La constanza? Tiranna del core,
Detestiamo qual morbo crudele.
Sol chi vuole si serbe fedele;
Non v'è amor se non v'è libertà.
Giovanni must be owned the greatest cad ever portrayed on stage, but never has the rake's romantic changeability been expressed better or more succinctly than by Verdi's Duke of Mantua. With this fact in mind, every woman who considers getting involved with one of our ilk should first seriously examine her own mettle. If she be weak, without either the stoicism of Marie-Thérèse or the levity of a Tallulah Bankhead, the affair will inexorably lead to her utter ruination. Of course, by ruination, I do not refer to the loss of what is commonly called her "virtue" or "chastity"; as we have already stated, chastity is nothing more than a contrivance of patriarchy, a shibboleth of prudes. Rather, what will be laid to waste is her entire emotional fabric. Long after the rake has turned his attentions to some other charming thing, the jilted woman will remain, sobbing into her handkerchief, unable to decide whether she wants to gather her beloved back into her arms or to cast him headlong into a shallow grave. This dipole of love and hate will consume her mentally and physically, and eventually she will die because of it (see above picture).
I myself have been the root of several such tragedies, and it is a terrible thing to see. Of course, as I see it, the solution is not to change my behavior--for such a thing is impossible, as we have said elsewhere. Instead, a little bit of informed consent will have to suffice. Thus, over the next five days or so (assuming we don't go on an unexpected bender) I will give to you, ladies, a beginner's primer on How To Spot A Rake. The first lesson will follow later today, with one lesson posted each day after. Learn them well, so that the next time you are sizing up a potential lover, you will be know whether he is a true rake or a harmless impostor. That way, you will be at least somewhat prepared to enter upon the adventure, and I will be freed of any ethical liability!
*NB: We lay out these principles at considerable personal and professional risk to ourselves. If anyone in the raking community found out that we were publishing trade secrets in this manner, we would certainly be fined at least ten cases of gin, and might even lose our membership in the Guild altogether. Consider, then, our courage in this manner as evidence of our devotion to and affection for all of you.