Book Review: Modern Romance
About a week ago I was texting a friend of mine regarding a stand-up comedy show that we both planned on going to. The text was simple, all it said was, “Ahh ok, I was wondering when to drop off the Hannibal Buress money.” I sent it intending to have a fairly straight-forward conversation. Unfortunately for me, my phone had bigger plans.
Instead of sending once, somewhere along the way my phone decided it would be more exciting to send that text 20 times.
What’s worse is that these texts didn’t get delivered all at once. Even though I sent the first message at around 9:00 p.m., the text was sent periodically over several hours with times like 3:49 a.m., 3:58 a.m., 4:19 a.m., all the way until the next afternoon— each text asking the exact same question.
If you’re anything like me, my first thought wasn’t, “I hope she doesn’t think I’m really excited to give her ticket money!” It was, “Holy shit. What other texts have I sent that have done this?”
You see, accidentally sending 20 texts about dropping off money for stand-up tickets is funny, but sending 20 texts of “Hey we should hang out!” to that cute girl you met a week ago between the late night hours of 3:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. is basically the opening plot for a 21st century horror movie.
Despite that scenario probably being a fairly uncommon experience, worrying about text messaging is not something unique to my life, and for many people my age, it’s incredibly common.
This is especially true when it comes to romance. Dating can be stressful enough as it is, and with more and more people communicating primarily online or through their phones, textual communication introduces a whole new set of problems for modern singles.
It’s these kinds of scenarios that make Aziz Ansari’s latest book, Modern Romance, so engaging. The comedian and Parks and Recreation actor teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to do a study on the highs and lows of modern dating. The result is a book that mixes the fresh and intelligent comedy Ansari is known for, while offering genuinely engaging research.
Specifically, what makes Modern Romance such a fun read is that the book isn’t trying to solve the problems present in 21st century romance. Instead, Ansari seems more interested in creating a book that compliments the collective frustrations of single people all around the world.
So whether you’re wondering if you should have added an extra “y” to the “Heyy” text you sent last night, or puzzled at the idea of men thinking dick pics are the key to a girl’s heart, Ansari and Modern Romance is written mainly to relate to the ridiculous situations most modern singles face.
Despite this, Modern Romance does offer plenty of information that’s both helpful and hilarious. For example, did you know guys with photos looking away from the camera and off into the distance are also the most likely photos to get a positive response from women? What about the fact that even the lowest rated girls in terms of attractiveness on OK Cupid receive more messages per day than the highest rated guys? Or even, that Japan is currently desperately trying to combat their declining birth rate, because most guys are too busy jerking off into a plastic egg-shaped sex toy?
Maybe you didn’t want to know that last part, but even still, most of what Modern Romance has to offer can, at the very least, make you laugh, and at best, can help you correct some of the dating mistakes you’ve made in the past. Even better, the book doesn’t focus on a specific demographic, so it’s almost guaranteed to be relevant to some part of your life.
Of course, Modern Romance obviously isn’t perfect. At times it can be difficult to maintain interest when the book covers a particular demographic that I don’t relate to. Moreover, it’s not hard to imagine readers occasionally finding some of the hard data a little dry, but Ansari’s wit manages to overcome these minor obstacles. So whether you’re young or old, from a big city, or a small town, Modern Romance effectively covers something for everyone, and will leave you laughing even after you’re done.