Thursday, June 14, 2012

50 shades of Grey Chapter 3 in which the characters act like aliens

So, a little note first. I noticed a huge spike of traffic lately, so I'd like to welcome you Topless Roboteers,  STFU Couplers, and Ramblites formally. Thanks for coming by, and I hope you enjoy this deconstruction and my suffering is not in vain. I have also fixed the comments so now ANYONE can just jump on in and post their thoughts, which I hope you do!

Alright. Chapter three. This chapter led to the following conversation:

Me: Oh, God, this is awful.
Alex: Did you get to the sex scenes already?
Me: No, they're just talking to each other.
Alex: Maybe the reason people like the sex scenes so much is because the dialog is so bad they're just glad they stopped talking?

Chapter three, folks. The chapters thus far all run into each other totally sequentially. First chapter left off with Ana fleeing Grey's office, second chapter started with the escape from the building. Chapter two ends with Grey being all “I WILL MODEL FOR YOU” and chapter three starts with Ana having just rushed to the storeroom to tell Kate about it, and Kate is trying to convince Ana that Grey likes her. AGAIN. Kate, shouldn't you be crapping your pants in glee that this is panning out so beautifully in your favor rather than being all "ZOMG A BOY LIKES MY BFFF!" Anyways, Ana's denying it, but then “I hug myself with quiet glee, rocking from side to side, entertaining the possibility that he might like me for one brief moment.” Okay, maybe I'm just a sensible type of lady, but the only time I did something like that I was 14. No, really. More and more these apparently adult women read like they're 14. This includes the apparently less romantically clueless Kate. This actually bugs me. Does E L James really think this is how women act? Or even just young women? More and more I'm afraid to try to crawl into James' world and try to see things from her point of view. 

Kate then pops Ana's bubble about seeing Grey because her usual photographer is out of town! Oh no! There has not been an obviously introduced set of shoulders who could fill in! Ana points out that there is, and their name is Jose. Kate, being the thoughtful person she is comes out with “Great! He'll do ANYTHING for you! You ask! And then you can call Grey! I'm too busy eating babies!” Ana for whatever reason doesn't want to call Grey herself (fears passing out from all the blood in her body rushing to a raging lady boner? Discuss.), and Kate is all “bitch please you're the one who has a relationship with him” and the use of the word relationship freaks out Ana. Ugh. YOU ARE NOT FOURTEEN! Once again, however, I think that Kate is lazy and/or mercenary. She and Jose are friends, too, but no, Ana has to ask him about it because he likes her, even though Kate is the one who wants the damned pictures. Every one knows that if a boy likes you you should DEFINITELY use that to get him to do what you want. That is totally an okay mentality to have and doesn't make you a Terrible Person at all! It scares me that I'm pretty sure we're supposed to like Kate. We move on to Ana confessing not wanting more involvement than she already has, and even though she's already doing these HUGE favors for Kate, is bullied into it anyways. She actually hangs up on her after the order! Kate – kind of a jerk. And then Paul comes in to drag Ana out of the store room and grill her about how she knows Grey. Then we get this.

Whenever he’s home he asks me on a date, and I always say no. It’s a ritual. I’ve never considered it a good idea to date the boss’s brother, and besides, Paul is cute in a whole­some all-American boy-next-door kind of way, but he’s no literary hero, not by any stretch of the imagination. That is a creepy ass tradition you got there. Okay, I agree, dating your boss's brother, bad idea!  But she never says this to him, just brushes him off with “some other time”. She never tells him “Sorry but I don't think that would be appropriate” which would be TOTALLY FAIR and from the bits we've gotten of Paul, I don't think he'd freak out over that. He may still push, but then she has a gun to stick to. The part about this that bothers me is she says he's no literary hero, which if he is the all-American boy-next-door, well, they pop up all over the place in literature, Princess. Still, let's say he isn't, no wonder you've been chronically single if THAT is your standard. If you're single because no one has done it for you, fine, but if your standards are “HE MUST BE A MIX OF ROMEO AND HEATHCLIFF AND DARCY!” then I'm sorry, but you have a serious case of unrealistic expectations. Luckily for her, Grey IS literary hero standards, what being rich and powerful and and mysterious and the epitome of male beauty as he is with his rather lovely brows, and wants to duct tape her to the ceiling and tickle her ass with an egg beater. Or whatever it is he does that is apparently so kinky and risque later in the book. We leave Paul and Ana by him telling her that one day she will break and say yes. Okay, so maybe Ana is onto something and not just telling him point blank YOU ARE THE BOSS'S BROTHER AND THAT CAN NOT END WELL FOR ME because he would just brush it off and probably be more public about his pursuits and make her look frigid and mean for saying no.

