Twelve hours ago, I was standing on the sidewalk in front of my building, kissing PM good night at the end of what is the best first date I have ever been on.  He laughed about an hour in, to say, all your first dates are like this right, as we wandered through  the best gala I have ever attended — which is high praise.

Our plan was simple — dinner at the very elegant Italian restaurant in town.  It was an impressive move for a first date, for a blind/online date.

We were meeting at 730.  I had a lunch date with a platinum-selling rock star, and then a conference call at 230.  At 3, PM . . . we are going to call him PM, as he is a project manager . . . emailed to get my phone number and then called me.  I couldn’t pick up as I was on a call, which I told him via email.

His entire message: “Are you ok going as my guest to the […] gala tonight?”

Um, hell yes.

His company had bought a table and had a last minute cancellation, so he got the nod.  I accepted, but then told him via email:  “I’d love to go, obviously, and I am terribly charming at cocktail functions, but if you would rather take someone you already know, we could reschedule for another night.”  He responded simply: “You should go.”

We agreed he would drive to my condo and we would cab downtown from here.  I told him I would order a cab for 530 and the cab and he arrived simultaneously.  He beckoned me across the street and we hugged hello.

So tan, so handsome.

For the gala, which was “casually formal” according to the invitation, I went with a nanette lepore black dress with satin straps and the most subtle beading.  It’s low cut, very French in style and makes me look like a ballerina.  I also brought a scarf, and a change of shoes.  I am always prepared.

He wore sunglasses in the cab and did not spend much time looking at me.  He told me later that my dress was so distracting he did not want to be caught staring at my chest. Adorable.

But, at the time it was a little unsettling.  I babble as we drive past the symphony, and it turns out he’s a fan.

He is better looking than his photos. Very fit, very healthy. He is maybe 5’10. He is wearing a nice suit he just bought for the occasion, along with an excellent and elegant shirt and tie.  He looks great.

We go first to a secret wine bar, half a block from the entrance. We want to get to know each other a little before we go in.  I direct him to a long sofa and he chooses the wing chair at the end.  Okay, fine.  We each get an elegant rosé champagne and it’s wonderful.  We talk about alcohol, and he’s a scotch drinker, and a lover of whiskey-based mules.  I am liking him more and more.  He is finding my dress distracting, but not necessarily in a good way.  I assure him, that the dress is constructed so it will stay up, even when the satin spaghetti straps fall.

I excuse myself for the ladies room and end up speaking to the people who work there, who know me as a customer.  We are the only people there, and I think he really likes it.  When I exit the ladies room, he is engaged in a lively conversation with the two very attractive, and potentially more age appropriate, women.  Noted.

We walk across the street, skip the international media photo line on my advice, and head to check in.  It’s amazing.  There are oscar-winning actors, grammy-award winning musicians, olympic gold medal athletes, and world famous chefs.  People have flown in from all over to be here.  And us.  On a first date.

He profiled everyone who would be at our table — very important customers and business associates for his company and their spouses — so I recognized the names when we bumped into them during the cocktail hour around silent auction items.  PM seems to be a man of great character and integrity as he is greeted warmly by everyone and the introductions to spouses are genuine.  He’s about 15 years younger than everyone else, and he’s clearly very good at what he does.  As shop talk happens, one of the wives and I start celebrity spotting.  It’s rather funny to stand there and see some of the most famous people in the world pass by you.

We are having a lovely time, now drinking a cocktail each, with premium liquor on the open bar.  We linger the longest over cocktails, so we scoot into the ballroom about 5 minutes before the program starts and our seats have our backs to the stage.

I enjoy PM very much.  There is not a lot of opportunity to chat with each other or with our table mates as the program features film clips, speeches, live music by some of those multi-grammy winning artists, comedy from a world-renowned comedian, and on and on and on.  The food was extraordinary, the bottles of wine on the table excellent, and PM and I are drinking quite a bit.  He is drinking more frequently than I am, but I probably have three glasses of wine.

As the program ends with millions of dollars raised for charity, we say our farewells.  I change shoes outside, and he teases me that he prefers me in flats and that I should not feel I need to wear heels with him.  Sweet.  I grab a couple of freshly baked cookies they have on platters at the valet stand, and throw them into my bag.  We try to think of where to go as we’re not ready to head home yet.  I suggest the Elegant Hotel a couple of blocks away and it’s jam-packed.  Still, we manage to score two seats at the bar and order prosecco.  I pick up this check, as he’s been paying for everything thus far.

This is now hours into our first date, but it feels like we’re opening up.  We talk about real stuff — the fact that we’re happily childless, the fact that he was married at 25 and divorced within a year.  I told him I’d been engaged at 24, but called off the wedding.

