Book review: Modern Romance

Modern RomanceAziz Ansari is a comedian and actor and he’s just written his first book, Modern Romance. I was about to dismiss it as another off-the-cuff, breezy autobiography that comedians tend to write – but it’s not that at all! It’s a real book. Based on research, and a little bit of science in the humanities. Crazy!

Aziz pairs up with a sociologist to write about how dating and relationships are changing because of technology. They go around the world, study different cultures, and talk to hundreds of people about their experiences.

I liked the first half of the book where they focus on the early days of dating. My favourite chapter describes the complicated interactions during texting:

We repeatedly found that one text can change the whole dynamic of a budding relationship. In a certain context, even just saying something as innocuous as “Hey, let’s hang out sometime” or spelling errors or punctuation choices can irritate someone…texting, unlike an in-person conversation, is not a forgiving medium for mistakes.

…The fact that your interactions on your phone can have such a profound effect on people’s impressions of you as a person makes it clear that you basically have two selves now–your real-world self and your phone self.

I don’t take myself too seriously when sending texts, especially to people I know well, but I took this as another reminder that tone, spelling, and punctuation always matter!

Pair this with a hilarious video from Jimmy Fallon where they read real first texts (and pointers of what not to do):

It’s a fun read, perfect for the last weekend of summer. Even if you’re not single, and long-time married like me, it’s an entertaining look at how all of our relationships are changing with technology.

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