The longer I’m around a woman, the more likely I am to find her attractive.
It is just one of those things that has puzzled me for a very long time.
Do I just fall in love with women that easily?
Why do I do it every time?
I never realised it during the moment, but now looking back, there were a lot of moments where I was quite infatuated with a number of co-workers, colleagues and even friends.
I’m sure it’s not a unique condition, but speaking from personal experience, I find it vaguely concerning that I really do just fall for anyone, as long as I am regularly seeing them.
So where the hell does this habit come from?
Growing up, I didn’t have a whole lot of interactions with girls. But I knew that I liked them, perhaps a bit too much.
I can still remember watching Top Gun on the TV and seeing that silhouetted sex scene for the first time, and wondering what they were doing. I even recall re-enacting it out of curiosity and wondering what it would feel like to hold and kiss a girl.
In primary school, I had no real concept of girls, beyond their attractiveness and a desire to get to know them better, which was promptly nerfed by an incredible shyness that only exacerbated how tongue-tied I would get around them.
High school wasn’t much better, with my only real interaction with girls being two memorable occasions … playing in a band with one of them and the other being the Year 12 Debutante which I shall elaborate now.
Year 12 Debutante is probably the greatest social experiment for all the boys in the year level. It sorts the hot from the not and I was definitely not anyone’s first draft pick.
Not that I was surprised. I had a hideous hairstyle back then, barely talked to any girls, so why on earth would they pick me?
So it came as no surprise that I wasn’t picked by anyone. But I did look on with envy when one of my closest friends got chosen. It was quite flattering to be chosen, so to miss out was a bit heart-breaking.
What complicated matters that year, were the 2 Italian exchange students who were naturally fetishied for their looks, and European nature.
Which meant that one poor girl, a slightly unpopular individual, who was a bit abrasive in nature, actually got dumped by her chosen partner for one of these Italian exchange students.
Her name was Charlie (not real name).
Charlie wasn’t really well liked by anyone in the school. I had no real idea about who she was, or what she was like, but it was a well-known fact that she struggled a bit socially. She didn’t fit in any cliques, nor had many admirers.
Still, it wasn’t right for her partner to unceremoniously ditch her like that. Especially when they had already done two practice sessions together, to try and nail the dance.
So the call went out.
By then, the sting of being rejected by every attractive girl on campus had already settled in for the majority of the male population. We just didn’t care any more. We had put it behind us, our collective disappointment now superseded by our studies.
Still, our likable Year Captain did his duties. He went around the school, asking every single group of males whether someone would put their hand up to go with Charlie.
He was persistent, and honest, acknowledging that yes, Charlie wasn’t exactly the best pick, but she was the injured party here and she wasn’t all that bad.
Feeling sorry for her, I remember fighting my internal instincts. On one part, I had no interest in going with this unpopular girl. My crush was already spoken for and I didn’t see the appeal.
On the other part, my conscience weighed down heavily on me. I should just put up my hand to be the sacrificial lamb. It wasn’t right what happened to her and I did feel sorry for her, oddly.
So I did the unthinkable. I listened to my conscience, silently cursed Jesus for guilt-tripping me and put my hand up.
I regretted it the moment I said “I’ll go.” Even the Year Captain was shocked.
But the die was cast.
So off I went to dance practice, to meet this girl that I knew nothing about, wasn’t even remotely attracted to and was instantly surprised when she ran up to me and hugged me.
“Thank you! Thank you!” Charlie exclaimed. But I brushed most of that aside, because for the first time, a girl actually hugged me and I could feel every curve against my own body.
The sensation was foreign, almost alien to me. But it felt good.
Studying her up close, Charlie wasn’t as much of an ugly duckling that her compatriots made her out to be. Her facial features were a bit “shrew”-ish, but they were symmetrical, and in all honestly, I couldn’t look at her much in the eyes, because I was still shy.
The first dance practice however went well. I was always a bit gifted when it came to coordination and the moves came easily to me, which meant that Charlie could focus on her moves.
