How does love work in the Digital Age? Book Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

It being an Ansari creation, you might expect the book to be a rendition of a sweet, funny, and often misguided guy’s mishaps on finding love. When it comes to the humor, you are not wrong, however, the book is far from misguided. Ansari and Klinenberg, co-author and American sociologist and scholar, put all the research they did upfront.

In a time when we spend most of our waking hours on our mobile or some digital devices, thanks to work or simply because now that’s what we do — it has become the key medium of how we communicate with other humans. How does this effect dating? Now that dating apps are the norm — is asking out a girl in person considered too forward? Why didn’t he respond to my text? — Did he lose his phone or maybe he just dropped it in the toilet like I did that one time and will get back to me eventually. Should I just text him again? Maybe I can send him a picture of this puppy and say it made me think of him…

How excruciatingly painful!

How much time have you or your friends spent going around in circles, trying to figure out whether you’ve sent the right “Sup?” or emoji?

Then there’s the “Whasssup doll? Want to meet up again tomorrow?” But we still haven’t met! How many girls is this guy sexting at the same time? Everyone has more avenues of communication, which leads to more choices, making it harder to settle on one someone. I think the worst though is when you’ve been sexting someone and it’s great, but then you meet, and the guy doesn’t bring the same level of game to an in-person interaction. Or maybe he’s just too short and you’re not into that.

It’s not all about blaming it on technology though, as reflected by Ansari and Klinenberg’s research. Insights they collected by doing hundreds of interviews with people from all around the world and of all ages. They explore the differences between now and fifty years ago. Earlier people might have gotten married because that’s the first or only decent person they came across. Maybe it was the done thing to do and you didn’t want to be “left on the shelf”. When you are of age — you just get married. Yes, it seems more like a “just” than a falling in love, hearing bells scenario. Mind you though these marriages may have lasted 40 or 50 years, but it doesn’t sound like all of them were happy.

So if you’re wondering why is all the romance Hollywood promised me not showing up in my life — listen to this book. With heartfelt humor, Ansari shares with us his own experiences. Taking us on a journey of understanding not just of human behavior, but making us recognize where our own fits in this new digital world of romance.

Originally published at on September 20, 2016.