Inexplicable Attraction To Strangers

The old coup de foudre. Had it myself, and it lasted 50 years.
I've been idling and reading old submissions i have made on the Guardian forums - back in the day when most Guardian articles actually had a comments field underneath. They're as rare as hens' teeth now.

I found this, from 2012. And it sort of neatly reverses the proposition of this thread... this is a case of seeming repulsion to a stranger. In this case, of me. I find it baffling even today:

A strange event from my life. Could anyone elaborate, as occasionally I think about this and wonder. This is from a discussion on an opinion column by the Guardian/Observer's resident "Glenda Slagg", Barbara Ellen.


A couple of autumns ago, I commuted into Manchester on a very early morning bus. (well, 7:00 is early enough for me, thanks).As this bus was of the one every twenty minutes sort, it followed on that people got into routines and you recognised much the same people travelling every day. It took a route up past the main hospitals, university, poly, the BBC (well, the old BBC) and terminated by the town hall, so just about everyone aboard might have been going to an office-based job. (Students? At seven ay-em?)

When i got on, there was only one vacant seat on the bus - people being prone to habit, I realised the "regulars" chose their preferred seats and tried to get them every day. So I gratefully fell into the vacant seat, intending to veg out till I got off at the town hall for work. After a minute or two, I realised the woman sitting immediately in front of me had got very uncomfortable: she stood up, gathered her bag and coat, glanced around to make sure there wasn't a spare seat downstairs, then abruptly got up and went upstairs. I shrugged this off: sometimes people do change seats. It wasn't necessarily me.

The next morning - people being creatures of habit - the only vacant seat was again behind the same woman. I sat down there - well, it was the only vacant seat. The same thing happened. she got up, gathered her things, and went upstairs. I started worrying and went down the inventory. I didn't smoke at the time. I clean my teeth. Every item of clothing I was wearing was fresh. My shoes were clean and not pongy - new on that morning after time to "rest" since previous use. . My coat was clean. Was there anytihng smelly in my bag, like a long-dead lunch-pack? What was on today's lunch? Anything offensive in the lunchbox? No, I make sure that's clean and I was carrying cheddar, not StAgur. Had I met the lady before and given offence in any other situation? No, she was a tiotal stranger.

The next morning I was as utterly clean - squeaking clean - as I could make myself. I'd even asked Herself to be candid - if she was sitting in front of me on the bus, was there anything offensive about me?
not more than normal, she said, at least nothing that would make me switch decks to get away from you.


Again- only one vacant seat. Again the woman in front swept her things up and went upstairs. I was beginning to pass from concern to a sort of "fuck you, what is YOUR problem?" by then, as you do. (No doubt that's proof of my evil male intractability to Barbara Ellen). But in truth I was feeling part concerned and definitively embarrassed - were other people watching this woman pointedly moving away from me in the morning? And what was it making me look in their eyes? The absolute truth is i had no more or no less attraction to her than to any other fellow passenger, and by the time that bus got to my stop there was only one free seat, immediately behind her. And all I wanted to do was zombie out in the 35 minutes or so that it took the bus to get to Albert Square - the most beautiful woman in the world could have got on and i would not have given a damn.

And I could not have tapped her on the shoulder and said "excuse vme, can we talk about this?" as this really would have marked me down as a predatory molester.

So what the hell do you do?

I have to add that after Day Five, she gave up and went straight upstairs. (Good luck , as one morning a bloke got on who was one nasally obvious step ahead of tramp-hood. I had a vision of his sitting nearby to her...)

This mystifies me still. It also irritates that I might, inadvertantly, have given somebody else cause for concern, although God knows how - I certainly seemed to count as sad and sick and offensive and all the stuff in Babs' lexicon, to this woman, and this part worries and part irritates me. Any ideas?
Probably has nothing whatever to do with you, you just remind this woman of someone she knows, and doesn't like.
Or someone who may have abused her.
I have had an immediate revulsion to people. I always think it's irrational, but I suspect that the person reminds me, possibly subliminally, of someone who has harmed me in the past. One of my customers had a partner who physically made my flesh creep, but no idea why, and if he had come onto a bus I was sitting on and sat behind me, I would have moved.

Don't forget that women often have a history of sexual or physical abuse, and therefore it doesn't take much to 'ping' us into not liking someone or something, and it could have been that this woman had once been attacked on a bus by a man sitting behind her, whom the questioner (uncertain if it was @AgProv or not) may have reminded her.
Same here, coming from an unhappy home as a child, I stay completely away from anyone I sense has a cruel streak.
I can't bear cruel people, I feel they have mental issues and refuse to deal with them.