I got married just a few weeks after my 22nd birthday. Although my parents weren’t concerned, several people questioned my age and asked if “I was sure”. Considering we dated 4 years and both finished our degrees I felt this was a ridiculous question. Of course I was ready! Sure, the lady at the bridal store thought I was a pregnant teen bride the first time she met me. But, she was wrong. I didn’t have kids for several more years and 20+ years later, we’re still together. We even like each other some of the time.
We met in the most romantic of places. The Junior’s Department at Famous-Barr (now Macy’s). Within 3 months we talked about getting married when I graduated and we did. It was a considerably different experience than it would be today. For one, Rich had to call me, on a home phone my parents may answer. If we wanted to talk, we couldn’t text, e-mail or tweet each other; we were back to phone calls. If I wanted to show my friends a picture of the guy I was dating I had to drop off 35 millimeter film at the store, wait a few days, and then pick up the printed picture.
I only knew one friend who met her significant other through an ad. She put it in a newspaper, which was the custom of the day, and didn’t admit how they really met until a long time after. There was stigma to the process. Now, more than 1/3 of married people met their partner through online dating sources. I say “more” because we know 1/3 met this way in 2005-2012. You can imagine how much higher the percentage is today.
Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance taught me that and many other things about dating. It was shocking the large percentage of people who married someone within a block of their childhood home the middle of the 20th century. How people chose their ideal partner and the length of time they dated has radically changed in the last 40 years. It used to be you’d look for someone through family connections and if you got along and were mildly attracted to them, you got married within a matter of months. The idea of finding your soul mate and dating for years just wasn’t the norm. Let’s face it, the pool you had to chose from was much smaller without okcupid and match.com. If you were too picky, you’d run out of people to date rather quickly.
Modern Romance is a delightful delve into 20th century sociology. I find it fascinating to read about past social customs and if you do as well, Modern Romance will be an enjoyable read for you. I also learned a great deal about the world my children will be facing when they begin dating. Aziz helped me understand how things have changed and the mindset of today’s emerging adults, something I thought I knew but I really didn’t. If you are like me and haven’t dated for many years, this is a great educational tool that will help you relate to your kids, or your single friends, as they swipe right and break-up by text. And, if you are in the single world yourself, there are some great tips for how to leverage dating sites and avoid first text rejection. Hint: Suggest a fun thing you can do together rather quickly rather than a series of “wsup” texts.
Modern Romance is more scientific than I expected, with study references and graphs, but it’s easy to understand and framed with Aziz’s humorous commentary. You will get some insight into Aziz’s personal life and his affinity for ramen noodles, but don’t expect a biography. I will say I found the book much more interesting at the beginning and skipped some portions towards the end. It was likely because the book was no longer talking about 20th century dating customs, which is what I found the most interesting.
The best part of Modern Romance? You can find it at your library. Well, not at the Northville Library yet. I still have it checked out.
One more thing, if you like my blog I could really use some help. I have a hard time motivating myself to write. I feel like no one really cares what I have to say. Sad right? Well, based on my social media presence it’s a reasonable assumption but I am trying to push past the self-doubt. So, if you don’t mind helping Northville Mom please share my blog with your friends, subscribe if you don’t, and like me on Facebook (if we’re friends). I really could use your support.
Northville Mom & her daughter, Kayla, at our favorite place to vacation. Walt Disney World. Here, we’re touring the World Showcase area of Epcot and just finished enjoying a dancing dragon show in China. I am pretty sure this Dragon can be found on Tinder.