Abrupt cut to Ana pleading with Jose on the phone, because he shoots places, not people! He is an artist! Though it's a shame he does places, not people, as it would give us a chance for this super intimate photo shoot between him and Ana before the threesome. However we get Ana impotently pleading with him before Kate The Mighty snatches her phone and “Listen here, José Rodriquez, if you want our newspaper to cover the opening of your show, you’ll do this shoot for us tomorrow, capiche?” So she made Ana call because he's a love sick puppy who would do anything for her, and when that fails Kate just forces him anyways. I actually don't object to Kate stepping up here. This is huge for her, and could give her a great edge when she's looking for an actual job in a few weeks, being able to say “I arranged a photo shoot and interview with Christian Grey, last minute, who never does those things” is going to only do good things for her. So no, I don't blame her for this, what bugs me is that she didn't just talk to him herself in the first place. She isn't telling her friend, “Listen. I really need this” and offer to pay him (she has money out the Mother Effing WAZOO, thanks to Mommy and Daddy and White Privileged). No, she resorts to “LISTEN YOU WILL DO THIS AND THAT IS FINAL!”. Also his whole name is Jose Rodriquez. Not quite as bad as Anastasia Steele, but not far off. Kate then brow beats Ana into calling Grey, and again, I actually don't blame her for this part. She knows, just as we do, that he only agreed to this because it was Ana, what bothers me about Kate's behavior over all is that she wasn't willing to step in until she couldn't manipulate Jose emotionally, and is being very hands off.

So Ana calls Grey and gets all flustered because even his voice is THAT sexy.

Anastasia Rose Steele. You like him! I’ve never seen or heard you so, so… affected by anyone before. You’re actually blushing.”
Oh Kate, you know I blush all the time. It’s an occupational hazard with me. Don’t be so ridiculous,” I snap. She blinks at me with surprise – I very rarely throw my toys out of the pram – and I briefly relent. “I just find him… intimidating, that’s all.”
Heathman, that figures,” mutters Kate. “I’ll give the manager a call and negotiate a space for the shoot.”
I’ll make supper. Then I need to study.” I cannot hide my irritation with her as I open one of cupboards to make supper.

I want to talk about this a little. Firstly, we now have a middle name. Rose. Rose itself is a fine name, I've always been rather partial to it, but sandwiched in between Anastasia and Steele, I don't think anything could sound not ridiculous. What bugs me about this exchange is the power differential. Kate is set up to be almost Motherly, using the full name, and Ana makes herself sound childish, with referring to “throwing her toys outside the pram” and then Ana is off to make them both supper. This is not the first time we've seen her cooking for both of them. Chapter one she was making soup and sandwiches for her sick friend, which is fine, she's a Good Girl after all, but now we see her making dinner, too, because... I guess that's just their arrangement? But more and more I find the whole Kate/Ana dynamic kind of icky. Kate is the one in control, she has the power. Ana has said the apartment is Kate's, and she pays peanuts to live there, so on top of the obvious emotional power differential, there's also a material one, too. We're told Ana just does what she says because she's sweet and nice and doesn't throw her toys often, but that just doesn't make sense to me. It could be that James is trying to set us up to see Ana as a great sub later on, but... I know I made a joke about it earlier, but I really do think Ana is in love with Kate. Maybe the reason Ana isn't finding any boys she really likes is because she doesn't like boys. Grey is only melting chocolate fudge caramel to her because of vampire glamor. Wait, I did some reading, apparently he actually isn't a vampire. I'm surprised. That will still not stop me from assuming he has glamor or something like it. He sold his soul to the devil, how else could he be THAT rich and TOTALLY SEXY ZOMG HNNNNGGG at 27? I got off track, Ana's a lesbian, probably. She's got Jose, who is sweet and fun and shoulders and sounds not at all unlike a literary heart throb, and he's into her, but he doesn't do it for her. We then have the other end of the spectrum the all-American boy-next-door, but neither of these do it for her. She has NEVER had a man do it for her before. I'm sorry, Ana, but I think you're in the closet, and Grey, you're a dick for confusing the poor girl more than she already is with your devil magic.

