The woman's openly expressive face is somewhat atypical for Vermeer who tends to convey his sitters' hidden emotions through their discreet gestures and nature of their activity. One early Vermeer expert has suspected that her staring eyes and awkward smile was the result of overpainting. In any case, rather than exchanging glances with her suitor, Vermeer's girl turns towards the viewer, separating herself from him. Arthur Wheelock has pointed out that the woman's smiling is a knowing one, indicating not only that she is aware of the situation, but also that she is in control. Thus, it is he rather than she that is being seduced. This scenario, where the male fawns over a beautiful woman with ruby lips and ivory skin dressed in fine satins only to be betrayed or rejected, is one that was fashionable among 17th-century poets, who based their ideas of unrequited love on the sonnets of Petrarch.