Aziz Ansari: Dating Coach?

I’m gonna come out and say it: I’m envious of Aziz Ansari.

His new book, “Modern Romance: An Investigation”, covers a lot of the same topics that I do – he just has a much greater platform to do so. And let’s give him credit; instead of just being a made-up relationship pundit, Ansari actually talked to a whole bunch of sociologists, behavioral economists and psychologists before writing his book. As such, “Modern Romance” has got a comedic and scientific bent that observes reality and skewers hypocrisy.

“Modern Romance” has got a comedic and scientific bent that observes reality and skewers hypocrisy.

Ansari has been doing the publicity rounds, so here’s a link to a piece he wrote about how technology, texting, dating apps and infinite choices affect modern love. It’s pretty much everything I’ve been writing since 2003, but to be fair, he’s done a really good job outlining how people date today and what’s not working.

Check it out and let me know what you found most eye-opening about Ansari’s discoveries.

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Comments:

  1. 2
    Yasmine

    Dear Evan,

    I wished I had discovered your tell-it-like-it-is blog before June 22, 2015, but alas, Google introduced me to you several days after a major heartbreak (it concerned my dark brown skin not being acceptable for this man’s family despite him explicitly stating, “I love you”). C’est la vie as they say in my primary language, and I’m quite accustomed to this pigment compatibility logic in the States.

    Anyhow, within less than one week, I attained several epiphanies about what I’ve been consciously (and subconsciously) doing wrong in the dating realm since my first kiss in 1998 (I’m two months shy of turning 35 and still a virgin…yup, we sadly do exist). I just wanted to say that I’m genuinely thankful you were born, and I have since started revising my cognitive map in my approach to how I perceive and value myself, as well as my approach with men (I’ve recently joined Match and eHarmony after swearing I’d never to this a couple of years ago!). I also “cheated” by taking some tips from Amy Webb.

    I read the article by Aziz Ansari (good stuff), and this is what came to my mind: “If Evan Marc Katz decided to launch an online dating site that took into account his brilliance and knowledge of human relationships in the romantic sphere, I’m pretty sure he would tweak it in such a way that it would surpass the top 10 sites.” I know I’m suppose to comment on the Ansari piece, but this was my first thought after completing the read!

    With appreciation for what you do,

    Yasmine

     

    1. 2.1
      Holly

      Yasmine,

      Take heart, there are more adult virgins out there than you’d think. I myself am 34 years old and am a virgin who’s waiting until marriage. I’m very proud of my choice. I want to honor God, my future husband and myself by keeping my body sacred and untouched (well n aside from a few mistakes in the distant past where I did get somewhat physically intimate). I assure you that I am a normal, redblooded woman with a healthy sex drive. I’ve found a site that I’ve been posting on for a few years, waitingtillmarriage.org, to be an enormously helpful resource. You might not be waiting until marriage, but I think you’ll find it helpful to check it out nonetheless. God bless you and stay strong, your body is truly a gift. Please don’t squander it!

  2. 3
    wp

    I thought steve harvey’s book was good. It provided a different perspective but it was just as valuable as your information.

  3. 4
    Andrea

    I really agree with Priya in the article about how internet dating can be stressful – dread is a strong word, but I find myself less and less able to engage with it – have to have breaks away, it brings up too much sadness and discomfort really.  Like Priya I would much rather meet people face to face, so the ‘looking around at people in your neighbourhood’ conclusion was quite reassuring in a way.   So if only a quarter of people meet their partners through the internet, Evan, could more of your blog have examples about meeting men elsewhere?

    Btw I enjoyed the article, but you have nothing to fear re the competition!  I think you write extremely well and I’m regularly heartened by your evident warmth and sincerity.  Also by the great women & guys who contribute here.  So, thank you very much

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “So if only a quarter of people meet their partners through the internet, Evan, could more of your blog have examples about meeting men elsewhere?”

