Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you exactly how obsessed I am with my star sign and horoscope. I’m a Leo and quite possibly the most Leo-esque Leo of them all, meaning that my gregarious nature, predilection for extravagant materialism, and constant need for affirmation and unadulterated praise are basically justified by the stars.
Obviously, I understand that my sign has little to do with actually influencing the course of my life; and yet, I can’t help but see all the parallels between what the zodiac has in store for me and what’s actually going on. Don’t even get me started on Mercury in retrograde—that shit’s real, and it’s definitely going on right now.
So when I heard that Align—a new dating app that matches people near you according to your horoscope—launched in New York, I hit “download” immediately.
To use the app, you sign in through Facebook, and then select a single photo for your profile. I thought this was an interesting choice on the app’s part, because usually dating sites give you the option to upload as many or as few pictures as you like. From there, I was instructed to put in my birthday, which then brought me to a list of traits that matched my star sign. Each user has to pick six characteristics that best describe them, including descriptors like “passionate” and the 🔥 emoji. For my profile, I picked creative, expressive, hardworking, charming, social, and the 💯 emoji (because, as a Leo, obviously.)
Before you can access your network, you choose age and gender; you can change these preferences at any time if you so desire. It’s also interesting to note that there’s no option for proximity, so you could be dating someone who hails from the Bronx, while you’re living in the Brooklyn (not that that’s a problem, but these are the logistics of dating in a city.)
After this, your “constellation” is opened to you and you’ll get five potential matches a day to “align” with. You’ll see their sign, their photo, and the traits that they’ve selected. Seeing their sign was a definitely a draw for me; don’t judge me, but I’m definitely the kind of person that will slyly ask on the first date when your birthday is so I can figure out what your star sign is. Anyway, if the align is mutual, then you’ll be matched and you can start talking to them. Easy, right?
One would think so. After downloading the app, I opened it to see what my network had brought me: lots of beautiful women. Confused—I’d selected men in my preferences—I went back and reselected, but still continued to get female options for the next week.
A week later, when I was finally receiving the preferences I had selected for my network, I got my first match: a 27-year-old Gemini that liked wine and apparently the party-popper emoji: 🎉. Being the friendly, extroverted Leo that I am, I messaged him first with my standard dating app intro, “Do you want to hear a joke about pizza?” (Because honestly, who DOESN’T want to hear a joke about pizza? Plus, the punchline is kind of amazing and if you ever meet me in person, I’ll tell it to you.) Crickets. This pattern continued as I matched with upwards of 10 guys over the week. Apparently, no one wants to hear a joke about pizza.
The next week, however, I matched with an Aries who wanted to hear the rest of my hilarious joke. Yes! Luck for once on this app AND with a cute Aries (I get along famously with Aries.) But no such luck. Although he appreciated my pizza joke, he responded with a joke/proposition so unhumorous and vulgar that I can’t repeat it here. EWW. I would have expected this from a Scorpio, but definitely not an Aries.
I stuck it out for two more weeks of matches with no responses and the occasional mediocre conversation before I threw in the towel and deleted my account. It seems that the stars really couldn’t tell me anything about these people that I couldn’t have figured out on my own, and if no one’s willing to talk, then what’s the point?
Granted, it’s a new app—Tinder, Bumble, and every other online predecessor needed a good trial period before they really took off and people stopped being creepy. Maybe in a year, I’ll re-download Align and someone will not only want to hear my pizza joke but also hang out and not be weird.
But after a month of relying on Align and the stars to find a match, I realized that it was going to take a lot more than this app to find a star-crossed lover, especially in New York City.