Last night, I had a very specific plan: go to see the new band fronted by one of my favorite guys in town.  Other than that, I had no plans.  I sort of wanted to grab dinner, maybe a glass of wine, but nothing intense.

I reached out to a couple of people, but everyone but FM was noncommittal and he was unavailable until the show.

I texted LP at 2 pm to say: “I’ll be downtown later, eventually seeing my [famous band] friends launch their new project at [westside rock club]. If you’re free (ha, I know), you should join me for a drink.”

Oddly, for first time in a long time, no response.  Hmmmm.

The Chef was supposed to meet up after service, along with SD, maybe some of the girls, so I figured I’d just grab food somewhere downtown solo, taking myself on a little date.

M texted around 4.  M, who was there when the Bon Vivant were on our amazing date, and was also there — a week later — when BV broke up with me while on a date with another woman.  M, who had told me, get over him first, and then we will go out.

M . . . is someone I’ve sort of had a crush on for a while.  He’s the friend of someone I dated briefly, if we can say dated is a euphemism for, spent a few months randomly making out with him at bars. (Here, I am referring to “Cheekbones,” the super-handsome, super-dumb, but rather sweet young guy from last Spring and other random times.)

M is mid-30s, foreign, with a successful career and a chic downtown lifestyle.  He’s very nice, very smart, and sort of intriguing.

He asked me out regularly over the past 3.5 weeks since BV and I ended things and I was really busy dealing with the fallout and trying to heal, while also trying to avoid the places I am rather convinced the BV will be, which, obviously, are the same places M wants to go, at the same times.  So, I blow him off repeatedly and M gets offended, and a little passive aggressive about it, which, to be honest, is sort of understandable.

I’ve not been handling it well.

Frankly, the heartache I still feel has made me make certain choices about where I go, and when, and with whom.  All of that means . . . I have been avoiding M in the same way I have been avoiding BV.

M texted me to ask me out at 419.  And I told him I had to be somewhere at 9 so he immediately responded “some other time then.” I asked if he wanted to grab a drink and after a couple of scheduling messages (he had a meeting at 730) he said we’d grab dinner before that.  I was in the mood for a burger, so I suggested the new burger bar opened by a prominent regional chef.  I’d not been, but FM had, as had BandMate and BandMate’s girl, so I figured it was worth a shot.

Also in my calculation, BV and I had tried to go there on a Sunday a month ago and he’d never been.  Likely, it was still off his radar though it’s two blocks from his building and two blocks from the Chic Hotel.

I got their before M, so I went to the restroom before he arrived and when I came out, he was seated at a table.  I joined him, sitting opposite, and we held hands briefly as a greeting.

Overall, this was a really fun date.  M is all of the things I thought I knew about him, but also so much more.  The food was good. After we finished, I had a glass of wine and he had a milkshake.

We talked business, because that is what people like us do.  He ascertained for the first time what it is I do — including the always potentially deal-killing “I’ve not been paid since July” part — and then pitched me two concepts.

Ultimately, and only slightly awkwardly, he had his business partner join us for 30 minutes rather than have to end the date at about an hour.  I teased him, but it was fine.  I’ve done the same to my dates — whether my girlfriends C or RA or actual dates.  Sometimes, business intrudes and you either manage the fact that my worklife is chaotic and interferes in your life or you resent it.  If you resent it, we’re not going anywhere anyway.

After his partner leaves — with M stating several times that this is an actual date — we meet up with JerkFace for a bit.  Then M escorts me to the westside rock club, where he meets the band, stays long enough to be polite and then decides he’s going to go elsewhere. I walk him out, hug and kiss him goodbye and overall we had a great time.

But, what was really important about this date is the amount of creative energy I got from our conversation.  He gets me and I improved their concept markedly because that’s what I do.

I realize that being with BV was a time suck and a creative suck.  He was more like A in my life — someone who gave me a grounding and a foundation of love, but who added little to my creative pursuits.  Being with BV was always like being on a vacation from myself.

M, on the other hand, had all of my synapses firing in all the best ways.  I left our date invigorated and happy, not necessarily with him — although we do have great chemistry, but with how I felt about me.  M is more like BFD than anyone I’ve dated since (though PR would have been close had I not told him I had no interest in talking business on our first date) and I love the intellectual exercise of being with someone who creates as I do.

He said, with admiration, I had already improved their thinking.  I teased him that it is what I do.

Because it is.

This date — the first of three I have in a row — reminded me of the importance of being with people who are directly in my business world.  I get such energy from those interactions and I left our date inspired.