Problems with "Just go talk to her," and more Ansari dating advice below.
Penguin Press quelled the rumors Thursday morning by confirming that Aziz Ansari will be writing a book on love and sex in the modern world. The Atlantic Wire quotes an unconfirmed Publisher's Weekly tweet reporting that Ansari will be paid a whopping $3.5 million for his efforts. To give you an idea of where that places the comic, he's only $200,000 behind Lena Dunham's forthcoming memoir, while Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards's memoirs went for $7 million in 2007 and Bill Clinton sold his for $15 million.
Ansari reports that his book will eschew traditional memoir content, instead drawing on insight about the modern dating world through "original research" and conversations with academics. In an AV Club interview last February he reported that he was reading books on love and desire, including The Myths of Happiness, The Paradox of Choice, and Alone Together.
In the interview, Ansari laments the way technology has changed the dating landscape. "[T]he research shows this stuff has even changed our interpersonal behavior, and when I keep an eye out for it, I see it all the time," he writes for the AV Club. He continues,
The other day, a musician friend was at a coffee shop. To protect his privacy, we’ll pretend it was the lead singer of Papa Roach, who is not a person I know. This cute girl was smiling at him. Neither of them said anything to each other. He just figured she was being nice. An hour later, he said he saw that she tweeted something at him to the effect of “Saw @paparoachsingerdude at a coffee shop and smiled at him… swoon :)” If we didn’t have Twitter, would she have actually come up to him and said something? Would they have hit it off? Who knows. She was clearly into him, but more confident texting/tweeting than speaking to someone in person.
Later, Ansari compares the conundrum of contemporary dating with that of selecting chocolates from a large catalogue. "If you give a…group a choice of 40 chocolates, they’ll pick one, but be less enthused about it…I hope I’m not butchering this research when I paraphrase it, but to me, that makes total sense in regards to relationships. In this era, we have more choice than any group of people ever," he writes. "Why do we want what we can’t have? Why does disinterest cause attraction?…It’s so universal.”
Questioning the mechanics behind relationships is nothing new for Ansari. Several of his standup routines — most recently, Buried Alive, which he announced in March 2012 — have focused heavily on his fears about love and marriage. Check out some of Aziz's advice below:
Choice quote: "'Hey so, uh, you know how we've been spending a lot of time together, doing a lot of stuff together, hanging out and everything?' 'Yeah, I know, I know.' 'I want to keep doing that til you're dead.'"
"He met his wife on [online dating]…It's kind of a romantic thing, so I asked him, what'd you search? And he says, 'Jewish, and my zip code.'…That's how I found a Wendy's a few weeks ago…I got some nuggets, he got his wife the exact same way."
Better to just watch this one. On the perils of ill-timed text messages.
"Excuse me miss, I just need to be real honest with you for a minute. I eat here all the time, and when I do, I stare at your face and I imagine us fucking while I eat my sandwiches."