Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari; 2015
The trials of dating today is something that my friends and I talk/complain about often. To Tinder or not to Tinder; how much time to leave between messages when texting someone new; which social media to follow a new beau on; can guys who didn’t go to college with us actually be trusted, or are they all serial killers?; when do we give up and join a paid online dating service?; when do we really give up and fast track ourselves to spinsterhood? And that’s just to start.
Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance begins to address some of these modern day dating dilemmas. Aziz takes a light-hearted look at how dating has evolved over the last few decades, and takes us on a tour of today’s dating obstacles. This version of a comedian/celebrity book was refreshing, and I felt that he was mostly successful at objectivity. He teamed up with a sociologist to do all of the research for the book. It was also an effortless way to consume nonfiction because it was presented in simple layman’s terms with some comedy thrown in. Some of the material I recognized from his standup, but it wasn’t as fleshed out and thus not entirely repetitive.
I’m personally at the point where I don’t trust the intentions of people on Tinder and other free online dating apps. Each weekend when I’m out with friends I hear a new horror story about cheating or other related romantic deceptions. I’m pretty well-versed in romantic ventures gone terribly awry thanks to miscommunication over text messaging. So although Modern Romance didn’t have any information about dating today that surprised me, I did feel like it was beneficial to sit down and spend time thinking about what it means to have a “real world” and a “phone world.” Aziz offers useful advice about navigating these two world; for example, limit your virtual communication with a new person to 5 or 6 messages. After that, actually go our and meet them. Another one I liked: don’t focus on lining up a bunch of first dates. Instead, try to go for the 5th or 6th date before making a decision.
I did think that his take on dating today was fairly optimistic, if not overly so. He focused a lot more on the positives and how technology is improving our dating opportunities. This is probably a healthier perspective considering technology isn’t going to go away, however, I would have appreciated more about how all of this technology can also negatively affect us. Like how Tinder and similar dating apps encourage superficiality and give people a platform to essentially say socially unacceptable things that they would never say in person. He addresses this only at the most basic level. At times I did roll my eyes slightly, because of course his dating experiences are different – he’s a successful celebrity/comedian.
I read this in a day-and-a-half, no problem. Also, it probably goes without saying that this book is pretty hilarious and has its chuckle-out-loud moments. I highly recommend it to anyone who is navigating today’s dating world.