Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari


This book was an interesting mix of laugh-out-loud funny moments, embarrassingly silly not funny jokes, and an interesting take on digital lives of people of a certain age. He did a significant amount of research on the subject and along with Eric Klinenberg, sociologist from NYU, did some focus group type of research himself.

They contrasted the ways people met each other in the 40s to current methods. When they asked people who are now in nursing homes how they met their spouses, they learned that many people met their mates in their neighborhood. Ansari said his parents had an arranged marriage:  his father had three choices, two were eliminated for being too tall. After talking to the third woman for 30 minutes, they married and have had a successful marriage for nearly 40 years. Now in the digital age, when people have access to countless prospects, people look for the perfect mate and can spend years and untold hours looking for that person. 

The most startling information is how many people meet significant others online. I would have guessed that the majority of people find their mates when they are in college, but it turns out that marriage occurs later for many people so that there is an extended period of single adulthood. 

When I read English literature from another country I like to note usages that are out of my own experience. A notable word in this book was the verb to bone, meaning to have sex. Though this was a book written about my own country, that sure was an alien word use for me.

Ansari quotes work of Jon Haidt and apparently interviewed him for the book. When Jon taught at UVa, he lived next door to us; he teaches at NYU now.

Aziz Ansari, Modern Romance:  An Investigation, Penguin, 2015, 288 pages (I listened to the audiobook). Available at the UVa and public libraries and from Amazon.

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