To find that base pic I did a Google image search for the word vagina. Which by the way I recommend you do not do if you’re at work. I cannot stress this enough – it is NSFW (not safe for work). I am dead serious don’t do it. Don’t you do it noooooo YOU’RE DOING IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT
Aright ANYWAY people, let’s see here. Where’s a good spot to start this story. Oh right of course, the beginning’s probably a good place.
So you remember when I tweeted that I’ma take a pass on reading E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey? (And if you don’t use twitter, well remember just now when you found out I won’t be reading 50 Shades of Grey?)
Well I remember. Because my Twitter blew up with more like-minded responses than that time I tweeted I won’t be eating my placenta as a milkshake.
Since I haven’t read much about it beyond the fact that it’s essentially an adult version of any of the Disney fairytales we grew up on (guy saves girl in distress) I didn’t give it much thought. However it was interesting to find how many other women were, like me, weirded out by the soaring path to success this hella odd piece of fiction has taken. Bestseller list. Widespread, sustained media attention. Women forming book clubs just so they could do everything short of physically rubbing one out in the same room together.
I thought to myself:
“I’m no idiot. I understand that sex sells, and that sex packaged in a novel you can read while sitting on the sidelines of a soccer game (meaning a book that does not feature a gaping vagina on the cover with the title “Why Don’t You Come Inside?” written along the labia, which is the way romance novels looked to me the last time I saw a romance novel in person, which was on my grandmother’s nightstand the year of the Exxon Valdez oil spill) is a great way to take the shame out of the process, not to mention sell a f**kload of books.
But still… there are lots of books out there about sex. Books written by authors who are on speaking terms with a thesaurus. So why this one? Why is this one so popular?”
I judged that this might be a topic people wanted explored, so why not here on this blog. A blog about weddings. lol. So I tweeted the following soon afterwards, not really expecting anything but crossing my fingers I’d get some bites.
RT @theknottybride: I would be open to publishing a recap of 50 Shades of Grey if it was knee-slappingly hilarious enough.
And upon pressing send on that tweet, I wondered to myself; if Oprah was still around to offer her own book club suggestions instead of dangerously delegating that task to the general public, would Oprah recommend 50 Shades of Grey?
For the sticklers; I acknowledge the possibility that Oprah’s already expressed her position over on that thing called OWN, but – since you cease to exist in my world once you fall off my radar – I have no idea where she stands on this issue. Plus I didn’t feel like looking into it, as I try to apportion the limited available time I do have to things I consider more important… like douching with Newman’s Own Organic Lemonade, and working out all the kinks in my “White Girl Wobble.” (I’m being serious about one of those…)
ANNNYYYWAAAYYYSSS AS I WAS SAYING… I got a bite on that tweet… from the exact person I had in mind when I tweeted it. Her name is Sharon.
The least important thing you need to know about Sharon is that she’s a reader (click here to find her on Twitter) with whom I tweet a lot. The most important thing you should know about Sharon is that she’s a woman who lived through that l’il thing called the Women’s Liberation Movement.
And what she sent me was not the knee-slappingly hilarious recap that was her first draft. What she sent me, instead, was a rewrite… part recap… and part “what the eff happened to my generation?!!” And here it is:
Fifty Shades of Grey Recap & Personal Reaction ~ by Sharon
Where do I begin to recap “Fifty Shades of Grey”? Not that it is complicated, far from it; it is a simple teenage daydream, a pornographic fantasy. It starts with 21 year old Anastasia Steele, a last year college student in Portland, Oregon (almost forgot – she is also a virgin) meeting Christian Grey, an older man (I believe he is 27). Anastasia’s roommate is to interview Mr. Grey for an article for the school newspaper, but falls ill and requests that Ana do it. Before the meeting we learn that Mr. Grey is a self-made multi-millionaire who owns his own company in Seattle that employs over forty thousand people – remember, he is still 27. When Ana arrives for the interview, she is struck by the fact that all the Stepford staff have blonde hair, are gorgeous, and are intimidated by him. This forebodes a part of his personality.
When she enters his office, she trips and falls, but luckily he helps her up. It is at this moment that Anastasia notices his beautiful, hooded, grey eyes, his dark copper-colored hair, the way his pants hang off his hips, his long index finger and the fact that he is “freaking hot” (her words, not mine). Of course, in spite of his hotness she knows that she is a simple college girl a “…pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face….”
But because this is a teenage daydream, within a few days he has stalked her down, introduced her to expensive meals, fine wine, flying to Seattle for the evening and intercourse. I was astounded, not that this worldly multi-millionaire hotty pursued her, but the fact that when he took her virginity, she had a mind-blowing orgasm. How many women do you know who can say that????
Alas, as our heroine becomes more infatuated over the next few days and actually falls in love with our hero, she starts to learn one of the much darker shades of Mr. Grey. He has a red room in his condo (of course, a large expensive penthouse obtained before he was 27) that is equipped to provide pleasure or pain, depending on your proclivities, to his “Submissives”. He has had a few in the past and makes them sign a contract where he controls what they wear, what they do, how they perform, etc. Ana is not keen when he suggests that she sign a contract. Ana is looking for love not submissiveness.
