I’ve just finished with writing a chapter that reminded me why, on some level, I kind of love these terrible books. They might be gross, regressive, deeply stupid and devoid of any literary merit whatsoever, but I’ve had a great time tearing them to pieces. It’s not often you get to type lines like;
I start to cry as she marches me towards a police car. “I should never have listened to those gay mice from Narnia!”
…and have them actually mean something in context. Hanna Squeal and her poorly written penthouse apartment have given me so many dumb laughs that it kind of makes up for having to read E.L. James’ whole lousy trilogy. Sometimes the subtext – and often the actual text, let’s face it – of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels is so disturbing and infuriating that I can’t find anything funny to say about it, which is partly why I decided to write Fifty Shades of Neigh in the first place. I always felt that laughing at crap was one of the best ways to deal with it.
Sadly we’re rapidly running out of funny in Fifty Shades of Grey – from hereon in the book just keeps getting more and fucked-up.
We last left our mutton-headed heroine staring at a computer screen full of BSDM porn and wondering why she was feeling all twitchy in the bathing-suit area.
For the first time in my life, I voluntarily go for a run….I can’t sit in front of that marvel of technology and look at or read any more disturbing material. I need to expend some of this excess, enervating, energy.
Energy cannot ‘enervate’ you. To enervate means to drain of energy. It’s a small niggle, but you are supposed to have an English degree. And presumably a dictionary somewhere in your house.
And for goodness sake, just learn to masturbate already.
This is just yet another reason why Fifty Shades is such awful erotica – the sexual content consists of nothing more than one drawn out sex scene after another and with the same boring participants having the same requisite numbers of orgasms every single time. The solo sex scene is a good way to change it up without the complications of adding multiple partners and a handy (pun very much intended) way to show a shy character’s sexual awakening.
But we can’t have Ana touching herself because she’s Bella Swan, so instead she takes her skinny-fat ass out for a run. She wanders off into the ‘opal and aquamarine dusk’ – a very QVC kind of sunset – and muses on the contract.
My research has told me that legally its unenforceable. He must know that.
Yes, Ana. Yes he does. He hoped you’d be blinded by legal blah blah and sign it anyway. I admit I’m surprised that she figured this much out. Thankfully the Ana I know and loathe is along in the next line to remind me not to overestimate her intellect.
I figure that it just sets up the parameters of the relationship. It illustrates what I can expect from him and what he expects from me…
That’s my girl. Ana – don’t you think if he really wanted you to understand what a BDSM relationship entailed he would talk to you about it? In ways that were easy to understand and didn’t involve pages and pages of contorted legalese?
Think about that for a moment. Do you think maybe he knows you’re not really into it and is taking advantage of your naivete and fathomless stupidity to manipulate you into doing stuff you don’t actually want to do? And do you remember how you said you’d never do anything you didn’t want to do?
How’s that working out for you these days?
I am plagued by one question – why is he like this? Is it because he was seduced at such a young age?
Seduction, rape – what’s the difference? Is it Alec D’Urberville in here all of a sudden, or is it just me?
I can feel my resolve hardening. Yes. I need to tell him what’s okay and what isn’t. I need to e-mail him my thoughts, and then we can discuss these on Wednesday.
Huh? Who are you and what have you done with the real Ana Steele? You’re supposed to go foetal in a parking garage and stare at your hands for three hours, not suggest open and honest communication like a fucking adult or something.
As if she’s overcompensating for being caught out not behaving like a raging asshole for once, Ana then goes home and has a full blown attack of the Anas when asked to comment on Kate’s new bikini.
There are only so many ways one can say – you look fabulous, Kate. She has a curvy, slim figure to die for. She doesn’t do it on purpose, I know, but I haul my sorry, perspiration clad, old-t-shirt, sweat pants and sneakers ass into my room on the pretext of packing more boxes. Could I feel any more inadequate?
I don’t know. E-mail your boyfriend. I’m sure he’ll be happy to help out.
…I set the laptop up on my desk. I e-mail Christian.
Hey – no. I was joking. You don’t have to…damn it.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Shocked of WSUV
Date: May 23 2011 20:33
To: Christian Grey
Okay, I’ve seen enough.
It was nice knowing you.
For a brief, wonderful second I thought that Ana had got in touch with her inner pod person and dumped him via e-mail, an act of supreme and glorious cuntery rendered even greater by the fact that she was using the same expensive computer he forced her to accept as a gift.
Then I read on.
