Today’s dating landscape is completely different from that of previous generations’. Heck, it’s even different from my high school years! We are now living in a time where there are more options than ever before. Our grandparents’ generation tended to marry people they grew up with; even in big cities, it wasn’t uncommon for people to marry people from their same neighborhood or apartment building. Previous generations tended to marry and start a family early in life. That was the status quo.
These days, the concept of settling down with one’s high school sweetheart sounds quaint and unlikely (although, for the record, I actually do have a few friends who have been married for a decade+ to the people they were with in high school). Thanks largely to technology, we are inundated with more options than ever before, and whether we’re looking for a one night stand or a long-term relationship, we now have countless resources at our fingertips to facilitate our search for The One. As a society, our values have also changed. A career outside the home was not a possibility for either of my grandmothers. My parents married at twenty-one while they were finishing college and began having children at twenty-four. When I was little, I thought I would wait until twenty-four to get married. (Why twenty-four? No idea.) Now I’m thirty-four, and the idea of getting married now, much less at twenty-four, just makes me go, “LOLOLOL. No.”
Rather than write a celebrity memoir, actor and comedian Aziz Ansari — most recently known for his acclaimed Netflix series, Master of None — chose to go a much more interesting route and write a sociological exploration of modern romance. Ansari teamed up with Eric Kleinenberg (a pleasant surprise for me, as I’m already familiar with Klinenberg’s work) and developed a multi-pronged research project that would allow them to study people’s dating behaviors and etiquette. If you’ve watched Master of None, some of the topics might sound familiar, like asking someone out on a date via text. He also travels abroad to compare the U.S. dating landscape to places with culturally specific dating issues of their own. Some of the findings are pretty common sense (bad grammar is a turn-off), but there are plenty of interesting factoids (Apple users are twice more likely to sext than Android users).
I listened to the audiobook, which Ansari narrates and starts by scolding listeners for being too lazy to read the book themselves. The downside to the audiobook is that you can’t see all the charts in the print version. The upside: Ansari is the narrator, and he’s good at it. If you’re looking for a smart, humorous book, Modern Romance is a good candidate.
Modern Romance was released in June 2015 by The Penguin Press. I listened to the audiobook version produced by Penguin Audio.