Books

The ShortRead: Aziz Ansari

The ShortRead of 1 July

Modern Romance

Author: Aziz Ansari

What's the story: Have you Tindered? Or dipped your toe in the spectrum of internet dating websites promising to pair you off with a matching singleton? 

While the information age has certainly made it easier to meet total strangers, swiping right has opened up a new, unexplored minefield of social conundrums and pitfalls. Comedian Aziz Ansari has aimed his considerable wit at exploring this brave new world of modern dating, teaming up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to research dating cultures from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Paris in a bid to understand the new romantic landscape.

Hilarious, insightful and guaranteed to help you with your dating quandary.

Release date: Out now

Extract

Oh, shit! Thanks for buying my book. That money is MINE. But I worked really hard on this, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

First off , a little about this project. When you have success as a stand-up comedian, you quickly get offers to do a humor book. In the past, I always turned these opportunities down, because I thought stand-up was the best medium for me. In my mind, a book wouldn’t be as fun as just using my ideas for stand-up.

So why did I decide to write a book about modern romance?

A few years ago there was a woman in my life—let’s call her Tanya—and we had hooked up one night in L.A. We’d both attended a birthday party, and when things were winding down, she offered to drop me off at home. We had been chatting and flirting a little the whole night, so I asked her to come in for a drink.

At the time, I was subletting a pretty nice house up in the Hollywood Hills. It was kind of like that house De Niro had in Heat, but a little more my vibe than the vibe of a really skilled robber who takes down armored cars.

I made us both a nice cocktail and we took turns throwing on records while we chatted and laughed. Eventually we started making out, and it was pretty awesome. I remember drunkenly saying something really dumb when she was leaving, like, “Tanya, you’re a very charming lady . . .” She said, “Aziz, you’re a pretty charming guy too.” The encounter seemed promising, as everyone in the room had agreed: We were both charming people.

I wanted to see Tanya again and was faced with a simple conundrum that plagues us all: How and when do I communicate next?

Do I call? Do I text? Do I send a Facebook message? Do I send up a smoke signal? How does one do that? Will I set my rented house on fire? How embarrassed will I be when I have to tell the home’s owner, actor James Earl Jones, that I burned his house down trying to send a smoke signal?

Oh no, I just revealed whose sick house I’d rented: King Jaffe Joffer himself, the voice of Darth Vader, film legend James Earl Jones.

Eventually I decided to text her, because she seemed to be a heavy texter. I waited a few days, so as not to seem overeager. I found out that the band Beach House, which we listened to the night we made out, was playing that week in L.A., so it seemed like the perfect move…