Book Review

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Sometimes I forget how awful dating was and start to romanticize my single days. I think many married people forget the struggle, the loneliness, and the downright awkwardness of dating. There’s some highlights and excitement but I always felt like I was doing ‘dating’ wrong.

Man, it’s a miracle I’m married.
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There are many who can relate to the struggles of dating in the 21st century, but none as much as Aziz Ansari. During his stand-up he really thrives when discussing texting and other tropes of living the single life in a digital age. So naturally he decided to write a book about our current romantic landscape (with the help of NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg).

I found this fascinating because many comedians the past few years have put out humorous memoirs, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling to name a few, but Ansari went a different route with his book. Using current studies, focus groups, and interviews Ansari starts getting a clear picture of today’s dating challenges and how best to handle them.

With a third of married couples meeting on dating sites it’s a whole new world out there, and even though I’m married I thought a study of Modern Romance would still be useful.

But honestly I was sold by the first page:

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Personally I think the success of Modern Romance can be attributed to (1) the balance of humor and information and (2) leaving the single Millennial reader with hope.

The first reason might be dependent upon whether the reader finds Ansari funny or not. If you don’t, then the information is probably still useful, but won’t be as  fun to read. That being said, Ansari does a great job weaving his quirky humor throughout the text without going overboard. If he goes off on a tangent he usually finds his way back to the point quickly.

One of the best examples of how Ansari sneaks in the humor is the following graph. There were three different pie graphs showing how three different generations met their partners (pgs 82-83). Here’s a flashback to ‘95:

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I’m pretty sure ‘Laser Tag Teammates’ is still the same today.

Being married I definitely wasn’t the target audience, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying myself. Actually, I found some gems in the last half of the book that I could apply to my own romantic life (and yes, romance isn’t dead after marriage!). My favorite subject was the chapter on Japan/Argentina and how the two cultures exhibit two different extremes with dating/romance. I’ve always been a sucker for cultural studies (pretty sure I liked Eat, Pray, Love for all the wrong reasons).

The heart of Modern Romance shines in the conclusion where Ansari wraps up his studies and discusses his takeaways. In a search that for many people can seem fruitless, Ansari is able to give his readers practical applications to help them on their romantic journey.

Which is nice to hold on to when this happens:

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Score: 7.5 lonely hearts trying to find love

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