By Janice Morris
March 16, 2005 06:00 AM

Newly divorced from Rebecca Romijn, John Stamos is starting his single life back in his comfort zone – on television, starring in the much-hyped ABC comedy Jake in Progress. The 41-year-old actor, whose split became final March 1, plays a New York publicist juggling women, work and friends. Stamos recently chatted with PEOPLE about his own life: getting back in the game, finding his ideal mate and even enduring some rejection.

Your show’s about dating. But have you been playing the field yourself?
I have a little bit, but it’s been difficult. It’s hard to go out, and if somebody writes about it or takes a picture it’s not fair to the girl or to me. And sometimes I do feel a little caddish saying, “Hey, come over to my house.” But for the safety of everybody, I do that instead of going out.

So what would be your ideal woman?
I love a sense of humor, love a family-oriented person, somebody loyal. Somebody that likes to have fun.

Does that include actresses?
My eyes have been opened up to women that are not in the business. When you’re young and become somewhat famous, all of a sudden you have a chance to go out with celebs. It’s quite alluring in the beginning. But I’m just looking for a good person. If she’s an actress or a waitress or whatever, that doesn’t matter to me.

You’ve said before that you were ready to have kids. Do you still feel that way?
Yeah, I mean, I have to find someone to do it with, but sure. I thought I’d have kids by now. I think I’d be a fun dad. I have three nieces and one nephew and I spend a lot of time with them. They come over here a lot, we travel, they like to go to amusement parks. My nephew, Blake (he’s 8), wants to be an actor so he’s obsessed with a lot of things that I am. He’s playing Willy Wonka in the school play.

What’s it like starting over? You’re single and jumpstarting your career at the same time.
I had a great run with my marriage, we had a lot of fun. But my career did take a backseat. But I didn’t mind – I worked long enough and I was tired and I had fun just hanging out with Rebecca and experiencing her success. And now that we’ve moved on from each other, it was time for me to get back on the horse. [IMAGE “1” “left” “std” ]What’s that been like?
It just feels like people are rooting for me right now. It just feels really nice and sweet, like people want me to do well.

You’ve said that doing romantic comedy is your thing.
Because I’m a romantic, funny guy. (Laughs) I don’t know, it just feels right for me. I love the character, I love the show, I really love the people involved. It just feels right. I really haven’t felt this kind of chemistry with everybody and goodwill since doing Full House. So I have my fingers crossed.

So, Jake seems to have his moves. What about you? What’s a good date with John Stamos?
I like to cook dinners. I brought a bunch of spices back (from a recent trip to Brazil) so that’ll be my next meal on my next date. I just hope someone is ready for me to experiment on them – eating-wise.

Any pickup lines?
Honestly, I have no moves left. I either have forgotten ’em all or used ’em all up. And if you need a pickup line, then you’re in trouble, you know what I mean?

Finally, we have to ask: If it came down to Uncle Jesse or Jake, who would get the girl?
I think Uncle Jesse’s hair might scare the girl away, but Jake is so neurotic, he can probably ruin it, too.

And then John Stamos would swoop in and get her?
I don’t! That’s the misconception, and that’s why I’m kind of fascinated with Jake because he doesn’t always get the girl. I’m not gonna lie: I get to meet a lot of nice people. But I’ve gotten a few no’s lately.

Good to know.
“Yeah, that’ll teach ya, Stamos!”