I press send, hugging myself, laughing at my little joke. Will he find it funny? Oh shit – probably not. Christian Grey is not famed for his sense of humour. But I know it exists, I’ve experienced it. Perhaps I’ve gone too far.
Did you get that? Ana – who two pages ago resolved to try and discuss her misgivings with Christian – just pretended to break up with him for a joke.
Is she insane? I know these books aren’t much for consistency but since the beginning of this chapter Ana has been on some kind of dizzy personality carousel, treating us to a glimpse of her inner jogger, her inner not-a-goddamn-idiot-for-once, her inner Eeyore (to be fair we’ve seen that one before) and now her inner manic pixie dreamgirl.
Ana, you’d better pray Christian’s having a similar attack of Inconsistent Personality Disorder, because the psychopathic manchild I know from the previous eleven chapters is not going to take kindly to being broken up with via e-mail. Or at all.
Sure enough, the psychopathic manchild comes over, although she has no idea Kate let him in, and because she has her iPod on, doesn’t hear him enter her bedroom.
I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do he’s standing in the doorway of my bedroom watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel pants and a white linen shirt, gently twirling his car keys. I pull my ear buds out and freeze. Fuck!
“Good evening, Anastasia,”
“…have the lambs stopped screaming yet?”
“I felt that your e-mail warranted a reply in person,” he explains dryly.
I open my mouth and then close it again, twice. The joke is on me. Never in this or any other alternative universe did I expect him to drop everything and turn up here.
I’m sorry? Have you met Christian Grey? He kidnapped you in chapter four.
“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” he says.
I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s only the door or window.
You know its true love when he has you scoping out the exits.
“It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” he murmurs. Not at the moment…not with you here.
Finally my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose. I breathe.
Nice cameo appearance by Ana’s inner neurosurgeon there. Hi inner neurosurgeon! Haven’t seen you for a while.
“So, it was nice knowing me?”
Holy cow, is he offended? I stare down at my fingers. How am I going to dig myself out of this? If I tell him it was a joke, I don’t think he’ll be impressed.
In all fairness, it was a pretty crappy joke. Now, if you’d meant it – now that would have been hilarious.
I’m all rabbit/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake…and he knows exactly what he’s doing to me.
What is this sentence? Some kind of Pick Your Own Cliché buffet? And you’d better damn well believe what he’s doing to you. You know all that stuff about how you could walk away freely if you weren’t into this? Well, that wasn’t strictly true, was it? Not if he’s here now and trying to manipulate you into doing his bidding – again.
His lips arch with a trace of a smile, and my eyes are drawn to his beautiful sculptured mouth.
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
Holy crap. I stare at him open mouthed, and his fingers move from my ear to my chin.
“What do you say to that, Miss Steele?”
Obviously she doesn’t say that, because this is poor, dumb cock-struck Ana we’re talking about here. Her bad joke has given her a scary insight of just how creepy this man can get and how there is no goddamn way he’s ever going to take no for an answer, but she doesn’t care, because he wants to fuck her. And that means she’s won. Over all the other women in the world.
He wants me, and this does strange, delicious things to my insides. Not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen, not evil Mrs. Robison. Me. This beautiful man wants me. My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland.
What? You thought I was joking? Oh you.
He stops kissing me, and opening my eyes, I find him gazing down at me.
“Trust me?” he breathes.
I nod, wide-eyed, my heart bouncing off my ribs, my blood thundering around my body.
I know I should feel more sorry for Ana, since she’s the victim in all of this, but it’s hard sometimes when she displays these levels of intelligence and self-preservation.
There follows a pretty horrible sex scene in which he ties her to the bed, threatens to gag her if she makes a noise and spits wine in her mouth. Apparently E.L. James admitted in an interview that this was her favourite sex scene, which is totally understandable because nothing gets a woman hotter than knowing the man she loves will never accept the word ‘no’ or ‘it’s over’.
It’s all very boring but I would just like to say that I’m sick of Ana orgasming twice every time they fuck. She comes once whenever he’s doing whatever to her and then once he sticks his angry little stump in her and tells her to ‘come’ or ‘let go, baby’. My theory is that this happens because – in certain backwaters of Romancelandia – the penetrative vaginal orgasm is still the only one true holy orgasm. (By the way, these are the same backwaters where they still believe that the more he wants to rape you, the more it means he loves you. And jealousy is a good thing and all virgins have intact hymens.)
