I met up with the Bon Vivant this afternoon.

It was weird and uncomfortable and ultimately good.

The best best part: we are firmly and most assuredly in friend zone.

The other best part: he’s healthy,  and he has found a productive way to spend his time: he is going back to school to add an advanced certificate.  He has a reason to get up, to do things.

He looks good: clear of eye, clear mind.  I could see the difference in him from the moment he walked in to the coffee shop.

He is handsome. Small, especially when I am towering over him in stilettos, but a genuinely attractive man.

We are meeting for a reason. I’d reached out to him  — and a ton of other people — in desperate attempt to find a referral for BFD for a special project. BV’s response shocked me: he volunteered himself, rather desperately: “I am one. I will do it. No joke [plan]” I responded back immediately and then he called me. We chatted and agreed to  meet the Next day. I was excited, as I had carefully scheduled my day and I looked great.

The plan: coffee with the Bon Vivant then drinks with RA, then dinner at PLD’s new restaurant with RA and FM. Except BV canceled on me aftere telling me he would try to meet me at the CHB.

He didn’t and it was fine. Until he told me wE’d reschedule aftere his massage. seriously. I was barely civil in response.

In fact, I decided to  deliberately dress down. Jeans, a grey long-sleeved tshirt (granted, both were beautifully made and fitted). I didn’t even wash my hair. Silly, but I wanted to be like … Whatever, dude, not trying to impress  you.

I went to my favorite coffee shop, located across the street from his downtown tower. I called him once I was settled in and he said, okay, I have to walk to FedEx, so I’ll meet you in ten minutes.  Cool. I grabbed my phone, iPad, and wallet and hit the ladies room quickly. I didn’t refresh my makeup or anything.  Again, don’t care.

As I walked out, he was standing 100 yards directly in front of me just inside thefront door. He’d decided it made more sense for us to run his errand together. He. Was right.

[typing this from bed on an iPad. Which is more challenging than I’d relialized with random autocorrecting.]

I hugged him and he kissed my cheek, as usual. I grabbed my bag and my iced coffee and we wandered off together two blocks.

I outlined the project quickly, explaining first why I wanted him to do it. I reminded him — with great import — that I trust him second only to BFD, and that I appreciate that — like me, he has a certain “flexible morality.”

He laughed and agreed. Things others might find morally objectionable, well, we judge not.

Essentially, I need the Bon Vivant to do some opposition research on one of BFD’s competitors, which may involve him befriending the competitor. Nothing weird or illegal, but something to which the Bon Vivant is particularly well-suited, as he is a Bon Vivant who can and does talk to everyone all the time.  People genuinely love this dude immediately and it’s a perfect skill set for this research project.

We make it to FedEx and he tells me how excited he is to make money doing this. I profile BFD in the most general terms, acknowledging ex-bf and one of the most important people in my life. Which he is.

I said, look, I trust you, and I trust your discretion. I tell him the fee and he is excited again. I tell him it’s likely I will be his sole source of contact, as I manage a lot of business for BFD still. Again, I tell BV this, and it occurs to me that I’ve never mentioned BFD to BV before.

Hell, I never mentioned PR to BV until the week before we broke up, as I never talk to him about past relationships, even though I was seeing PR socially while BV and I were dating.

The rest of our talk at FedEx becomes about this errand: sending off a tuition check. He is so excited about it: distance learning for first four weeks and then on campus for last three or four. He says, very seriously, I’ll fly back every weekend.

Ooookay.  That’s weird.

Don’t care, but I noted it.

Anyway, I said to him, I am so glad you’re happy here again, as I know how hard the fall had been.

The whole time, he is becoming the man I’d fallen for, not the man I’d worried about non-stop for two months.

We talk about his vacation, his golf game, and I tell him how genuinely great, healthy and clear-eyed and clear-minded he looks.

He does. He looks like he is off the drugs. He appreciates my complimentS, genuinely grateful he is better and I noticed.

He had mentioned earlier on the phone that he was meeting up with his friend K, who was with him when I met him at the dive bar three weeks before I met him-met him, and one of their college classmates who is in town for the night. But, they’re running late. After the errand, we decide to grab a drink.

He is the Bon Vivant so as we walk in to a bar/restaurant we’d visited before together months earlier he is greeted warmly by the hostess and a waitress. He pauses to talk to the waitress and i follow the hostess to an outdoor table as he chats. I don’t know his current situation, so I give them privacy. Which was unnecessary as he quickly says I just played golf with her boyfriend.

It doesn’t matter.  We broke up nearly three months ago and only now are we really speaking.

