'My saucy session with sextrologist to the stars ...'
Siobhan Cronin follows in the footsteps of Scarlett Johansson and has her fortune told by sex-and-star-sign specialist, Stella Starsky
As I booked astrologer Stella Starsky for a 90-minute consultation recently, I asked her: "When do we get to the sex bit?"
Stella and her husband Quinn Cox have been dubbed the sextrologists to the stars and I couldn't wait for my own gory details to be revealed, especially given the $$300 fee, not to mention the phone bill to the US, for the one-and-a-half hour session.
It seems, though, that I had been led up the garden path, and this path didn't exactly lead to my own private Eden. At least, not straight away.
"We will get to that later," Stella told me, a bit too firmly for my liking. "But first, a bit of background."
I guess I have always paid a bit too much attention to astrology. It's all down to my belief in my own 'sixth sense' about things - passed on by my mum. And perhaps, also, to do with an encounter some years back with a crystal ball-gazer whose opening gambit was: "So who's in the media?"
She then proceeded to mimic someone throwing peanuts in the air, and catching them in their mouth, as I looked on totally perplexed.
Later, as I approached my patient partner, another journalist, who had been waiting in a nearby pub, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I walked down the bar and watched him re-enact the exact same performance with the peanuts that I had seen upstairs some moments earlier. An all-round nutty night.
But Starsky and Cox are in a different league. They have attracted clients like Scarlett Johansson, Mario Testino and fashion designer Marc Jacobs.
They have a jewellery line called Astercast, which has been featured in Vogue, no less, and that austere organ across the water, the Daily Telegraph, has called them 'New York's favourite sextrologers'.
Stella tells me the couple met while studying in France, and discovered a mutual love of all things stellar.
She has since studied the subject intensely and one of her main theories is that there are really 24, and not 12, signs of the zodiac. This is due to the fact that men and women of the same sign are actually intensely different.
The different genders use the energies of their signs in totally different ways, she says. She has even written a best-selling book on the theory, called Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes, which is probably why the couple have been dubbed 'sexperts'. In order to give me a total reading of my past and predicted future, Stella needed to know as much about my time of birth as possible.
All I could remember was that my mum was dragged away from watching The Hound of the Baskervilles that night and the first thing my dad was asked when he arrived was: "Well, how did it end?"
I deduced from this story that I arrived some time around midnight, but could have been out by an hour or two either way. "Well, if there are some discrepancies in this reading, it could be down to that," Stella forewarned me.
She started off by telling me that, despite my airhead Libran birth, I was actually more water than air. I was also ruled by the Moon, and this made me intensely creative. I have a 'sixth sense' myself, she said, but the influence of Pisces on my birth meant I was over-emotional and I tended to invent things that have never actually happened! But then she really started to scare me. "You had a tremendous (emotional) crash between the ages of 28 and 31," she said, as she dug into my emotional cupboard and tugged at a particularly pesky old skeleton, "but coming up to the age of 40 you will find that life gets a lot better." Phew. "You will become your own woman and you will shed a lot of layers."
I wear my heart on my sleeve, she said, and that can get me into awful trouble sometimes. Basically, I need to toughen up. She said that almost every planet on my natal chart was in one house - the third house. This represents childhood experiences and has a bearing on how I was raised.
Then she hit me with another meteor - I had a life-changing experience between the ages of 14 and 21 and seconds later she added that I had lost my father at a young age - eh yes, 16! But then she was back to my great post-40 epiphany. The 'second half of my life' is where my fortune lies but I need to keep a balance and spend plenty of time thinking and meditating. Then she mentioned 'yoga' and 'swimming' - the only two activities I already take regularly. I need to relax a bit more, she warned, because I am very impatient.
"In retrospect, you will have a beautiful, poetic, life," she said, "you will be something of a late bloomer."
Speaking of bloomers, I thought, let's get to the saucy stuff now. I can't wait much longer! Because I had been assured by my Googling that this conversation was going to be mostly about the darker side, I had made the call from my bedroom, to provide an apt backdrop. Now, I was feeling like the bedroom was a bit seedy for this deep chat about my great fortunes, and so I brought her back to the task in hand. "What about my sex life?" I begged Stella once more. "I'm coming to that," she said. " But are you sure you want me to go into it? We only talk about sex, death or illness if a client specifically requests it."
"Never mind the other two," Miss Patient told her, "give me the naughty bits."
"Ok," said Stella, and hesitated, and I imagined her probing my natal chart no doubt with slender red-lacquered finger tips, to see what popped up. "You are very non-traditional in bed, and you have had partners that couldn't keep up with you," she said. At that moment I looked around my little bordello-coloured crib and felt her mentally poking around my bottom drawer from the other side of the Atlantic.
"You are certainly not run-of-the-mill," she giggled, and my face reddened to match my colour scheme. "Yes, I would say kinky would be a good word - and you see yourself as a goddess, who needs to be worshipped." Just then, I remembered another Mystic Meg who once told me I was Joan of Arc reincarnated, but I always believed she really meant Cleopatra.
"You have had some 'taboo' affairs, but you have a good sense of self. You are very honest about this and I think you need to write about it - other women need to hear it."
Oh dear, I thought, as years of appearing on chat shows to talk about my mudbath fantasies and nights of wanton romping in Finnish lakes flashed into view. "People will want to hear your story," Stella assured me.
But I began to think that Stella's version of my life was a little far-fetched, even for me.
And as we wrapped up my consultation, another friend's comment sprang to mind: "My sex life isn't that exciting.
"When it comes to threesomes, I am always the one at the end of the bed smoking a cigarette."