Why is it so hard to find true love today?
— Hopeless Romantic in Hyde Park
The challenges of finding true love, or even authentic chemistry, with someone seems to get more difficult with each new generation.
There are those who have serendipity on their side. Those people who have that fantasy story about meeting a stranger in a bus, classroom or coffee shop and then magic happens and a bond is formed. I don’t know if that’s supposed to keep us hopeful or frustrated.
Because there’s still those of us who like to keep our head down in public places. And dating apps are the best, yet challenging, ways to find romance or sex.
I don’t know if you came to me for a message of hope — I’ll get to that — but let’s vent a little about another obstacle I recently experienced that we all need to be aware about when it comes to searching for true love.
Before my summer got busy with work and debts kept me from fun, I was able to go on a couple of dates that were produced through dating apps. And after no successful matches since the spring, I received a notification asking me to message my potential new beau.
This person was friendly, fun, attractive — and very obviously AI-generated.
Tech that make our lives easier… to scam
Like the invention of the telephone or the internet, AI is here to improve our lives.
These AI photo-generating services sell themselves by promising “great dating pictures that capture who you are, and boost your matches.” Beyond photos, other AI dating services help with personalized matchmaking (no more need for time-consuming swiping) and assist with sparking and facilitating conversation.
In my quest to give AI a chance, I found a first-person article from late October about a woman who took AI-generated headshots and added them to her Hinge dating profile. She wanted to know if people would notice, or call her out for the altered photos.
The experiment resulted in Saira Mueller’s AI photos being the most liked (apart from her natural photos) and even had a dumbfounded person comment on one of them saying, “Wowzers. That is a great profile pic. You can feel the intensity and the [warmth] from it.”
Don’t judge them, that could be us one day. Plus, she did look great.
“It was, frankly, off-putting to see these generic photos outperform the ones that show the real me — that show my personality, my interests, and my life,” Mueller wrote.
While creating the AI photos of herself, Mueller noticed AI was bad at creating hands and generating necklaces. Other times the tech completely changed her body shape and weight, and even put her arm through a wall.
To be honest, now that I think back at my own match, I don’t know if he was completely fake or a person altering his looks. I do remember his chest being physically fit, but his arms looked awkward and uneven, and his hands were nowhere in sight.
When in doubt — and before AI gets smarter on us — look for “perfect imperfections” and for sure ask your match to show you their hands. If you choose to use AI on your dating photos, more power to you. It seems to work at attracting matches. I would just warn that, like with filters, don’t overdo it.
Message of hope
Here we go, again heading into the cold months in Chicago. As we’re locked indoors, our yearning for someone to hold will grow more intense.
So when that notification pops up telling you about a potential match, take advantage of it. They might work out, they might not. But with each failure, we build a stronger vision of what we want our partner to be like. Maybe that will make your true love easier to spot on a train or while you’re swiping and eating noodles at home.