The difficulty of dating with Aziz Ansari in the spotlight

Aziz Ansari

When I first heard Aziz Ansari’s name attached to the sexual misconduct, I was honestly pretty sad and angry at him. How can this man who is a proud feminist and talks so openly  about dating in the age of the internet. However after reading more deeply there’s been a lot more to the headlines.

Here’s my rough thoughts…

I’m happy to not have to put Aziz’s actions in the warped, rampant and unchecked abuses of power like those of Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK and Kevin Spacey; which are simply horrible and deserve the press they have gotten.

I’d say my view is quite close to this podcast which pushed me to finally write something. I think its bad but its not something for the #metoo movement in my view. Its a bad experience and wouldn’t get the press if it wasn’t a big name. Babe.net have blown this up and its damaging to the bigger movement which I would say is about total abuses in power. I’m not saying I don’t have sympathy for Grace and her experience shouldn’t be heard; but its the escalation and which is worrying. Babe.net pushed this and did some harm & injustice to Grace to get short term viewers and attention. Its sadly something which happens a lot from my own experience and what friends tell me.

About the actual date…. I have to lean on Hadley Freeman’s column in the Guardian. Its really a difficult thing to say because I’ve got a few stories from bad dates. Some are misunderstandings, most seemed to be tied to drink, some are just unbelievable and theres no way I could repeat them without changing names/locations/etc . But for each one, I’ve held a certain amount of choice, power and understanding. Being self aware and conscious has really helped. I can only be responsible for my own actions and tend to avoid situations which looking back could be seen as questionable.

Dating involves more than one person, so instead of treating this story as a gladiatorial battle between snowflakes and people who enable rape culture, a more conducive approach would be to rethink the whole hook-up narrative: stop thinking of it as a game; get your head out of your libido when there’s someone else in the room; and when someone says no, they mean no, not, “Mmm, persuade me by sticking your hand down my throat.”

The Ansari story has shone a light on the awkward fault lines in modern dating – fault lines so common that many of us just took them for granted. It turns out that the dress is neither blue nor gold, but grey.

Dating is clearly difficult and I’m in agreement, the dress is neither blue not gold but shades of grey.

A taste of what its like dating in 2017

Aziz on a first date

Sucked into a popular dating app, Dev winds up on a string of awkward, fun and disorienting dates with very different women.

Married friends tend to imagine dating now must be so exciting. Ok it is but theres lots of roller coaster moments of up and down (not that kind!); but I was laughing and remembering some of my dates while watching Aziz on a series of first dates.

Its Season 2 episode 4 of Master of None

Without spoilers; The woman checking out other potential matches for dates while on a date had me pointing at the screen shouting…

“That happened me!”

I’m sure most of the dating singletons would find at least one thing to point at and say the same thing.

Growing worries about our tech driven culture from Aziz

Friendly Conversation

You can add Aziz Ansari to the growing list of people reconsidering the effects of our technology on our culture. He joins Sherry Turkle and Andrew Keen with his latest book…

Modern Romance, an interesting book full of interesting research about how people meet, and mate, in the modern world.

First heard about on the Freakonomics podcast

I’ll be checking it out soon… as it looks like a good one.

…The rest of the book deals with online dating, dumping, sexting, cheating and snooping on your partner, all of which have been made easier by the rise of the smartphone and the private world we create behind its screen. This is territory already explored by theorists such as Danah Boyd and Sherry Turkle and OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, but Ansari helpfully masticates their findings down for a general audience. He is neither a tech evangelist nor a luddite: the gadgets might be constantly updating, but human nature is slower to change.