Marc Hayes made his first astrology-assisted conquest when he was 13. "I had a crush on Tracy O'Donnell, but she wouldn't pay me any attention. Then this friend of mine said, 'Find out her sign.' She was an Aquarius, and my friend told me to ignore her. It worked, and I've been obsessed with astrology ever since," Hayes recounts. "All through high school and college, I studied it, and guys would come to me to find out how to get girls into bed."
Though he now renounces such manipulation of women, he is comfortable selling their bodies. Hayes started Ananda Courtesans escort service in January, in part to study astrological trends among sex workers. He also reads charts and runs a zodiac-based dating service. Like a good drug dealer, Hayes doesn't dabble in his wares. "I have a Mars in Scorpio and that creates a lot of investigative curiosity about sex, but I don't have a sex life of my own. I've moved to a different planetary period since my Saturn return [four years ago]. Now I'm focused more on working and making money."
I met the smooth-talking Pisces with the shaved head at a birthday party, where he told me he was a Taoist and only practiced tantric, non-orgasmic sex -- before telling me about his escort and astrology businesses. Tall and handsome in a black suit, his not-quite-clean shirt open at the collar, he looked more like a buppie bartender than your typical seed-withholding diviner/pimp. When I asked if I could interview him for my sex column, he scoffed, "Sex columnist? You? What do you know about sex? I bet you're just used to men coming, aren't you?" Confused but undaunted, I took his card and a bright pink flyer advertising "Massages, Escorts, Private Viewings, TwoBody shows, Dominatrix, Outside the Beltway, Roleplays, FireTrix, and Human Buffets." ("FireTrix," Hayes told me during our interview, refers to a Libra who pours butane down her arms and sets her arm hair on fire for the pleasure of her clientele.)
Each sign of the zodiac corresponds with a body part, and Hayes has discovered that most of the female prostitutes he's met were born under signs "concentrated in the lower half of the body, from Virgo [stomach] down to Capricorn [knees] or Aquarius [calves]." Within that group, the most heavily represented are Libras (butt) and Scorpios (sex organs). "Virgos and Capricorns crave security," Hayes explains. "They're in it for the money more than the Scorpios and Libras."
I asked Hayes to take me on a sexual tour through the zodiac, giving advice for would-be seducers and other tidbits he's picked up in his professional careers and as -- before his Saturn return -- a self-described "ho biscuit." One trick that works with women of every sign, he says, is to touch the associated body part (make it seem like an accident if it's a private part). "They like you, and they don't know why," Hayes marvels. "I would touch that part and they'd be calling me up, saying 'Marc, you're an asshole, but I like you for some reason.'"
Aries The head. "They're the most naive sign, with the most light, the springtime sign. Tell them how pretty they are, but don't lay it on too thick. Sexually, they're full of energy, vibrant. The women are mannish and can be domineering. All the fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) like to dominate."
Taurus: the neck. "Just be nice to them, they're sensitive. Let a Taurus see that you're focused on something, so they can feed off that focus. All the earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) need a lot of structure and stability. You can have a one-night stand with a Taurus, but they may come back around. Tauruses cling."
Gemini: the arms. This is the only sign Hayes hasn't slept with. "I touch them on their arms and they like me, but I just never hook up with any of them," he admits. To seduce a Gemini, Hayes says, "know a lot about something, and they'll hang out with you until they learn it. You've got to meet them on a higher ground." Judging from Hayes' repeated strikeouts, astrology is not the area of expertise that wows a Gemini.
Cancer: the breast. "I've never met any Cancers in the escort business; they're very motherly ... They're a water sign and water shifts, so you need to be in tune with all their moods ... A Cancer will never make the first move."
Leo: the back. "Tell them, 'You're the most wonderful person in the world.' Rub on their back in a forceful, strong way, and they're yours. They're the easiest sign to get in bed because they believe any compliment. And once you're having sex, they like to put on a show." Both dominatrixes in Hayes' stable are Leos.
