The most pleasant and alluring curve on a woman is the smile
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The most pleasant and alluring curve on a woman is the smile

-Treasure Stitches

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Just being nice is not a winning strategy. Nice sends a message that the woman is willing to sacrifice pay to be liked by others. This is why a woman needs to combine niceness with insistence, a style that Mary sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, calls "relentlessly pleasant." This method requires smiling frequently, expressing appreciation and concern, invoking common interests, emphasizing larger goals, and approaching the negotiation as solving a problem as opposed to taking a critical stance. Most negotiations involve drawn-out, successive moves, so women need to stay focused... and smile.No wonder women don't negotiate as much as men. It's like trying to cross a minefield backward in high heels. So what should we do? Should we play by the rules that others created? Should we figure out a way to put on a friendly expression while not being too nice, displaying the right levels of loyalty and using "we" language? I understand the paradox of advising women to change the world by adhering to biased rules and expectations. I know it is not a perfect answer but a means to a desirable end. It is also true, as any good negotiator knows, that having a better understanding of the other side leads to a superior outcome. So at the very least, women can enter these negotiations with the knowledge that showing concern for the common good, even as they negotiate for themselves, will strengthen their position.

-Sheryl Sandberg

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What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists.What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard?There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet.For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical.Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.

-Théophile Gautier

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The Knowing Afterwards, when we have slept, paradise- comaed and woken, we lie a long time looking at each other.I do not know what he sees, but I see eyes of surpassing tenderness and calm, a calm like the dignity of matter. I love the open ocean blue-grey-green of his iris, I love the curve of it against the white, that curve the sight of what has caused me to come, when he’s quite still, deep inside me. I have never seen a curve like that, except the earth from outer space. I don’t know where he got his kindness without self-regard, almost without self, and yet he chose one woman, instead of the others.By knowing him, I get to know the purity of the animal which mates for life. Sometimes he is slightly smiling, but mostly he just gazes at me gazing, his entire face lit. I love to see it change if I cry–there is no worry, no pity, no graver radiance. If we are on our backs, side by side, with our faces turned fully to face each other, I can hear a tear from my lower eye hit the sheet, as if it is an early day on earth, and then the upper eye’s tears braid and sluice down through the lower eyebrow like the invention of farmimg, irrigation, a non-nomadic people.I am so lucky that I can know him. This is the only way to know him. I am the only one who knows him.When I wake again, he is still looking at me, as if he is eternal. For an hour we wake and doze, and slowly I know that though we are sated, though we are hardly touching, this is the coming the other coming brought us to the edge of–we are entering, deeper and deeper, gaze by gaze, this place beyond the other places, beyond the body itself, we are making love.

-Sharon Olds

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