... this is no time to be backward in coming forward ...
First impressions of me (let's say by a new neighbour, a single woman, who has just moved in next door) might be that I'm tall, friendly, smiley, polite, and what used to be called 'well-spoken'.
Second impressions (I help her with some furniture) might be that I'm self-assured, warm, and 'gentlemanly'(!)
If my new neighbour came round for coffee and asked an impossible number of questions she might come to know some obvious facts about me: that I'm musical (I've had a half-life-long interest in classical music, first as a pianist, then as a musicologist, and now as a teacher), that I'm educated (in life as well, I hope, but I spent a long time at university), that I've been a very hands-on parent to my two daughters (now 19 and 22), that I've always been interested in all the arts (esp. Beethoven, George Eliot, and Vermeer, but many others besides these), that I've always enjoyed the natural world (esp. long country walks), that I've never been much of a traveller (just family holidays), and that I look after my health (mostly running and swimming).
We go out for a drink. My new neighbour might get the impression I'm intellectually capable (but far from an intellectual), generous (certainly with money but I hope I'm also generous in thought and time and effort), very fond of children (a very fulfilled parent and happy to be a teacher), candid and expressive (very willing to left my feelings show), not as charitably active as I would like, not as Green as I would like (I'm far more likely to save the smallest of spiders from the Hoover than 'save the planet'), not big on male bonding (I have two brothers, with whom I have good and wonderful relationships, so that's probably enough male bonding for me), socialist (not active; just hoping things swing far further to the left), feminist (not radical; always enjoying the differences between men and women), prefer depth to breadth, and fundamentally serious (though always liking a lot of fun ...
About his ideal match
... and to live life with a light touch).
We go out to dinner. Peeling away yet another layer my neighbour might think I'm idealistic (good to have ideals but not good to be an idealist?), optimistic (maybe nice to live with but it's better to be realistic), empathetic, quietly opinionated (but always liking to be contradicted and challenged), emotionally intelligent (at least I've always been interested in how people and relationships work), romantic (a relationship idealist?), and naturally more husband than boyfriend (though I do my best as the latter!).
And if my new neighbour and I started a relationship (sorry for the accelerated progress here!) she would find me honest, loyal, responsible, attentive, thoughtful, confessional and easily intimate, sympathetic, supportive, a bit stubborn, maybe a bit too organised and tidy, physically demonstrative, very cuddly (it's state of mind!), sensual, and playful.
Any sustained relationship would reveal the core of me: loving, kind (this is very strong in me and in the past I have been prone to be unwisely kind), and emotionally robust (just lucky).
* * * *
Who am I looking for? Having been back to this meeting place quite a few times over the past five-and-a-half years, and having never found the Tree of Love but only lots of its fruit, I no longer really know who or what I am looking for ... someone with a warm and loving heart that is as much in use for themselves as for others; someone who wants to really know, and be known by, their partner; sharing not only life but oneself; intimacy on all levels; equality of love and respect; shared values; someone to build a wonderful ship with, one that would not only give us a beautiful view of the sun on the sea but carry us through life's rough waters ... but if I know that this is all very optimistic and idealistic, I also know there are many other relationships which are good and true and lovely.