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Litscope: Scorpio & ‘Savage Love from A to Z’

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Now that fall has finally set in, it’s time to get serious about 2022 aspirations, early holiday shopping, or if none of those grab you, perhaps just plain ol’ stocking up on some food items to avoid the supply chain crunch. This month’s astrology has some fairly tense configurations ending in the full moon eclipse in Taurus (aka the stubborn bull) on November 19. Themes may include changes in how we view our own self-worth or our relationship to money. Always remember that eclipses are here to shake you up, and while they may not be comfortable, sometimes you need a little jolt to set things straight. 

Late October to late November ushers in Scorpio season. This water sign is one of the most gossiped-about sign because of something I’ll return to in a bit. However, this Pluto-ruled sign is more than what meets the eye. Scorpios are masters at research—perhaps also known as light internet stalking—because they are apt to find a target and know just how to hit it (no pun intended). These passionate water signs might overwhelm you with their zeal for a project, but trust that if they become your friend, you’ll never have to question their loyalty. And last but not least, we can’t avoid the landmine: Everyone knows Scorpio is labeled as the sex pot, but understand that their repertoire is vast. Their knowledge involves not just “the act” but all things surrounding the act, including hygiene, etiquette, and even how to handle the most embarrassing sexual snafus.

 

And so, the book that I’ve been anxiously awaiting to review to express Scorpio season is Savage Love from A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras by Dan Savage and illustrated by Joe Newton. The thirty-year sex columnist and advice maven (who is gay, out and proud) has saved up all his advice (well, not really since this is his fourth book), and some letters from his audience, to give us the skinny on sex. Unfamiliar readers should be warned; Savage has had his fair share of controversy. Whether it’s his early salutation of “Hey, F****t” which began all of his letter responses (he ended this tradition in 1999), or his statement in 2005 that 18-year-olds were “1) often hot, and 2) fair game”—he’s no stranger to public drama. However, this column isn’t about his growing up from a young, sometimes-wrong newspaper columnist into a responsible grown-assed man, it’s about his book. And Savage Love is definitely worth your read this holiday season. 

Savage Love is more than a tour of the sexual underworld, it’s a manual filled with blunt opinions and relationship tips that happens also to be illustrated like a children’s book! Almost too precious to be real, it uses each letter of the alphabet as a theme for each chapter. Readers might expect predictable ones here like “K is for Kindness,” or “R is for Rejection.” But the daring ones like “U is for Unpartnered,” “S is for Secret Perving,” or “G is for GGG” prevail. And just in case you think I’m keeping secrets (a habit some Scorpios keep up), GGG is an acronym/neologism Savage coined which stands for Good, Giving, and Game.

I won’t joke here. Every page turned in Savage Love could reveal something shocking or a little too detailed for comfort for the average adult (cue Scorpio’s no-fuss attitude about “the nasty”). “Some of us were conceived during orgies that our parents were kind enough not to tell us about,” Savage writes. Clearly, no topic is off-limits, even parents.  And when giving advice about how to avoid dinner/no sex on Valentine’s Day, Savage recommends the following: “Have a light snack at 6 p.m., fuck at 7 p.m., shower at 8 p.m. and head out (for dinner) at 9 p.m.” 

Since the days I used to read him as an intern at the Village Voice, Savage, a married father of one, has expanded his reach, going from syndication in 16 publications in the ’90s to 45 now, not to mention a vast online presence and the Savage Lovecast podcast. Ultimately, no matter what readers think about Savage and his earlier foibles, they’ll be impressed with Savage Love’s ability to be widely inclusive and thoughtful about those who are often left out. For example, Savage discusses unpartnered and asexual individuals with the dignity they deserve. 

And to be clear, I disagree with plenty of opinions in Savage Love, like, “no one should be getting married before they’re thirty anyway.” But disagreeing with someone isn’t a dealbreaker for me. As a Black, female-identified youth growing up in a small Midwestern town, I would’ve loved to read a book like this when I was 14 or 15. I, and many other teens, navigated the wide world of sex with very little dependable guidance. Maybe I’m getting soft as I get older, but I’m happy to know there are options for the youngins growing up out there. A book that proves sex toy questions aren’t so wild after all can be a life saver.

How interesting that Scorpio season brought us the Lovers, reversed (representing emotions) from the Motherpeace Tarot deck this month. The image on the upright card shows the lovers as geometric shapes (I love this abstract representation) merging in the middle under a garden trestle. The sun is in the distance. But in reverse, this card gives us cause to worry. Something is amiss. Perhaps a relationship/partnership that once was stable is on shaky ground. The Lovers card also represents the sign of Gemini, the Twins, also known as the sign of choices. This card emerging for us can signify that we may have a difficult choice to make, perhaps one that we won’t like. Or maybe we’re choosing between two job possibilities or love interests. However you’re spending this month, take a little time to consider your choices, or an individual, carefully. Spending more time pondering our options is always time well-spent.

 

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