Virgo: the stomach. "They want stability in their relationships -- unless they're going through their ho-ish phase." Virgo the virgin has a ho-ish phase? "They're strange, they'll just sleep with you without emotion. Me, I marry for love. For them, it's more of a security thing; they're practical."
Libra: the butt. "My favorite. They like you to pay attention, but you shouldn't sweat them. Be playful, but don't be crass; they don't like conflict, and they love being in a couple. They have really nice butts, and they always have nice underwear, nice lingerie. Shopping at Victoria's Secret is a perfect Libra date."
Scorpio: the sex organs. "The most sexual sign; often bisexual, always curious about sex. They just want to sample all the juices: Scorpios and Pisces are the most into body fluids of all the signs. Scorpio's the sign of death and regeneration ... They have hidden sexual problems, lots of venereal disease. They're secretive, self-destructive and sexual until they evolve into what they call a phoenix or firebird, when they rise above the poisonous nature of Scorpio and become more spiritual. But I rarely meet Scorpios like that, because they usually buy into the whole American cynicism thing, they stay cynical and negative."
Sagittarius: the thighs. "Since Jupiter is dense, Sagittarians are heavier than they look. I've been fascinated with that since I was 13; I'm always trying to pick up Sagittarius people and see how much they weigh. A Sag girl will flirt with you all night long, sit in your lap [presumably cutting off the circulation with her dense thighs] and then go home to her boyfriend. They want everyone to like them, but they're loyal to the one at home. To seduce them, listen to what they say and let them know they're wonderful, but don't pry into their business, because they're independent. They're fun in bed, energetic, engaging."
Capricorn: the knees. "They're earthy, passionate in bed. They like to be in control: It's their show, they know exactly what's going to happen, and it's never over till they say it's over. I've had rocks thrown at my window in the middle of the night by a few Capricorns. They're loyal, they'll do anything for you, but they are the sign most likely to stalk you -- every Capricorn I've met is a little off. To get with an earth sign, don't get flowers, bring practical gifts. I got a Capricorn a day planner once; she loved it."
Aquarius: the calf. "Touch their calf and talk to someone else, and they're yours. They're not used to being ignored, because they're the most charming sign, the bearer of water, of all those Oprah Winfrey fake smiles and light conversation. Everybody wants to be around them. All the air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) require intellectual stimulation. Aquariuses don't necessarily like sex; they're more interested in talking about it, playing the game, everything leading up to the physical act, which they're not that crazy about."
Pisces: the feet. I ask Hayes if his trick works on him; is touching his feet the secret to seducing him? "I can be seduced by a cocktail, to tell you the truth, but that's just me," he answers. Does the body thing go the other way, do women's feet turn him on? "I actually look at calves, but that could be me evolving, because I'm actually Aquarius in the sidereal zodiac." To seduce Pisces people, "be nice to them. Pisces are so isolated, they have weird sleep patterns and see things in their sleep. If they're not in tune with it, they'll get obsessive about drugs or alcohol or shopping, so be understanding of them." Like Scorpio, Pisces is "spiritual and obsessed with darkness," the most Goth of the signs.
Hayes says he hasn't dated for several years in part because he won't lie about his job. He's starting to pass the escort service off to a few of the "girls" in preparation for "when I turn 34 and enter a different planetary period, Saturn square," he says. "Then I'll have the desire to get married, and by then I'll have more money and feel secure enough ... I'll move away from my Scorpio in Mars stuff as Mars shifts back into a more Libraesque-type personality. You shift into what you're supposed to be."
Useful divination is always vague, from the palm reader's "you will travel" to the Christian's assurance that "God hears your prayers." The zodiac cuts 360 degrees of bewildering choice into 12 slices of direction, with each sign offering just enough particularity and just enough elasticity. Because Hayes doesn't seem all that happy selling sex and not getting any, his Mars shift means stability, love and maybe even orgasms. Given his faith and his entrepreneurial hustle, I suspect he will become "what he's supposed to be" -- but then again, we Sagittarians are notoriously idealistic.