Today is the 292nd anniversary of Giacomo Casanova’s birth. Although the legendary lover did all of his womanizing in the 18th century, many of the lessons in his multi-volume autobiography are still useful for men and women alike in the age of Tinder.
1. ABOVE ALL ELSE, BE DARING.
“It is only necessary to have courage, for strength without self-confidence is useless.”
2. BE MYSTERIOUS.
“The woman who showing little succeeds in making a man want to see more, has accomplished three-fourths of the task of making him fall in love with her; for is love anything else than a kind of curiosity?”
3. THERE'S MORE TO LIFE THAN PHYSICAL ATTRACTION.
“Beauty without wit offers nothing but the enjoyment of its material charms, whilst witty ugliness captivates by the charms of the mind, and at last fulfils all the desires of the man it has captivated.”
4. DON'T KID YOURSELF—YOU PROBABLY CAN'T CONTROL YOUR PHYSICAL DESIRES.
“The man who has sufficient power over himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.”
5. BE FREE.
“I will begin with this confession: whatever I have done in the course of my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free agent.”
6. BUT REMEMBER YOU'RE NEVER TOTALLY FREE.
“Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his actions to be ruled by passion.”
7. TRUST NO ONE.
“As to the deceit perpetrated upon women, let it pass, for, when love is in the way, men and women as a general rule dupe each other.”
8. PLAY THE LONG GAME—IT'S WORTH IT.
“The sweetest pleasures are those which are hardest to be won.”
9. IT'S OK TO DWELL ON PAST LOVERS.
“By recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now past, and which I no longer feel.”
10. CHEATING IS NOT COOL, BUT ...
“Cheating is a sin, but honest cunning is simply prudence. It is a virtue. To be sure, it has a likeness to roguery, but that cannot be helped. He who has not learned to practice it is a fool.”
11. DON'T GET TIED DOWN.
“I have loved women even to madness, but I have always loved liberty better.”
12. ENJOY THE RIDE, NOT THE GOAL.
“The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim before my eyes, and that my system, if it can be called a system, has been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the wind wherever it led. How many changes arise from such an independent mode of life!”
13. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T GET MARRIED.
“[Marriage] is the grave of love.”
This article originally appeared in 2015.