Wednesday, August 29, 2012

50 Shades of Grey chapter 17 in which the author seems super cool with rapey-culture

So chapter 17. Let's try and do this in a way that won't hurt my brain. Bets on my success? Because I wouldn't take that bet. The chapter opens with Ana being soooo hot and tossing and turning and there's a lot of moth-flame imagery. She then wakes up suffocatingly hot as she has a man wrapped around her. I won't mock that too hard, boys are basically radiators. She's just happy that he stayed the whole night! I'm loving the thought of Grey just fucking off in the night and Ana wakes up alone after all that. She would just cry and cry for weeks. It'd be hilarious.

“Good morning,” he mumbles and frowns. “Jesus, even in my sleep I’m drawn to you.” He moves slowly, unpeeling his limbs from me as he gets his bearings. I become
aware of his erection against my hip. He notices my wide-eyed reaction, and he smiles a slow sexy smile.

This is why she should be on the pill already! Which you should be taking regularly for at least a month before you try and have unprotected sex. I'm curious if that will take with Ana and Grey. So Grey realizes he is late for his meeting and is gone in a dash, and Ana then goes through her daily routine of tea, shower, breakfast, and then realizes she has time to send a quick e-mail before work. So with limited time sits down to send him an e-mail about how she felt about the spanking. Brace yourself. 

From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Assault and Battery: The after-effects
Date: May 27 2011 08:05
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey

You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply - spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused. And much to my mortification, you’re right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected. As you are well aware, all things sexual are new to me – I only wish I was more experienced and therefore more prepared. I was shocked to feel aroused.
What really worried me was how I felt afterwards. And that’s more difficult to articulate. I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt – sated. But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m confused as a result.

Bit of a text dump here, and there wasn't a ton of room for trimming. Firstly, if EL James doesn't want us to see Grey as abusive, why is Ana? There is some very strong language here. She calls it assault, battery, and says he beat her. These are big things. Secondly, how does EL James think sexual awakenings go? Admittedly mine was more standard. You know, kissing, hugging, awkwardly touching a penis, and just escalated from there. Ana's is not. She started at sex. However, I'm still confused as to why she is struggling so hard to understand the what and why of what's going on in her own head. She is totally un-self-aware! You can be innocent and still know what the hell you think and feel! I'm also confused as to why Ana feels guilty for having enjoyed it and and- so much fail.

So Grey responds, and his is point form, but there's really only one that I want to point out. I'll sum up the rest real quick. Ana makes Grey happy, and loves how inexperienced she is because she's HIS ALL HIS MUWAHAHAHA and don't worry, spanking won't get worse then that. Now, onto what I want to talk about.

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this? Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

Firstly I really wish James would stop talking about Tess Durbeyfield. If done well, literary parallels can be a nice way to add some depth and flavour to your book. Having the characters frequently draw attention to said attempted parallels? Not so much.

He also goes straight to the victim blaming. "Well you wanted this, so stop complaining" and "Just suck it up and deal with it!" and neither of these things encourage her to speak her mind in the future. He's dismissing her. I'm also irked by him questioning how she actually feels. "Are you sure you feel like this? Because I think you just think you should feel like this!" Grey talks big about respecting and adoring her, but he certainly doesn't respect her. When someone goes out of their way to tell you their feelings, you listen to them. Otherwise they won't want to tell you these things and sfhjsdsg. The part that really upsets me is that he'll be right. She doesn't ACTUALLY feel debased! That was just what society has taught her to feel! He does add the loop hole of "Okay, maybe you DO feel this way. If you do I want you to totally ignore your feelings and needs in favor of mine" <- NOT HEALTHY.

Things then take a turn for the "Erika wants to drink all the things in existence." Ana says that if she listened to her body she'd be in Alaska now! How coy!

From: Christian Grey
Subject: You Didn’t Call the Cops
Date: May 27 2011 08:35
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss Steele

For the record - you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do.
You didn’t at any time ask me to stop – you didn’t use either safe word.
You are an adult – you have choices.

