Written by Kristy Dolson
I hope everyone has been keeping warm this winter. February is the coldest month of the year, so to offset that fact, we celebrate the biggest romantic holiday of the year – Valentine’s Day – right in the middle of it. February 14th is a day to wrap yourself up in the warm cocoon of partnership. But what if you haven’t found that special someone? What if you want to find someone, but you just don’t know how to go about it in the fast-paced, online dating culture of the modern era?
Have no fear: I have a book here that will get you up to speed on all things romantic in the digital age. It is Modern Romance by American comedian Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation and Master of None, and American sociologist Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Ansari and Klinenberg collaborated on this book to help people navigate today’s messy, impatient, app-obsessed dating culture in order to find true romance.
I’ve been a fan of Aziz Ansari’s comedy for years now, and this book was really enjoyable. Not only is it a fast-paced book written with Ansari’s comedic wit, but it is also packed with data and interview results, personal accounts, and SMS screenshots. Of special interest are the sociological findings Aziz and Klinenberg gathered from interviews conducted in Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Paris. The authors wanted to know how the dating cultures in those cities differed from North American dating culture. The differences are astounding! And what is the ultimate conclusion from all this data and observation: the current generation of North Americans basically sucks at romance.
But we don’t have to! Aziz and Klinenberg, once establishing this sobering fact, prescribe how great people can be at romance if they learn to use new digital tools and skills properly. People need to spend less time on their phones and more time on face-to-face dates. They need to spend less time out partying and more time developing their own interests. That may sound self-centered, but it is true. Think about it: what kind of person are you going to encounter at 3 a.m. in a bar? Probably not your soulmate. Now, who are you going to find at that 17th century Danish painter’s exhibition at the local museum? Probably someone with a lot more common interests than a random one-night stand you met at the latest “in” bar.
So if you’re alone this Valentine’s Day, turn on your floor heating, pour yourself a hot beverage, wrap yourself up in a cocoon of blankets and read this book. I can’t guarantee it will help you find a partner, but I can guarantee that it will make you chuckle. And as a bonus, you’ll have a conversation-ready title up your sleeve to discuss the next time you run into a fellow book-lover… and possible romantic partner.
Who knows? Romance can spark at any time for any reason!
Kristy Dolson lived in South Korea for five years before taking a year off to travel, read, and spend time with her family in Canada and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Education and has just returned to Gwangju where she splits her time between teaching Korean teachers at JETI and reading as much as she can.