If you want to have someone talk about something as serious as finding the one person who you will love forever when there are so many ways for this search to go awry get a comedian to write a book about it. If that book explores romantic disasters that range from the heartbreaking to the ridiculous, all the better. If that comedian does his due diligence and confers with experts who study dating, comparing dating options over several generations the deal gets even several notches better. We get graphs and jokes and an illumination of cultural trends in heterosexual pairing (not just in America but also in some interesting international locations).
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari reads almost like one of those ethnographies anthropologists used to write about various isolated tribes (á la Margaret Meade). Fortunately Aziz’s humor is not intrusive, is usually quite hip, and causes readers to chortle out loud on occasion. The author’s obvious love of good food and his continual gastronomic observations add to the fun and perhaps prove that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’.
Technology changes so fast that there is always the danger that a book such as this will quickly turn into an ancient artifact. But right now it is au currant and you probably shouldn’t procrastinate about reading it, whether or not you are in the relationship marketplace, because of the sometimes interesting research, both informal and more academic that Ansari discusses.
Modern Romance ends with a discussion of whether a couple, after experiencing that magical attraction of the first year to year and a half of a great relationship should move into the less passionate, companionate phase that follows it, or if an individual should just go from person to person and peak to peak. Science makes a pretty good argument for growing up and moving into that second phase apparently. Aziz says “But we want more than love. We want a lifelong wingman/wingwoman who completes us and can handle the truth, to mix metaphors from three different Tom Cruise movies.”
If you don’t know what it means to swipe right or swipe left you should really find yourself a copy of Modern Romance and dive right in. If you know what this means this might be required reading.
By Nancy Brisson