703-581-8157 aswinjohn@vt.edu

Modern Romance Review

 

Aziz Ansari is known for his comedy but he recently teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to research romance in the digital age. Now that doesn’t mean it still isn’t hilarious! The book is still written in Aziz’s tone and has subtle jokes mixed in to make the reading engaging and informative.

The book covers many topics and explores technology. Since I am interested in consumer behavior, it was fascinating to learn about the psychology behind why we do the crazy things we do when we are interested in someone. Below I’ve summarized some of my favorite takeaways from the book.

 

  1. The Paradox of Choice

Aziz mentioned that the paradox of choice is one of the biggest problems with dating in today’s world. “Paradox of Choice” is a term, originally coined by Barry Schwartz, which is the anxiety that is caused when there are too many options. In today’s world with apps like Tinder and the hookup culture, there are many options for people. The problem is that when you have so many options, you are constantly looking for the perfect product.

When we don’t like an article of clothing, we return it. When we are not satisfied with our entree, we send it back. Similarly, when we are dating someone, at the first sign of trouble, we will begin to consider the “better options”. Aziz goes onto talk about how we should go on more second and third dates instead of going on so many first dates. It is hard to judge the complexity and quirks of a person based on one encounter. See how you like that sweater in a few weeks before you return it so soon!

 

2. Waiting to Send Messages

 

As I’m sure many college kids would be able to tell you, a lot of conversation between individuals today happens through online messaging or texting. Aziz and Eric were able to read through thousands of text messages between individuals and found results on the “game” of texting. They found that people intentionally waited to send texts so that they would seem busy. Some thought that it showed weakness to text back quickly! It turns out that this is because every time we receive a text message from someone that we’re interested in, it is a mental reward. As you continue to get this reward, it eventually dulls and you become less attuned to it.

Associated with this is how people create initial contact through dating sites and apps like Tinder. Aziz recommends that you try and meet with the person in person as soon as possible. He found that people would have great conversations online, but they would eventually fizzle out. Matching services should be used to as a medium to get a date, and not a dating platform in itself.

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There are many more takeaways from the book, but I’ll let you read it and find out for yourself. I believe that everyone can see a little bit of themselves in the scenarios that are brought up.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The information is really interesting and relevant to students and young professionals. I was impressed with the amount of research that was conducted and the case studies that were presented well. More importantly, the tone and playfulness of the book makes it fun to read. Instead of just presenting the facts, Aziz speaks to you as a knowledgeable friend, and shares anecdotes to get his point across.