Following the horrible sex is some horrible smug, post-coital back and forth. She asks him why he doesn’t like to be touched and he shuts her down again by asking her if the e-mail was a joke. Yes – that’s right. He thought she was serious. And this is how he behaves when he thinks she’s serious about not wanting to see him any more – he creeps into her bedroom and manipulates her into having sex with him so that she won’t break up with him.
Isn’t he just dreamy, ladies?
They ramble into the matter of Mrs. Robinson again and Ana once more misses the elephant in the room…
“You still talk to her regularly?” I can’t keep the shock out of my voice.
“Yes.” He’s serious now.
Oh…and a part of me suddenly insanely jealous – I’m disturbed by the depth of my feeling.
To be fair, she’s glimpsed the elephant, or at least sniffed the lingering whiff of elephant poo, but she’s missed that the elephant is wearing a gigantic sandwich board that says HE WAS MOLESTED WHEN HE WAS FIFTEEN. You can tell you’re reading a brilliant work of literature when real issues like childhood sexual abuse are forced to take a back seat to the characters’ various insecurities.
Ana is annoyed because he talks about kink with Mrs. Robinson and she has nobody to talk to. He asks her if she wants to talk to one of his former subs and he apparently sees nothing wrong with this picture.
He eyes me speculatively. “So nothing you want to discuss now? About the contract?”
Yes, Ana. You had a whole bunch of misgivings, remember? And you were going to talk to him about them, that is before you were overtaken by your inner whimsical nitwit and decided it would be a great joke if you pretended to break up with him.
“No.” I reply petulantly.
She’s sulking because he won’t spend the night with her like a proper boyfriend, by the way.
“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better and so would I.”
“You can’t say things like that…I haven’t signed anything yet.”
“A man can dream, Anastasia.”
Yes. Dreamy indeed. He’s practically a Disney prince.
For the first time, I’m wishing he was – normal – wanting a normal relationship that doesn’t need a ten-page agreement, a flogger, and carabiners in his playroom ceiling.
You and I both know that the solution to this is ‘dump him and find a boyfriend who better lives up to your expectations’, but this is Ana – boyfriends who live up your expectations aren’t ‘literary’. Or something. Far better to throw all your time and energy into changing Patrick fucking Bateman here.
“You okay?” he asks tenderly as his thumb lightly caresses my bottom lip.
“Yes.” I reply, though in all honesty I’m just not sure. I feel a paradigm shift.
A paradigm shift? Really? That’s an incredibly pretentious way to say that this is not what you wanted from your first romance. He drives away and she starts to cry.
Kate comes in and wonders why she’s crying (“What did that creepy good-looking bastard do?”) and Ana says;
“I just don’t think our relationship is going to go anywhere.” I stare down at my fingers.
Well, it happens. You fall madly in love for the first time, you build castles in the air and you float around in a state of fluffy pink bliss because you have an actual, flesh and blood boyfriend. Then you slowly start to realise that after a month or six fluffy pink bliss melts like so much candy floss in the rain. And it hurts. It hurts like a motherfucker, but you get over it. Like everyone else.
Luckily for us, Ana is not like everyone else. Because we’re not even halfway through the book.
Ana tells Kate that Christian uses sex as a weapon.When even Ana ‘My Brain Hurts’ Steele gets something, you know it’s obvious.
“Ana, I don’t understand, you just let him make love to you?”
“No, Kate, we don’t make love – we fuck – Christian’s terminology. He doesn’t do the love thing.”
“I knew there was something weird about him. He has commitment issues.”
At this point I should point out that – due to catastrophically bad pacing – it’s been about three days since Christian kidnapped Ana from the bar. Now, the man’s a weirdo, but I can understand him having ‘commitment issues’ after about seventy-two hours.
The moment Kate leaves the room, Ana switches on her laptop, ready to start e-mailing Christian again. Because God forbid they leave each other alone for more than ten minutes at a frigging time.
Christian has already e-mailed her and is, as always, amazingly creepy.
I look forward to receiving your notes on the contract. Until then, sleep well baby.
Ana e-mails him back with a list of queries on his stupid fuck-contract and actually raises some good points, starting with;
Not sure why this is solely for MY benefit – i.e. to explore MY sensuality and limits. I’m sure I wouldn’t need a ten-page contract to do that! Surely this is for YOUR benefit.
He e-mails back with “That’s a long list. Why are you still up?” Nothing like taking her anxieties and misgivings seriously, eh Christian? Then he tells her to GO TO BED ANASTASIA and she’s all “Oh…shouty capitals!” and promptly falls into a section break asleep.