At this point in time, most readers will have come to the realization that love is not as the storybooks would tell it. We, unlike penguins, do not always mate for life, and it’s a bit hard to come by a prince in this day and age. We don’t always fall in love with our childhood best friend, and our romantic relationships aren’t neatly packaged by the time we’re ready to move out of our parents’ house. Though this may have all been true decades ago, society has shifted, as it’s apt to do. Now, with the introduction of online dating apps and better love-finding resources than ever before, the search to find your fish in the sea can seem a bit unnavigable.
Aziz Ansari gets it. So, he decided to embark on a long, in-depth study with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to analyze the relationship patterns of heterosexual couples (as he notes in the introduction, he would have to write another book to dedicate proper attention to LGBTQ dating patterns). The end result, his upcoming book Modern Romance, is a thoughtful, hilarious look into the evolution of dating. Filled with personal anecdotes and interviews, the book may or may not help you find love yourself, but it will, at the very least, make you realize how strange it is to date in 2015.
What was the weirdest thing you learned about love and life while working on your book?
Just kind of the overall shift in what relationships and marriage have become. You know, 1500 years ago it was so different what people would go through to get married. It was kind of more of an economic institution to bring families together. Recently, we’ve kind of come up with this whole thing of like “Oh, you need to find your soulmate.” And it’s a relatively new idea. It was just interesting when I talked to older people about what their experiences were when they were getting married. They all married someone that lived pretty close by—like across the street, in the same building, down the block—and they married really young. They didn’t have this whole period where they were like you know, in their 20s and maybe even early-30s meeting people and dating, and exploring careers, and all this other stuff. It’s like, “Wow, that’s a really big life change.” That was interesting to me, and there are a bajillion weird facts I learned.
I know you’re currently in a relationship, but have you ever been on Tinder? Yeah, I went on there when we were working on the book and put up a fake profile.
What was the biggest faux pas that you saw or what’s one thing that you noticed that a lot of people do on there that they probably shouldn’t be? I mean, my observations would be similar to anyone’s—douchey pictures, or whatever. I didn’t really engage, or do a lot of messaging, but it was interesting to me just how you could just keep swiping peoples’ faces. I interviewed a guy for the book and he was like, “Oh man, like girls have it so good; I have this girl that I know who’s so cute and has like 300 matches or something.” And I was like, “Well how many do you have in a month?” And he said 50. That’s crazy! If you’re a dude and you say, “Oh, I’ve met 50 women that I’m texting with,” that’s crazy! If someone told you that 10 years ago, you’d be like “Who the fuck is this guy? 50 people in a month?!”
What’s the best dating app come-on that you’ve ever seen? My friend Harris, who recently passed away, was on Tinder. And his profile said, “I’ve got money, I’ll buy you a couch.” I thought that was good. I asked him why and he said “’Cause girls love couches.”
They do. It’s very true. I don’t think you can disagree.
Pre-order Modern Romance on Amazon.