I was really excited to read Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
This book is mostly a sociological look at the challenges those looking for love in modern times face and how those challenges are exacerbated or lessened by technology.
But Ansari punctuates the science with his personal brand of humor and lightens up the sociology aspects with funny anecdotes and made up examples.
I found a lot of things really fascinating about the research and the hypothesis/premise Ansari was working under. Basically, Ansari argues that with the advances in technology that have brought us online dating and apps like Tinder, we are all that girl at the store that can’t make up our mind.
We like the top (the mate) we have, but are we sure we want to commit to buying it. There could be something else better out there.
In generations before us where options were limited by the lack of technology, you found someone you loved and that was that. You loved them, they loved you. Wedding. Kids. Picket fence.
Now, we’re always kinda waiting for the thing that possibly could be better, at least until we find a person we’re sure is the one. The same technology that is supposed to help us find a partner may actually be hurting us in the long run.
One of the things I found really fascinating in this book is how romance seeking around the world is described. As part of the research Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg did, they traveled to Tokyo and Buenos Aires to talk with young people looking for love there.
After reading about their struggles/challenges, I’m thinking America is in many ways a happy medium.
In Buenos Aires, men believe that no is just a fun way of saying yes. They don’t like to take no for an answer and essentially wear a woman down until they get a date with them. Not exactly my cup of tea.
More interesting to me was Tokyo. You have this clash of culture in that people are more independent and don’t have the arranged marriages, but many young men were scared to talk to a woman they didn’t know because they didn’t know if their family was honorable.
In Japan, you also have a situation where many schools are separated by gender. So growing up, children and teens do not have a lot of opportunities to socialize with the opposite sex and learn how to approach a person. It’s such a unique culture.
There’s such a marriage crisis in Japan (yes, actually a crisis) that the government in some areas of the country have created government sanctioned online dating sites to try and match couples up with each other.
That’s not an issue we’d ever likely have in the U.S.
I’d encourage you to read this book, even if you aren’t a big fan of Ansari’s humor. The journey to find love is something nearly all of us can identify with and you’ll definitely learn something from this book.