Top Dating Experts - 'The Rules' Authors and's 'Dating Doyenne' - Weigh In On Whether Romance Can Happen in Front of TV Cameras ...

... And, If So, What to Wear, Drink, Say and Do (or Don't)


             'Shipmates' Asks Relationship Pros for Advice On
                      Dating Show Survival Etiquette

CULVER CITY, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- DO bring magazines and novels along -- just in case ... DON'T expect anything to happen. DO keep to safe conversation: the weather, work, the view, the food. And DON'T even think about consummating the relationship until you're back on land and he's initiated six Saturday night dates.

The emergence of the reality dating show genre -- including the daily series Shipmates, where a couple spends a three-day, two-night first date onboard a Carnival Cruise Lines Fun Ship -- raises a raft of unexpected questions about dating etiquette in front of cameras. Where should the conversation go? How do you ditch your date if someone more appealing comes along? To sleep together or not?

Shipmates quizzed three of America's dating mavens -- Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, authors of the best-selling "The Rules" books, and Sherry Amatenstein, "The Dating Doyenne" from top-ranked women's website -- on the hows, whys and especially the what-not-tos of this new social order. So read on ... and consider them the Emily Posts of the Post-Production Age.

Shipmates: Can a couple find romance with cameras rolling? And if so, how?

The Rules authors: If a man thinks a woman is attractive or his type, cameras wouldn't prevent him from pursuing her. On the other hand, if he doesn't like her, he may blame it on the cameras.

Dating Doyenne: Even those with a serious jones for 15 minutes of fame would find it hard to woo under bright lights not provided by a starry sky and with millions watching. The trick is to perform as much as possible with your companion, not the camera, in mind. Whisper personal details in each other's ear, pass notes, temporarily lose your microphones.

SM: What's the best way to emotionally approach the situation: Anything goes? I might find romance? Nothing will ever come of this?

The Rules: Approach it as something fun to do in terms of wearing a bathing suit, pretty resort wear, etc., not romance. Expect nothing, don't talk to any man first, be happy and busy with exercise and the other activities on the ship!

Dating Doyenne: Pack a positive attitude along with your bathing suit -- "I'm going on a fun adventure I'll always remember. Even if I don't find romance, I'll have a great getaway and a brush with fame." Too-high expectations are apt to leave you disappointed. If you board hellbent on a star-tossed romance, you might fall for the atmosphere, not the person, and do things you'll regret. But don't be a "glass half-empty" person; being totally negative about the chances of liking your fix-up can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if initial impressions are lukewarm, he/she might grow on you over the 72 hours.

SM: As our recent "10 Worst Dates" episode brought back in awful detail, there have been some really bad pairings. If you find yourself with someone you hate for three long days, how can you survive it?

Dating Doyenne: Lots of deep breaths and medication, uh, meditation. Think of it as character-building preparation for dealing with all the bosses and neighbors in your future whose company you detest. If you're on the brink of homicide, take a break and do something fun on your own. Visualize your partner having toilet paper trailing from his/her clothes. Your date won't know what put a smile on your face. And you can always cut the obnoxious loser out of the vacation pictures you show back home.

The Rules: Be polite. Cordial. Never say a mean word. Try to find other things to do over the three days -- exercise, etc. Just do the best you can. It's three days, not 30, get over it!

SM: What do you talk about with a total stranger with cameras rolling -- spill your guts or keep it safe?

The Rules: Practice letting him lead the conversation -- that will come in handy on future dates. You don't have to fill the silences. Safe topics are weather, work, the view, the food, sports.

Dating Doyenne: It's still a first date, which means prime opportunity for telling the stories that make you shine. Better to wait 'til at least the second, non-documented date to confide the month you spent at the Betty Ford Clinic, the hours you spend on improving the world's image of the pigeon and/or how you fantasize about spraying arsenic in your ex-fiance's food.

SM: "10 Worst Dates" also recalled that bad experiences can lead to bad behavior. If you get a drink tossed at you -- or get tossed in the water -- before cameras and viewers, do you walk or retaliate?

The Rules: Walk away and never speak to him again. You are a Creature Unlike Any Other -- a CUAO -- and any many who doesn't treat you well is history!

Dating Doyenne: Say, "Congratulations, you got us on Shipmates' next '10 Worst Dates' compilation. At least viewers will know you were the bozo, not me. Have a nice rest of the cruise and a nice life." Don't stoop to your date's level, but don't put up with mistreatment, either.

SM: What's the proper etiquette if you meet someone else more interesting on your date?

The Rules: Just say, "I don't think this is working out for me." Nothing more is necessary. Since "The Rules" is about not approaching a man first, you can't talk to someone else more interesting -- he has to talk to you! You can talk to other women or read magazines or beach novels! Bring magazines and novels with you just in case!

Dating Doyenne: Do unto others as you would have them do onto you: even though you're virtual strangers, do you really want to embarrass your temporary other half in front of millions of viewers? You shouldn't want to embarrass your temporary other half in front of millions of viewers. You have a right to have a good time with your partner of choice, but leave your Shipmates set-up some dignity.

SM: Whether your date's a love match or just plain hot, should you consummate the relationship during the TV date?

The Rules: NEVER! When he calls you after the cruise and asks you out on consecutive Saturday night dates, you can sleep with him when you feel comfortable. But not before the sixth date.

SM: So the date turns out okay and you want to get together again. How should you now approach dating minus a camera crew?

The Rules: He has to call you and pick you up. Treat it like any other date -- don't bring up the TV series and/or your relationship (i.e. don't ask if he would've picked you out). Just smile, do "The Rules" and end the date first!

About the contributors:

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider are the authors of the phenomenal best-sellers "The Rules," "The Rules II" and "The Rules for Marriage." Their upcoming fourth book, "The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace" (Pocket Books, July 2002) applies their proven strategies to dating men on the Internet, from taking the first steps to meeting in person. They have appeared on numerous television programs and in magazines, sharing their famous advice for finding lasting romance.'s Dating Doyenne, aka Sherry Amatenstein, recently published her second book, "Love Lessons from Bad Breakups: Discover How to Make Relationships Last by Learning from the Ones That Didn't" (Perigee, 2002). Also a radio show host and dating seminar leader, Amatenstein's website is is one of the world's leading online women's destinations.

Shipmates, in its first season and airing on more than 93 percent of the U.S., pairs up singles for the ultimate dating challenge: three days, two nights, one date and no escape, all on board a Carnival Cruise Lines "Fun Ship." Each half-hour episode follows one couple from their initial meeting ... through their first attraction (or immediate dislike) ... all the way to farewells, fond or otherwise. The series is produced by John Tomlin and Bob Young, and hosted by Chris Hardwick (MTV's "Singled Out").

Shipmates is produced and distributed by Columbia TriStar Domestic Television, with national advertising managed by Columbia TriStar Television Advertiser Sales.




SOURCE: Columbia TriStar Domestic Television

Contact: Stephanie Greenhut or Josh Gross, both of FerenComm,
+1-212-983-9898; or Kristi Conroy of Columbia TriStar Domestic Television,