Is Modern Dating the Worst?

16:35 minutes

In 1967, 76 percent of women said they would marry someone they didn’t romantically love. This is a figure that shocked comedian Aziz Ansari while working on his book, Modern Romance. He teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to understand how romantic expectations and dating have evolved over the years, especially with the advent of mobile technology and online dating. (According to the Pew Research Center, for example, one in five adults in the United States between the ages of 25 and 34 have given online dating a try.) To understand the state of dating today, the two talked with a number of scientists. They also conducted focus groups in the United States, as well as in countries like Argentina and Japan, with people who shared their experiences—and their texts. Klinenberg, along with sociologists Jess Carbino and Lucy Hunt, join Science Friday to discuss how text messages, profile pictures, and apps all fit into the landscape of modern dating. Read an excerpt from Modern Romance here.

Ansari shared some more insights on modern dating:

And to get a sense of the modern dating scene, we asked our audiences on Twitter and Facebook the following question: How many dates do you need to go on before you know if it’s going to work out? The options were, “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” “5,” or “6+” dates.

More than 400 people replied—427 people to be exact. The ‘winner’ was three dates, garnering 27.3 percent of the responses. You can view all the results below:

Modern dating

Segment Guests

Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg is a sociology professor at New York University in New York, New York and the co-author of Modern Romance (Penguin Press, 2015).

Lucy Hunt

Lucy Hunt is a Ph.D. candidate in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jess Carbino

Jess Carbino is a sociologist at Tinder in Los Angeles, California.

Heard on the Air

Read an excerpt from Modern Romance.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.

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Aziz Ansari on How to Date Better

An excerpt from "Modern Romance."

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