Following is the second part of my two-part interview with Virginia Vitzthum, author of I Love You, Let’s Meet: Adventures in Online Dating. The first part was published last week.
First, though, I wanted to excerpt from this book a favorite paragraph about instant messaging (IM):
- At the diner, we're discussing speech versus writing, and I point out that Plato declared back-and-forth, dynamic speech superior to written pieces "that always give one unvarying answer." Talia answers quickly, 'Yeah, well, Plato didn't have IM.'
I asked the author to explain the popularity of instant messaging. She referred me to page 274 where she writes:
- According to almost everyone I spoke with, IM is the most intoxicating form of online lovemaking. Every wired love affair has its breathless IM marathons, thoughts spilling out faster than fingers can type, messages overlapping, the other person blocking out everything else on the computer, the room, the day, till you look up and it’s eleven p.m. and you’re still in the office. L’Amour IM gets so fou so fast because it’s a crush made manifest onscreen. The message box thrusts itself in front of whatever you’re working on as insistently as the reveries of infatuation – and the thoughts actually travel to the other mind.
Scott: You also talk about most of the women you interviewed not being fans of cybersex. Why do you think that is?
Virginia: We don't fantasize the same way; we need more of a connection. I don't think women on their own would have come up with pornography.
Many of the people you interviewed identified themselves as bisexual. I've noticed that elsewhere online too. Do you think there are more bisexuals online than in the general population or is it just a matter of people being more open and honest about it online?
I've wondered the same thing! Especially the women; men don't identify as bisexual so much. I'd guess if you're curious, you might think "here's my chance to try that" and perhaps some women think it makes them seem hotter.
I love the term WWWJA – What Weight Would Jesus Admit? Is that original or did someone else make it up? Either way I love it. Can you elaborate on how such a term came about regarding the admissions and lies people make about their age, height and weight?
I made it up. Glad you like it.
Given that Nerve and Friendship have changed ownership and quality has been reduced, what site would you would suggest someone use now? Or does it depend on their status and interests?
I'd still stick with what is now called fastcupid (formerly nerve), but I also praise OKCupid for being free and smart. One called MatchActivity has a good gimmick, you list what things you like to do, and they match you by that.
Why do so many people lie in their online ads?
Because we're all insecure and because gaming the system is the American way.
Finally, I'm going to end the interview with an excerpt of your summary of what you learned. Feel free to add anything to it:
- 1) Disregard all pressure to present yourself as you are not. People resent those they lie or conform to, so be yourself
2) Only use sites that let you search the profiles and contact who you want. The scientific matching is a crock and keeps you from learning about what you want. Most important.
3) Stay connected to the people you already care about. Don't let the virtual world and marriage fantasies and the fear-of-ending-up-alone industry carry you out of your real life.
Virginia: For beginners, I'd add Get to the Date. Don't dally on e-mail too long.
Thanks again, Virginia, for your cooperation.
Next up, relationship book-wise, is a review and interview of Dating Up.