The Memories of Giacomo Casanova were published in 1831 and their immense popularity have elevated their author to the prototype of perfect seducer. Researchers who have gone through the 6.000 pages of Casanova's Memories have established that part of the text is fiction. Possibly, but in my view, that should not prevent us from enjoying his outstanding literary achievement.
Casanova's autobiographical writings are full of wisdom. Few novels or essays have ever been able to equal his vivid depiction of the best and worst in human nature. His portrayal of vanity and foolishness shows us how little the world has changed.
Does Casanova's advice on romance still apply in our age of on-line dating and instant messaging? Are there practical lessons that we can draw from his experience? Would Casanova have also proven a successful seducer in the era of mobile phones and blogs?
My answer might surprise you, but I am convinced that on-line dating would have not modified Casanova's results. His story would have been repeated, sequence by sequence, only faster. He would have become extremely successful in the short term, but eventually, as it did happen, he would have ended up in loneliness and financial ruin. Here is why:
- GREAT PHOTOGRAPH: Despite the fact that Casanova was not particularly handsome, we can be sure that he would have placed a fantastic photo on his internet dating profile. Through clever grooming, lighting, and composition, he would have managed to portray himself as irresistible. Most people who date on-line don't take the trouble to do that, for good reasons. They prefer to be themselves and look as they usually do, even if that costs them some popularity.
- CATCHY TEXT AIMED TO PLEASE: Casanova's text would have been well crafted, but he would have not mentioned any details about himself. Instead, he would have focused on what most potential lovers want to hear. His internet chatting would have consisted of nothing but wittiness and flattery. Empty words are as effective with the foolish today as they were 200 years ago.
- RELENTLESS LIES AND SHORT-TERM DRIVE: Casanova would have found contemporary romantic movies too slow. He was a manipulator bent on immediate action, endlessly assailing his preys with flowers and jewellery until the battle was won. He was as fast to charge as to retreat; for him, confidence was something to win and deplete. His effectiveness was measured in days, his purpose would not accept delays. In any age, few possess Casanova's callousness without regret.
Extreme short-term orientation deprives man of real affection and understanding. It starves the spirit and destroys the soul. Looking for a life's partner is an exercise in self-knowledge which needs just the time it takes. Remain true to your nature and learn from Casanova's mistakes.
[Image by Leo-setä under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]