Astrology Is Fake, But Leos Are Famous

Image: Mike Holford via Unsplash

Leos are famous. I don’t mean that Leos are disproportionately represented in the entertainment industry, although they are. I mean that they are famous as a concept. If you went up to someone who didn’t care or know anything about astrology and said, “Tell me a star sign immediately,” they would say Leo. I am quite sure of this. Leos are emblematic. They are the example you would use if you were explaining star signs to a child, in the same way that you would use a lion to explain what a wild animal was. You stand up in front of a child with some flash cards that say “PROUD,” “LOVES ATTENTION,” “LOYAL,” “ADORES COMPLIMENTS,” “KING OF THE JUNGLE,” “OBSESSED WITH OWN HAIR AND WITH GOOD REASON” and at the end the child understands what Leos are and perhaps how to identify one.

It’s true that they can be easy to spot, and that their self-presentation is often touchingly on-brand. The person going absolutely off in a group chat, day and night, is probably a Leo. The person angling their head winningly towards you so that you can notice and admire their new hairstyle is a Leo. Right now, a Leo is huffily getting up from the dinner table and doing that kind of walking which is called “flouncing off” because their anecdote did not get the credit it deserved. A tiny Leo is straightening her posture in order to look her best for her kindergarten class photo. Leos tend to announce themselves, and that’s good. You know where you are with one.

The thing though about icons is the temptation to paint in broad strokes. To rely too heavily on the flash cards that say “LOVES TO HANG ON TO THE MICROPHONE” and “A BIT BOSSY AT TIMES.” To point to some extra-famous Leos such as Madonna and Jennifer Lopez with a sort of Need I Say More look on your face, and make wild claims about a Leo’s devouring hunger for the spotlight. Maybe pull out a flash card that says “FAME HUNGRY. ”“ATTENTION-SEEKING.”

The temptation to stereotype is there. But we are grown-up people, and life is complicated. Not all Leos are Madonna. Some Leos are my dad, and my friend Ben, and I am confident that neither of them has ever once lain awake at night staring at the ceiling and thinking Shit shit shit I wish I was famous I cannot endure this life without the wind of celebrity at my back. And yet both of them are Leos to their core. How to explain this? How to reconcile the myth with the reality?

I will tell you. The real way to identify a Leo on sight is by the way they handle attention, not by the way they court it. A Sagittarius, for instance, does not really know what to do with attention. We think we want it, we take steps to procure it, and then we get it and we feel sick and worried and we fuck the whole thing up straight away just to get it over with. Many signs experience similar difficulties. A Leo, on the other hand, comes to attention as to the manor born. See: Obama. See: Roger Federer.

It’s not that they are attention-seekers, it’s that they are attention-wranglers. Attention-whisperers. Attention is the wild and unpredictable stallion who has thrown off and then trampled many inexperienced riders, and a Leo is the man in the cowboy hat standing in the middle of the ring, imperceptibly twitching the whip at his side, using his powerful vibrations to compel the stallion to come meekly to him. He is standing there in his tall fine Stetson understanding exactly what he needs to do to make Attention his devoted servant. He gets on the stallion and canters off into the middle distance and everyone else is looking on in awe. That stallion once killed a man with his teeth. Ripped his jugular clean out. But the Leo in the cowboy hat knows how to manage it. He can handle attention with no trouble at all, and it has been that way since he was a young boy adjusting his t-shirt to look cooler in his Grade 1 class photo. This is true of every Leo who has ever been born.

More proof? Okay. When faced with the spotlight, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the only member of the Trump circle who doesn’t twitch and flicker and allow her human make-up to come sliding right off, revealing the reptilian scales beneath. She is also the only Leo in their number. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t come home at night and immediately place her false human teeth on the table by the door so that her insect mouthparts are released for the evening. It is merely to point out that she is the only one who doesn’t do it in full view of the media. She doesn’t do an incredible job of seeming normal, but she does not immediately go to pieces either, and I submit that the main reason for this is that she is a Leo, and the spotlight as such is something that she can manage. She also has the least strange hair.