Air-Sign Circulation


People come in all kinds, don't they? Some are to our tastes… and some, not so much.

Trial and error is the only reliable method for deciding who belongs to which category. Unless, of course, you're one of those shallower types… quite content to judge books by their covers (though everyone knows the author never designs the cover art).

I'm certainly guilty of being one from time to time, assessing aging gentlemen on how ungracefully they comb their remnants of hair over the ever-expanding bald spot (just shave it off already!) or celebrity women for what they wear on Oscar night. Are my snap judgments a sign of shrewd instinct, or a missed chance to meet somebody different?

We can't legitimately determine if we like someone, until we give ourselves the time to get to know them. Right? Glossy photos and glances across crowded rooms don't cut it.

But pressured as we are to win the race to Spouse-House-Job-Kids-Dog (and then to wonder what happens once we cross the finish line), we often can't find that kind of time. We pencil in a meet-and-greet from 6 to 6:15. We attend art classes we secretly hate, in hopes of connecting with those artsy types we secretly love. We hire expensive matchmaking services and fill out their 110-question questionnaires. And we test out their responses within the first half-hour of the date: 'Where do you see yourself in ten years? Does insanity run in your family? Do you snore?'

And if we decide we do like 'em, then perhaps we clutch 'em tightly to us and refuse to let go… as if we require such clingy attachment in order to feel whole in ourselves… as we define ourselves only in relation to who we're with. And my, what an urgent burden we've created to 'get it right'—all our needs for love and practical support and entertainment and intellectual stimulation and companionship magically fulfilled. Or not.

Forget the burden. Other people are fun. Each new one who enters our zone is a wild card. Will she be a kooky ally for late-night partying or a trusted confidante? Is he really as smart and psychic as he says, or will he prove so aggressive and mean-spirited that I must cut our exchange short? Do we share mutual friends? A similar interest in knitting or lit theory? The same local laundromat?

We all need other people… or at least the luckiest among us do, as Barbra Streisand so melodically pointed out. And yes, we need them to help us define ourselves—not by our attachments to what they'll provide us, though, but by what we recognize in them as 'alike' or 'different' to us.

We see ourselves, both the things we like and don't like in us, through the mirror of others' behaviors. We're drawn to or repulsed by them accordingly. We develop affinities and affiliations, preferences and prohibitions along the way. But it's never a drag on our individual energies. We keep it moving.

And that's why there's absolutely nothing wrong with the penciled-in windows of limited time, the five-minute dating circles and its battery of qualifying conversation topics. As long as the pressure's off and the fun is appreciated.

People are odd little buggers, with peculiar obsessions and awkward expressions and cute birthmarks on their noses. We're all weird in our special ways. Even those we quickly come to detest have something to offer us, in that brief moment of discovering how strongly they don't appeal to us. No damage done. Nothing lost. No need to stay stuck in the unpleasantness… when another person's around the bend, awaiting our encounter.

Venus moved into Aquarius this past Sunday (Mar 5), to join Mars in Gemini in an air-sign alliance to battle social apathy. (Venus briefly visited Aquarius for a two-week preview back in December.) The invitation? To bounce around the diversity of human existence, into connections with folks outside our usual zone of relating… if only for a couple minutes.

Air signs reign over the fine art of circulation—free unfettered movement through different attitudes and activities, across the crowded room, into and out of lively conversations and coquettish come-ons, without the push to put fully out. Pure socializing, for its own sake. Nothing to grab hold of and insist on keeping. No one to tie down or saddle with expectation. No deeper feelings to cater to. Don't like what he triggered in you? Keep moving.

Okay, yes, this last bit I wrote sounds a little… cold, doesn't it? 'No deeper feelings to cater to.' Well, the truth is, air signs have a reputation for exuding emotional chilliness—which, to hear them tell it, they more than make up for with enticing ideas and titillating charm. With air signs dominant, part of the self is held back to ensure the ability to connect with a wider segment of the populace… and to give 'em an out from any single uncomfortable bond.

Venus in Aquarius asks, 'Why bother with convention?' It beckons us to relish in the avant-garde and the unusual, no matter what the neighbors might think. It stirs the desire for alternative explanations, brainy world visions, and a power-to-the-people outlook. All the while, Mars in Gemini can't help but split our attentions in multiple directions… and nothing's wrong with that. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

In this astro-environment, then, it's far better to enjoy your interactions as they're happening… rather than projecting into the future and yearning for the happily-ever-after, or holding the past against 'em when it's clear they've moved on. A platonic friendship, a dinner buddy, a cordial business contact for later use, a quick fuck—any of these, and an infinite variety more, are wholly valid and meaningful avenues of connection.

One small caveat: Venus in Aquarius, especially in communion with Mars in Gemini, has a strange knack for showing people what they want to see in you… and not necessarily who you really are. Chalk it up to your gift of good gab, and someone else's wishful thinking. For those who can't get into the air-sign groove of fond un-attachment, the threat of projecting psychological qualities onto the blank screen of someone they barely know looms large. For you emotional types, the shock of another person's cordial chill can leave residual frostbite in its wake—and the chilly one puzzled by why you're so sensitive.

Venus stays in Aquarius through Apr 5. Mars remains in Gemini until Apr 13.