If you follow me on twitter you may have been aware today that, as I was sitting in the Tobacco Factory, drinking coffee, blogging and watching the world go by, a young lady came in with her friends and sat down next to me. Nothing remarkable about that. She was attractive and vivacious and smiled at me a couple of times.
Except that she was the second only woman ever to turn me into a catatonic hopeless mess.
In one of my previous jobs there worked a lady of a similar age to me called Yasmeen (she was a consultant with the company's IT partner). Yasmeen was the first woman to ever turn me into a catatonic hopeless mess. By her sheer presence alone. She wasn't remarkably beautiful, although she was exotic and pretty. She was confident, but not charismatically so. She dressed very well and had amazing long black hair.
The thing was, she would walk into the room or the office and every single higher brain function that I possessed would slow and turn themselves off with audible clicks. I know this because everyone in my office would turn to me and watch it happen. With a smile on their collective faces.
If I was in the kitchen making tea and she came in and spoke to me, which she often did, I would lose all coherency, all eloquence and the complexity of my thoughts would head for the pub at full gallop, leaving me with a desperately diminished sense of self-esteem. It became known as the Yasmeen Effect and my colleagues and friends would rejoice in it fully.
There was something about the way she carried herself, the way she moved and spoke and smiled. There was an undefinable quality that she possessed that would reach into my mind and turn everything off. Every single time, without fail. If she walked in to this room now I would be struck in the same way, without a shadow of a doubt.
Today, unexpectedly, and from out of the blue, the Yasmeen Effect struck me once again. And despite my tongue-tied haplessness, there was a small amount of pleasure in the experience, knowing that I could be so inexplicably affected by the simple presence of another person.