Have ancient ruins spoiled modern dating?
“The second I see a guy in front of a mountain, I think, ‘Oh wait, is this Machu Picchu?” Jessi Sherrell, a Dallas, Texas-based wedding photographer, told The Post of scrolling through dating profiles on her phone. “All it takes is to look down and see the little ruins behind him.”
Sherrell, 36, has been wading through profiles on Bumble, Hinge and Tinder for the past four years, and takes screenshots whenever she spots a dude in front of the 15th-century Peruvian city that sees 2 million visitors each year during normal times, according to the country’s tourism commission.
Guys will often pose with a llama — the creatures roam freely around the ruins — or in local garb, she notes. “They might look really serious like, ‘It took a long time to get here,’ or they’ll be dressed up in Peruvian scarves to say, ‘I’m authentically here.’ ”
Travel pictures are a mainstay of dating profiles — waterfalls and zip lines especially seem to telegraph an adventurous spirit and zest for life. But Machu Picchu is particularly popular among men in their 20s and 30s. Outfitted in baseball caps and oversize rucksacks, they tend to stand at the same spot: 7,000 feet above sea level, at the end of the Inca trail, where stone buildings and sacred temples serve as a backdrop, hundreds of miles away from the cities where singles swipe.
The message: I’m fit enough to climb thousands of steps and also a little wild — no run-of-the-mill European city for me!
“I probably have 30 screenshots but I’ve seen at least 60 or 70 dudes,” Sherrell said.
Guys who’ve used Machu Picchu photos on their dating profiles say it’s the perfect conversation starter.
“Machu Picchu was one of my favorite places I’ve ever been,” said Ben Zucker, 28, a Machu man who uses a picture from a 2013 trip to Peru on the Hinge dating app.
He spent two nights at the “magical” site with his family during a 10-day trip that also included Argentina.
“I like talking about it and I thought I should put it on my profile,” said the producer, who works for a virtual reality company in LA.
He said he also chose more recent shots where you can clearly see his face, in addition to the throwback shot of his trip. “It’s the oldest picture by far, but shows that I like to travel,” he said.
And he’s often swiped on women who’ve likewise visited the mountainous region. “It’s a fun thing to see if other people have been there.”
Ron Mizrahi, 25, spent six months exploring Central and South America, including stints in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Peru after completing his service in the Israeli army.
His dating profile pic shows him squatting on a stone ledge in front of the mountain-nestled village.
“I hiked the Inca trail. It was crazy and there were a lot of stairs,” said the LA-based singleton who works for a AAA-type company. “Machu Picchu is a good view! And people will see it and know that I love adventures.”
Sherrell is also a traveler, but says she deleted her photos lounging in St. John’s and Hawaii because she ”didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t down to earth.”
She’s even dated a few Machu men over the years.
“They definitely want to go to drinks and they usually split the bill,” she said.
The latter is not because they’re strapped for cash — “they usually do pretty okay for themselves” — but to show that they’re “cool and progressive,” she said.
Still, she dismissed the expedition — usually booked through a travel agency and featuring a local guide — as a “white-guy adventure.”
But since dating in the pandemic has been “dismal lately,” Sherrell admitted she may have to stop being so picky.
“Maybe I should give the Machu Picchu guys a chance,” she said.