I remember placing my hands on her waist and being as light as possible. I was still struggling through this miasma of emotion when suddenly the call was sent out to switch partners.
Suddenly, I was eye to eye, hand in hand with another girl, a startlingly attractive Armenian girl whose features were as dramatic as they were teasing. She smiled at me and all I could muster was a shy return, and we swirled around together, before it was onto the next girl.
Much to my disappointment, the routine stopped 4 people short of my crush, but I’m pretty sure if that happened, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Charlie and I did one more practice move, including a dip and a swirl and then it was all over.
Charlie gave me one more hug before dashing off and I was left standing there, bemused and bewildered, until my friend came up to me and asked if I was OK.
“Yeah, I’m good, dude.”
I don’t really remember much about the following dance sessions, but I do remember my parents being excited for me.
I wasn’t. I felt like an imposter. Like I didn’t belong with all the other dance couples. I was the other half of a pity couple. But I was committed now. There was nothing in it, but to do it.
It didn’t help that there was a big rumour mill around this event. The rumour was that one of the richest, hottest girls in the year level was organising a huge afterparty at her place. I remember being so naive, that I asked what the hell was an afterparty and had it explained to me in envious detail.
It was an exclusive affair and again, my best friend was invited, whilst I received no such invitation. Hell, Charlie was so incensed by the fact that she didn’t get an invitation either and organised her own counter party.
And promptly didn’t invite me either.
Which naturally soured my mood to her somewhat on the actual debutante dance.
It also put to the rest any niggling feelings that I was developing for her. Because like any fool, I was getting attached to her with each dance practice. I liked the way how we held hands, how we were well coordinated and how a lot of the sessions ended with a hug.
For her to not even invite me to her party, just hammered the point home … I just wasn’t attractive enough.
But I put these misgivings aside, determined to get through the routine as best as I could.
It went off without a hitch, but my heart wasn’t in it and when the formal dance was over, everyone stormed the dance floor, whilst I sat back at my family’s table and watched as everyone else partook in the revelry.
Sick of the noise and the atmosphere, I chose to go home. I had enough for the night.
It was time for bed and to put to rest this whole bizarre romantic entanglement.
The Year 12 Debutante Ball, was the first real time I experienced this phenomenon which I shall call “provocatrix.”
It’s been a curse ever since.
The reason why I chose this word to describe how I feel, beyond the obvious Bond reference, is because all women, regardless of their level of attractiveness, provoke a reaction from me, once I spend a lot of time with them.
It’s a terrible jinx, and amusingly enough, has quite a parallel to my favourite on-screen spy with his multitude of love interests. After all, a man with that many sexual escapades, with a fondness for them all, has to have provocatrix.
So … if I examine this provocatrix phenomenon further, I’ve come to realise that it is because I create a better image in my mind about the woman. As my opinion of her forms, I suddenly get this urge to test her chemistry with mine.
I start over-looking flaws, seeing them as unique points of appeal. I find myself appreciating features on her face that I didn’t notice earlier. I start becoming more flirtatious and bang before I know it, I’m slightly obsessed over her.
It’s not good but it’s also not terrible.
Because on a positive note, it shows that I’m not the unfeeling, logic machine that I aspire to be.
But on the other hand, generating this much infatuation for a lot female strangers takes a lot of energy out of me and it also creates a lot of internal conflict.
Provocatrix clouds my judgement and I have this constant back and forth about it all in my mind.
Worse, it makes my interaction with a person who is more or less just a friend, confusing and difficult for me.
It’s like trying to pump the brakes on a runaway car going at 300km/h.
In a lot of ways, provocatrix is easily the most powerful emotional response I experience.
Everything else for me is a lot easier to deal with. Grief, loss, pain, disappointment, regrets, happiness, laughter, melancholy … whatever it is, they are dealt with efficiently and swiftly.
I know that my own emotional intelligence when it comes to the matters of the heart from my own context and experience, is remarkably high. I process emotional excess and desires in speeds that sometimes shock myself.
