Modern Romance

Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)

In a short time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically, and not just because of technology.  A few decades ago, people would just find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood.  Their families would meet, and after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four.  Today, many people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.  

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for MODERN ROMANCE, the book, he has taken things to another level.  He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to design a massive research project, consulting experts, drawing in thousands of messages on Reddit, and conducting interviews everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita.  The result, unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before, is an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

Morgan’s Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  Full disclosure: I am a true Aziz Ansari fan.  I love him on Parks and Rec and I am completely obsessed with his Netflix series: Master of None.  This book has just enough of Aziz’s sense of humor and personal anecdotes, but it is not a memoir.  Ansari and Eric Klinenberg have tackled a massive research project, with the help of a number of pre-existing studies on aspects of the modern dating landscape, to create a big picture look on how dating has changed and what it looks like now.

And I am currently living it.  As this book identifies, dating is certainly different in different places, but New York City is heavily examined in this novel.  There are so many people here.  It must be so easy to meet one, right? Not so much.  From my experience in the last year of living here, it’s less likely (but not impossible) that you are going to meet your person on the street, or in a bar, or in a bookstore (my goal). The odds that I bump into an attractive stranger as I’m leaving the Met and he’s going in and the books in our arms scatter and we bend down and pick up one another’s well-loved and slightly tattered copies of Carson McCullers’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and our eyes meet and we fall in love… well, safe to say, they’re slim.

So, effort needs to be put in.  This is where I think MODERN ROMANCE nailed it – it addresses the reality of the way dating works now.  Internet dating is a crucial component of how we meet new people and, here’s the kicker, this is not a bad thing.  There are some pitfalls of this system, but it is here and it doesn’t seem like it is going away anytime soon (which Ansari and Klinenberg prove with data, case studies, etc). So, how do we use it to our advantage?  Ansari postulates that dating apps and websites are best used as introductory services – the sooner you can get off of them and in front of the other person, face to face, the better.  

The reason we get married has changed drastically over the past century – 50 years ago, marriage (especially for a woman) had much more to do with security than love.  Now, people are out there looking for their soulmates and they are unlikely to settle for anything less. I was fascinated by Ansari’s examination on the new reality of the motivations and the methods for finding love.

Interested in this book?  Click here to buy it on Amazon or find it at your local bookstore!

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