Book Club Gone Wild!

It's not a book club without tons of food and booze!

It’s not a book club without tons of food and booze!

Last night, the real-life Book Club Babes discussed our selection for October: Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. “Discussed,” however, is too tame a term to explain the ruckus we started. Even a security guard stopped by a couple times to check on us! Beware to all the men out there who have ever dated any one of these amazing ladies, because no intimate detail was off-limits!

As we shared our thoughts about the book, I informally polled the group to see whether we were, in fact, a microcosm of Ansari’s research findings. Of the nine women who attended, including myself, six of us were single or casually dating, two were in relationships, and one was married. All but the one who was already hitched had tried online dating to some degree, whether with free apps like Tinder or paid subscriptions to eHarmony.

I found it insightful to hear about their dating experiences, from where they met their romantic partners (random encounters happened more often than expected) to how they prefer to communicate (texting in the beginning, then graduating to talking on the phone once it turns serious).

We all agreed that although the digital world has provided us with more romantic prospects, it has certainly complicated the dating process. Our parents never had to debate whether to cyber-stalk a potential date (yes) or if sexting was considering cheating (also, yes).

With no subject deemed TMI, we channeled our frustrations of the often dismal dating scene into riotous laughter. If you’re a straight man, trust me when I say that every mistake you make with women will go viral. Every failed pick-up line, sexist comment, and unsolicited dick pic will be forwarded to all her friends and ridiculed over copious glasses of wine. I know this, because it made for last night’s excellent entertainment!

Because I’m taking a hiatus from reading to focus on NaNoWriMo this month, the Book Club Babes will be reading a book I’ve already read. After agreeing that they wanted something lighthearted but with a thrilling twist, I recommended Something About You by Julie James, because it appeals to both romance novel enthusiasts and “Law and Order” fans. I have a feeling that its steamy subject matter will bring out the wild side in this book club again next month! Stay tuned!

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Book Review: Popular

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 3 out of 5

Lauren Urasek hit the jackpot by being at the right place at the right time: She was dubbed by New York magazine the “most popular woman in NYC.” At the time of publication, she was receiving 35+ messages a day and 15,000+ four and five-star ratings on OkCupid.

The 20-something heavily tattooed makeup artist discusses her online dating experiences in her recently published book, Popular. Between the chapters describing her dates, she adds screenshots of creepy messages she’s been sent from her blog, theyreallysaidthis.com.

At only 224 pages, this was a very light read, which I finished in just a few days. Other than the amusing anecdotes, I felt that there was little substance. Some chapters felt unnecessary, such the stories from other women and the makeup advice explaining foundation vs. BB cream. Even the do’s and don’ts of online dating that I was looking forward to reading were sparse. If you don’t know the differences between eHarmony, Match, and Tinder by now, this book is not going to help you whatsoever in catching up to speed.

However, I felt that Urasek was relatable and enjoyed living vicariously through her horror stories. I admit that I expected her to be a typical “popular girl:” gorgeous, not particularly intellectual, and unscathed from childhood bullying. But I was pleasantly surprised to find her down-to-earth. Her love of astronomy and former cleft lip only made her more endearing.

It was interesting to read Popular right after Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, because it exemplified one woman’s part in the evolution of dating. And although Urasek ended her tale still single, both she and Ansari remained optimistic. True love may just be a numbers game, but after all the frogs Urasek has kissed, I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before she finds her Prince Charming.

He’s just not this winner right here *facepalm* (Image via theyreallysaidthis.com)

Book Review: Modern Romance

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a smartphone will send dick pics to women on Tinder.

I kid, but only slightly. It’s safe to say that online dating is pretty much the worst for the straight female population: men who ignore age preferences, messages that have been clearly copy-and-pasted, and sexual harassment at every turn. And don’t even get me started on all the spelling and grammar errors!

 

Women commiserate with each other all the time over these awful experiences, but it’s nice to see sympathy from the few good men left. Comedian Aziz Ansari is one of those guys who just gets it–thanks to his awesome feminist girlfriend, Courtney McBroom.

My book club selected Ansari’s Modern Romance to read in October, and I anticipate it inciting a lively discussion about how dating has changed from generation to generation and how it has fared for the better and worse in the digital age.

Ansari teams up with sociologists, psychologists, and other researchers to analyze historical trends in love and marriage, as well as compares dating in the U.S. to the scenes in international metros like Paris and Tokyo.

There are a ton of interesting statistics, so here’s a sample:

“Between 2005 and 2012 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 combined.”

“Another poll, from Gallup, found that infidelity is more universally disapproved of than polygamy, animal cloning, and suicide. So if there were two guys at a bar, one cheating on his wife and another with a cloned pig named Bootsie, it would be the cheater, not Bootsie the pig, getting more disapproving looks.”

“The most popular time to sext is Tuesday between 10:00 A.M. and noon. Yes, we looked this up twice. Strange!”

At first I thought that this would be a memoir primarily based on Ansari’s dating life, but it’s actually more of a research study on dating with some comedy thrown in. His material plays off many of the jokes in his standup, like why you shouldn’t look for your soulmate at a bar:

And why you shouldn’t ghost people like a coward:

And why you should perhaps give marriage a little more thought instead of rushing into it:

I could go on, but you get the gist. I love Aziz Ansari’s humor and found this book insightful and entertaining. It’s obvious that he’s been influenced by wonderful women, and listening to his jokes gives me hope that more men can become feminist allies–and thus, better romantic partners. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, ladies! At the very least, may all your messages be dick pic-free!