Virginia Vitzthum does a wonderful, comprehensive, entertaining job of exploring the benefits and consequences of looking for sex and relationships via the Internet. In an engaging style she tells the stories – some inspiring, some dismaying, and some thought-provoking – about individuals and couples who have used Internet sites to hook up. She then dissects what went right and wrong in the hookups. Some of the people profiled are looking for love, others for sex. Some find it, some don’t. Many lie. Appropriately she begins and ends the book with her own experiences.
During this two-part interview I wanted to explore some of the concepts raised in her book, which comes out this month.
Some writers when talking about subjects like deceit online can seem quite stuffy. If you don’t want to take my word for it that this is the not the case I then direct your attention to a YouTube video, she wrote, directed and stars in.
She is the second writer I’ve encountered in two months who has a promotional video for her book. But I’ll save the topic of whether that is a positive or negative trend – if it is indeed a trend – for another day.
On with the interview…..
Scott Butki: How did this book come about?
Virginia: I knew so many people who were online dating, and all of us exchanging similar stories - often over e-mail! Online dating was part of this huge change in social life in general, where work, friendship, and now romance is conducted over the computer, from your home. It's especially different for people who live alone and freelance, to be so isolated in some ways, so connected in others. Like now, I'm typing you, and i-chatting with a friend and catching up on e-mail, waiting for another friend to call. Still in my robe at 12:35 on a Saturday, but socializing up a storm.
Scott: Are you still an online dating and/or sex columnist? How does one get a gig like that?
Virginia: I am not a columnist now. I got the Salon sex columnist gig, which I had 1999-2001 by sending them, in the fall of '98, a couple unsolicited pieces about the Starr Report and impeachment proceedings. I lived in DC at the time, and everyone there was even more obsessed than the rest of the country.