      There is no advice on this subject. There is no value to a dating coach saying, “Meet a guy at work!” “Meet a guy on the golf course!” “Meet a guy on the beach!” “Meet a guy in the market.” There’s not a skill about WHERE to go to meet someone; it’s who you are BEING that determines your romantic success.

      Contrast that with online dating, which is ABSOLUTELY a skill (usernames, profiles, photos, emails, psychology) and that’s why I give so much online dating advice.

      I have yet to hear a good retort to the above – or an example of good, thoughtful, advice on “where to meet men”.

      1. 4.1.1
        AllHeart81

        Evan, I actually would also be interested in information in how to meet and interact with men in public. Not as a means to take away from the online dating profile information you give but more as a supplement to it. I see at least one nice looking man when I go out. I just am not sure how to make a connection with them. Sometimes I’m shy, other times I’m warm and friendly but it’s very hard to figure out how to get a guy to ask you out in public or ,*cringe*, do the asking.  I do believe there are social skills involved here that a lot of women aren’t well practiced at and would find useful.

        Like a few weeks ago I was at a local high-end artist store and I was checking out when the clerk asked for my phone number for the rewards program. I use to live in another state but I still have my old number from that state. A pretty cute man around my age (who was checking out next to me) started a conversation with me because he recognized the area code of my number. Then my aunt checked out and he also briefly said something to her about the art supplies she picked out. I had walked away and he did turn to look at me but I could not tell if he was interested or just friendly. So I kind of just ignored it because maybe he was just a friendly guy. Should I have been more outgoing and given him my number? Should I assume he was simply being a friendly man and not read more into it? These are the kind of real life situations that happen all the time. It would be nice to know how men feel about these kind of situations, how men behave when they like a woman l and what skills women like me need to navigate those kind of social interactions.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          If he liked you, he’d have asked for your number. If he didn’t ask for your number, he didn’t like you. Not sure what more I could write about that.

  4. 5
    Michelle

    LOVE Aziz’s comedy! I do like what he points out about Tinder (which is unfairly maligned, I think). I have a few friends who think it’s horrible and shallow, but Aziz is right – it’s not terribly different from noticing someone at a party or a bar and going up to them to start a conversation. It’s up to you to take it from there.

    Dating sites and apps are tools, and used by different types of people in whatever contexts best suit them.  Some will prefer the detailed biographies and algorithms of sites like match (which doesn’t exist in my country, but we have a homegrown, similar version) or the randomness of Tinder (which despite it’s reputation as a hookup site, people in my age demographic here very commonly use it for dating.) I’m quite glad I gave Tinder a go, because I met a guy for a drink that I initially had no interest in other than his cute photo (his Tinder blurb said nothing much at all and his online chat didn’t captivate me) but he was brilliant in person and now we are happily in an exclusive relationship! It was a stroke of luck, just like walking into your local pub and talking to someone you never expected to. (And he does live in my neighbourhood!)

    1. 5.1
      Richard

      I agree with you on the Tinder thing. It isn’t much different from what we do in our daily lives. However, I think it differs in one MAJOR aspect. It creates a false abundance mentality, because you know that if you dismiss one person, another one is almost sire to come immediate after. Whereas, in real life, in a bar or social venue, if you see someone you like, you would probably be less apt to dismiss them since there are many less people available in the venue than on the app.

      1. 5.1.1
        Michelle

        Yes, that’s an excellent point Richard. It takes some maturity to be able to focus on dating those with relationship potential. I enjoyed the abundance but did use  my head to divvy up my matches into interesting men or those traveling through that I wanted to catch up with for a drink and a fun night out (dating culture where I live is very egalitarian so men are not expected to initiate or plan dates) and those that would potentially make long term partners. It does take some discipline not to just keep swiping endlessly!