So, Ana is Dreaming of smoky gray eyes, coveralls, long legs, long fingers, and dark, dark unexplored places and I generally get annoyed with dream sequences, but, well, if you have to have them in, this is probably the best way to do so, even if it's corny and still annoying. There will be more, I'm sure, through the book. Still they're short and you get the idea. I'm also glad that, since this IS erotica, the narration is getting a little more obviously turned on. Also I don't think I mentioned the coveralls last chapter, but he bought some of those at her suggestion, just to explain that. I wonder in her dream which one of them are wearing the coveralls? Are they both wearing them? Hm.

Next day, Ana, Kate, Jose, and his friend/assistant Travis are at the hotel setting up, and we see Kate actually be the competent in charge character that the narrator keeps insisting that she is. She has the room set up for them, free of charge*, she's arranging it for the photo shoot how she wants, and while she IS being bossy, she's in “get shit done” mode and that comes across.

Then, enter Grey He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and grey flannel pants that hang from his hips. His unruly hair is still damp from a shower. My mouth goes dry looking at him… he’s so freaking hot. Wait. He's wearing flannel pants? Aren't those pyjama pants? To a photo shoot with his hair still wet? This is how he's choosing to turn up when he takes great care in maintaining an immaculate image, when there is a photographer. What is this I don't even... Wait, no, he isn't just popping in to see what's going on, he is actually here for the photo shoot dressed like that. What the double-crap?

Anyways, Jose takes some pictures, and Ana is happy to just gawk at him during this time. Grey then asks her to walk with him and she expects anger, wondering what she did wrong. To answer your question Ana- OPENLY DROOLING ON THE FLOOR WHILE STARING AT HIM! It's CREEPY dude! Fine, gawk and have your raging lady boners all over the place, but learn some subtlety. It's only polite. I find this interesting, snark aside, as it shows how ever eager Ana is to please, and how quickly she will blame herself. Rather than scold her, he asks her to join him for coffee. If she STILL tries to ignore his interest in her, I'm going to set something on fire.

She apologetically declines as she drove them there, and he offers to have his driver take them. She instead goes to switch cars with Kate, not wanting him to go to that trouble for her. At first I thought this was to show ZOMG GREY YOU'RE SO STRONG AND MANLY AND POWERFUL again, but no, I think it was so we could have this conversation.

Christian Grey has asked me to go for coffee with him.”
Her mouth pops open. Speechless Kate! I savor the moment. She grabs me by my arm and drags me into the bedroom that’s off the living area of the suite.
Ana, there’s something about him.” Her tone is full of warning. “He’s gorgeous, I agree, but I think he’s dangerous. Especially to someone like you.”
What do you mean, someone like me?” I demand, affronted.
An innocent like you, Ana. You know what I mean,” she says a little irritated. I flush.

Jose is silently glowering and jealous just before this exchange, which bugs me. She has never wanted to be more than friends with you, you don't get to get growly. Kate I'm not quite sure about here. Is she honestly concerned about Ana, who she has been constantly badgering into dating that Grey really IS dangerous to her? It isn't an unreasonable thought. Just because Ana refuses to see the facts, Kate can see that he's been undressing Ana with his eyes, and she sees Ana's reactions. She's afraid her friend will be pressured into something, or just toyed with by Grey. The whole thing is a little over dramatic, but it's supposed to build that this is a forbidden love. Fine. However that isn't how I read this. I think Kate KNOWS Ana is in love with her, and the constant “Why don't you get a boyfriend?” has been to make it clear she was ignorant of that fact that Ana is in love with her and still let her take advantage of that without seeming callous. She doesn't like Grey because he threatens that dynamic. They hug with a promise on Kate's part to send out a search party if need be as they switch cars, and Ana goes back to her “date”. I'm putting date in quotation marks because it seems too early to actually establish a relationship in the story. Unless the rest of the book is just them boning? That would be a pretty jarring jump, but at least then they would stop talking.

