Who knew Aziz Ansari had such words of wisdom on love to impart to our generation?
His new book, Modern Romance, coauthored with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, is the book about love trends around the world that we’ve been waiting for.
“At first I thought he just wanted to learn some basic facts so that he could do a comedic riff,” Klinenberg told us about connecting with Anzari. “But about half an hour into our conversation I could tell that he was truly curious about the things we didn’t already know and that he was looking to spend a lot of his own time and energy on research. At that point it became a truly exciting project.”
The two traveled around the world studying different cultures and their romance norms, and what they found is startling.
“We met women who are pushing against traditional gender norms in every city we visited — Doha, Paris, Buenos Aires, even Wichita,” Klinenberg explained. “The culture of romance is changing, albeit at different paces depending on where you go.”
As the book’s summary points out, “With technology, our ability to connect with and sort through [romantic] options are staggering.” Yet, many people are unhappy and frustrated with their dating life more than ever before. So what gives?
Ansari and Klinenberg discovered that it isn’t just technology that’s to blame for our romantic struggles — it’s also vast cultural changes that are leaving us with a new and different quest to finding our life partner.
“I was pretty blown away by the research we did in Tokyo,” Klinenberg said, “where people are really struggling to make meaningful romantic connections and rates of sexual activity, marriages and reproduction are in a free fall. The herbivore man phenomenon is wild, as is the fact that technology does so little to improve the situation.”
The herbivore man phenomenon is a social phenomenon in Japan in which men are shunning courtship, getting a girlfriend and the idea of marriage altogether. Upwards of 60 to 70 percent of men in their 20s and 30s in Japan reportedly adhere to this belief currently.
It is an extreme example of the vast way men’s roles in society are also changing.
Klinenberg said that while the “very male-dominated world of romance” remains steady in places like Buenos Aires and Paris, “In Tokyo, it’s the opposite. Men are really struggling to find a role in the new culture and economy and it’s affecting their libidinal energy, too.”
Of course, Tokyo may be struggling to find some new romantic norms, but many places in the world are embracing them.
“I was pretty amazed at how many people sext — not just young people or singles, but everyone. You’d better know who you can trust,” Klinenberg shared.
And while the book is full of interesting tidbits about the romantic world we’re living in, the main thing Klinenberg wants people to take away is that, “All those things about communicating through a little smartphone that confuse and frustrate you? They confuse and frustrate everyone. When it comes to making sense of life in the phone world, we’re all in it together.”
Modern Romance will be released June 16. Pre-order your copy on Amazon now and prepare to be fascinated and, of course, entertained. We definitely can’t forget to mention the humor. This is a book by Ansari, after all.