Brief synopsis: In his book Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari studies the advantages and pitfalls of dating and romance in today’s digital world in an attempt to answer questions that humans have been asking for centuries—why does the idea of being with one person for the rest of my life sound scary? and how do I indicate I’m interested in someone without opening myself up to rejection?—as well as others that arose as a result of new technology—with so many options out there, how do I find the best person for me? and I can see you read that message two hours ago Matt, why can’t you text me back a simple “yes” or “no”???

The book incorporates Ansari’s personal anecdotes; hundreds of interviews with strangers; social science research about love, sex, and relationships, including interviews with eminent sociologists; and fieldwork conducted in five countries to present a humorous and honest look at the idea of love and romance in the modern world.

Rating✈  Travel companion

Long story short: Ansari’s narrative is both humorous and thoughtful. I admit I thought the book was just an excuse for him to share (read: complain) about his dating life, but that’s not it at all. He calls attention to new dating behavior—the generic “hey” text, “ghosting”, hanging out versus dating—and asks regular people from younger and older generations what their experiences have been.

For all the millennials out there who have heard older generations bemoan the rise of technology and how much it has changed our society for the worse, don’t worry: this book doesn’t beat that metaphorical horse to death. While it accepts the fact that being connected to a virtual social network has its drawbacks, like receiving unsolicited nudes and creating unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of romance, on a basic level it has done a lot to help facilitate connections between people. And that’s really all we’re looking for: meaningful, intimate connections.

Although I know I’m not the only one caught up in the frenzied quest to find a partner-in-crime, it’s nice to have that acknowledged once in a while. So don’t let my rating fool you: whether you’re in or out of the dating pool, if you’re curious about how courtship has changed over the decades you’ll like this book. I would have given it a “You bet I’ll read this more than once” rating, but unfortunately it doesn’t have that reread value. Once you pick it up and glean whatever insights you can, you’re kinda done with it, so make sure you enjoy your time together.

Have you read Modern Romance or do you plan to? Comment and share your thoughts! Also, shout out to Sam for letting me borrow her copy: thank you, thank you!

Modern romance

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