Let's face it: courting, communicating and finding love seems a lot more complicated than it used to be. Technology was supposed to make everything a little easier on all of us, but why does it seem like everybody is just more frustrated? We get some answers from an unlikely modern thinker: Aziz Ansari.
Ansari, standup comedian and star of Parks and Recreation, is your guide to love in the digital age in his new book Modern Romance, on shelves this week. For years, Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for this book he takes things to another level, teaming up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to combine his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us a tour of our new romantic world.
First, here's a clip of Aziz on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, reading some embarrassing first text exchanges between guys and girls. These are actual first attempts at romantic overtures:
Guys, come on.
Here's some more about the book:
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would 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, 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 decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
Modern Romance is now available everywhere, including Amazon.
Aziz will also be embarking on a nationwide book tour in support of Modern Romance this summer. (Each ticket comes with a free copy of the book.) For further information, visit his website.