Portrait of Giacomo Casanova by Anton Raphael Mengs.
Portrait of Giacomo Casanova by Anton Raphael Mengs (1768).

‘Giacomo Casanova had the long ring finger!’

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?”
“I don’t know, but you are certainly not of the same species as myself.”
“You mean you are not of my species; all well-made hands of men, and women too, are like mine and not like yours.”
“I’ll wager a hundred doubloons that you are in the wrong.”

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:
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What they say about men with long ring fingers!

Giacomo Casanova's 'History of My Life' - part 1 to 12.

Gay men and lesbians tend to have 'reversed' ratios.

Index fingers of most straight men are shorter than the ring fingers; most straight women have the same length or index longer. Gay men and lesbians tend to have reversed ratios.

We all know that the body length of males is usually longer than the body length of females. Scientists call this difference between the sexes: a ‘sexually dismorphic trait’.

 The picture below describes some details of this male-female dimorphic trait: about 75% of men are longer than about 75% of females.

About 75% of males are longer than 75% of females.
John Manning reported in his first book, titled: Digit Ratio that a likewise ‘sexually dimporphic trait’ is noticed in the hands. In the hands of men, the index finger tends to be shorter than the ring finger. And in the hands of women the index finger tends to be the same size (or slightly longer) than the ring finger.

The picture below describes some details of this ‘sexually dimorphic trait’ in the hand: in about 75% of men the ring finger is longer than the index finger; however in females the percentage is about 50%.

About 75% of males have a digit ratio lower than '1.00'; in females this percentage is about 50%.
Interestingly, John Manning also has pointed out that various studies have indicated that the relative lengths of our fingers offer a hint related to the sexual preference of a person!

For, as expected the index fingers of most straight men appear to be shorter than their ring fingers, while for most straight women the length of both fingers is closer to equal, or even reversed in ratio. But some researchers have noted that gay men are likely to have finger-length ratios more in line with those of straight women, and a study of self-described “butch” lesbians showed significantly masculinized ratios. An overview of these results is presented in the picture below:

Researchers have found a link between index and ring finger lengths and homosexuality.

An overview of the scientific sources which have found a link between finger length and sexual preference:

* Hand asymmetry in heterosexual and homosexual men and women: relationship to 2D:4D digit ratios and other sexually dimorphic anatomical traits. – 2008

* The effects of sex, ethnicity, and sexual orientation on self-measured digit ratio (2D:4D). – 2007

* Digit ratio (2D:4D) in homosexual and heterosexual men from Austria. – 2005

* 2nd to 4th digit ratio and a universal mean for prenatal testosterone in homosexual men. – 2003

* The ratio of 2nd to 4th digit length and male homosexuality. – 2000

* Finger length ratios and sexual orientation – 2000

 

Illustration from the last study (Williams, 2000):