Let me just say: if you are in your 20s, single or in a committed relationship, go out and read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. I finished the book a few weeks ago, and I still cannot stop raving about how hilarious and truly relevant it is. As a young professional, dawned with the new independence of “adulthood,” I’ve realized that, if not careful, it is very easy to become encumbered by the balancing act between your job, your family, your friends, and – to top it all off – the stress that now may be the primetime in your life to find that “special someone,” before you end up old and alone. The latter can be especially confusing and debilitating. #EggsNotGettingAnyYounger
Though this fear of having to find the perfect match may feel isolating and can muster the anxiety associated with dating and/or relationships; it is important to know that you’re not alone. In his new book, Aziz Ansari with sociologist Eric Klinenberg, take a closer look at romance as it appears today in the face of emerging technology. Ansari and Klinenberg traveled across the world to research and conduct focus groups and interviews with different culture and age demographics, investigating the way romance is pursued and perceived. The result is a thoughtful and entertaining commentary on the conundrums that young people face every day with regards to romance, illuminating the opportunities and problems that exist now that didn’t exist generations before.
For example, through focus groups with older generations and research about relationship habits during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Ansari found that the most common way of meeting a spouse back in the day was to be from the same home town, live in about a five-block radius, or perhaps even in the same building as one another. Personally, I can’t even think of anyone in our age demographic who has married someone from their hometown neighborhood, let alone their old building.
For this older generation, Ansari found that getting married was oftentimes the first step into adulthood (average age of marriage being 20 for women and 23 for men) and was viewed as THE vehicle for independence for a young adults, particularly for young women. This is in stark contrast to today’s culture of romance. We see more and more often people getting married later, allowing for a new stage of life to explore, start a career, and experience adulthood and independence before getting married. The development of this exploratory stage in our 20s and 30s, with the advancement of technology (e.g. dating apps, sites, and methods of communication) means we are no longer limited to the five-block radius rule (hallelujah!). We have exposure to people from all different places and walks of l
ife and we can utilize this period to learn more about ourselves before committing to someone else. This is, at the same time, exciting and frightening. Ansari explains that the exponential increase in dating options oftentimes makes it harder for one to actually choose a particular person to meet and get to know. And while there are so many new and attractive options right at our fingertips, it also leads to a flakiness that can be characterized in our culture – there is a constant fear that there is a better option out there, leading to a shallowness in our dates and a disinterest in investing time to get to know someone if there isn’t a sudden “spark.” These findings are among the many enlightening conclusions that are addressed in Ansari’s book.
While Modern Romance may at first appear to be relevant only to those who are currently and actively searching for a date or relationship, I think anyone, with any relationship status, can benefit from what Ansari and Klinenberg found. Personally, I’ve been in a committed relationship for three years, and have found more clarity and insight in Ansari’s book than any other resource that I’ve found (without going to a therapist). Ansari is able to turn this mystifying part of our life into a thought-provoking study, arming us with laughs and stories to navigate this crazy journey of finding love.
If you still haven’t gotten the book yet, what are you waiting for? A great summer read!
(Available in Hardcover, Paperback & Kindle)
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Author: Kristina Choo
Kristina is from Orlando, FL and graduated from Northwestern University in 2015. Her hobbies include watching movies, reading, trying new restaurants/food, listening to music, hanging out with friends, and staying active (running, biking, ultimate frisbee!) – basically all the good stuff in life. She is currently exploring and eating her way through Chicago. Her new obsession and next adventure is training for her 350-mile bike tour from Pittsburgh to DC in August!