      2. 5.1.2
        Holly

        I concur about the false abundance mentality. I found that when I was on Tinder before the system changed to limit the number of daily matches, I was getting very burnt out. I’d developed such a habit of swiping through everyone that often they’d have no more people for a day or two. At those times, I’d really get discouraged. I’d think to myself, isn’t there anyone for me? I’m much more deliberate about my swipes and I’m more concerned with getting dates with matches who truly have potential. On a side note, I actually like the limited daily matches now. I would never pay $20 a month for the unlimited because Tinder isn’t worth it; plus it forces me to temper my swiping so I can take my time and not get too swipe-happy.

      3. 5.1.3
        Josie

        I think that mentality carries over to the other dating sites.  Match.com has a seemingly endless supply of profiles, as does POF.  Eharmony seemed a bit better in this regard, since  it limited the number of matches you received (however, I began to realize that most of my Eharmony matches were either inactive or located too far away).

        I signed on to Tinder this weekend for the first time, and it’s very strange how many men are engaging with me, versus Match or POF.  Same pictures, same profile basics, and I’m being totally honest re my age and desire for a relationship or friendship (specifically stating “no hookups!”).   I’ve had a couple of skeevy guys who seem totally hookup oriented but I am talking with two promising men.

        I wonder if Tinder is just trendy right now, or that something about the format makes it more comfortable for me to engage in convos?

  5. 6
    Kitty

    I wouldn’t be so sure Evan.  Many women aren’t approachable in person.  They are introverted and prefer not to make small talk, or they don’t smile etc.  At least where I live most men are not open to smiles and flirtation while picking out celery in the produce aisle.  And where to meet men in person is a good question once one enters the mid-thirties and aren’t surrounded by heaps of age-appropriate singles anymore.

    1. 6.1
      AAORK

      Totally agree on this one! By and large, most women are simply NOT approachable (unless in a bar, but only after a few drinks .. and if she’s not surrounded by friends .. and if she’s not fighting with her mom .. and if she’s having a good hair day .. and if she wasn’t just dumped by some douche-bag .. the list goes on ..). And considering the amount of feminine media devoted to convincing women that most men are little more than potential rapists, I can understand. But it makes it harder on everyone.

      Back in the day when I was single, I actively ‘hunted’ whenever I went out in public. There were many women I wanted to approach (I’m forward and don’t have any problem striking up convo’s with pretty ladies) but I noticed that most  women put out a strong ‘dont bother me’ vibe. Physically, I’m tall (over 6′) and in great shape and I figure I’m a solid 7 but today it seems as if single women (regardless of their age or attractiveness) really only consider 8’s and above (the top 10%) .. everyone else is just ‘creepy’ or ‘un-dateable’ (see OKC survey for details). Back then, and still today,  I see it. It’s like a ‘resting bitch face’ kind of look. I’m pretty sure most don’t even realize they do it.

      So in my case, I turned to online dating. Got lots of dates (most all never went past the first meet) but eventually found my darling. Oh and guess what .. she has a GREAT ‘resting bitch face’ too .. lol. I don’t think I would have approached her either!!

  6. 7
    Nissa

    I was really surprised at the idea that people write to / date people outside what they say they are looking to date. All my serious relationships would fall within the parameters listed in my profile as to race, religion, height, kids and smoking. Maybe this is more prevalent in younger daters who might be less self aware on their own preferences, or who are being excessively picky. But that might explain why I routinely get email from those clearly outside my stated preferences.

    1. 7.1
      JennLee

      Your parameters should be a suggestion to yourself, not written in stone.  Think about it.  If you set 6’0″ as your preference, would you really not date a great guy who is 5’10”

       

      If you have an age preferences of no more than 5 years difference, would you really ignore a man who meets all other criteria, just because he is 7 or 8 years older?   If so, you are doing it wrong.

       

       

      1. 7.1.1
        JB

        Jenn Lee you’d be surprised at how many women are such sticklers for their etched in stone preferences and think they couldn’t possibly be attracted to or date a man less than 6 ft tall without a Masters degree that doesn’t make at least 100K a year….lol then they wonder why they’re still single. We all know and Evan has confirmed this many times that man is less than 2% of all men on the planet. So they wait…….. and wait…….. and finally they’re 40 and never been married with no kids and no prospects on the horizon until they find Evan. 🙂

        1. Nissa

          Wow, I’m surprised at the negativity here. “You are doing it wrong” is a judgmental statement.

