I was not sure what to expect out of comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg’s Modern Romance. Last year, I read a book called Dataclysm by Christian Rudder (founder of OkCupid) and I mistaken Modern Romance would be the same thing. I was burnt out on reading books revolving around themes of dating, networking, technology, and the modern world.
“We live in a culture that tells us we want and deserve the best, and now we have the technology to get.”
Modern Romance does run through a similar vein of Dataclysm as far the said topics go. I felt Dataclysm was heavy on the data science; after all, OkCupid treated their site like a large, controlled social lab. They did user experiments to test their users such as intentionally pair users with incompatible matches or pixelating profile pictures. I am a data science enthusiast and it was a great read. Modern Romance was heavy on the social science and analyzing dating scenes across different generations and cities around the world.
“That said, can you imagine how insane that must have been—to get the first text of all time? When no one knew what a text was? It would have been like “WHY ARE THERE WORDS ON MY PHONE??? PHONES ARE FOR NUMBERS!!”
Modern Romance is hilarious — there were moments I laughed out loud alone. Books like these show you can be smart and funny. In this book, Aziz and Eric conducted focus groups through interviews and this subreddit to learn how people across the world deal with courtships and relationships, views on open relationships, playing games, and making decisions from potential picks to potentials places to have dinner. They way people interact with technology plays a big part in the book because it makes one’s world far bigger and it should be easier — right?
“No matter how many options we seem to have on our screens, we should be careful not to lose track of the human beings behind them.”
I met my husband through online dating (before the industry blew up), but the funny thing was we’ve seen each other in passing but we never talked. The first message he wrote to me was “You look familiar, I feel I’ve seen you before.” I’ve received this line from other guys before, but I knew I’ve seen him around. My heart sank because I was new to online dating and there was still that stigma of meeting people online. I felt I was caught red-handed so I finally responded, “Yes, we’ve seen other before. You work with so-and-so.” And the rest is history. Maybe I shouldn’t call it “online dating website”, but rather an “online introduction website.” I believe without online dating (errm…introducing), we most likely wouldn’t talk to each other at all or it would have taken a lot longer to get around talking to each other.
“Oh, I’m sure he’s much more intelligent and thoughtful in person. This is just his “lazy phone persona.”
Recommendation: I am married and overall I enjoyed the book. I think other married or committed couples will enjoy it too. Would I recommend it for single people? Sure, but please read it with an open mind rather than deflect on how certain topics do not apply to you. Through this book, I found parts of myself I could relate.
Wild Eclectic Book Club (Name in Progress): I am trying a blog series where every other Wednesday I review a book from my ever-changing Current Reads page. The hard part about writing these reviews is as much as I want to share what’s in the book, I don’t want to give anything away.