Does Sheldon have a deal? Has someone we know been secretly admiring him all along? Is there a reason why these two characters have it out for each other?
Disclaimer: we do not own the Big Bang Theory
The Attraction Abnormality
Sheldon Cooper matured emotionally much faster than most. When he was eleven, he moved from sitting in the front row of a fifth grade classroom in an overcrowded public school to being the child prodigy in college. Most of the time he was ignored, thought to be the child of a professor, but when he opened his mouth, people gaped at him, and then showered him with praises.
The college experience for Sheldon Cooper not only fed an already inflated-thanks-to-Meemaw ego, but it taught him to be a grown up. Away from his mother in a private dorm room, he learned to depend on himself, to wake up on time, eat three meals a day, shower, and get to bed on time. Though not even a teenager, he was doing what most college freshmen struggled to do.
One thing that would forever shape the future of Sheldon Cooper was that well before he hit puberty, he was suddenly surrounded by sexually-active teens and young adults. He saw and heard horrendous things (because he never did figure out the tie on the door thing until years and years later), witnessed pregnancy scares and ugly breakups, and in more than one case, he saw many bright young people fail their classes because of their sex drives and the countless parties that kept them up all night.
When he encountered these curious situations, he did as Sheldon Cooper did best, and asked for an explanation. His male classmates told him all he wanted to know—most of it sounded disgusting to the skinny child and he vowed he would never do any of it.
When he voiced these thoughts aloud, the young men he questioned only laughed and ensured him that, "yeah, little dude, you will." All this comment ever did was motivate young Sheldon to vow even harder that, "no, good sir, I shall not."
He won the Stevenson, and started graduate school. At this time in his life, Sheldon was becoming a man, but by then he knew exactly what to expect, and how to avoid it. Armed with knowledge ahead of time as he was, he was able to navigate the tumultuous emotional hell of puberty with a series of tricks and mind-over-matter exercises. His go-to method was to just pick up a textbook and study, write a paper, do some math.
This would be his method for the rest of his life, and it would work beautifully, with no kinks or incidents, for quiet a long time—but then she came along.
It had occurred to Sheldon early on that it was a pretty, clean, neat, smart woman that drove him to do more studying, as opposed to the symmetrical, low-body-fat babes that were often wearing ripped jeans or sporting sloppy hair-dos, who were drooled over by those around him.
Being loud and drunk, shrieking with laughter, talking about themselves and other people—Sheldon could hardly stand it. None of it interested him in the least. On the other hand, being civilized, preferring a book to drunkenly riding some random guy piggyback across the street, and talking not of people, but of world events, ideas and beliefs, now there was a girl worth his time.
He met several of those through grad school, but being just sixteen to their twenty-somethings, most of them ignored him—not that he cared. At sixteen, his awareness of sex was still too much of a rampant demon possessing him and so anything at all associated with it he ignored with tenacity.
Then he was twenty-one, had two doctorates, a job in Pasedena, and his sex drive under complete control. He found an apartment and settled into his life, found some friends who often pulled him out of his own mind and made him have fun. He liked them for this, but mostly he liked them for how they let him control everything.
Two things to note about Sheldon Cooper, he was most comfortable when he was being praised, and he was happiest when he was in control. His little social group gave him control and Meemaw still praised him as often as she called. So he was not unhappy.
And then she came along, the temptress.
First time he saw her, she was scribbling on a math problem in the cafeteria as she ate and she did not exactly strike him as his type. She had her dark curls in a bun held in place with a number two pencil, with several ringlets falling here and there—over all a very sloppy look. Moreover, she wore an overlarge hoodie and faded jeans. Regardless of her appearance, something about her struck him, and a moment of study found the answer.
It was the way she worked.
She was focused entirely on the math at hand. She did not divide her attention in any way—unless the way in which she absently scooped ramen noodles into her mouth could be counted, which Sheldon did not. Such basic functions could be carried out with very little brain power. He actually admired the way she took care of the necessities without pausing in the work; it showed dedication.
What was more, she did not seem to be struggling with the problem, in fact, she looked like she was having fun. Sheldon was never any good at reading expressions, and he did not know her at all, but he was sure that the way her face looked soft, yet focused, with the corners of her moth ever so slightly upward, meant joy.
He liked smart and joyfully dedicated, even if her style was a little too sloppy for his taste. She interested him. He made inquires, and in that way learned her name, her work in the experimental lab, and that she had a rather promiscuous reputation.
Promiscuity was immoral and impractical. It showed a lack of self-respect and self-control. There was something about having numerous sexual partners that seemed sloppy and unclean. It also made Jesus cry, but that was only something his mother would say.
He lost interest after that, but to his despair, he found he still noticed her more than he liked. He noticed it when she passed him by smelling refreshingly soap-like, or when she wore low cut shirts. (She had freckles across her across chest.) He once or twice overheard his colleagues talking about her in ways that led to her appearing in his dreams—her first strike; it had been years since anything of this nature had haunted him at night.