We have the inevitable drug conversation that I now realize I have with everyone. It’s essentially — how do you like to feel? Up or down? He gave me a sideways answer.  He does drugs, as does literally everyone I know, but more psychedelic type stuff.  Oooookay, that’s different. But sort of awesome.

He’s done coke, but it’s not his thing.  Which is good.

We are both social people. Because he’s single, he says, he often is assigned to do the client entertaining, with a generous expense account.  He is saying that it’s a pain and h doesn’t like it, but it’s clear to us both that of course he does. And he’s very good at it.

We know we will need to head a little further west to grab a cab and I suggest, let’s grab a cocktail at the craft cocktail bar or the Chic Hotel.  He votes no on the Chic Hotel Bar: “too douchey.”  Fine.

Craft cocktail bar it is.  He tells me what he wants and then excuses himself for the bathroom.  I order incorrectly assuming he wanted a French 77 when he thinks he wanted a French 75.  It’s fine.  The drinks here are excellent.  The owner sort of knows me and he had directed me to the chef’s bar when we walked in.

We were angled towards each other and the owner joins us as he’s eating and we all talk food.  And we get to try this squid ink gnocchi he’s having.  Amazing.

I just remembered that a bartender came up to me and PM to say, “thank you for being here, you two look so amazing, it’s making the bar look better”  [paraphrasing, but he described seeing us from the entry and loved that we were there and had to say something about it.

PM orders a second round, which I declined, but he did anyway.  He gets me one of what he is drinking.  It’s quality.

As always, unless there is an overt move, I am clueless, but we are pretty clear that this is a date and that we’re having a blast.

I am not entirely sure how it comes up, but I mention to him that I have tickets to a comedy show taping on Tuesday, and I ask if he’d like to join me. He’s in and calendars it right into his phone, including happy hour at the CHB.

It is now after midnight and we’ve been together since 530.  We wrap up and finally grab a cab.  He reaches over and holds my hand on his leg, and it’s magic.  Our fingers trace the others and it’s just perfect.  He turns to me and kisses me and then we’re making out in the back of this cab, which is a little dangerous as the road is bumpy.

It’s a short ride, maybe ten minutes, but we kiss the whole time.  I’d had my legs crossed, as always.  He had put my hand on him, and I know he wanted to put his hand  up my dress.  Those crossed legs were not going to be uncrossing.  Finally, we get to the building and I pay the cab as I had cash.  And it was only $11.

We stand on the sidewalk, kissing passionately, and knowing that we would be ending our evening right there.  He asks if I am okay walking myself up, which I tell him I am.  We kiss again and he walks across the street to his truck.

When I get upstairs, FM is sitting on the terrace, and we’re both surprised to see each other.

We debrief about my evening and my phone chimes.  It’s a text from PM: “Fun cab ride.” 12:58 AM

Me: Amazing cab ride. Fun night. 12:50 AM
PM: Just a little 12:51 AM
Me: 🙂 12:52 AM
PM: Good night!! 1:07 AM
Me: Good night! 1:08 AM

I dreamed of him all night.  In fact, I woke up confused because I thought he was in bed with me, in his suit or a tuxedo.  I thought then maybe he was in the bathroom.  It took me a few moments to remember he’d not come up.

It was an extraordinary evening. He is charming with great energy and similar interests. In fact, he’d bought art from the hipster cycling art event where I’d ended up with PR again.  I liked everything about him.  He’s a man.  He likes to build things.  He likes to rough things out and make them work.  He’s worked for the same company for 14 years, negotiating a deal when a client wanted to hire him.

He seems to be a good man, with a solid set of good friends and with excellent relationships with his clients.

And, the cab ride . . . was absolutely ridiculous.  We were passionate and playful and erotic, knowing it was going no further than that.  There was a freedom to it.  And, now I want to sleep with him.  Badly.

It’s taken all of my self-control to not reach out to him today.  I am trying to play it cool.  I am trying to keep the passion at a slow boil.

It’s going to be a challenge.  He’s really attractive, he’s likely more sexually driven than the Editor or the Bon Vivant.  Then again, he’s also a cyclist, so who knows.

I just decided, now at 7 45 pm, that it would be rude to not thank him for last night.  I sent him a brief email thanking him with a link to the news story about it and wishing him luck for tomorrow.

I emailed rather than called because it’s Saturday night and he might be on another date — though, likely not.  Were he seeing someone else, he likely would have invited her to the gala last night instead of a woman he’d not yet met.  More likely, he has other future first dates ahead.

I have been checking my mail to see if he responded, only to realize I’d neglected to send it.  Send now.

I like him.  I cannot wait to see him on Tuesday.

Fingers crossed.