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An Honest & Complete Dating Profile photo

“I’d rather be a tree” actually covers it, but friends have accused me of burying the lede, so (TL;DR) I’ll begin by admitting I’m skeptical of mixing complete honesty with dating profiles, the vinegar and oil of them, the drafty window they evoke. Every secret is a locket, a light-fed seam—mystery is the crux of longing; transparent but reserved, afraid of discomforting others—that’s my scene. Insert whatever emojis you want—my favorites are the sprig of prairie grass, the upside down smile. A green heart.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on the couch, watching TV and reading. I want to be more outdoorsy, but so often it’s too cold or too buggy. Ticks freak me out. I think it’s essential to say what you want even if you don’t know what it is. I think as soon as you admit what you want it slips away like an eel or eelgrass; I am contradictory and prone to stoicism. I want love that feels like solitude, like skipping stones. I hate discussing sexual fantasies. Deep in the syrupy afterglow of multiple orgasms, I might confess what I like in bed; until then, I’ll try to show you with my hands, with the crooked sounds slipping from my mouth.

“Never” is usually a dangerous recipe for “Someday.” Though, to be clear, I never want to marry again, never want children, never want to live in a large city. I enjoy a pastel version of non-monogamy: I have one long-distance lover and he and I don’t have any plans for geographical proximity. When I say his name, a fat bluebird perches in my heart. I have one long-distance beloved; think of her as a moonrise I can’t forget, a reoccurring dream, a fox in the snow. My baggage is complicated but charming—I can make a joke out of a sweatshirt, a skirt out of a wound.

If we cohabitate, I’d like you to travel while I stay home and sit on the couch reading and watching TV. When I travel, I’d like you to stay home with the cat(s); I will write you postcards that convey ardent feelings I never say out loud. We can travel together, sometimes, and whisper to each other on strangers’ sheets how much we miss being home, purring over the names of future dogs and skills we’d like to acquire—pottery, cabinetry, fiddle-playing. I’d like you to love the two people referred to earlier and for them to love you; I like the idea of a guest room and a slow parade of guests—for you to trust my heart though it is both a prairie and a thimble. I like the idea of watching sunset from the porch, of learning the names of trees and birds together. Nonetheless, since I’m being honest, I confess I’ll resist cohabitation, despite these tender dreams of it; I only want to be team captain of myself. I require financial independence. I won’t share a bank account. I am (no surprise) divorced; I mostly wanted the wedding. My wedding was perfect—green dress, every friend, sun-dogs, thick Midwestern humidity.

Sometimes, I pour milk over uncooked oatmeal, dot it with chocolate chips, and eat that for dessert. I hate washing dishes and folding laundry. My shoes ring every doormat. I am loyal to everything and nothing. When the going gets tough, I’ll get distant. If I get distant, it’ll be hard to lure me back. If I feel the white stone of independence still lodged between my lungs, it’s likely I won’t stay. If I won’t stay, you’ll likely say it was worth it anyway. The baggage was indeed charming. Her beloveds—lovely. The slow parade of friends, a constellation wheeling through the dark. Good cats, good homemade pizza, amusing dance moves. She never sticks around for harvest (though she convinced you to plant rosemary, lavender, zinnias, to think of time as a full moon, as a thrush’s song), you’ll say, but O the planting season. The spry seedlings at the start. Libra. INFJ.

image: Doug Paul Case