          It would be a waste of a person’s time to hope that when I say I’m not willing to date a woman, felon or smoker, that I would change my mind if that person was really cute or rich or tall.  If other people are doing that, that seems odd to me. I find it strange that the first assumption is that people making profiles don’t actually know what they want.

          That said, nowhere did I say anything about not wanting to date older or a particular income. Both of those ideas belong to other posters. In fact, my first love happened to be an inch shorter than me. The man I eventually married was a security guard who made less than I did when I married him. Please be careful about the assumptions that are being made.

          There is a difference between being rigid and having deal breakers based on common values.  I’m willing to date a man who is average in looks, height, weight and income. I’m not willing to date someone who I couldn’t kiss without cringing, or who is young enough that he feels like a son.

          My point was, for those that have really been honest about what they are willing to accept (or not) there is less of a gap. Yes, when someone is 20, parameters are different. When you are older and more experienced, most of what you are seeking is common values – compassion, integrity and self awareness, a person who is confident enough and articulate enough to transmit those values.  And there are plenty of varieties of race, religion, height, and kids that fit into that.

  7. 8
    Holly

    If I could just point out one tiny difference between dating in the old days and Tinder: I’m pretty sure that women who answered personal ads in the 60s were much less likely to have a man send them pictures of his genitalia and ask if they were “DTF”. Which comprised the majority of matches I got on that app, despite the fact that my profile clearly said that I’m a practicing Catholic and my clean-cut pictures held no allusions of me being open to that kind of thing.

    1. 8.1
      Michelle

      Sorry to hear that happened to you Holly! I was surprised that none of that happened to me (after hearing stories like yours). I think some of it’s cultural as the men where I live are largely very self-effacing and passive and it’s generally women who initiate dating and relationships…the man I’m dating was a perfect gentleman from the start!

      Our local version of Match is also very conservative and I think for guys in my age range (early 40s) being on Tinder makes them feel more youthful and on trend.

    2. 8.2
      Joe

      OTOH, Holly, while you do have to put up with dick pics, aren’t men who do that sort of thing actually doing you a favor and weeding themselves out? 🙂

      1. 8.2.1
        Holly

        Yes, they do, and very effectively! However, it was still quite disconcerting when I would open the app and suddenly have an unsolicited erection staring me in the face. And I just got sick of the idiots who never even read my profile saying disgusting things they’d die before blurting out in person. But I’m giving it another go, and this time being much more careful about who I match!

  8. 9
    Kitty

    Nissa guys who are outside of your stated preferences are probably outside of many women’s stated preferences and thus they have to try harder.

    1. 9.1
      Cane

      Good stuff, you’re getting it!

  9. 10
    Tom10

    I think Aziz Ansari’s piece succinctly summarized how dating works today: we’ve all become toxic maximizers, loathe to settle or limit our options.
     
    However, the main problem I had with his piece was that – especially for a comedian – it just wasn’t very, um, funny.
     
    In fact it was just boring. Ouch.

    1. 10.1
      Josie

      Agreed.  I actually like Aziz and find a lot of his stand up funny, but this, not so much.  Maybe the fact that it strikes close to home is another reason.  OLD has been especially rough lately. I see the same guys repeatedly on OLD apps and sites.  They contact me, we move to texting or talking, develop an apparent rapport, and most of the time he fades out without asking to meet .   Just today I received a sloppily written , apparently rushed and  dictated text from the latest guy , who I had thought had potential (hell, he was asking me about my views on kids and religion last week) .  Now it seems he’s just stringing me along on the line while he talks to or meets others. It’s fast , it’s easy , little invested and the perception for many people is that there is an endless supply of potential partners out there.