 Nekjgfnarwkjlnhawifjnawenjaq. NlijgfaiejnaekjgrniJRGPAEOFBP9wuegheiad vnlWKJNGRHB809U9Qh. Lijhaf. VICTIM BLAMING! You know, I've read a few articles about women who have been raped in ways that "didn't follow the conventional rape narrative" IE Not attacked by a crazed gunman and taken by force, but raped by someone who they knew, or they were drunk or, you know, any number of ways that rape can happen that are not being attacked by a guy in a ski-mask. IE Most of them. In many of these articles, these women talk about how they weren't even sure if what happened to them was rape right away, and they were afraid to call the cops, or weren't sure if they should at all because it wasn't "Rape-rape" and, you know, a million other reasons! I mention this because there are also millions of reasons why what Grey did can be Not Okay At All and Ana wouldn't rush to the phone to call the cops.

The fact that he thinks if she didn't call the cops then it's fine is infuriating, and he is still being dismissive. I hate that he spends so much time treating her like a kid, and lords "YOU ARE A GROWN UP" over her head when it suits him, and totally ignores that she could have been overwhelmed or confused and that she was drunk when this happened. Right, she was drunk! A state she was in because Grey deliberately plied her with alcohol! You know, maybe not in a state where she would think to use the safe words? You also made it sound like that wasn't an option. She tried to say "no" to start with and you didn't give her an out then, either. This whole thing has such a strong rape-narrative that it's unnerving and upsetting. Sure, she didn't use the safe-word, just like a super drunk girl might not say "No" while a guy has his way with her. That doesn't make it not rape, and that doesn't make it okay.

Is he serious about coming to find me, should I decide to escape for a while?

So close to erotic horror, yet so far. Or erotic-thriller. We could go that way, too. So Ana asks if he's in therapy for his stalker tenancies because she's just so coy and cute! Honestly, if I was seeing a dude and he called me a stalker? I would be upset. I would then stop, think if what I've done had actually over-stepped any boundaries and maybe was stalker-ish, and if anything was borderline, would talk to him about it and then stop. That isn't something you joke about to me. Grey however then just says "Well duh I'm in therapy I am meant to be troubled but cute so I need to show that I am self aware and working on it!"

Ana then keeps being coy and says he should get a second opinion. Which is just an awful thing to say. "HEY I SEE YOU'RE TRYING TO GET TREATMENT FOR YOUR ISSUES AND WORK THROUGH YOUR PROBLEMS! DO BETTER!" Here's a pro-tip. If you know someone going through therapy to work on their issues, don't just say "do better" as they're trying. They keep e-mailing back and forth and I groaned out loud a few times as I read it. Basically Ana is being "coy" (read: flippant and kind of a jerk) which is wrapped up by Grey threatening to hit her more and she then peaces out to go to work. Which means she gets to make friends with her BRAND NEW CAR! (That was meant to be read in a Bob Barker voice). So remember how fondly she has spoken of her Beetle Wanda before now?

The Audi is a joy to drive. It has power steering. Wanda, my Beetle, has no power in it at all – anywhere, so my daily workout, which was driving my Beetle, will cease.

CHARACTER CONSISTENCY! So Ana goes to work and she starts to skim her way through the day when a package arrives for her! Her heart sinks as she knows it's from Grey and she dreads what thing he has sent her now. It's a blackberry so he can get in touch with her at ANY TIME! And he likes it when she e-mails him. Well, that makes one of us. There is an e-mail waiting for her saying about that, to which she sends a gracious reply.

I think you need to call Dr. Flynn right now.
Your stalker tendencies are running wild.
I am at work. I will email you when I get home.
Thank you for yet another gadget.
I wasn’t wrong when I said you were the ultimate consumer.
Why do you do this?

WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS ASK WHY? Is "You need more therapy" going to become Ana's new "cute" running joke? This book is just giving me the Rage. Also that's less stalker more total lack of understanding of boundaries. Grey sends an instant response back (haaaateee) and the simple answer is "because I can". The rest of the day is skimmed over until the end of the shift.

At four, Mr. and Mrs. Clayton gather all the other employees in the shop, and during a hair-curlingly embarrassing speech, present me with a check for three hundred dollars.

