“Volatile. Severe. Dangerous. Fiery. Primal.”
People, I’m a Scorpio, not a volcano. I’m here to have a fun date, not explain to you why I took down Pompeii. Can we chill on the Freudian psychosexual breakdown of my entire personality until at least date four?
I don’t know who Big Astrology paid off to get horoscopes to go from something millenials and Gen Z scoffed at to something we check religiously. I do know that I don’t like it. It feels like “hey girl, what’s your sign?” went overnight from a perfectly terrible joke pickup line to a genuine question. Conversely, “What’s your birthday?” transformed from a genuine question into a full-blown personality test.
Astrology is the belief that celestial bodies, like the sun, moon, and stars, influence us here on earth. Less in a “the moon’s gravity causes ocean waves” way, but more like, “Yikes, what’s eating Janice?” “Oh, Mercury retrograde just started.” In 2012, 40% of Americans and 58% of those 18 to 24 reported believing astrology is at least “sort of scientific.” Astrology’s popularity has only grown since then. In 2018, The Atlantic reported massive year-over-year traffic increases on horoscopes at sites like Broadly and The Cut.
I’m not here to tell you that astrology isn’t a real science (it isn’t) or even that Mercury retrograde is baseless fiction (it is). I’m here to tell you that reducing my entire identity down to the generic characteristics of an astrological sign is a surefire turnoff.
Don’t get me wrong: I am absolutely down to spend an entire date quizzing ourselves into Hogwarts and Westeros houses. You want to make a first-date pact to get tattoos of the respective “Friends” characters we identify with? Sure, I could use some more Chandler Bing ink. Let’s Buzzfeed and chill, baby.
We all know those quizzes are silly, and that’s exactly what makes them fun. They’re a cute way to get to know each other — and ourselves. Dissecting the differences between our self-perception and how we imagine others perceive us is an important exercise. If we can find out whether we’re really a Carrie or a Miranda along the way, well, two birds, one stone. (Listen, everyone wants to be a Samantha, but let’s be honest, only Samantha is truly a Samantha.)
By comparison, astrology is fatalistic. It’s a bad date that doesn’t ask any questions about you; it just blathers on about itself. Rather than ask whether your ideal Saturday night involves clubs or cocoa, or if you’d rather fly or be invisible, astrology takes one meaningless fact and twists everything else around it. It can hurt our ability to connect with each other.
If you’re thinking, “This is all exactly what a Scorpio would say,” that’s the point. I gave you one fact about myself, and your brain started mapping my every word around it. That’s called confirmation bias: You let a conclusion lead you to the evidence instead of letting the evidence lead you to a conclusion. Does that sound like being a good listener? Is that sexy? To me, that sounds like someone who’s not getting a second date.
The real kicker here is that I’m not even a Scorpio. I’m a Gemini. Whoops.
Besides, meeting someone new can be a fantastic way to redefine yourself. If you’re a Pisces, for example, you’ve probably been told you’re naive and sheepish by nature, preferring solitude to going out. After a while, you might even start to see yourself that way. But your date has no frame of reference. They have no idea that you spent the last three days pounding Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby and marathoning “Bob’s Burgers” for the fourth time. You can show up as confident and social as you’ve always aspired to be; in their eyes, that’s who you are and who you’ve always been.
So please, stop making real judgments about me by my astrological sign so we can actually get to know each other.
Oh, and for the record, I really am a Scorpio. (Or am I?)