Who would have thought that a comedian could write something with substance that goes beyond just comedy! Aziz Ansari’s first, and already best-selling book Modern Romance intricately defines the way that millennials find love in the modern age.
Modern Romance was born out of Ansari’s standup. After realizing that his material about dating in the Internet age struck a strong chord with his audience, Ansari joined forces with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to discover what makes dating in the Internet age so different from what it has been in the past.
The comedian that he is, Ansari manages to maintain a light and funny tone through the entire book, even when there are bouts of facts and graphs to wade through. Ansari and Klinenberg went around the world conducting interviews, online surveys, and analyzed existing data from dating sites such as OKCupid. They created focus groups in Los Angeles, New York and they visited Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Paris and the more conservative Muslim country Qatar to compare their dating cultures. They even reached into the pockets of participants, looking into their smartphones, analyzing text exchanges and swiping habits.
Ansari found what many young Muslims have also likely discovered, that their parents or grandparents married someone within a few blocks of where they were living or through their family connections. This, of course, is no longer the norm in our globalized world where meeting someone over the Internet can drastically change our expectations and prospects.
After using doughnuts as bait to coax stories out of a group of seniors, Ansari found that for some of the women in particular, marrying someone early and quickly was incentivized by the chance to leave their childhood home. When pushed they often admitted that they missed out on what young people have today, the chance to spend time establishing themselves and finding their perfect mate. A mate that is “good enough” to marry is no longer good enough for people in the Internet age. Love has become a prerequisite to marriage in a way that it was not in the past. Sociologists have called this period — when people in their 20s branch out, build their careers and look for a mate to spend their life with — early adulthood.
Ansari touts the benefits of online dating, including being able to find “your very specific, very odd dream man.” He presents compelling statistics; for example 34.95% of couples meet their spouses online, which is more than work, friends, school and family combined. In fact, more people meet their spouses online than from any other medium! No doubt that for young Muslims in early adulthood, and the rise in platforms catered to them, this statistic also holds true.
He also presents online dating as a problem. Because good enough marriages are not longer acceptable finding the perfect soulmate, using online solutions can actually be taxing on one’s happiness. The Internet has created “maximizers” who quickly move from one profile to the next rather than “satisficers” as the theorist Barry Schwartz lays out.
Ansari’s advice – be patient and spend at least five dates with someone before moving on to the next profile.
If you’re single, Ansari’s book helps shed light on the everyday mobile encounters that drive us nuts! “Why hasn’t she texted back? She clearly read the message.” For those who have already found their perfect someone, it provides insight into how the digital age has made courtship into a more complicated endeavor.
If you would like to win a copy of Modern Romance, Salaam Swipe, a Muslim matching application that is gearing up for their launch, is holding a giveaway. All you have to do to enter is Like their Facebook page. You can get a second chance to win if you signup on their website www.salaamswipe.com.