Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Aziz Ansari’s ‘Modern Romance’ analyzes today’s dating scene | Book Review

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Story by Shaleyn Anderson // Contributing Writer

Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance is an observational analysis on how the task of finding love has evolved over the past 30 years into what we consider now to be “modern dating.”

If you are expecting a book full of humorous entries about love based off of the comedian’s typical stand-up acts, then you may find yourself slightly disappointed. Told from Ansari’s perspective, the book does not lack in amusement and his tone of writing is definitely jocular. Co-written by sociologist and NYU professor Eric Klinenberg, it is as equally educational as it is comical. It looks at how finding love and dating has changed as time has progressed. From etiquette where the man had to pay the bill, to dating on equal terms, blind dates, then beyond to online dating on sites similar to hookupapps.com; the face of dating and romance has changed. Nowadays, there is less reliance on meeting people face to face and the involvement of pheromones in attraction has decreased as a result. This isn’t to say that pheromones don’t still play a part in attraction, as quite clearly they do. But with people choosing to meet and talk online more and more, their role in initial attraction is almost becoming redundant. That being said, they are still incredibly useful in attracting a partner, so long as you are seeing them in person. Feramones.com is one of the most detailed sites about pheromones we have seen, so it might be worth a look if this is something that intrigues you. The book tackles modern dating: everything from finding a partner, the actual dating process, online dating, the left-swipe, proper emoji use and sexting to the forbidden double-text. It also looks into how mature people have adapted to new dating changes like the introduction of online dating. While some don’t like the thought of it, a lot use Mature dating sites to find love in their older years despite the fact it’s much different from the dating style they’re used to. There is also, arguably, the most common niche of dating big women as well. It just goes to show that no matter who you are, young, old, or weighing any amount, there is always someone out there who wants to match with you.

Ansari and Klinenberg constructed focus groups from all over the world, conducted interviews (both on and off the street), assembled surveys and combined the research they found to help portray just how trivial it can be to date in this day and era.

Ansari even incorporates research he received during his stand-up skits. He had audience members offer up their phones so that he could dig into their personal lives. After reading texts between potential love prospects and suitors, he would then ask the audience members questions about how they perceived the conversations and situations as a whole.

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Aziz Ansari also explores romance in his Netflix original series “Master of None.” (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)

This book makes noticeable the contrast to how conversations and the options within the dating pool have evolved due to advanced technology. The Internet has made everything accessible with just a few clicks. When we are trying to choose a restaurant, we don’t want to settle for a mediocre burger. Instead, we will spend an hour searching through reviews just so that we can find the perfect burger. We choose a place and then have to group message six friends just to confirm that the place you have chosen, is, in fact, the best possible choice of burger. You see the pleasure comes from eating the delicious burger and enjoying it, not the search itself.

Now, compare that to online dating, and you will see that we are bombarded with so many choices and opportunities to find someone to date. We are in constant search of the next best thing, so we find ourselves making the dating process that much more complicated.

“For me the takeaway of these stories is that, no matter how many options we seem to have on our screens, we should be careful not to lose track of the human beings behind them,” Ansari writes. “We’re better off spending quality time getting to know actual people than spending hours with our devices, seeing who else is out there.”

When purchasing this book, I did not bother to read the synopsis. I’m a major fangirl of Aziz, so all I needed to know was that he was the author of the book before happily handing over my $13. I was expecting a hilarious memoir about Aziz, but instead was surprised and delighted with a book about a social experiment. I found this book to be highly relatable and, above all, very thought provoking. It was very thorough with its research and had me cracking up the whole time.

I can be very cynical when it comes to the topic of dating in the 21st century, and to discover most people are just as clueless as I on the topic thrilled me. Not only did I learn something from this book, but it also changed my perspective on love and dating.

After reading this, I feel more compelled to be happy in the now and to stop over-thinking about every detail in my life. I’ve started to spend less time staring at my phone and more time socializing with people in person. I’ve made a point to call more often and have had fewer conversations via text message. You would be shocked at how much more you experience and take away when you stop swiping and scrolling and take the time to converse one-on-one.

The goal of Modern Romance was to help readers comprehend why it can be so difficult to find love these days. After reading this, I can confidently say Ansari truly delivers and obtains that goal. It is a book that gives a lot of factual information with the right amount of humor to keep you laughing throughout. Ansari merely guides you through the challenges and does it in a very easy-going and uncritical way.

Finding love and keeping it is a rollercoaster; Aziz Ansari is here to ride it out with you. If you aren’t a rock incapable of feeling emotions and you enjoy the Parks and Rec type of humor, then I would recommend you pick up this book. It’s light-hearted, enticing and unbelievably relevant.

Follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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