I am a big fan of Aziz Ansari’s standup and his role on Parks and Rec, so I was excited to read his new book, Modern Romance.
Here are my thoughts on some of Aziz’s advice:
Care, but never put your eggs in one basket.
Pretty early on in the book, Aziz cuts right to the point and says you have to care less when you are dating. I scoffed at this. I always hate this advice. C’mon Aziz. Have no feelings? Like those stupid jokes on Instagram – Ugh, caught feelings, brush it off. Or Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock advising Liz Lemon to “stuff your heart with steel wool and tin foil.” Isn’t the whole point of dating to indulge romantic feelings? I’m a passionate female. How can I not have feelings? I wasn’t born with the Samantha Jones gene. Pretending to not care about someone who interests me doesn’t seem cool to me, its seems fake and lame.
But you know what? It’s really good advice.
Here’s what I’ve come to learn: care all you want about him or her as a human, but you can’t let your imagination run wild imagining fantasy relationship scenarios. I mean, you can, but then you must check yourself back into reality and completely accept the logic that most likely this new crush your brain is buzzing hard off the dopamine hit from is probably not going to be your life partner. Enjoy the beginning of it, but don’t care too much about just them. Keep your options open. This is really good advice when it comes to dating and real estate- do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Unless you are in a committed relationship, a really good way to keep your instinct to care too much in check is to care about lots of people you are dating.
When Aziz described waiting for a crush to text back and how he “braced myself and watched as those little iPhone dots popped up…” dude, I’ve been there. Don’t look for those dots. Send the text and put your phone down. Read a book. Take your dog for a walk. Text another guy immediately after. Don’t care.
See each other IRL. Don’t let the majority of the relationship play out in your phone.
Dating in the digital age kinda sucks. This is the price we pay. We have cameras in our pockets, never have to use paper maps or memorize phone numbers, work is easier, and you can keep in touch with friends all over the globe with ease. As a trade off, we just sacrificed pretty much every traditional romantic dating ritual, NBD.
Texting and “likes” and “winks” are not remotely as satisfying as looking at a human man you like face-to-face and taking in his arms, his face, his tattoos, his eyes, his laugh, his beard. WTF can a text convey? A fraction of that, but you’re still there by yourself feeling that emotion, instead of next to the person who just made you feel that way.
I’m texting with too many guys. I’m not dating enough guys. Aziz says get the interaction out of your inbox and into real life.
One guy I dated, the majority of our relationship played out via text. The in-person part was so good; I let the overuse of texting happen for way too long. We’d text about work, life, and we used the snowman emoji as an inside joke. It’s cute and it made me happy. It’s also really bizarre, the concept of me, a single, red-blooded woman and him, this gorgeous, single, red-blooded man, accepting emojis and texts in place of actual interaction.
How much dating is happening like that now? People you communicate with regularly, but hardly see? If this was 1970 and texting didn’t exist- would I see this person more or less or the same? Enough with the texting. See each other’s faces.
Let’s not let the phone call die completely, okay?
We are selling ourselves short, millennials. As someone on the older side of our generation, who has actual memories of dating before the advent of the text message – let me tell you: it can be better!
The phone call is special. You can text 5 guys at once. You can not do that with phone calls. You could keep someone on “the other line” when your call waiting beeped, but eventually you had to chose who you were going to talk to. You couldn’t keep a guy waiting there all night. Well, you could, but he would hang up eventually. Now? You can text 5 guys at once. You can copy and paste the same text to different guys, because honestly, I am busy and sometimes just don’t have time.
Aziz has it right when encouraging people to call on the phone to ask people out. It makes me nostalgic. I would love to be asked out over the phone on the regular instead of via text. Can we bring that back?
A guy called me on my cell phone to ask me out for our second date this summer. Do you know how many points he scored for that? Many points. It felt cool classic and gentlemanly. Asking a woman out over the phone will never go out of style, it’s like a Stoli tonic or Frank Sinatra- you really can’t go wrong.
Not only did he call me to ask me out, this guy actually called to talk about his day. I loved it. Yes, texting is convenient and emojis are cute but c’mon, it’s not picking up the phone and calling her.
Thirty-year-old me was shocked at a guy calling to ask me out, something 15-year-old me wouldn’t bat an eye at. The bar is too low. Technology has controlled, altered, and deleted the emotion from this beautiful aspect of our human experience. Bring back the phone calls. Hear each other’s voices.
If you want to be in a relationship, accept that no one’s perfect. Lower your standards.
Aziz makes a good point about the pressures of commitment and marriage being filled with over-expectation. It’s too common to expect your partner to be everything to you. That’s setting yourself up for failure. You be everything to you. Your partner is just someone along for the ride. Honestly, everybody kinda sucks in some way. Think of your best friends. They’re awesome, but they’re also deeply flawed people, because they are human. There is no perfect person. If you wanna get married, accept that. Don’t look for a relationship with someone else to make you happy. Fix your relationship with yourself every time. Every time. They are really just there for companionship. I am romantic AF but the whole notion of “you complete me” is so gross, honestly. I complete me. You complement me, sure.
How to avoid someone you never want to see again when social media exists.
Aziz talks about how in this digital age of social media, exes live on even after your relationship does. My tips for this: I will unfollow a guy on Instagram when we break up if I don’t want to see what he is doing. An ex and I went back and forth texting for so long that eventually I blocked his number just to make sure we would end it for good.
I really try not to snoop on anyone on Instagram. If I start doing it, I try to stop myself right away. Here’s why: It’s stupid, gives me anxiety, and it’s not good for me or a good use of my time. See each other face-to-face, trust how he makes you feel and don’t snoop. If you feel like you have to snoop, that’s probably a pretty good indicator this connection isn’t that great.
Everyone is busy. If they can’t make time to see you, never make excuses for them, make plans with someone else.
Aziz has a name for the chronically busy schedules many of us have, when you go back and forth trying to set a date to meet. He calls it “the secretary.” You know, when you exchange series of texts that are essentially just snippets of your iCal – “I have a dinner on Thursday so I can’t meet then.” “I’m in Stone Harbor this weekend, but I’m free Monday night.” “I have a zoning board meeting on Monday.” Boring. I have come to a point where if this is how our connection is playing out, after a few weeks, I think you are not a serious individual or not that into me or both and I don’t consider you a dating option.
So those are my thoughts from a totally unqualified source. Have fun out there. Be honest and look out for yourself. Wink, swipe right, kissy face emoji, diamond ring, happily ever after.