Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari


“We have two selves: a real-world self and a phone self, and the nonsense our phone selves do can make our real-world selves look like idiots. Our real-world selves and our phone selves go hand in hand. Act like a dummy with your phone self and send some thoughtless message full of spelling errors, and the real-world self will pay the price. The person on the other end sees no difference between your two selves. They never think, Oh, I’m sure he’s much more intelligent and thoughtful in person. This is just his “lazy phone persona.”

I won my copy of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance through those Goodreads giveaways, which was pretty exciting!  What was less exciting was that it was an Advanced Reading Copy, which means that there were grammatical/typographical errors throughout the book and, as it was a sociological research book on what modern romance is, sometimes it was missing graphs, like this:


I will never know the wonders of Graph FPO (unless I get a real copy of the book)

Aziz Ansari (of Parks and Recreation fame) partnered with sociology professor Eric Klinenberg to write this book, which examines what modern romance, dating, and courtship is like in the age of technology, online dating, and a changing societal mindset, especially how it compares to what dating used to be like in our parents’ and grandparents’ days.

So here’s where I’m going to get real with you guys about my current romantic situation’s origin story, because Aziz has encouraged me to do so, and because it’s relevant.  I had experimented with Tinder in the fall of 2013, and then soon decided it was gross and it kept coming up with people I already knew.  In the spring of 2014, after I decided that I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship because I was going to be travelling in South America for a large portion of 2016, I saw that a local feminist magazine had a call for submissions, and I decided to pitch them a sociological examination of Tinder.  I poured my heart and soul into researching and writing this article, even going so far as to reactivate my Tinder account and say yes to a bunch of randoms to see what they would say (with no intention of meeting any of them).  Suffice to say, my current boyfriend of over 1.5 years was one of them.

Unfortunately, after draft revisions and several iterations, this magazine decided that my final article was not feminist enough and instead took too much of a sociological/philosophical examination of Tinder as a dating medium.  The irony is, pretty much everything I posited in MY article is present in half of Aziz’s book.  You could have had this before it went out into the popular sphere, unnamed feminist magazine.

Anyway, what’s also relevant is that a lot of people don’t know we met on Tinder, because of the associations with Tinder – Aziz goes into those stigmas as well.  People come up with an alternative story so they don’t have to admit how they really met.  (Aziz, you have inspired me to be honest, so here world, have the truth).

There’s a lot of parallels between Aziz’s stand-up (which I’ve watched) and his hit new Netflix show, Master of None (which I’ve also watched).  You can see where characters draw inspiration from, and anecdotes he’s told on stage or in this book appear as scenes in the TV show.  I guess it’s cool to draw inspiration from your life if its interesting enough – perhaps I feel just a bit oversaturated with Aziz.  (Master of None is amazing though, go watch it, all of you).

So none of what Aziz talks about was particularly new to me – I guess I was amazed at how many people are meeting their partners online (in the US anyway) and how the dating landscape has really changed.  I guess if you want an explanation of everything or are actually seeking solutions to the dilemmas of modern romance, read this book.  Or, sit down and have a coffee with me, and I’ll tell ya how the world works.

Books read: 5


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