He noticed when she wore skirts, displaying unshaved legs—hippy, another strike against her. Or when she started shaving those legs—must be looking for a sexual partner. Interesting.
Leonard came home, announcing that he had kissed Leslie, but she hadn't been aroused by it. Sheldon felt a sudden sense of pleasure, recognized it for what it was, sliced it in half with a broadsword and shoved the resulting two pieces back into the dark corner where such thoughts belonged to be ignored.
Then she was naked in his apartment, resulting in a night of restless sleep on the couch.
Then she touched his board.
Either one of these things on its own was cause for a strike, but both in rapid succession as they were, well, that meant war.
And war it was.
She mocked him, belittled his research, called him dumbass, showed him no respect whatsoever.
He tried to strike back in kind, but comebacks had always been his weakness—something she used against him cruelly.
When it came to Leslie Winkle, he was inadequate.
When it came to Leslie Winkle, his faithful tricks to keep control sometimes failed him completely.
Because of her lack of praise for him, he was uncomfortable. Because she refused to let him have his way—such as not respecting the sign up sheets he made—he was not happy. And yet she continued to infiltrate his well-fortified defenses with Dove scents, freckles and smooth legs. It was maddening. He often lost focus, however briefly, on his work.
This happened only when she was around—he was very good at putting things that were out of sight out of mind—but if she was near, and her scent was invading him, he found it hard to avert his eyes, though he always did. He found it hard to tear his thoughts from her, but he always did.
Sheldon stubbornly refused to do the obvious—to ask her out, to do as nature intended and pursue his urges. Instead, he turned all of it into fuel for his vendetta. He made her his archenemy instead of his lover.
Leslie Winkle was a strong-willed and passionate woman. She never was one to put sex on a pedestal; it was a fundamental part of nature. Bodies needed release, sex was the way to do it. That being said, she still believed in love. She did not widely publicize it, but she was on the lookout for her ideal lover, had been since she was sixteen.
She learned early on to put up walls, made using random men as tools for stress release much easier. Feelings and emotions and all of that crap, she would save that for when she found someone worthy.
Leslie was physically attracted to kind eyes and strong hands. She liked him to be her height—in her short, short stature, she hated tall guys. She liked to be on his same eye level, not having to look up, crane her neck, go to her tip toes to kiss him. That somehow seemed like it was giving him the upper hand.
So he would have to be her height, and her intellectual equal as well. They could talk about things that mattered—not sports statistics or whatever else average Joes droned on about. She preferred him to be a pushover; she could wrap him around her pinky finger and be happy for the rest of her life. He also would have to be humble—one thing her pursuit of science taught her was how small and insignificant everyone was. She wanted someone who could kneel in awe before the wonders of the universe with her.
Her search for this man was always on the backburner, coming second to her career. She trusted that if it was meant to be it would happen on its own, and in the meantime, there was no reason why she shouldn't pass the time by having a little fun here and there with willing men.
Then Dr. Cooper entered her life.
She had known his name long before she met him. Being a child prodigy, and then a brilliant contributor to science, Dr. Sheldon Cooper's was a name well known in science circles. She first saw him without knowing that he belonged to the name, had thought he was strangely cute—though nothing about him fit her usual standards.
For one thing he was tall. For another thing, he very obviously wasn't a pushover. She had noticed right away that he was the alpha of his group. (She saw him walking with his three friends, and he clapped his hands and ordered two of them to stop squabbling, which they did.) She liked his eyes and hands. He interested her.
Learning that Cute, Tall, Alpha Male and the famous Dr. Sheldon Cooper were the same, well, that had made her day. She thought she might give a tall man the chance to wow her for once. She had approached him in the cafeteria, sat across from him, smiled at him. He had been eating Cheetos, meticulously wiping his orangey fingers on a napkin after every single finger full of Cheetos, instead of waiting until the cheese was severely caked onto his finger tips and then sucking it off like a regular person. All it took was a single inquiry into this for the attraction abnormality to die.
Because he somehow managed, in the course of his long-winded speech, to prove that he was arrogant, narcissistic, and neurotic.
A damn shame, but oh well.
He wasn't her type anyway…except it wasn't that easy to write off him off.
His papers were, for lack of a better word, exhilarating. The man had a very distinct voice, even in academic writing. Somehow his confidence bled into every single word, making them that much stronger. His ideas were always so well stated—he had a remarkable eloquence in the jargon of science. His hypothesizes were always so outside of the box, yet logically correct—the work of a truly fascinating mind.
His work aside, he was hardly pleasant to be around. He was condescending, and neurotic. He never touched anything unless he had to, never seemed to be relaxed, always tense. And he was always trying to control everything as easily as he controlled his friends.
