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.