“People are like a Flo Rida song. You need to hear them a couple of times before you really get what they’re about.”
If that’s not the most profound statement you’ve ever heard, you’re probably too old for Flo Rida. Gems like these are only half the entertainment in comedian Aziz Ansari’s (with co-author Eric Klineberg) debut book, Modern Romance. While most comedians turn to books when they want to write biographies, or a peek into the entertainment industry, Ansari dove deep into an issue, bringing us a sociological exploration of romance in his humorous tone. Filled with graphs, studies, and surveys, Modern Romance takes a scientific lens to our societal ideas of romance to begin understanding how we have changed, and how to navigate our new social landscapes.
Technology plays a clear role in intimate relationships these days — think Tinder, dating sites, Facebook relationship statuses — but Ansari and Klinenberg took into account the different cultural influences that have changed over time as well. I would describe this book as a social science investigation made entertaining and conversational through Ansari’s comedic voice.
The heart of the book is that the focus groups, interviews, etc. are personal and honest. A lot of the data came from looking at different people’s text message conversations, and as a generation that lives on their phones, this is a very intimate source. Beyond statistics and figures, the analysis of how quickly our society is changing makes this novel a fascinating read. As recently as a few decades ago, most people married people who lived in their town or nearby, whereas now, the internet and convenient travel options have completely changed that.
To pair with this novel, I made cappuccino French toast with a mocha cream. One of the most interesting things to me about the book was the concept of marriage, and how it has gone from a political, economic decision to a search for the perfect soulmate. Breakfast, in a sense, is the same way. What was once a solely practical meal to start your day has completely been transformed by today’s “brunch culture.” Now when we consider brunch, we want to take our time, do our research, and be rewarded with a perfect meal. The beauty of this dish is that even though is sounds complex, cooking it isn’t much harder than swiping right on your phone. The warm coffee taste in this French toast along with the mocha cream and bit of chocolate dusting quite possibly makes it my food soulmate.