Last year, my friend took me to see Aziz Ansari's stand up show at the Orpheum Theatre in L.A., and it was all kinds of awesome. When it airs on Netflix, I'm sure everyone will have a whole new perspective on online dating and dick pics.
Aziz has pretty much become the self-appointed interpreter of 21st century romance. Yet while he seems to understand current mating rituals, he's also lost in the complexity of sentiment. He observes problems, he can't really resolve them, and when in doubt, he changes the subject to his cousin Harris.
Honestly, Aziz (if you're reading this, which I'm sure you're not since you've sworn off Internet browsing), I agree with almost everything you say about the diminishing state of romance with one exception.
You suggest a current problem with relationships is that people don't want to commit because it feels like we have too many options. We can date practically anyone in the entire world, thus no one wants to settle for fear of missing out on someone better (FOMOOSB).
This relates to a common chocolate dilemma. A person picks from three pieces of chocolate, they find their choice to be amazing. If they have 40 options, they imagine another piece would have been better. You're never content.
Though Russell Stover consistently screws me over, I don't think having options necessarily leaves us unsatisfied or curious. Maybe for some people. Rather, the real problem to me is that we've become replaceable -- available in bulk -- and in a sense, love lost value. It's more like getting chocolate from Walmart than Godiva.
The mass consumption of love makes us all out to be generic products, itemized by size and shape, listed with some amalgamation of ingredients, and requesting to be sampled. You skim through a spread of potential partners, read a few things about them. The more you look, the more they all sound the same, so you figure you'll try a bunch of people out. It's not a big deal.
Needless to say, they don't let you sample at Godiva, that shit is by the ounce.
With commodification, we question how our products will stand the test of time. We don't view people as evolving into better things. We don't view them as an ongoing story, an adventure with ups and downs and magic twists, but something with a shelf life.
People in Japan don't even see the point of love or marriage anymore because it's "too hard," cumbersome even. It's become a real bother.
Again, like Walmart.
(Although the Japanese are not having sex either. Apparently, they're replacing it with "other urban pastimes" so, like, city biking?)
Shopping for love creates impatience, and the second something goes wrong we jump to conclusions. Moldy. Rotten. Freezer burned. Toss it and return to OK Cupid, where we can find almost the same thing again, but fresh.
There are fewer serendipitous moments only because we don't notice or appreciate them. We're too busy waiting on a direct message. In fact, romantic gestures now feel either a) cheesy b) too 1950s or c) suspicious.
Recently, there were several guys who, on different occasions, pulled over in their cars while I was jogging to ask me out. One guy chased me down by foot and gave me his phone number. To me, it was straight out of Cinderella, but when I told my cousin, she asked if I was running in a safe neighborhood.
With the great wide web of love, there's no need to stand out in real life as people primarily shop from the comfort of their couch. Better to create a good advertisement (and by advertisement, I do mean dick pic).
On a scale of one to The Notebook, we're currently romancing at about a Knocked Up.
Anyhow, Aziz, you almost got it right. Or maybe you got it all right and there are two problems. Or maybe I'm wrong. I don't know how to meet anyone either.
In my opinion though, technology didn't make love more available. It made it less sweet.
For what it's worth, I prefer Lindt Truffle Balls -- the dark, dark ones. They don't come in boxes, but whenever I see them, I grab a handful and never look back. They're absofuckinglutely delicious.
That's how I hope love will be.