Aziz Ansari Asked Reddit Users Personal Questions About Dating In The Digital Age — And The Responses Were Amazing
Aziz Ansari created a subreddit called Modern Romantics on Tuesday, as research for his debut book about dating in the digital age.
The responses are equal parts heart-warming and cringe-worthy.
"You know when you text someone you're romantically interested in and you don't hear anything back and then you see them post a photo of a pizza on Instagram?" Ansari explained in a statement. "That's exactly what I want this book to deal with."
Ansari seems to have plenty of life experiences to pull from. He bemoaned the pressures of finding love at age 30 in his last comedy special "Buried Alive," which premiered on Netflix.
But he and NYU professor Eric Klinenberg, who's helping with the book, took to reddit to cull more material.
Ansari posted questions as threads, asking users to share their experiences (which he discloses may be included in the book). The subreddit has already spawned a lot of thoughtful discussion.
Ansari's untitled book — which will put a whopping $3.5 million in the "Parks and Recreation" star's pocket — hits shelves September 2015.
Here are some of the highlights of the subreddit. Sound familiar?
Ansari asked how being single in the smartphone era and in the eras before has changed, for better or worse.
fruitoftheloomis1: Pre-smartphone/pager there was a forced patience with waiting for a call back, or a response to a date request. Going a couple days before hearing back wasn't odd. Then pagers came into play and you wanted a response a little more quickly. Now it seems that everything has to be instant or it "means something". Blah.
azizansariAMA: You didn't feel a similar paranoia if someone didn't return a phone call or page in a timely manner? Is this paranoia something you've felt only with text messages?
alexisyque: I don't think this is limited to text messages, it may be amplified through text, but it's possible to feel that way when you don't get likes/favorites/comments on your instagram/twitter/facebook posts. It's almost becoming "required" to like or respond to whatever your partner puts out into the digital world.
Users said that a single text or message by their significant other or potential partner can shatter hopes of dating further. And emojis got no love.
bmollenkamp: My friend set me up with a guy and his very first text to me included an emoji. We are both in our 30s. And he's a man. ICK. I went on the date anyway and -- I was right. Worst date ever. Never date a guy who uses emojis.
azizansariAMA: What was the emoji???
When romances do bloom online or through social media, people aren't particularly proud to tell the how-we-met story.
RubberRob: I met my soul mate on twitter. We followed each other and interacted a lot (she used to go to my school) and eventually decided to meet. I would always hope she would favorite my tweet or notice it. Now I don't have to wait for that, as I actually have her in my real life. I think it's interesting how we met, but I never tell people the real story. It doesn't sound as cool or "real" and commonly makes our love less believable to others (not that their opinions really matter).
azizansariAMA: What's your decoy story?
RubberRob: That we both happened to be at the coffee shop and remembered each other from school. Works pretty well and makes us look cool for both going to this rad coffee shop.
But not all was lost. Delightful stories of technology in dating surfaced, too.
Ram_Skull: I briefly met my current girlfriend in person and she then added me on Facebook. We really started talking because of it. We have now been dating for close to 3 years. To be honest I would not have just walked up and asked for her number, but I felt comfortable starting a conversation with her through Facebook. So I would say social media played a major part as to why we are together today.
azizansariAMA: THIS is the kind of story that gets lost too often in these discussions. The notion that tends to get most play is that all this technology is keeping us less present and ultimately more disconnected and flakey - while I think this is valid and true to a large extent - in the book we don't want to forget this stuff. Social media gave you a tool to overcome your shyness and meet someone. Cool.
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