of singlehood never comes up. Despite getting billed as being on a manhunt, these women are not girlishly obsessed with sex and relationships but rather voracious about them. And that voraciousness has made them successful, career-minded women — women for whom traditional marriage is increasingly less necessary.
Though the trailer may have us believe these three are failing at love, in fact, they illustrate the way modern women are redefining “having it all.” Decades ago, marriage and children equaled success for women. Then the Boomers came of age, their vision of success typified by Clair Huxtable, who ushered in the notion that women could have it all: marriage, family and professional achievement. But take one of those factors out of the equation, and you still came up short.
But the three women on Miss Advised suggest that having it “all” doesn’t necessarily have to be the aim. It’s less about having everything, and more about having what you want. You wouldn’t know it from the show’s retro packaging, but when women start to think that way, they can make up whatever rules they want. And, over lunch, it’s clear these women are doing just that.
“I’ve never really wanted to get married,” Morse states plainly.
Allison appreciates that honesty. “I think conventional wisdom says that only men could possibly want something other than a monogamous relationship, so it’s so great to see a beautiful woman” — such as her lunch companion — “say, ‘Actually, there are other options.’ ”
Laurent is not quite so open-minded. (After all, she owns a matchmaking service, catering to clients whose ultimate goal is marriage.) Still, even she is not so traditional as to insist that every woman must settle down with a man. “If you want a relationship, you have to approach men and sex differently,” she says, “but if you don’t, I will support you and empower you to be and do whatever you want. And you’re a badass.”
Laurent admits that her own love life hasn’t been her priority in a long time. She hasn’t had a serious relationship in four years. “I’ve been focusing on just work,” she says. “I’ve had blinders.”
I ask Laurent how long she waits before sleeping with a man. Typing away on her smartphone, she reiterates, “Until you’re exclusive, but I recommend eight weeks. Until that guy says, ‘I’d like you to be my girlfriend.’ ”
It’s clear she’s answering for her clients, not herself.
“I think that’s a pretty reasonable rule,” Allison says, then adds, “I don’t follow it.”
Does waiting that long take the thrill out of sex? “No,” Laurent immediately answers, as Morse and Allison squeal “Yes!” in unison.
“But that’s if you’re looking for a relationship,” Laurent says. “If you’re not looking for a relationship, then fuck everybody.”