So they get in the elevator and he holds her hand and they don't talk as they go to the coffee shop, and then he buys her tea (because she hates coffee and this choice is apparently of interest to him for some reason.) and he gets a muffin and suddenly I'm wondering how this is supposed to be a supernatural romance. He's obviously not a vampire. Did I misread something here? Well, as far as I'm concerned off page he's sold his soul to the Devil and is still using mind control type magic, so hey, good enough for me! Unless I was SUPPOSED to draw that conclusion and it's canon, then we have a whole other slew of issues. Anyways, he then, after having held her hand through the streets, asks if Jose is her boyfriend. This strikes me as bizarre for a lot of reasons. Firstly, he asked her out, she said yes, and he was JUST holding her hand. I think we're past the “you single?” conversation point making a lick of sense. He then asks if Paul is her boyfriend. SERIOUSLY DUDE WHAT THE EFFING HELL?! She seems to wonder the same.

Why do you ask?”
You seem nervous around men.”
Holy crap, that’s personal. I’m just nervous around you, Grey.
I find you intimidating.” I flush scarlet, but mentally pat myself on the back for my candor, and gaze at my hands again. I hear his sharp intake of breath.
You should find me intimidating,” he nods. “You’re very honest. Please don’t look down. I like to see your face.”

WHAT THE DOUBLE-CRAP DUDE? You have seen her around what, three, four guys? Counting yourself? She has been normal with all of them but you, and you have seen that! You're a dick! Also, “You should find me intimidating”. I'm fighting the urge to not just quote huge blocks of text here and be all “DUDES CHECK THIS MESSED SHIT” because it would be like three pages. He keeps up with his “I AM A CONTROL FREAK AND GET MY WAY MUWAHAHAHAHA” and Ana has gone from OH NOES I AM SOOO INTIMIDATED to “Why haven't you asked me to call you by your first name?” and it comes out of NOWHERE. THIS IS NOT HOW PEOPLE TALK EVER! Ana's jumps from overwhelmed by her lady-boner and timid to trying to pick a fight with Grey are jarring and confusing as far as characterizations go, and I really wish the author had just given us a feisty heroin who's into being tied up by her feet and having car batteries clamped to her nipples. We get more control stuff here. He then out of nowhere asks her about her family (birth Dad is dead for those of you wondering!). She then starts talking fondly of her Mother, who she calls an “incurable romantic” and implies that is why she's on husband number four. This strikes me as odd considering Ana's own impossibly high standards. She has shown some awareness that she has them, and that they are not good things, so I find it kind of... Mean, that she calls her Mother as such and means it in a negative way. Some more awkward banter back and forth between the two of them because the author has never been in a room where two people are speaking, and here is where we get a little bit about Grey's family (two parents and two siblings, he's adopted, I assume the other two are, too). Then Ana remembers SHIT EXAMS I NEED TO STUDY. So they start walking back to the car, holding hands and not talking again until she asks him if he has a girlfriend. Again, what the hell?

No, Anastasia. I don’t do the girlfriend thing,” he says softly. And again, I find myself wondering what the hell? Then Ana trips and nearly get's run over by a cyclist and we get a huge break in Grey's character, “Shit, Ana!” he has not only sworn, but for the first time in the book she is not Anastasia or Miss Steele, she's Ana to him. We then get a standard he is holding her to his chest and they're in the “oh just stick your tongue in her mouth already” moment that always pops up in these things.

I don't think he will. Despite having been flirting/hitting on her all damned book, getting her interested and intrigued and lusty, he's going to pull the whole “NO STAY AWAY I AM DANGEROUS!” schtick, she'll get upset, and that will serve to keep them apart a little while longer. Ten bucks. It's chapter three, and I think the author is going to drag this out. 

Also going to take a second and talk about the cyclist. Why a cyclist? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that we're seeing a heroin in need of saving, and it isn't from a rapists, as that always makes light of rape, and that shit ain't cool, but, cyclist? Worst case scenario if she had gotten hit would be she broke something. So why a cyclist, James? Why not, oh, I don't know, a CAR? At least a vespa? Work with me here.

And that brings us to the end of chapter three. The whole thing is just... So bad. Honestly. Who the hell talks like these two? I made it through not needing a drink, but barely. Tune in next week to see if I start making drinks! And, you know, if he kisses her. I guess.

As always, I hope you share your thoughts in the comments! TILL NEXT THURSDAY!

