I’m a big fan of Aziz Ansari. I recently watched his Netflix series Master of None – very funny, and close to reality. Much like the more recent series Love.
Earlier this year Penguin Books offered to send me a copy of Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance – the book that inspired Master of None. I’ve wanted to read this book since watching the series, so said yes!
Modern Romance is an in-depth, well-researched and hilarious insight into how dating, marriage and everything in-between has changed as we’ve charged into the digital age.
Reading this book led to many sighs of relief that I’m not the only one who has felt a little overwhelmed and exhausted at times with our culture’s obsession with finding ‘your soul mate’.
Aziz covers pretty much everything – from social stigma still existing around online dating sites, the best messaging strategies to adopt with online dating, right to the marriage and dating epidemic in Japan, whether or not humans are actually wired for monogamy and the differences between passionate love and companionate love.
You know what this book made me feel? It made me feel better. With all these unlimited options on display and digital methods of communicating, one thing that has never ever been easier than it is now, is comparing ourselves to other people. It’s no wonder we might feel the pressure sometimes!
As Aziz says himself, not only do we have almost unlimited options nowadays when it comes to finding a romantic partner, we also have a ‘I need and deserve the best’ attitude. In some ways that’s a great attitude because it means you’re looking for someone who treats you with respect, in other ways it’s not because it can make you eternally dissatisfied.
What I found most fascinating in this book was the section on monogamy and how Dan Savage argues monogamy became the norm. Apparently in the pre-twentieth century West, it was normal for married men to have affairs, mistresses and to use prostitutes. When the women’s movement started up, this changed. Women weren’t happy with this double standard, and rather than society extending the same freedom to married women, they took it away from men.
Aziz puts it very eloquently:
“Men could have said ‘Okay, let’s both mess around.’ But instead men got preemptively jealous of their wives messing around and said ‘What? No, I don’t want you b*ning other dudes! Let’s just both not mess around!'”
I found this book fascinating and hilarious, and I’m now very interested to see how our cultural norms change in the next decade or so.