“Wsup?” The text message every woman has received but has no idea what it means. In Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari sets to decode this and other strange things men—and women—do when dating in the age of smartphones, the Internet and nudes. The funnyman is a bit of a self-professed train wreck when it comes to finding true love (although he's currently in a serious relationship) and joins forces with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to get to the bottom of why modern dating seems to suck. Together, they conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country (and around the world) to figure out how 20 and 30-somethings in places like New York, Los Angeles and Japan find love-- or why they seem destined for lonely nights filled with Ben & Jerry's pints and Sam Smith on repeat.
Serious research coupled with funny Azizisms, Modern Romance is a fun read that's sure to make an appearance at brunch convos and bbqs all summer long. Here's what we learned:
1. Don’t Think of Online Dating as Dating—Think of it as an Online Introduction Service
Experts say that one in three couples meet online. Online dating is no more that thing you do in the shadows—and lie that you met your bae “through friends”—it's a normal part of dating. There’s countless websites like OkCupid and Match and more dating apps than your finger can swipe through and because of this, too many women are spending their time online versus actually meeting matches. We've all spent hours texting back-and-forth with a Tinder match only to never actually meet in person. Why are we doing this? Exchange a few messages and get the IRL action going! You’re dating a person not your iPhone.
2. Invest Before You Swipe Left
Have you ever stood in front of the cereal aisle of the grocery store undecided on whether you should get bran flakes or Cocoa Puffs? You pick up one box and then put it down in exchange for another. It's frustrating and you leave with buyer's remorse that you picked the wrong cereal. Dating is kind of like that. Aziz recommends that you invest in meeting a few quality people instead of going for quantity and trying to meet as many people as possible. One date isn't enough time to really figure out whether someone is totally right or totally wrong for you. Hang out and get to know someone. Invest in more third dates and fewer first dates.
3. We All Have Problems
Ever been so fed up with dating that you threaten to drop everything and move? Ugh! New York men suck so much that I’m just moving to Paris! Heard this one before. Before you cash in your frequent flyer miles, know that every place has its own weird dating issues. Aziz visits Japan where men are so shy and scared of women that the government is trying to encourage more people to date and have sex—the government wants you to get laid—while in Argentina, men have zero chill and cat-calling and thirst are acceptable parts of the culture. As for the City of Love, Paris? Society is way more open to affairs and having partners outside of the relationship so unless jump-offs are your thing, you might as well stay put in the good ol’ U S of A.
4. Text with a Purpose
Text with a purpose. People oftentimes think that they’re texts are witty and full of swag (“Wsup?”) but we read them as pointless and stupid. If you want to ask someone out, just do it. Don’t fall for the ridiculous games like “I only text him three days after he hits me because I want to see busy” because more often than not, things get lost in translation and it will backfire. Be specific. “Hey Chris Brown! I’d like to take you to grab an ice cream sundae next week. How’s Thursday?” That’s a tasty text with a purpose.
5. Don’t Go Ghost
The book opens with a text exchange between Aziz and a girl he was into named Tanya. He thought she was feeling him but after trying to text her plans several times, she went ghost on him. He creeped on her social media profiles and it was clear that she was had not fallen into a well—she was ignoring him. Yes. We’ve all gone radio silent on someone we're not into romantically but we all hate being the one ghosted on too. Be mature and honest. It's better to tell someone you’re not interested than having them stalk you incessantly with plans to hit up The Cheesecake Factory.
6. Be Open
We want soul mates. Unlike generations before us that viewed dating and marriage as something routine that you just kind of had to do, women want real connections with their partners. But before you go off spouting how you have to have someone hot, over 6'2" and with their own yacht, ask yourself: Is this what you really need? Aziz's own must-have list completely changed with his current girlfriend. He went from thinking he wanted a petite brunette to falling in love with an Amazonian, blonde chef. Soul mates come in all different packages, so be open. It’s a big world out there and you never know who will steal your heart.