Well, Burt Reynolds has left us, and I never got the chance to go out with him as I’d hoped. A simple dinner was all I wanted, just to joke around with him, to hear his weird high-pitched laughter, to hear him tell me all his secrets, to discuss the famous folk he hung around with and to tell me what Johnny Carson was really like.

The man just oozed sex appeal, am I right? He knew it, I knew it and every woman of any age up to 105 who had the slightest flicker of the breath of life in her body knew it.

One of the truly nice things about Burt — and yes, I get to call him Burt — was the way he made fun of himself and knew his fabulous good looks might fade one day, though they didn’t. He loved it when people, men in particular, mocked him about his appearance — he knew they were jealous — and it was all good. He appeared to not take himself too terribly seriously, although lots of women surely did.

And what’s with all that twaddle about his hair? Did he wear a toupee? Who cares? BR — yes, I get to call him BR — could have worn a bag of cold oatmeal on his head and he would still have looked fabulous. He just could not help it; the Gods of Exceptionally Good Looks had smiled down on baby Burt when he was born. It was hardly a curse. But a hair piece? So, what? Why does that matter? Do you wear things to enhance your good looks? You do? So why shouldn’t BR have been allowed to wear whatever he wanted, on his head or on his body, if he thought it made him look good? Actually, everything did.

Oh, and speaking of that body, let’s talk about that centerfold. OMG! Those of you who saw that had to have been pretty impressed, so let’s not do the fake “Oh, I’m so shocked!” thing. Especially not in this era when seeing people in the buff on magazine covers, in every movie except perhaps “Lassie Come Home” and “Mary Poppins,” in every art gallery and sitcom, is commonplace.

And it wasn’t exactly not done back in 1972 when our boy consented to lie down on his right side for a risqué, slick, letitallhangout magazine called Cosmopolitan (or “Cosmo,” to those of us of the hip persuasion, as I certainly was and actually still am). There he lay, hairy and laughing, his left arm and wrist strategically placed over his more interesting aspects. A small cigar was between his grinning lips, and he lay on a bear skin rug.

Finally, as males had always cut out centerfolds of impossibly perfect women in Playboy to hang all over their rooms and work areas, now females finally had something they too could cut out of a centerfold. There it was, in Cosmo and they could hang that iconic photo all over their boudoirs and, well, anywhere they pleased. For women, finally having their own centerfold cut out was some kind of liberating.

Burt Reynolds was born in Michigan in 1936, two years before I was born, although we weren’t exactly contemporaries. He started out hoping to be a football player and seemed content to do that for a career, but luckily for us, he was injured and went to New York to become an actor. Odd how some football players make fabulous actors, but that’s another column.

Because of his natural strength and athleticism, he did all his own stunts in his roles and landed parts in lots of plays and TV productions, mostly in westerns and cop shows. Then came probably his best role as Lewis in “Deliverance.” I still can’t drive through strange forests or near strange lakes without thinking about that film and hearing dueling banjos in the distance. Chilling. He was awfully good in that movie but also good in his “Smoky and the Bandit” films, careening and screeching about in his black Trans Am with Sally Field, who he always said was the love of his life.

Alas, after a couple of years, they decided to go their separate ways. Hey Sally? What were you thinking? Instead, in 1988, he married Loni Anderson, a beyond gorgeous and really very funny actress. They adopted a son and named him Quinton Anderson Reynolds. Imagine having Burt Reynolds as a father. But apparently, he was a good one and Quinton became the real love of Burt’s life, always referring to him as his greatest achievement. Father and son became very close over their years together.

When Burt became a little too long in the tooth to act like the testosterone-fueled superdude, he continued working in older-but-still-enormously-sexy roles, always looking terrific, still the self-deprecating rogue, probably very good company, full of humor and bad boyness, still lovable even behind those rose-colored glasses he wore. Burt Reynolds was 82 when death came for him last week, way too soon. He’d had heart trouble. He also gave it. Sorry.