Highlights: Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari;Eric Klinenberg


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Many were filled with stories that illustrated a very deep connection between the two people that made them feel like they’d found someone unique, not just someone who was pleasant to start a family

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person. Also I feel like since we’ve been together, I have become the best version of myself. I push myself to try different things and keep learning even though I’m out of school. It’s so much for myself but having his support in my corner has made all the difference.

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partner, I spoke with Andrew Cherlin, the eminent sociologist of the family and author of the book The Marriage-Go-Round. Up until about fifty years ago, Cherlin said, most people were satisfied with what he calls a “companionate marriage.”

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was about achieving security—financial, social, and personal. It was about creating conditions that made it possible to survive and reproduce.

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When they’re successful, though, the payoff is incredible. According to Cherlin, the soul mate marriage has the highest potential for happiness, and it delivers levels of fulfillment that the generation of older people I interviewed rarely reached.

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So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.

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It made me wonder whether our ability and desire to interact with strangers is another muscle that risks atrophy in the smartphone world. You don’t need to make small talk with strangers when

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Beyond flakiness, as far as dating goes, I’ve observed many men who, while hopefully decent human beings in person, become sexually aggressive “douche monsters” when hiding behind the texts on their phone. The messages being sent are inarguably inappropriate and often quite offensive, but, again, over text the consequences of the recipient’s being offended are minimal. You don’t see their face. You don’t hear their voice. And they aren’t there in person to look horrified or throw a heavy object at your dumb head.

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A website called Straight White Boys Texting has become a hub for women to submit these horrifying (and often hilarious) texts that guys have sent them.

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In text, your mistake just sits there marinating on the other person’s screen, leaving a lasting record of your ineptitude and bozoness.

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The fact that your interactions on your phone can have such a profound effect on people’s impression of you as a person makes it clear that you basically have two selves now—your real-world self and your phone self.

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Scheduling chatter is merely one of the many forms of useless banter that makes dating in the digital age so frustrating, especially for women over twenty-five, since they have

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I can’t tell you how many girls I met who were clearly interested in a guy who, instead of asking them out, just kept sucking them into more mundane banter with gems like “So where do you do your laundry” What follows are ten back-and-forths about laundry detergent. (“Yeah, I recently switched to fragrance-free detergent. It’s been FANTASTIC.”)

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DAMN. Several people subscribed to the notion of doubling the response time. (They write back in five minutes, you wait ten, etc.) This way you achieve the upper hand and constantly seem busier and less available than your counterpart. Others thought waiting just a few minutes was enough to prove you had

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If the effect is this powerful for people in committed relationships and friendships, it makes sense that all the psychological principles seem to point to waiting being a strategy that works for singles who are trying to build attraction.

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more than one third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site. Online dating was the single biggest way people met their spouses. Bigger than work, friends, and school

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Rudder used actual user data from OkCupid to show that writing a standard message and then copying and pasting it to initiate conversations is 75 percent as effective as writing something more original. Since it’s also way less demanding, Rudder says that “in terms of effort-in to results-out it always wins.”

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Near the end of 2014, Tinder claimed that the average user logged on eleven times per day and spent approximately seven minutes on each session, meaning they are there for more than 1.25 hours each day. That’s an amazing amount of time to do anything, let alone move your fingers around a tiny screen.

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the anthropologist who studies dating. “All Tinder is doing is giving you someone to look at that’s in the neighborhood. Then you let the human brain with his brilliant little algorithm tick, tick, tick off what you’re looking

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This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decision making. Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling, or, god forbid, something I’m buying, I feel compelled to do a lot of research to make sure I’m getting the best.

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At certain times, though, this “I need the best” mentality can be debilitating. I wish I could just eat somewhere that looks good and be happy with my choice. But I can’t. The problem is that I know somewhere there is a perfect meal for me and I have to do however much research I can to find

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According to Simon, people can be maximizers and satisficers in different contexts. For example, when it comes to, let’s say, tacos, I’m a maximizer. I’ll do a rigorous amount of research to make sure I’m getting the best taco I can find, because for me there is a huge difference in the taco experience. A satisficer will just get tacos wherever they see a decent taco stand and call it a day. I hate getting tacos with these people. Enjoy your nasty tacos, losers.

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Here’s what they found: On average, the maximizers put much more time and effort into their job search. They did more research, asked more friends for advice, and went on more interviews. In return, the maximizers in the study got better jobs. They received, on average, a 20 percent higher starting salary than the satisficers.

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Even though the maximizers had better jobs than the satisficers, by every psychological measure they felt worse about them. Overall, maximizers had less job satisfaction and were less certain they’d selected the right job at all. The satisficers, by contrast, were generally more positive about their jobs, the search process, and their lives in general.

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As he explained it, the maximizers in the job-search experiment were doing what maximizers generally do: Rather than compare actual jobs, with their various pros and cons, in their minds they wound up selecting the features of each particular job and creating a “fantasy job,” an ideal that neither they nor, probably, anyone else would ever get.

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looking for our soul mates too. Is this possible to find? “How many people do you need to see before you know you’ve found the best?” Schwartz asked. “The answer is every damn person there is. How else do you know it’s the best? If you’re looking for the best, this is a recipe for complete misery.”

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you are in a big city or on an online dating site, you are flooded with options. Seeing all these options, like the people in the job example, are we now comparing our potential partners not to other potential partners but rather to an idealized person whom no one could measure up to?

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Despite the difference in size, the problems of dating in Wichita and Monroe overlapped quite a bit. All our singles in both cities felt pressure to lock it down and definitely felt like outliers by being single in their late twenties. This stigma of being unmarried in your late twenties was never expressed

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Look at my dad: He had an arranged marriage and he seems totally happy. I looked into it and this is not uncommon. People in arranged marriages start off lukewarm, but over time they really invest in each other and in general have more successful relationships. They are more invested in the deep commitment to the relationship, rather than being personally invested in finding a soul mate, which can tend to lead to the “Is there something better out there for me?” mentality.

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his last conversation with this woman and wondering,

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How do we go about analyzing our options? On dates. And most of the time, boring-ass dates. You have coffee, drinks, a meal, go see a movie. We’re all trying to find someone who excites us, someone who makes us feel like we’ve truly made a connection. Can anyone reach that high bar on the typical, boring dates we all go on?

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How do we go about analyzing our options? On dates. And most of the time, boring-ass dates. You have coffee, drinks, a meal, go see a movie. We’re all trying to find someone who excites us, someone who makes us feel like we’ve truly made a connection. Can anyone reach that high bar on the typical, boring dates we all go on?

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interactions. In a fascinating study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, University of Texas psychologists Paul Eastwick and Lucy Hunt show that in most dating contexts, a person’s “mate value” matters less than their “unique

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There’s something uniquely valuable in everyone, and we’ll be much happier and better off if we invest the time and energy it takes to find it.

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Japanese wife or girlfriend would do.16 Lots of men stop by these clubs after work, either alone or in groups. To be clear, though, this doesn’t lead to any sexual contact. No nudity or sex happens at hostess clubs. It’s basically like prostitution, but they just hang out with you. I was very

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Al, a young expat originally from Baltimore, tried to explain the motivations. “It’s like, I’m lonely, I’m scared of people,” he said. “I need to vent or just have a drink with someone who will listen to me and not judge me. They’re paying for the security. They’re paying not to be rejected.”

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sexting is already changing the perceptions of these risks. One twenty-four-year-old