A History of Japan. A geisha's appearance changes throughout her career, from the girlish, heavily made-up maiko, to the more somber appearance of an older established geisha. Archived from the original on 7 June From the beginning, geisha sometimes worked outside the licensed pleasure quarters. For example, a tiny hand gesture represents reading a love letter, holding the corner of a handkerchief in the mouth represents coquetry and the long sleeves of the elaborate kimono are often used to symbolize dabbing tears. Next the eyes and eyebrows are drawn in.