Break from Snark: Interview Meme

Charlotte is to blame for this one. ;)

1. You used to live in the Carolinas, now you live in Amman with frequent visits to the Ukraine. Why did you move and will you be going back to the US anytime soon?

I was in a pretty nasty situation in the States, due to student debt and not really being able to find a job that would allow me to make the requisite monthly payments (this was before the crisis, mind you – with higher interest rates). Also, my Boyfriend and I were facing some problems – I couldn’t really find an entry level job in Canada as an American, he had a similar problem as a Canadian in the States. So we started thinking about a place where we could both work. Then I got the offer to edit this magazine – and the chips just fell into place.

I want to be back in the States within a couple of years – either that or Europe – but I want to be in a stabler financial situation first. And I want to keep working on the magazine. It’s pretty much my dream job.

2. Who are your top three fantasy boyfriends?

This is a VERY important topic…. Well, first of all – Legolas. Not necessarily the movie version (although I loved the shield-surfing and whatnot – shut UP haters, your opinions have been noted and filed away a number of years ago). Just you know – a hot, brave, occasionally snarky Elf. Orlando Bloom’s natural dark hair probably suits Legolas more, btw. So a hot Elf with dark curls. Perfect.

Then there’s Ewan McGregor – whose films pretty much made me into a woman.

And finally – where would I be without at least one great footballer in my life? I know we’re supposed to think of footballers as egotistical dumbasses – but my aunt used to be married to a Ukrainian one, and he was a doll. I refuse to think he’s the exception. So which one would I pick? Iker Casillas – another Greatest Hit from my childhood.

Runners-up include everyone from Anton Chekhov to James Purefoy, from Viktor Tsoi to Chiwetel Ejiofor. I have a lot of fantasy boyfriends. We all need them in these dark and troubling times.

3. Money is no object. Describe your dream holiday.

A dream holiday should be – part frivolity, part bonding, part beauty, part learning experience, and part crazy-ass shit. So I think I’d go to New Zealand. With friends. And hopefully also see some people there that I have wanted to meet for a while.

4. Obama’s been in office for five weeks. Give him a report card, and give reasons for his grades.

Cant I just give him a B+ overall? Because I think he’s doing a good job, and I also think that he has inherited a mess, and a lot of that mess isn’t even controlled by the President’s office, but some of it is, and it is all quite confusing. I don’t think he’s buckling though. Not at all.

5. Which book have you just finished reading, what are you reading now and what’s next on the TBR pile?

I’ve just finished reading The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. If you’re interested in detectives – both fictional and real-life, you must read this nonfiction account of a murder in 1860’s England, and the hysteria it caused. There’s a tremendous darkness within it, but it’s a darkness that’s worth it. This book will stay with you for a long time.

Right now I’m reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s an oldie – but when it came out, I was not old enough for it (I didn’t even speak English, back then). I’ve been on a Neil Gaiman kick for a while now, and am omnivorously consuming everything by him. It’s love. The writerly kind.

Next I’d like to dip into some horror stories – I just bought the anthology Gathering the Bones. I also recently realized that as much as I had loved The Virgin Suicides, I’d never gotten around to reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ follow-up: Middlesex. I recently spied it on a friend’s bookshelf, and now it is mine, mine, miiine.

Want to participate in the meme? Drop me a line in the comments section, and I will e-mail you some questions.

“So, why do you pay for it, Vanya?”

The following conversation took place while I was on one of my regular visits back home to Kiev, Ukraine. After I left, a number of points still needed to be clarified – and eventually were, through e-mail. The name Vanya is not the real name of the man I spoke with. In fact, all names here have been changed. Vanya is a friend of a friend of a friend. I do not know his last name, I do not know much about him in fact – all I know is that his family is relatively well-off, and that he is pretty young, early 20’s. I have had some trepidation about publishing our conversation here, but this recent discussion has convinced me to go ahead and do it. In particular, it was the repeated question of “what about the men who go to prostitutes” (I’m paraphrasing here) that has inspired me to take the plunge.

Natalia: So this probably seems weird.

Vanya: Sasha told me that you were a journalist, so not really, no.

Natalia: Well, I’m not really talking to you in any sort of professional capacity, and I don’t want to turn this into a thesis, so I’m going to try to be short and sweet about it, you’ve paid prostitutes for sex, right?

Vanya: Right.

Natalia: Can we talk about why?

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