Defining his relationships with other people, I just don’t care.  I am respectful and want him to just be him.  As we are sitting there, I text BFD to say, I have the perfect guy for you. He calls me and I have trouble reaching him so I use BV’s iPhone (dialing myself first and using a dialer so it looks like my phone). BFD and Iconfirm everything and are in agreement. BFD wants to know he’s thge right guy and I assure him that I trust him implicitly  I call him sweetie, which I explain to BV upon disconnecting in some way that makes sense, something like not calling anyone by their name. I tell BV he has the gig.

BV is mystified and wants to know how and how it will work.  I told him, he will be reporting to me, as I am managing it for BFD.

He says, but how will he know if I do it?! I said BV, this is my credibility. He trusts you because I trust you.

We wrap up, and he has still not heard from his two college friends.  He asks what I am doing and I am heading to the CHB.  He says he is going to stop at his place to take out his contacts — he has been complaining about an eye infection — and he’ll join me there.

Yeah.  Right.

I’ve played this game before.

I decide I am going to give him 30 minutes.  I sit down at the CHB on a long sofa that can seat three couples comfortably.  There are two women in their mid-40s to my right and a husband and wife who look my age to my left.  I order a glass of champagne, as it’s still happy hour, and I start thinking about everything that’s happened.

Imagine my surprise when BV walks in.

He sits down next to me, close enough that we are touching.  He orders a cocktail — our favorite drink, as a matter of fact — and they deliver the wrong one to him.  I notice before he does that it’s clear rather than brown, so I send it back.  That then opens the conversation to the women to our right, and then to the couple to our left.  By the end of our time together, we are thoroughly engaged in conversation with everyone.

BV finally gets his call, and stands up to finalize arrangements.  He mentions the restaurant and I tell him that’s where he should go.  By now, I am advising everyone on where they should go and what they should do in town.  When BV walks back over, he laughs and says yes, listen to the Planner, she knows everything about this town.

He hugs me goodbye and we sort of hold hands and high five.  He asks where I’ll be later and says he’ll try to meet back up after dinner.

(Yeah. Right.)

It’s awkward as he’s leaving though, and when I sit back down, I am reeling a little.

The couple to my left is fascinated.  The wife, who is sitting next to me, says, okay, I have to ask, what’s the deal with you two?!

Her husband is a bit horrified, but I need to decompress and braindump, so I tell them: “yeah, he’s my ex boyfriend.”  The wife says, “really?! I thought he was like your gay boyfriend.  Are you sure he’s not gay?”  She says this not unkindly.  She’s my peer — in fact — we have by now established we’re the same age with similar backgrounds, etc.

I said, I am mostly sure he’s not gay.  We did date for like 5 months.  I mean, he might date men, too, but then you just never know.

We laugh.

We all are completely sincere about it.

We have all long suspected that the Bon Vivant is — at a minimum — open-minded about such things.  I am rather certain he has experimented, just as I am rather certain PR has, and I suspect LP did in his youth.  RA says later, “he kinda has ‘gay face.'” He doesn’t, exactly, but he is a handsome man who comes across as rather . . . soft.  It’s not just that he is small, he is small and soft.  He is completely non-threatening.  He’s also a cypher.  If you look at him expecting to see a rich kid, that’s who he is.  A douchey frat boy, yes.  A bon vivant with no labor, yep.  He is who you expect to see.  And if you think of him as gay, well, he looks gay.

The truth is . . . he is all and none of that.  He is — in his heart — a bit of a hippy, born 30 years too late.  Were he older, he’d have followed the dead, smoked a lot of weed, and done ridiculous things.  But he’s not.  He’s 31, handsome, over-educated and underemployed, living a life to which most everyone else I know aspires.

So, I am not surprised when the wife asks me if he is gay.  She sensed the connection and the awkwardness between us — ex-boyfriend did not occur to her.  After I said it, she said, okay, that does make sense.

We talk about places they should see when they are in town and I tell them about the restaurant to which BV and his college chums are going.  It’s an amazing restaurant, with 30-40 dollar entrees, and unique to our town.  The duck mole is a particular favorite of mine.  They make a reservation there for 9 and invite me.  I ponder accepting, but I know I can’t afford it.

I head off to other bars to meet up with Jerk Face and his girl to wrap up the night.  We grab a drink, then sushi, and then there is a party — there is always a party somewhere — with an open bar.  I see a local rock star with whom I share a mutual crush and we hang for a bit.

I contemplate returning to the CHB to see if BV had returned as we’d sort of discussed.  I don’t though.  Instead, I leave with JF and head home, head still spinning, and make it home by midnight.