Being this self-reflective, I think I’m much better at handling strong emotions than the average person.
But, provocatrix gets me flustered and confused every time. It’s like experiencing a heady adrenaline rush all over again. It scrambles my normal processes and makes my emotional reaction time slower.
I start to become uncharacteristically eager to chat, resort to important talismans and am more self-conscious about myself.
In other words, the shy teenager comes out of me.
It’s funny how certain elements of you will never be buried, despite your best efforts to move heaven and earth to do so.
In many ways, I’ll always be slightly awkward around women, no matter how much better I am nowadays.
It’s ingrained in me.
Even now, despite seeing the same girl for 6 years, I can still get a little twisted inside whenever I see her. I find it difficult to believe that I am dating her.
There is always that sense of gratitude that she sees something in me, that I don’t quite understand why. I’ve learned long ago to accept her love but never take it for granted. After all, there are better looking people out there and they might even be more interesting.
In a lot of ways, I consider myself a very complete person, except for the most important aspect: being worthy of another woman’s love.
I think that is why I suffer so badly from provocatrix.
I get infatuated with the idea of a woman, which is grown organically alongside with our conversations, our interactions and every single detail of our relationship.
The more we interact, the more the snowball grows, and I start to read too much into every single movement of that avalanche coming towards me.
This feminine storm of my own creation, will keep coming, until it sweeps me up, and I land on my feet in the eye of the storm.
It’s only then, my brain synapses will kick in, logic will triumph and it will shut down this emotional storm in a blink of an eye. Sometimes this might come out in the form of a confession (rare cases) or in most instances, I’ll just metaphorically cut the strings that have wrapped themselves around my heart.
Once I am in the eye of the storm, I’m OK again. I’ve gotten over provocatrix and I can just remains friends with a girl, or literally just be myself around her, carefree and without any malice.
The most mature part of all of this, is that I never hold anything against her. I know that this is a mess of my own making and that she had nothing to do with it. It’s over-thinking in its most destructive form.
The worst part though is that I will occasionally feel some of that provocatrix tornado swirl in the form of an emotional dust cloud.
I will never really get over any woman I was once infatuated with. Once you find someone attractive, it’s hard to see them as unattractive.
But a dust cloud is a lot easier to ignore than the original tornado.
I mentioned this being a curse, because if I am honest, I’ve had provocatrix over so many of my female friends, that it was genuinely problematic.
However, writing this, coming up with my own unique term for the emotional storm inside of me, has helped immensely. I can understand the sensation better and tame it.
The biggest and probably most flattering upside to having provocatrix is that no matter how the girl sees herself, if she is friendly, warm and can laugh at my jokes, I will never consider her unattractive.
This feeling of provocatrix is only heightened if I find her particularly attractive and she shares some of the same passions I do. God forbid, if she is a bookworm or race cars …
Throughout the whole thing, I know that her physical features will grow on me, as will her small habits. I’ve forgotten how many provocatrixes I have gone through with co-workers, but they are numerous and even I’ll be the first to admit, some weren’t stunning women.
But the provocatrix happened and regardless of external beauty standards, I will always be fond of her and her unique features.
Perhaps that is why I have such strong relationships with my girlfriends.
I go through all the stages of love, before settling into being a friend and I’m comfortable there.
I don’t seek more, nor am I confused anymore.
I’m happy being the best friend I can be to these women.
The banter is no longer flirtatious, it’s just fun teasing.
Whenever I look at her now, I see someone pretty, intelligent, smart and funny, who deserves the best partner she can find.
And that partner isn’t me.
And that’s OK.
It’s why I have to careful about who I let into my life.
I just have this bad habit of falling for girls.
In other words …
Provocatrix synonym: I’m a lovesick dumbass that’ll fall for a smile and the promise of a kiss.
P.S. I chose that particular image of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley because that was the first ever lingerie ad I ever watched … and because she is wearing one of my favourite lingerie brands: Agent Provocateur, the name sake of this article.