Amy's Answers: 'I Don't Mind the Public Scrutiny'

Ray in Michigan asks: Did you feel that it was easier to find good dates back in the Midwest or in NYC?

Amy's answer: Well, in the Midwest I was 20 and younger, so it was easier in the sense that I just went out with people I met at school or whatever. I didn't really know myself so I didn't know what I wanted and who might be a great catch for me. That said, I do find that I can't be the same trusting girl I was in South Dakota out here. I have to be calculating and conscious of what the other persons' agenda is just because there are so many people here so it is easier for someone to mislead you because there is no recourse for treating someone poorly here. The population is so huge that you can blow someone off, lie about being married and the like without any serious repercussions simply because of the anonymity.

Kay in New Orleans asks: Do you find it helpful to let a man know on the first date that you are looking for a husband?

Amy's answer: Firstly, I didn't let him know on the first date. It was second and felt like the fourth. You will remember that first we went horse back riding, then he had cake and poems, then there was the picnic in the park and all of this was after countless hours of conversation on the phone and via e-mail. Remember also, on the first date he said that he was looking to settle down! So after that, combined with the fact that I knew he was into me, then felt comfortable telling him the outright truth when he asked. It didn't scare him off and if it did, then I wouldn't want to waste my time with someone who was just looking to have "fun" with me anyway.

What people sometimes forget is that just because I am looking for the guy, I am looking for the RIGHT guy, not just any guy who is willing to marry me and procreate with me! ;-) Would I recommend telling each of your first dates that you are "looking for a husband"?? No, but should you be honest about wanting to find the guy you can spend the rest of your life with and raise children with when the subject comes up? Absolutely!

Cindy in Massachusetts asks: I have tried the online dating for three years now and have a few friendships. Do you think we should ask if they are seeing other woman and what point in the dating relationship should this be discussed?

Amy's answer: Well, this depends on how long you have been "friends" with the guy you want to date. And what type of friends have you been? Platonic? I think if you have been friends with someone for longer than two months, and he hasn't tried to kiss you yet, you might recognize that he is either very shy or just isn't into you romantically. If he is your friend, ask him why he isn't into you romantically and take his constructive criticism to heart, if you value his opinion and he is indeed the type of guy you could see yourself with.

If he has kissed you (or more) then by all means, ask him what is up! Is he dating you and other girls? Does he see himself with you in the future? If he is seeing other women, you better let him know that you are seeing other men. Do NOT be monogamous with someone who is playing the field. Two can play at that stupid game. If his answers don't jive with you, let him go! Don't let jerks use you for sex and waste your youth. He has forever to settle down, but we girls have to nab the guy while we are young so don't let any man waste your time. (Gosh, I sound so mean! But trust me, I am right on this.)

Kay in New York asks: Hey Amy. I watched the series premier of "Hooking Up". It was very interesting. I live in New York and was wondering what site do you go on to date online? Thank You.

Amy's answer: I date on Match and eHarmony. Even if I meet someone out and about, I will ask them for their screen name on Match so I can check them out before I go out with them. Match has tons of people, eHarmony has great questions and such, but not so many people yet. If you are Jewish try Jdate and if not there are others as well, Lavalife, Nerve etc. It just depends on what you are looking for.

William in Pennsylvania asks: Hi Amy, I have tried Match and am currently Yahooing with very little success. I am 33 and a professional traveling critical care nurse in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I have always been honest and straight forward in my profiles. I find that my professional career has eroded my social life. This is due to my work schedule and the requirement of working every other weekend. Do you think I should avoid mentioning my job or work schedule? Do you have any suggestions?

Amy's answer: You have to be honest with others and more importantly with yourself. Are you looking for a lifelong mate? Do you put your career before your relationships? Do you really think it is fair to ask potential mates to put up with your schedule? Have you considered asking your employer to adjust it so you can lead a somewhat normal life? I would personally never go out with someone who wouldn't be around on the weekends. If I were you I would find a job that has a better schedule or find a girl who either has a similar schedule or who really enjoys her independence. Under no circumstances should you mislead your potential mates. Also, if you aren't looking to settle down and just want a casual relationship, then consider what you want and find someone who will give it to you. She may want something in return, but life is about compromise and you can't always get something for nothing so be considerate of her needs as well.

Charles in Oregon asks: After being on the show, what did you see about yourself that was eye opening or an epiphany for you?

Amy's answer: Honestly, that my face is really asymmetrical. I also recognized that I tend to be too nice and explain myself too much. I don't have to justify anything! I see myself wanting to please others so much that it actually clouds my judgment of who they are. Even though I eventually come to my senses, it is something I will have to work on.

Leonard in California asks: Amy, how were you selected by ABC for this show? How does it feel to be in the public scrutiny like this? Are you now getting more dating inquiries? It took lots of guts for you to do what you are doing. Hang in there, that special person for all of us, is out there.

Amy's answer: I met the ABC producers via the Internet of course! I don't mind the public scrutiny. Most people are pretty cool and even the mean reviewers are funny. I take it all in stride. In a few months this will be yesterday's news and I will go on with my life. And thanks for the words of encouragement. I hope you are right.

Teresa in South Carolina asks: What is the best way to handle a rejection/disappointment after communicating either by only e-mails or e-mails/phone calls for a long time (like every day for a month) and feeling like this is "the one"?

