I’m not one of those people who looks fondly back on my “single days”. I wouldn’t wish singledom on my worst enemy.
It still feels pretty weird to me that I’ve been in a relationship with someone for 2 years. For a large portion of my life, I was desperately single and every tryst in romance ended up with my heart being broken by some seemingly impossible/horribly embarrassing situation. Now, I sleep next to the same man every night. We make decisions together. We plan things together. It’s so cool!
I’m also at a weird point in my life where almost everyone I know is also in a serious relationship. We talk about boring things, like how we tried out a new dish, refinished furniture and spent the weekend binge watching The Blacklist. I still my remember my single days vividly, how downright terrible they were, but they make me appreciate John so much more.
One of the night’s John and I were binge-watching Netflix on the couch, we came across the new Aziz Ansari stand up. We LOVE Aziz Ansari and we loved his newest special. It seemed like he’d come a long way, he seemed so much more mature (and how dashing was he in that suit!) and I loved his jokes on modern romance. But I hesitated on buying his book. He’s a great actor and a great comedian, but author? I wasn’t so sure. I also felt like he covered a lot of what would be in the book in his stand up.
Last week wasn’t a great week at work and to make myself feel a little better, I went and bought books. The new Mindy Kaling book had come out and in a last minute grab before the cashier, I threw Aziz into the pile. The cashier probably ended up thinking that I must REALLY love Indian people.
Needless to say, I spent the entire weekend in bed with Aziz. I could NOT put the book down. He struck the perfect balance between data (I’m a data nerd) and comedy. I literally laughed out loud while reading several times and when I shared those parts with John he did too! The book was well paced and even though the message was downright depressing at times, you couldn’t wait to read more.
He made some really great points that I have to share:
-Texting as a medium facilitates flakiness and rudeness. I can’t tell you how many times someone has written something rude or canceled plans last second. Also, something was was so infuriating to me: people LIKE when people don’t respond to texts right away. Something about the wait makes you want that person to contact you even more. In my experience, if someone takes hours to respond, or doesn’t respond at all, they probably aren’t worth keeping around.
-Between 2005-2012, more than 1/3 of couples who got married met through an online dating site. I’ve been pretty open about my time on Match.com, but apparently people are still really private about this because they view it as embarrassing or desperate. This makes me so, so sad. I have friends and family members who are single and HATE being single, but view online dating as a last resort still. I’m sorry, but the only places go to regularly are yoga classes, work, and the grocery store. That is SO few people. Our worlds are small, the internet is huge. -This brings me to my next topic: I did online dating all wrong. I chose what I thought I wanted, which is not what I currently have. I set my preferred age range to 10 years older (John is 11 years older), no kids (John has 3), and preferably brunette (he’s a redhead who is going grey). John had his profile to exclude all non-drinkers, because he considered all non-drinkers to be super religious at the time. Thank goodness we met at work! (In 2010, 10% of couples met at work)
-Even though I don’t trust Tinder and Grindr to be anything more that what they claim to be, Aziz seemed to be a big proponent and said he knows a handful of couples that created lasting relationships from Tinder. Are you single? Are you on Tinder? I’d love to pick your brain!
-He’s also a really big proponent of fun dates, especially for the first date. A lot of people are so jaded in dating that they only do the “let’s get coffee/drinks” date, which is a flub from the get-go. Once you run through the same bunch of questions, you’re left holding a lukewarm coffee and feeling pretty bored. My favorite date ever (this was years and years ago) was a surprise concert in the middle of nowhere. The same guy also took me to a drive in movie. We never did a “typical” date and it ended up being such a fun summer!
-I went to high school when phones started to have decent cameras (flip phones, remember Razors and Sidekicks?)… which means only one thing: sexting. Sexting was THE thing and wasn’t considered a very big deal. I can’t even imagine what it’s like now! The rates of sexting are still increasing and people in relationships sext just as much a single people. Interestingly enough: people with iPhones are twice as likely to sext than people with Androids.
-Then there’s ending a relationship. In a 2014 survey of almost 3,000 18-to-30-year-olds, 56% said they broke up with someone over digital media. 88% of people admit to looking at their ex’s Facebook page after a breakup
-All relationships are split between passionate love and compassionate love stages. Passionate usually last 12-18 months and your brain releases high levels of dopamine, similar to doing cocaine. After this manic phase ends, compassionate love takes over and grows over time. It’s calming, stable and more trusting. Can you guess which one I prefer?
-In Philadelphia in 1932, 1/3 of couples married someone who lived within a 5 block radius of them and the average age of marriage was 20 for women and 23 for men. In 1960, 68% of US citizens in their 20’s were married, but in 2008, only 26% of 20-somethings were married. Now, the average age of marriage for women is 27 for women and 29 for men. And in cities, the average age for marriage is around 30 for both sexes. As a society, we are waiting longer to get married, or deciding not to get married at all.
And some weird statistics from other countries:
-In 2013, 45% of Japanese women aged 16-24 where not interested in or despised sexual contact
-In the US, 20-40% of men and 25% of women in a marriage will have at least one extramarital affair, but 84% said cheating was “morally unacceptable”. In France, 55% of men and 32% of women (the most in the world) will have at least one extramarital affair. The percentage of French that find affairs morally unacceptable? 47%.
-1/3 of Japanese people under age 30 have never dated and in a survey of 35-39 year olds, more than 25% had never had sex
-Japan’s birth rate ranks 222 out of 224 countries. As he says, “Japanese people are legitimately worried about running out of Japanese people.”
Is this all super fascinating just to me? My guess is no. The world of dating and relationships is so awful and complicated and difficult and exhausting. We need as much help as we can get. And at least Aziz can make us laugh even though we really just want to cry.
Please, buy this book. Read it. Tell your friends about it. It’s awesome.