Aziz Ansari on Love in the Age of Tinder

aziz-ansari-today-001-150619_42c8015dc037b5e943c92d81179218cc-today-inline-largeMy friend told me to sign up for Tinder. He has tried multiple dating apps and found friends that helped him get over his breakup.

He was badgering me because I’ve been single since the past…ever. So I said sure and that I’ll check my phone memory (My phone memory is ridiculously low that I have to kick out other apps to install new ones.)

Then I did the nerdiest thing possible about the dating issue: I read about it.

In Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to study how technology has changed dating scene. Here’s what they found out:

1. Before online dating, people married within their neighborhood.

In the days of your grandparents, they probably married young. Your grandfather was maybe 25 to 27, your grandmother even younger. They lived in a small neighborhood, got married, and raised a boatload of kids. There was less fuss of finding your soulmate, frankly because the pool was small.

2. You on the other hand, have all the choices, and it’s stressing you out.

With Tinder and other dating apps, Aziz said that having a smartphone is like having a 24-7 single’s bar in your pocket.  You now have all the options your grandparents didn’t have and can swipe left and right until you find your perfect match.

Too many choices, now plagues you with uncertainties: Am I choosing the right one? What if a better one comes along? Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor, calls this the Paradox of Choice. I know this because it’s hard for me to choose between ice cream flavors.

Since dating apps give minimal information, you give them excessive importance. He doesn’t like dogs? He’s not a doctor? Likes pistachio ice cream?! Nope. We would never get along.

3. It’s hard to be human when you’re talking to a bubble on a screen.

One of the reasons why I’m afraid to join Tinder is the f*ckboys that I’ll probably meet there. Oh, you’re offering verbal abuse and sexual harassment? No thanks, I’m busy.

As we’ve seen from cyberbullies everywhere, people say a lot of mean things on the internet that they can’t say in real life. The fact that you can’t see their face or hear their voice reduces a person to an avatar in your screen. That’s bad news for empathy.

4. But people do find love online.

From 2005-2012, More than a third (34.95%) of Americans met their spouses online. The internet takes a bigger chunk than wok, friends, and school combined.

5. Dating apps shouldn’t be called dating apps, though.

Aziz said that most of the dating should be done in person, and not through flirtatious chatting. He said we should treat dating apps like introduction apps, and we move the conversation to real life ASAP.

And instead of dating eight people at any one time, we should date one person multiple times to get to know them better. The trivial information from #2 will now have less importance.

6. Love is love wherever you meet

Whether you met online, through an arranged marriage, or a meet cute that would put Meg Ryan to shame, love remains the same. Passionate love fades and companionate love takes its place. You partner may still cheat. You may have found the one, or he may
break up with you through text.

This book’s study of couples through time tells you that couples that stay together are those who strive to make their relationships work.

So, will I try Tinder? Sadly, my phone doesn’t have enough space. But I’ll get out of the house more, I swear.

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