  10. 11
    Kitty

    Yeah, accurate but not funny

  11. 12
    Kitty

    It is striking how virgins and sluts are so often equally and defiantly proud.

  12. 13
    DESI

    I just started the Modern Romance book…its so relatable, it reassure u that u arent alone in “The Hunt” but I think there is def room for another type book like this…a different perspective perhaps.

  13. 14
    Andrea

    Hi Evan – I think you misunderstood me or misread what I’d written.

    I didn’t ask for more examples of  ‘where to meet men’ –  I said ‘examples about meeting men elsewhere’.  By which I mean, insight and advice on actually being and behaving around guys wherever that happens, is what would help me most, anyway.  Am I alone in this?

    But otherwise, all that effort going into online ‘skills’ development is going into the area of least hope – 1 in 4 meet online?  How about 75% of good, thoughtful support & guidance for what happens in real life?

     

     

  14. 15
    Henriette

    Meh.  I got this book from the library and thought it was okay for those who haven’t done much reading on these subjects (online dating, changing marriage rates, etc) ’til now.   I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.   EMK does a better job of sharing much of the same knowledge, as well as more details about the “how tos.”

  15. 16
    Holly

    I could have done without the excessive swearing but I thought it was a fairly good read. It certainly does a good job summing up how incredibly screwed up the dating scene has become!

  16. 17
    andrew

    strongly disagree AllHeart81   re: the girl in the arts supply store.  A large % of men are terrified of asking a girl out in a venue that is not “typically social” (such as a bar).  Often times a guy will try to get up the courage to talk to that cute girl, but after saying “hi there” (and offering up some kind of funny comment on the environment you are in) they very often will wimp out and say “well, nice to meet you”.

     

    “Nice to meet you” is a persons (male or female) way of saying “you didn’t adequately engage me”.

    Of course the other side of the extreme are guys who are uber confident, and are very good at approaching, flirting with and asking girls out.  Do you want to date that guy?  On the one hand, that guy will flirt very well with you, make you attracted (saying things like “where are you from?  thats so cool..i love you..just kidding, i hate you…just kidding…ur adorbale…come here…ect….thats flirting 101), and you’ll probably sleep with him very quickly because he is seducing you…just like the last 30 girls that he’s slept with this year.

     

    If a guy makes any kind of contact…he’s interested.  I make zero effort to converse with girls that i’m not attracted to.

     

    There is actually a male self-help movement called “pickup” that tries to teach men to be more confident in these types of situations.  “Pickup” isn’t about learning to “spit lines” (well, they teach that, but only as a crutch to help guys gain their confidence)…its really about learning how to be confident and socially savvy.  When beta guys lack confidence, some will revert to “lines” because they are too scared to be their honest self…but most often they will just wimp out and disengage.

    Many beta guys actually want to be alphas, and have many of the same desires and thoughts, but they have a deep dark fear of rejection and feelings of inadequacy.  If a guy is beta, it usually means he has fears that he needs to work thru the experience of fire.  Sadly, most “beta” men will never get that therapy, and will go thru life afraid.

     

    We all know that the alpha guy is more attractive at first…but he’ll also make you cry.  The beta is not attractive to the typical female, but he’s the guy you want to marry and raise your kids…sadly, you’ll probably have dissed him several times over and not consider getting to know him in the first place.

     

    Who am i…i’m a beta that has learned to act like an alpha.  I’m speaking from self experience.  Acting like an alpha as taught by pickup, i have seduced many girls…but deep down, i’m a beta…and this creates relationship problems.  “Real pickup” doesn’t look creepy..it looks like a naturally social guy…if a guy is good at pickup, you won’t know it.  If you think “he’s too smooth” then he’s actually NOT good at pickup.  So, how can you tell?  That’s the thing….you won;t be able to.  The guy that has a hard time flirting with you (usually out of fear) is actually the guy you should spend time “building up” because he will love you for it.

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