Loved, loved the program tonight. Laughed so much and felt a couple of moments of heartache. Can't wait for next week.

Amy's answer: Well, why would you talk to someone every day for a month without meeting him or her? MEET THEM!!! And if they dump you or treat you poorly, really, let it roll right off of you. Pick yourself up and MOVE ON. If they can't see how special you are then really, forget them. Don't let any jerk waste more of your time by allowing him or her to occupy a place in your heart where the right person should be. Good rule of thumb, if you get along on the phone once or twice, meet them ASAP. This is the only way you will be able to tell if they are for real or not.

Gil in Maryland writes: I caught the show last night, and it was very interesting to get the female perspective of online dating ups and downs. I am a 36-year-old man with average looks and limited experience with the ladies. I have just about given up on online dating. I am currently a member of eHarmony. My success rate is not good, any advice on how to get more out of online dating?

Amy's answer: Join another site -- stay on eHarmony -- but maybe try as well. eHarmony takes forever to actually meet someone and there is so much stuff in it that by the time you get to "open communication" you have forgotten what you liked about that person in the first place. Cyber dating opens us up to so many possibilities that the only way to be successful doing it is to actually MEET those you seem to click with, like right away before you lose that initial excitement.

Then, since you have "limited" experience, grab a trusted girlfriend or relative to help you with your posting. It is advertising after all so you will want to put your best face forward! An attractive but accurate photo along with a detailed description of who you are and what you really have to offer in a relationship should be included. And show them, don't tell them. For example, don't say you are funny, write something that is funny so your potential mates can discover your wit and humor on their own.

I have a rule, I only go out with guys whose e-mails make me laugh out loud. Also, remember in the beginning to keep it about her, not you. Don't say things like "I want to talk to you" or "I think we should meet" it is so selfish! Consider what she might want and show her that you are the guy who can give it to her. Tell her what you loved about her profile and avoid stupid clich├ęs. If she is attractive she has heard it all before, so you need to stand out from the crowd. You can do it. You write well, now just share a little bit more of yourself and you will be on your way!

Trina in Los Angeles asks: How can you "not" act as if the cameras are there? Are you influenced by the fact that you will be on national TV? I find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn't be. Thanks!

Amy's answer: In the beginning you are influenced by it because you want to project yourself in a certain way to the potential viewers. However, what one soon realizes is that after about 10 hours of shooting you just can't do it any more and you wind up just tossing it all out the window and being yourself. You eventually figure, who cares, I can't help who I am and if people judge me for it at the end of the day then so what, at least I was myself.

Deenah in New York City writes: Hi Amy, when you were told by your date (the poker player) that he had cancelled another date to spend the evening with you, weren't you concerned that someday he might do the same thing to you? How did you feel about him telling you what he had done and telling you, on the second date, that he had been going on dates with other women? Good luck in your search!

Amy's answer: Thanks! I will need all the luck I can get. Well, in the first date, you may recall, that Chris tells me he is looking to settle down, so when he cancels the date with the other girl it just tells me that he feels the same connection with me that I feel with him. It was actually the right thing for him to do. Once you click with someone, why start another relationship? He would have been doing us both a disservice to have started dating us both seriously. I wanted a guy who was looking for the girl, not lots of them, so he had a point, have to go out with a lot of girls to find the find the right one, and when he thought he did, he stopped seeing the other women. I appreciated his honesty and his candidness.

David in California asks: Is the show 100 percent unscripted and uninfluenced by the producers? I have my air of skepticism about reality TV shows.

Amy's answer: First of all, this is not considered a reality TV show, it is a serious documentary which looks at the real life trials and tribulations of dating via the Internet. ABC News has very high standards about the documentaries they produce and they HAVE to adhere to them (or they will lose their jobs!). It is 100 percent unscripted and probably 90 percent uninfluenced by the cameras -- the producers do not influence anything, but having a camera in your face when you want to get pyhsical can be a little nerve racking so in that sense it does affect how we feel, but not really how we act on our feelings. I tried to control myself and filter myself sometimes, but trust me, the cameras followed me so much that eventually I forgot they were even there and just became myself. It is very real. A lot of what is thought, said and done has been edited out, but what you see is completely unscripted.

Ashley in Connecticut asks: I feel the same way you do about finding a guy. I'm 21 and I feel like I'm never going to find Mr. Right. Where do you think I should start looking?

Amy's answer: You have plenty of time, my dear. Just start going out with guys who you are interested it. Don't just go out with them because they are interested in you. Really, that is not enough of a reason to go out with them! Start online, this will help you organize your thoughts around what you are looking for and who you might be compatible with. Then after each relationship or failed date, ask yourself why it didn't work out and add that to your "preferred" list or to your own personal growth list. For example, if you are a morning person and he is a night owl, you may drive each other nuts because you wake up and want to start your day while he wants to stay out late partying when you are ready for bed. Decide what you can live with, compromise on etc, and if it turns out to be a deal-breaker, let him go.

I have all sorts of these things -- like I hate TV in the mornings and love country music, I hate rap and cigarettes so I just can't be with a guy who indulges in stuff that literally gets on my nerves. At the end of the day we are all looking for our life long best friends, so it nice to start by figuring out who we are so we can learn who we will be compatible with at the end of the day. You are 21, just take it easy and don't marry someone until you have spent a few years together because you will change a lot and if you marry someone before you have really grown up, you might end up choosing the wrong guy for you.