*As someone who has worked in catering and events, they would NOT give her that room for free. They would charge, and charge a small fortune, or it was getting billed to Grey.  


  1. I got quoted on a blog! I feel super-important now.

  2. Ramblite here! You get linky-love from the community there when you put up a new post.

    There's always a fine line one must walk when one is writing a dominant character. At least when I try to, or when I try to RP one with the fiance or whatever, there's always this tension between making the person confident, assured, in control of things, capable, etc, and making them creepy/a dick.

    This guy is nowhere near that line.

    Every time you talk about raging femboners I just start rolling on the floor, so keep it up. I'm sure the book won't stop giving you just cause, either.

    Oh, hi Jose. I can see you're going to be the Legitimate Choice Who Is Continuously Used and Dumped Upon and when you finally do become a Character instead of a tool, if you ever do, it'll be in the Jacob Black 'develop into a worse and worse person' mold.

    I get the distinct vibe that we're all going 'oh, please just get to the fucking already', and that's a perfectly legitimate opinion; the 'oh, I'm dangerous and we have to stay apart and have tension and be forbidden' is so catastrophically overrated (see my reference to 'workmanlike retread', as well) but when we do get to The Business, we'll start to realize how green that grass over there looks.

  3. Flannel pants are fine. They are just nice slacks and would signify conservative and pricy-something you'd buy at Brooks Brothers. Flannel has, in the past, been a very common suiting material, google 'gray flannel suit'.

    1. Yes, but that is a far less hilarious mental image then he's showing up in his jammies.

  4. About the cyclist thing..did she say 'bicycle' specifically or just bike? Because in British English speaking countries, we usually refer to motorbikes as bikes :) Since I've moved to the US, this has cause a whole lot of confusion.I try to tell hilarious stories of getting speeding tickets while driving a bike (motorbike) and people go "speeding tickets for riding a bike?(they think bicycle!) that must have been a fast one!"

    1. The author is American, so I imagine she meant bicycle. I am also enjoying the mental image of those conversations playing out in my head. As well as the one of someone actually getting a ticket on a bicycle, so thanks for that.

    2. You are welcome :)
      The image does make me laugh even after all these years..I can still remember the expression on one of my friend's face the first time I spoke to him about bikes.

    3. The author is British. But since the story takes place in Seattle, I pictured a bicycle as well.

  5. Ooh..I should have added this in the previous comment - I am loving your blog!

  6. u shud cut out all the exagerating crap then people might actually understand your opinion of the book, american right????

    1. ...I honestly am not entirely sure what you're trying to say. Is the "american right???" a "I am American and do not like rambly wordy posts that use hyperbole and tear pop culture books apart one chapter at a time to poke fun at them and would rather you just state what you think using as few words and letters as possible. You should know this." or "You're American, aren't you?"

      If the first, if you want shorter more digestible things poking fun at 50 Shades try They play more for humor rather then "let's actually consider some of the deeper issues here" that I try to do and it may be more to your tastes.

      If the second... No. I go on about being Canadian pretty often on this blog, but thanks for playing? I've no idea what being an American has to do with being wordy or exaggerating, though. :/

    2. You handled that well Eri! I would have gone berserk on 'Anonymous' for that remark.

  7. Hi there, I read your first two chapters and then forgot you were doing this. I am loving the deconstruction. I am pretty sure the "author" is British. I can tell you I have never heard an American use "throw toys out of the pram." as an expression.

  8. Damn. I'm getting this book diluted down with your magnificent snark, and it still pains me to read such shit.
    And now I feel like stabbing myself because I'm a college-aged brunette with (vaguely) blue eyes who works as a peon in a typically male-dominated field that I vaguely know about because my dad used to do it. Except my dad used to farm and I work at a grain elevator. Also, I've figured out my ass from my elbow in four years' time and can have intelligent conversations with farmers about moisture percentages and test weights. STOP MAKING US LOOK BAD, YOU MARY-SUE BITCH.

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  10. Maybe he's wearing flannel for a wal- mart photo shoot instead... I bet kat will be disappointed :(

  11. Ok I just have to say.. that comment about duct taping her to the ceiling and tickling her ass with an egg beater was hilarious!

  12. Thanks to you whenever I read Grey he has a Bela Lugosi vampire voice......

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