Observations on Modern Romance

Goodreads tells me that I’m 2 books behind on my goal of 60 books for the year. I’m not worried–I know I’ll catch up this summer. Continuing my journey outside my usual reads, I started yet another nonfiction book, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. (Note: I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to my students. It’s definitely adult-themed, but I’m an adult, so…)

I’m surprised that this book is so well-researched. I only know Ansari from Parks and Recreation, and while he’s quite witty, I certainly didn’t expect the book to be as fact-based and informative as it is. He could have easily drawn on personal anecdotes from his own dating experience to fill all of the pages, but these stories sit mostly in the margins of the book.

I wonder how much more relationships will change in the future. The book does a great job of comparing and contrasting dating through the ages, showing how people in the 1950s ended up marrying those who live nearby while people in the 2000s seek out partners in places far from home. The way people meet has also changed drastically. In the past, it was more organic: you would meet a mate through a friend or family member. As technology advanced and the Internet emerged, people discovered online dating to meet new people. What’s next? Virtual relationships where people live in entirely different countries yet still carry on affairs through Skype and texting? Actually, I’m pretty sure this is already happening.

Finally, I noticed that Ansari mentions his current girlfriend. I haven’t read far enough to know if he tells the story of how they met and if it fits in with all of the advice that he’s giving. I think it gives his book more credibility in that he’s writing as someone who has endured the world of dating and found success in a relationship. It gives a little hope to those who may think they’ll be forever alone.


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