Aziz Ansari certainly realizes the current reality young love-seekers face.
It’s obvious that finding one’s very own needle-in-a-haystack while wading through an ocean of floating garbage is, at the very least, overwhelming. (Wait, does that mean you’re attempting to find a needle in the ocean?) Anyways, throughout his book, Ansari uses thoughtful discussion to walk readers through the abundance of challenges associated with modern-day romance. He intensely explores the universal truths associated with finding love and dispels the belief that such an experience is purely personal.
One of the most engaging points of discussion surrounds the idea of soul mate marriage versus companionate marriage: “It’s not [only] about finding someone decent to start a family with. It’s about finding the perfect person whom you truly, deeply love. Someone you want to share the rest of your life with.”
Soul mate love aligns with what so many are searching for; however, according to social scientist Andrew Cherlin, today’s soul mate marriage model puts a lot of pressure on partners to live up to extraordinary expectations every day. While it’s not fair to expect perfection, it is heart-warming to understand that the current culture of romance grants folks the opportunity to discover (and build) a truly awesome relationship:
People who are looking for love today have an unprecedented set of options in the search for an amazing romantic partner or, ideally, soul mate. We can marry pretty much whomever we want to, regardless of their sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, or race – or even location. We’re more likely than the generations that came before us to have relationships in which both partners are equals. And, unlike many in prior generations, nearly all of us will only marry someone we love.
As the author delves into the dirty details surrounding the evolution of dating, meeting people organically begins to sound a heck of a lot simpler than the other avenues used today. Nevertheless, online dating has become the most common way people meet their spouses in recent years: “Bigger than work, friends, and school combined.”
When the topic of smartphones arises, readers are forced to acknowledge that almost everyone has their own “phone world” nowadays. It’s startling to think about how massive of an impact these objects have had: “Through our phone world we are connected to anyone and everyone in our lives, from our parents to a casual acquaintance whom we friend on Facebook.”
As technology’s role in romance is further analysed, Ansari presents an important point that, “…social media and the Internet are introducing all kinds of new options into social and romantic life. And while it’s exciting, sometimes even exhilarating, to have more choices, it’s not necessarily making life easier.”
In fact, this excessive online connection has challenged – and perhaps even degraded – the traditional ideas of privacy and loyalty within romantic relationships. Oversharing and emotional infidelity are concepts that are melding into normalcy.
On the flip side, disconnection has also become easier than ever. Once upon a time, a breakup called for a phone call (at the very least!), where lines such as “it’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m sorry, I just want to focus on my dragon art” were a minimum requirement. Now, breaking up is just a quick text away.
Aziz reminds readers that now, more than ever, it is important to be present and live consciously: “…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. We’re better off spending quality time getting to know actual people than spending hours with our devices, seeing who else is out there.”
It’s clear that this book is continually funny because the writer draws from real, relatable experiences and circumstances. He demonstrates this on page thirty-five while discussing the demise of the phone call:
It’s worth pausing here to note that this is an insanely fast transformation in how we communicate. For many generations young people used telephone calls to reach out to possible romantic partners. It was a harrowing experience that we all could relate to. Before the initial ask, you would hear terrifying rings and then an answer. It could be the object of your desire or a roommate or even a parent. At that point you would ask to speak with the person you wanted to ask out.
If they were around, the person would finally say, “Hello,” and a mild panic would ensue. You would have to spend some time chatting them up, trying to form a bond while also setting things up for a possibly awkward segue into a date ask.
It is difficult to tell if the overly-detailed anecdotes placed throughout the book induce giggling in all readers or just in those of Generation Y. Either way, the manner in which Ansari tells the story about the couple who met through a newspaper ad would make just about anyone pee their pants:
Now, the idea of meeting through a newspaper personals ad makes for a pretty great story, but for many years Anne never told it. She’s a high-achieving professional with a fancy degree from an elite university and a straitlaced family, and she knew there was a stigma attached to couples who met through newspaper ads. Anne made up a decoy story about her and Ed’s meeting being a setup, for the inevitable moments when people asked how they had met. Her own friends and family didn’t know the truth until her wedding day, when she confessed during her toast, at which point her family disowned her for being such a loser. Okay, that didn’t happen, but wouldn’t that have been nuts?
While Ansarsi’s writing might be perceived as a little too careful at times, his elegant and charming approach continually shines through. As he leads readers through the maze of modern romance, he displays a perfect blend of intelligence and comedic relief. This smarty-pants enlightens his audience and then quickly integrates hilarity into the mix, creating a warm balance to the read.
One of the finest nuggets of wisdom plucked from the book reminds readers that there is more to life than “gazing into your lover’s eyes all day until you die.” There are other aspects of life that should not be cast aside. It’s pretty clear that Aziz is a solid representation of this sought after well-roundedness; he’s a comedian, a writer, an intellect – basically a multi-talented busy bee striving for great love just like the rest of us.