Random Quote

One who is truly romantic never loses it later.

— Karmayogi

Literature (General)

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Feminine allurement and flirtatiousness

This quotation from The Virtues of Harmony, an early essay by Sri Aurobindo, describes woman’s capacity to allure, tease and tempt man romantically. Does this capacity arise from cruelty or from a desire to make herself more attractive and to give her lover greater satisfaction? What does it tell us about the true nature of romantic attraction?

“Have you never learned by experience or otherwise how a girl will torment her favoured lover by a delicate and impalpable evasion of his desires and will not give him even the loan of a kiss without wooing, but must be infinitely entreated and stretch him on the rack of a half-serious refusal and torture him with the pangs of hope just as a cat will torture a mouse, yet all the while means to give him everything he asks for and would indeed be more bitterly disappointed than he, if any accident precluded her from making him happy? … And this trait in women we impute to feminine insincerity and to maiden coyness and to everything but the real motive, and that is the primitive and eternal passion of cruelty appearing in the coarse fibre of man as crude and inartistic barbarity, but in the sweet and delicate soul of woman as a refined and beautiful playfulness and the inseparable correlative of a gentle and suave disposition. … will she not harmonize the phases other dalliance, and hesitate on the brink of yielding just at the proper pitch of his despair, and elude his kiss just at the proper pitch of his expectancy, and fan his longing when it sinks, and check it when it rises, and surrender herself when he is smouldering with hopeless passion? … But she will not do this grossly and palpably, but will lead up to everything by looks and tones and gestures so as to glide from one to the other without his perceiving and will sweeten the hard and obvious form by the flavour of the simple and natural, yet will be all the while the veriest coquette and artist in flirtation. …But if she is perfect in the art, will she not, even when repulsing him most cruelly, allow a secret tenderness to run through her words and manner, and when she is most tenderly yielding, will she not show the sharp edge of asperity through the flowers, and in a word allow the blended cruelty and sweetness of her soul to be just palpable to his perceptive senses?”

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