Face Time: Julia Allison

Dating expert, star of Bravo’s “Miss Advised”

June 22, 2012

Just because you give dating advice for a living doesn’t mean you can manage your own love life. At least that’s the case for Julia Allison, who wrote the column “Sex on the Hilltop” for the Georgetown University newspaper as an undergrad in the early aughts, then went on to counsel the lovelorn for AM New York, Cosmopolitan and other pubs. Now, the still-single Allison stars in Bravo’s “Miss Advised” (Mon., 10 p.m.). The new reality show explores how a trio of disparate women — also including a Los Angeles sex writer and a New York City matchmaker — can’t hurry love, despite their careers.

Why’d you start the romance column at Georgetown?
Honestly, I watched too much “Sex and the City.” And I was tired of going to parties and talking about how wasted everyone had gotten the night before. I wanted to talk about inner relationships.

But now you live and work in L.A. Do people date differently in different cities?
Oh, yes. Men and women in every city want to have sex with each other. But in D.C., everyone starts out asking, “Who do you work for?” It’s a benign way of asking if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, because you won’t [blank] the other side. And in L.A., they don’t even ask you questions, they just look you up and down.

On the show, your parents seem obsessed with your love life. Is this good?
Well, I brought it on myself with my choice of career. If I were a lawyer, they’d be reaasured. They have a traditional life, and they just want that for me.

You have a checklist of traits you want your Mr. Right to have. Why is this a good way to go?
Well, checklists can be fraught. But on mine, I make a distinction. I focus on internal qualities — kindness, humor. If you were looking for an apartment or a job and you had no idea what you wanted, that’d be tough. Dating is the same.

What’s the worst thing to do on a first date?
I’m very anti dinner and drinks. If you’re dating a lot, which many of us are, you don’t need to be stuck over a long dinner. You’ll probably know in the first 20 minutes if you want to continue to a second date.

Well, what is a good first date?
I like physical activities on a first date, like going on a hike. You’re moving, and you’ll feel more natural. It’s all about being your best self and not being fake.

What about Web dating sites? Any tips?
Look for what you like, in terms of their picture. And there’s no excuse to not have a good picture of yourself up there, either. Don’t take it in the mirror — we are not on the Jersey Shore. You need to have some level of professionalism!

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