By Pam Keevil

Published on 1st May 2023

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‘Another Saturday night and no date! Cheers!’

Lily raised a glass to herself and her reflection in the screen. She flicked through the interactive contents. A jet ride over the Himalayas? She’d done that last week and simulations were so not on-trend. A trip into a virtual world of your choice and creation? Even Super AI still couldn’t recreate the feelings of being with friends and sharing real food, real wine and laughter.  Something more relaxing? A beach scene? She found one that wasn’t full of gorgeous AI models but had people with the usual body lumps and bumps of a sedentary life and switched on the airflow to feel the wind and the spray on her face. As usual, no sooner had she settled down to watch than the blues skies, gentle waves and coral sands were interrupted by an ad break. They all showed happy couples shopping, drinking and laughing with other happy couples or families with mum and dad, two mums two dads, three even. All were in their own inclusive little family bubble. And Brad had been just another rat who had dumped her when she started to get serious. That was the point of the dating site wasn’t it? To find your soul mate?

‘Zoom in’ she called and the image on the screen grew larger. A figure was lounging on a beach towel, body tanned and ripped, face mathematically perfect. A hand beckoned as the image increased again and the face slowly smiled, showing dazzling white teeth,

‘Singles everywhere, this is 2075. Forget old fashioned online dating. We now have the technology to create your perfect partner.’

Lily sat up and the face swivelled to meet her eyes. The advertisers knew she was interested, had picked up on her breathing, her eye movements or even the slight tilt forward of head towards the screen.

‘Yes, Lily. You too could find your perfect partner, just like me.’  Lily took another sip of wine. The figure stroked their skin. ‘I feel real. Try me.’ The hand came closer and Lily felt a sensation on her skin of warmth and softness. The face faded to be replaced by a large command button.

‘Sign me up’ Lily said and was taken to the website.

It was so easy. Pay up, make your selection and within one month, the perfect partner would be knocking at the door.

Lily began to scroll down the list of menus. Everything was there from selection of gender, colour of hair right down to the shape of the finger nails, what to talk about and quality of bedroom techniques. Over the next few days, she allowed herself to dream of this perfect man and after work each day, returned to her saved specifications to continue until all categories had been completed.

Her best friend, Jen was intrigued when they met after work in Jen’s luxury condo overlooking the salt-water marsh that had once been JFK aiport. ‘How do you…I mean does he…What about sex?’ She grabbed her young son from the clutches of the robo-nurse and gave him a big hug before plonking him on Lily’s knees.

‘It says he’s perfect in every way.’ Lily jiggled the little boy who screamed with pleasure.’ I expect he’ll be perfect in bed too.’

‘Could you settle down, start a family?’

‘We’d have to use sperm donors, of course but that’s not an issue.’ The baby opened its shell-like mouth and whimpered.

‘Time for a feed and a nap’ Jen called out as the robo-nurse whisked the baby away.

Lily accepted another cocktail from robo-butler. Had she specified her ideal partner should be rich? It wouldn’t matter really as all robots, except those involved in the most menial work, were incredibly rich; virtual work was highly lucrative. The arrangement was looking better every day.

Lily spent hours at the gym over the next few weeks, determined to lose those extra pounds. She revamped her wardrobe and begged Jenny for some of her luxury cast offs. Her mind was so full of the tantalising new man she had created, she deleted all her dating site memberships. Why bother with second best when you’ve got the man of your dreams just waiting for you?


A message arrived after four weeks announcing the time and place of the first date. Adam, as he was called, would collect her from work and then whisk her to a restaurant and a club and who knows what might happen next. As it was Friday and she didn’t have to work the following day, she spent all Thursday evening tidying and cleaning the flat and had put her best sheets on her bed so that if he wanted to stay, he could.


The doorbell rang. Her hands sweated as she fumbled with the lock. She opened the door and the sight made her stomach lurch. ’Good evening. I am Adam’ he said as he handed her a bunch of flowers. ‘May I come in?’


‘Well, what was it like? Jen insisted over the videosense link the following day ‘Does he …you know?’ How could Lily explain, he was the perfect date, charming, funny, intelligent. He laughed at her jokes, teased her and the sex was divine. Over the next few weeks, they were inseparable and Lily began to think about commitment, settling down and kids. She really had found, or rather created, her perfect mate.

It was late Tuesday evening two months later and Lily was finishing a work project at home when there was a ring at the door. It was Adam. He refused to come in and stood, calm, still and unsmiling. ‘I’m sorry but I’ve asked to be released.’ There was not a flicker of emotion on his smooth features.

Lily felt her legs waver. ‘But you can’t.  I designed you. You’re my perfect man!’

‘You forgot something. Check out the relationship menu.’ Then he turned and left.


Lily went straight to the screen. She’d complain and make sure that damn company never worked again. But something drew her to what Adam had said. She opened the file she had created and selected edit. She scrolled down the list until it came to the section entitled relationship to you. She had clicked on partner. But as she lingered on the menu other options came up including the one that she should have ticked. For after all, what was the use of the perfect man if he wasn’t in love with you?

‘This time it will be perfect’ she muttered and reworked her selection.


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