Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari

I'm a big Aziz Ansari fan, so when I saw that he had written a book giving his take on the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding romance in this day and age, I had to read it. But far from being just a repetitive set of riffs on dating, sexting, sex, breakups, etc., Ansari teamed up with a noted sociologist and other researchers, did a tremendous amount of work (including in-person and online focus groups all over the world), and provided a fairly comprehensive look at relationships, love, sex, and dating trends, complemented by his distinctive comedy style.

"In the history of our species, no group has ever had as many romantic options as we have now. So, in theory, this should be a great thing. More options is better, right? Well. It's not that easy."

Ansari takes a look at the way different generations approached dating and choosing the person with whom to settle down, as well as how the advent of computer dating, personal ads, dating apps (like Match.com and Tindr), texting, and sexting have impacted relationships. He looks at how the so-called "phone world" (where all of us are so ruled by communicating via our phones) affects infidelity, paranoia, and snooping. And he also looks at dating and the relationship between the sexes in different societies, such as Qatar, Japan, France, and Argentina.

While I didn't find most of what Ansari wrote about to be particularly shocking (except, perhaps, looking at certain statistics, like how many people in younger generations think it's okay to end a relationship via text or social media, yet don't want it done to them), but his spin on everything, punctuated by quotes from those who responded to focus groups or other inquiries conducted through the research for the book, is humorous, insightful, and in most cases, dead-on accurate.

This is an interesting book with flashes of humor, rather than a humorous book with flashes of information, as you might expect simply seeing Ansari's face on the cover. If you go into this book knowing that, and are interested in just how much the dating world has changed through the years, you'll be surprised, enlightened, occasionally appalled, and entertained.

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