It was maddening that half the world knuckled under all the time and just let him have his way. At first, Leslie ignored it, him, all of the irritating things about him, in an attempt to keep peace in the workplace. She did not make ripples if she could avoid it.
But then she tried to help him out, and instead of thanking her as a civilized person would do, he let his Crazy show.
A lesser person would have apologized for fixing his equation, would have, upon recognizing that he was flipping out over it, offered to make it up to him, would have fallen to praising his brilliance or something, because god forbid it if Dr. Cooper should pitch a fit over losing even an ounce of his control over every single thing.
Why did the world let him have his way so often? Brilliant or not, he was just a man; he shouldn't be above the rules.
And the rules were that arrogant control freaks had to be cut down to size.
She did this as often as she could.
He made himself an easy target, too easy on most days. She enjoyed pushing his buttons, watching him grow uncomfortable upon realizing that he no longer had control. Take that, Dr. Cooper, maybe it'll teach you a thing of two about humility.
It never did.
Perhaps the thing that irked Leslie the most was the way that his weak, often childishly-pathetic, comebacks struck her as endearing; the man had absolutely no aptitude for being cruel. There was something undeniably sweet about that. It brought one word to mind, innocent.
For a girl like Leslie Winkle, with a background like hers, innocent men were supposed to be a myth.
Yet most of her comebacks oftentimes went right over his head and every single one of his insults failed miserably at striking the proper chord of malice. He was simultaneously a tall child with twitching innocence and stubbornly set jaw and a good-hearted man with strong forearms and amazingly-blue-in-florescent-lighting eyes. It was annoying, to say the least.
Somehow—and it was completely bewildering to Leslie—the East Texas blowhole always drew her eye in the crowds at staff parties, conventions, and award ceremonies. It was those stupid plaid suits. What a Willy Wonka Dork.
He was always unwittingly embarrassing himself like that. Yet his self-confidence never once took a blow for it. Leslie could not decide if it was because of his general cluelessness about anything unrelated to science, or because he was just naturally so sure of himself. Either way she had to chalk one up for his confidence, give credit where credit was due—like in his work.
Having two in his favor, however, was not enough to forgive him the rest of his faults. He was still crazy, controlling, condescending, and arrogant.
And though Sheldon made it clear that he believed in science, his Bible Belt upbringing often made itself known, not in his country drawl that cropped up when he was shrilly arguing his points, but in his slightly sexist views, and his narrow-mindedness.
He once actually looked her in the eyes and told her she should abandon work in Physics—a male dominate field—for laundry and childbearing. (When she thought of this she often got so angry about it that she wanted to break something. How dare he? Leslie was never more of a feminist than when she thought about this.)
He called Loop Quantum Gravity balderdash, clung to String Theory instead, in exactly the same way religious fanatics clung to their hopelessly flawed religious texts and refused to accept other ways. He could say he did not worship the same God as his mother, but the way Leslie saw it, one narrow-minded view was no different from another.
Despite all of these faults, she still enjoyed playing paintball with him— he was a very strong leader to the squad. She liked the way he sometimes got really into it and played as if to the death. She liked the way he expected everyone to maintain the implied rules of engagement, and to play honorably.
Despite the fact that he was so neurotic that he brought his own fork to the cafeteria, that he ate the same food over and over and over, that he held life-long grudges over someone touching his things, she still noticed cords flexing in his forearms as he carried a stack of heavy books passed her in the hall.
It drove her crazy when she found herself comparing her dates to him. Why was she doing that? He was not at all the kind of man she always envisioned she would marry. He was not a pushover by any means. (He was an alpha male, for goodness sake, and that was what bothered her the most.)
True, he was smart—but he was smarter than her, which was irritating.
True, he had kind eyes and strong hands, but he was too tall.
He was confident and innocent—Wait, what? Had Sheldon actually managed to add two new things to her list? That pissed her off.
Why was he always on her thoughts? He lacked a major desired characteristic! He was not humble. Sheldon Cooper would never kneel in awe before the wonders of the universe. If anything he would look them in the eye and declare that he would learn their secrets. He would never admit that he was insignificant. He believed he could master the universe with sheer determination alone.
But a part of her, the part of her that once eagerly read everything with Dr. Cooper's name on it and daydreamed about what it would be like to meet him—back then she thought he would be short and bespectacled, shy and probably a loner—that part of her sometimes wondered if he wasn't such a lost cause after all.
These thoughts came in moments when he let his innocence show, or when he displayed his role of alpha among his group, or every single time he did not apologized for just being himself.
In these moments of weakness, she found herself thinking: Maybe, just maybe, she could teach him a little humility.
Leslie was constantly reminding him of his shortcomings because she liked to believe that a little humility could do wonders on someone like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, might turn him into the kind of man that she would stop calling dumbass and start calling hers.
Time would tell if her efforts would be for not.
Until then, he was a dumbass who wasn't allowed to control the world no matter how good he would be at it.