I can’t believe I’m only now finishing my first book of the year. It’s January 11th! What am I doing with my life??? Anyway, this was an excellent first book of the year. I can’t even tell you how refreshing it is to read a book written by a celebrity that isn’t a self-obsessed money grab that makes too much of too little (if any) substance. It’s also well-written. And entertaining. And informative. And helpful!
Several years ago when Aziz Ansari was putting together some stand-up routines that involved material on modern dating, he asked around to see if there were any comprehensive books on the subject. When it turned out that there weren’t, he decided to take on the project himself. He teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to not only write the book, but engage in original research that mostly took the form of focus groups held over the course of 2013-2014, as well as the occasional audience member he would pull up during a set. He even traveled to select other countries to get a feel for the dating practices of different cultures (he chose Tokyo, France and Argentina).
The resulting book is by no means comprehensive. He acknowledges from the start that the mainly focused on heterosexual, middle class romantic behaviors–they would have had to write a whole separate book just for LGBT dating culture to do it justice. In fact, the book is meant to be on the general side, to paint a picture of the dating landscape as a whole. Niche specifics don’t really enter into it. Most everything in the book can be applied to most types of relationship, regardless of the sex/gender of the partners. What it does cover is the basics. How we meet people, how that’s changed over the last 100 years or so. How technology impacts relationships and dating. The anatomy of a first date. Just a whole bunch of stuff.
The best part is the way that Aziz conveys all this information. He does it professionally and in a way that gives him credibility, but the voice is all his. Especially if you do the audio version, which I highly recommend. He likes to berate the listener every once in a while for listening instead of reading, like when he’s trying to describe a picture or a graph, or at the end of the book when he finishes by calling you a lazy fuck. But, like, in an affectionate way. It’s very entertaining.
My respect and liking for Aziz Ansari has only risen after reading this book, and it was already pretty high. I hope he does more out of the box stuff like this in the future. It’s a good look on him.