If the minivan, perpetual pajamas and litter of babies weren't enough to tip you off that i am a mom, perhaps you've taken note of the battered copy of Fifty Shades of Grey on my nightstand?
Hold on. Wait. Don't even read this. I'm embarrassed. Plus, unless you're a complete dickwad like i am, you avoided these "books" at all costs. Or perhaps you're illiterate? In which case, "ghfffyufgyhguivehwifOhidontevenknowewiopjior3ik3lkjohnnyfivealive" Amazing. Bestseller, right? Give me ten million dollars, Random House.
Still reading? Well, I will admit that, as with Twilight's stupid ass, i locked myself in a bathroom away from my children like so much Bin-Laden-In-A-Bunker (too soon?) to finish the trilogy, but was appalled all the same.
But the point here is that sometimes, we all could use a little smut in our lives. All of us, that is, except my father, the Ne'er-Do-Monk, who threatened to write to the local Mormon-owned grocery store chain here in Utah, outraged that they are selling "that sex book". God bless him. My other point is that publishing companies are run by morons such as the trilogy's protagonist, Anastasia Steele. Fifty Shades Of Grammatically Incorrect.
Christian Grey ('sardonic smile', 'long fingers', 'impressive erection', and all) is no less imaginary than a blood-sucking, Hot n' Sparkly Twilight vampire. This man will do anyone's husband/boyfriend/lover/ice-skating partner the honor of making them look like a fat, poor, inadequate piece of crap. Those who claimed their relationships were "enhanced" by 50 shades could not possibly have had a sex life outside of their own genitals to begin with. My darling, talented, great-looking husband would interrupt a chapter and i always looked at him like he was an ugly, homeless sack of dog shit for even encroaching on my dream lover (cue Bobby Darin).
Dave was all,
--"Why are you in the upstairs bathroom? What are you doing? The baby woke up."
--'"Whatever, nothing, i dunno. Shutup. Make billions of dollars, quicklike. Here's a binkie."
Like Twilight, which i read/ saw a couple of years ago, this book is written by an author with little talent and even less Thesaurus access. The repetitive nature of the prose is nothing short of autistic. The author, Rain Man James, utilizes catch phrases that are so mediocre that they shouldn't even be put into print once, let alone 455 times. Phrases like, "Jeez" 81 times. And "oh my" 72 times. Anastasia "blushes" or "flushes" 125
times, including 13 that are "scarlet," 6 that are "crimson," and one
that is "stars and stripes red." (I can't even imagine. Not even Ryan Lochte blushes red, white and blue.)
Furthermore, i wanted to punch every one of her 'Inner Goddesses' right in the
face. (In my head, her Inner Goddesses were illustrated by Mary
Engelbreit. Punch yourself in the face if you comprehend this reference.)
Like Twilight's author, she has made unfathomable amounts of money with a sub-par novel that speaks (whispers-sweet-nothings?) to the loins of sub-par Americans. And here am i, waving dumbly among them. I consider myself a moderately intelligent and decently literate human being, and yet i found myself at the grocery store on a Friday night buying the second and third books in the trilogy (and like, three boxes of brownie mix...and some Pamprin...*single tear*) because i simply could not wait another second to read them. I've already admitted publicly that i am a raging gaywad, and clearly there is a lot of freedom in coming out of the proverbial Nerd Closet. Honey Badger don't give a shit.
The oft-made correlation between Fifty Shades and Twilight is not at all unfounded. It's (spoiler alert!) about a non-existent male and the Pretty-And-Smart-But-Retarded idiot he loves. He's wealthier than Steve Jobs, he's hotter than the entire cast of Magic Mike and Christian Bale combined, and perhaps most importantly, he's a fixer-upper with a dark side. What woman doesn't want to fix? "Oh, look at this dilapidated bullshit, I'll add yellow curtains! DIY, ladies!!!" We all want to Etsy the shit out of everything, and men are no exception.
Our hero, Mr. Grey, is a genius. And, he plays a piano on which he also fucks our leading lady's virginal brains out, he has planes, helicopters, homes in exotic places, sort-of-slaves, and he's a golden god in the sack. So much so that "intense," "body-shattering," "delicious," "violent," "all-consuming," "turbulent," "agonizing" orgasms delight our previously-unsexed heroine on at least every third page. Still, she retains her retarded shred of feminism throughout, and her general thought process remains: "Hmmm. I just don't know. I love him so much, but can i live like this? All these servants? All these expensive clothes? All this phenomenal sex with the hottest motherfucker alive? On his yacht? With his unwavering devotion and a flawless mother-in-law who adores me as her own, but not in an overbearing way at all?? I mean, after all, i did just get a great job two seconds after college graduation. Maybe i should just work for a living and wear my dumb ugly Wal-Mart clothes. After all, i really do hate shopping..." (Pfffft! Mid-level job straight out of college. Pretty girl who hates to shop. This IS good fiction.)
Also, there's the "BDSM". I suppose i have to address this, because THIS is what evidently distinguishes the book from all the other romance novels with Fabio on their covers. But honestly, this is the fine line, and heretofore no one spoke of it on a mass, public, bestselling level. This is how my religious dad distinguishes and protests this book in his mind. But this is where i, as part of Momerica, must champion alllll Fitty Shades:
Lots of girls like to be spanked, lots of girls like submission, some like domination, blah blah blah. Lots of guys like the same thing, but who says so, unabashedly? This isn't darkness, this isn't anti-feminism or abuse. Had these books included gimps and terror and violence or rape, it wouldn't be a bestseller. There's where i think E.L. is good-doing, and reading (writing) between the lines. WE'RE ANIMALS, ALL OF US. Those who are waxing feminist do not seem to understand at all. As women, we are ALWAYS in control. James points out through Christian Grey, that the submissive is truly the dominant. And after all, who but women will further the human race? To incubate, birth, raise, and educate the next generation? Men inherently know this, i think, and they inherently worship and fear us. Those who don't are out of sync with the universe, in my opinion. Even homosexual men respect and worship that from which they came. Often in a more reverent way than the hetero man...
The other conundrum, at least for me, as amazing as i am (*crickets chirping*), is that E.L. James is kind of a fatty. I really wanted her to look like Cindy Crawford. Like...older C-Craw. She's not ugly or anything, but when people are fucking in my mind because you made them and you're not writing at college level or above, you should really be moderately hot. Especially if you're making bazillions for it. Just diet for a goddamn second, for Chrissake. Jenna Jameson is turning over in her grave. Oh wait. Is Jenna still alive?
All this said, one must hand it to E.L.: She tapped the market in a genius way and made record (RECORDS! SHATTERED! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US??) amounts of money. She walked the fine line between porn
and The Babysitter's Club that unfortunately runs through the subconscious minds of most Thirtysomething moms, and we all read her grocery store books to kingdom come. With a
flashlight. At 3 AM. Possibly with one hand down our pants.