He introduces her gradually to his red room, and even though she feels guilty about it, she actually enjoys it and has “intense,” “body-shattering,” “delicious,” “violent,” “all-consuming,” “turbulent,” “agonizing” and “exhausting” multiple orgasms. His true personality starts to show and he wants to control her in every way, not just sexually, but he doesn’t want her to touch his upper body. The answer to why we find out later and is the reason she forgives him for the way he is. She is becoming more and more in love with him in spite of his sexual quirkiness and his controlling ways (he only wants to protect her!!!). Of course, he is also madly in love with her and has been since she fell into his office.
He has a walk-in closet filled with designer clothes for her picked out by his personal shopper, he buys her a car for her graduation, a laptop and a Blackberry. The latter two items are so he knows where she is every minute and what she is doing – oh, no, I didn’t mean that. They are so he can stay in touch because he misses her so much, yah, that’s it! She claims that she doesn’t want these gifts but ends up keeping them and using them. She also gets a job as a junior copy editor and moves in with him.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that he owns a helicopter that he flies himself, has a large sea-going cruiser with crew, a live-in housekeeper who cleans his red room, a chauffeur-man-friday, more money than God, is an excellent classical pianist and his company, between making millions, has an altruistic project to solve third world hunger (oh, and he is still 27). All this in spite of the fact that he doesn’t seem to go to work very often and has all the time in the world to copulate with and/or control our young heroine.
They have sex, kinky, and otherwise in many places, including new experiences in the red room, and she never fails to have at least a mind blowing orgasm. He tries to control her every move and is extremely jealous. She fights against being controlled because she is a liberated woman (oh, yah!). She wants it to be love making and not just sex, no matter how mind blowing. She wants to save him from his past and heal his broken personality. They have more sex and mind blowing orgasms (it seems that there is a sexual encounter on every other page).
This takes us to perhaps chapter 8 and covers a 3 week period. For chapters 9 to 25 repeat the previous paragraph.
In the last chapter she leaves him after he spanks her several times with a belt when she has asked him to, “Show me how much it can hurt.” and he really does and she is upset. They are both desolate without each other and I am cheering and doing mental cartwheels. Being pragmatic though, we know they must get back together because there are two more books to go.
Am I crazy to expect a little bit of a plot with my gratuitous sex? God Bless the lady for creating a multi-million dollar empire out of three books and the same 150 words used over and over and over, ad nauseum.
Some of the sex in this book is extremely graphic, even though some of it I am not sure is anatomically possible. Balancing out the explicit descriptions are simple ones, such as “he touched my sex”. What the hell is that? I didn’t know I had a body part called that. The sex scenes are repeated in great detail and with such repetition that after the first one or two, they are actually boooooooooring, but I was afraid to skip any in case I missed a piece of plot.
Also, the fight within her about his control and dark nature led me to scream out loud, “Don’t allow that you stupid bitch!” However, she was so in love with him that she forgave everything and always went back for more.
I must get serious for a minute. The major thing that bothers me, other than the f______ repetition and her immature, inane, internal comments (such as, “oh crap” or “holy crap,” or “double” or “triple crap”, “Jeez” or the ever used in sexual situations “oh my”), is that so many young soccer moms love it and are even forming clubs to discuss the book and the bondage aspect. I ask myself, “Where did my generation go wrong?” We came through the sixties and seventies enlightened about sex and liberated – reading about it, writing about it and enjoying it as we pleased. For this atrocious writing to be hailed and lauded just for the sexual descriptions is outrageous. I though Harlequin had the world rights to bodice ripping sexual adventures – but at least those have a story line, or so I have been told. What has happened to this generation that this “crap” (excuse my English) could be so titillating (that is after the first two or three sexual descriptions)? I am afraid to think what they have been missing in their relationships and sexual encounters to need something this terribly written to get excited about and as some have said turned their whole relationship around.
Not that I am against descriptive, explicit sex in a book, or anywhere else for that matter, but for God’s sake please make it well-written!
Alison here again… sup. So here’s what I’m interested in learning from you:
1) You ready to start working on that Wobble? Because if I ever get around to organizing a Meetup, it’s going to involve us making that dance the new Electric Slide of weddings. Because I am so. done. with the electric slide. And if you make me Macarena one more time I’m going to reconsider you as a friend.
(… Also, I will try to arrange the Meetup near a pool because, like I always say, pools just make everything better.)
2) I’d love to hear thoughts on the book, the popularity of the book, and/or Sharon’s review. Also, have you read it or are you skipping it? And are there any book defenders in the house? I’m curious what other people’s personal takes are (regardless of whether you’ve read the damned thing).
Okie dokie. I’ll see you inside the labial folds of the comment section shortly…
xoxo – Alison
Alison (that’s me) has posted on this topic today as both a concerned citizen, and as a person who has trouble getting off on the written word because… you know… modern girls have built up a bit of a tolerance.
(image credit: here’s the source of the image of that sexy-ass piece of fruit, before I added the sassy text. which by the way… was quite sassy of me. very much out of my typical comfort zone of sass.)
Fem·i·nism /ˈfeməˌnizəm/ noun.
1. The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Feminist /ˈfemənist/ noun.
1. A person who supports the equality of women with men.