February 8, 2010
Portrait of Giacomo Casanova by Anton Raphael Mengs (1768).
Numerous references to variations in finger length patterns are found in the history of literature. However, none of the revelations are more lively than the informative comment in the memoirs of Giacomo Casanova (Jacques Casanova de Seingalt, 1725-1798) – who has been described as ‘world’s greatest lover’. Casanova where he recounts a conversation with the painter Anton Raphael Mengas (Casanova, 1794).
Peters et al. (2002) reported that Casanova made 2 clear statements: first, that the ring finger is relatively longer than the index finger and, second, that this is the case for both men and women. What follows is a quote from the work of Casanova (The Memoirs of Casanova: Spanish Passions) about one of his conversations with the German neoclassic painter Anton Raphael Mengs.
QUOTE FROM CASANOVA (1794):
… Once I dared to tell him that he had made a mistake in the hand of one of his figures, as the ring finger was shorter than the index. He replied sharply that it was quite right, and shewed me his hand by way of proof. I laughed, and shewed him my hand in return, saying that I was certain that my hand was made like that of all the descendants of Adam.
“Then whom do you think that I am descended from?”
He got up, threw down brushes and palette, and rang up his servants, sayin,-
“We shall see which is right.”
The servant came, and on examination he found that I was right. For once in his life, he laughed and passed it off as a joke, saying-
“I am delighted that I can boast of being unique in one particular, at all events.”
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
October 5, 2008
Anthropologist Helen Fisher explains what online dating sites can learn from the biology of love and what the length of your ring finger says about your sex life.
|Last year you may have seen ads for Chemistry.com, the ones about people who have been rejected by online matchmaking sites like eHarmony for being gay, depressed, or generally unmarriageable for murkier reasons. In one ad, a young man stares hopefully at heterosexual p o r n, only to conclude, “Nope, still gay.” At Chemistry, spokespeople like to crow, you can “come as you are” (as long as you come as someone who is over 18).
The company is an offshoot of Internet meet-market Match.com, which has been around since 1994. In 2004, Match approached anthropologist Helen Fisher about designing a site where, like at the successful but restricted eHarmony, members would not shop blindly for dates, but would be matched with each other based on personality profiles and compatibility.
Fisher, whose work on s e x, love and the brain had made her an authority on human mating, developed a theory that human beings fall into four categories – negotiators, directors, explorers and builders – and that your type helps determine who you fall for.
Passage in the interview:
RT: What is this thing about your fingers? It’s on the Chemistry questionnaire.
HF: It’s called ‘digit ratio’ (finger length ratio). In the womb – during pregnancy – the brain is washed over by estrogen and testosterone. If you have a lot more testosterone than estrogen in the womb, it is going to build a longer fourth finger than pointer finger. If you’ve got a lot more estrogen in the womb, the pointer finger will be longer.
RT: What does it say about your personality?
HF: If you have more testosterone in the womb and you have a longer fourth finger, you’re more likely to have musical ability, mathematical abilities, to be an engineer or architect or good at computer programming. You tend to have poorer social skills but be direct, decisive, ambitious, competitive.