Modern Romance: A Review

modern-romance-aziz-ansara-book-coverAs someone who adores Parks and Recreation, the thought that the authority on “Treat Yo’ Self” was writing a book about internet dating made me eagerly want to read this book. Alas, I did not have the funds available and so I was easily able to get the audio book for this through Audible, which has now saved my butt a bunch of times. Mostly because I read books like they are water and I don’t have the funds to keep up with my ridiculous habit.

If you are looking for a lighthearted look into modern romance, via the ramblings of a comic, then this is sort of the book for you. Aziz Ansari is hilarious but what is most important about this book is the research that was involved. The book is his idea but he decided that it was important to find people who were more skillful at understanding relationships – such as social scientists who do this for a living.

Aziz talks about a real self and a phone self, and oftentimes these  selves are at odds with the other. There are things that people would say in a text conversation that they would not say or do in real life. This kind of phenomena is widely known and we still judge people based on how they interact in a texting situation. Small things like the difference between “Hey” and “Hey my name is Don Juan and I hope we can meet soon” is incredible.

What I found incredibly interesting about this book was the look into different cultures and how they perceive sex, relationships, and extra-marital affairs. Besides cities and small towns in the United States, Aziz and his team also conducted research in Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Paris. These places couldn’t be any more different from the United States with regards to the entirety of the dating scene.

Tokyo, for instance, and the entirety of Japan, is in a rapid state of decline in birth rates. Young Japanese people are just not interested in pursuing marriage or sexual relationships. Many men are inclined to not bother with forming relationships because they know that they will be rejected – and to face rejection in that way is a supreme form of shame. Japanese women are entirely tired of the charade and want the men to just approach them to make it easier but societal constraints have stymied that pretty forcefully.

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum lies Buenos Aires, which is host to catcalling and consistent extra-marital affairs. Often, both men and women would have several partners at a time or would have partners that they would keep on their phones as a side lover just in case it doesn’t work out with the main person. Apparently, seeing women crying publicly is quite a common occurrence and it is clear that this form of love is not equal.

As someone who has never had an internet date before in my life and the most sexual I get when texting is a “Heeeeeyyyyyyy ;)”, internet dating sounds like a highly stressful, low reward, high risk kind of thing. I don’t know if I will ever survive if my current relationship doesn’t pan out. Luckily, nothing like that is even close to happening – quite happy with my guy. But the thought of having to go into a world where meeting someone first is not as important kinda scares me. We shall see what the future holds. I definitely think this is something that everyone should read.


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