Now, to Ana's benefit, she reacts sweetly to this. I'm pointing this out because I have never worked a part time job where this shit would happen. I've been given going away gifts from jobs, but they're never more then say, $50. Usually a card with a gift-card. Am I alone in thinking this is just further proof that this book is fiction? Also you don't get everyone together after a 4-year part-timer is leaving to give them a big send of unless you're going to do that for every. single. person. Which I don't get the impression that they do. Ana would have expected this if it were the case. EL James however has been working in offices and things of the like where this sort of thing happens, and once again we see a 21 year old that's secretly middle-aged.

So Ana goes home and she and Kate finish packing after a comment about the car. Later on Taylor turns up to collect Wanda. Ana apparently only had a flashlight in the thing so she grabs that and hands the keys over as she begins to ponder Taylor.

He has the same taciturn expression as Ray, and I warm to him.
“He’s a good man, Miss Steele,” he says, and he smiles slightly. With that, he gives me a little nod, climbs into my car, and drives away.

Taylor's job description also includes playing wing-man for Grey, apparently. It's a short and pointless scene. Taylor turns up to get the keys because that apparently needs to happen on page, says Grey is a cool dude, annnnnd. That's it. Scenes with Grey go into painstaking detail. Scenes without Grey are glossed over as quickly as humanly possible. Then it's the night and Ana and Kate are hanging out with Jose watching bad tv, drinking beer and eating Chinese food as they reminisce about the last four years fondly until there is a knock at the door! WHO COULD THAT BE?!

Kate answers the door and is nearly knocked off her feet by Elliot. He seizes her in a Hollywood-style clinch that moves quickly into a European art house embrace. Honestly… get a room. José and I stare at each other. I’m appalled at their lack of modesty.

I had someone mention to me that one of the few good things about Twilight is that at no point does it slut-shame, and that 50 Shades has managed to strip one of the few good things away from its source material.  It isn't just herself Ana expects to be modest, it's everyone. I can understand not being a fan of over the top PDA and just... Not wanting to watch people make out on the bus and such. Are Kate and Elliot being rude and kind of tacky since Ana and Jose are right there? Definitely. Is Ana still being critical and judgmental and her usual awful self? Yup. This is there hello. Give them that and THEN be bitchy. Ana and Jose decide to peace out to the bar since Kate and Elliot are soooo going to bone right then and there. I'm sure this is just to get Ana in trouble with Grey. Ana herself seems fine with Jose, she says things are back to normal and the event is forgotten (or swept under the rug) but I'm sure that's about to change. We don't actually see Ana and Jose spending any time at the bar. The conversation we see boils down to "You're still going to be a part of my life once you move, right???" and then Ana goes home and has to listen to Kate and Elliot banging in the other room. After she says bye to Jose she mentions something that strikes me.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell him about the Beetle, I know he’ll freak when he finds out, and I can only deal with one man at a time freaking out at me.

Ana doesn't like conflict. I get that. However she has now twice skirted talking about her new car. She's embarrassed by it! She's afraid to talk about it! Grey just seems to make her more and more uncomfortable. There's an e-mail from Grey being all "BITCH CALL ME YOU SAID YOU'D E-MAIL ME AND YOU DIDN'T AND WHAT IF YOU GOT KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS?" so after seeing FIVE MISSED CALLS Ana thinks that he's suffocating her and calls back. I want to point out that Ana sucks at having a phone. She never has one or two missed calls, she has three to six. People only call that many times if they're used to you not answering. She is also afraid to call Grey because he's gonna be sooo pissed!

Thankfully, he isn't. The conversation is actually... Normal. Ish. Grey has a Sad for reasons unknown and is all soft and sedate and Ana thinks of the grief piano from when they first boned and just wants to hug him! They then somehow dissolve into a "You hang up" "No you". That happens guys. At least they acknowledge that it's over the top? It's a short conversation but drives home that the whole point of the last few scenes was to show Grey WORRIES about Ana because he cares!

Then we skip to the girls in their new apartment. Elliot has set up their electronics before he must skip out for mandatory family dinner since his sister is back in town. I'd like to note that neither Kate nor Ana are invited. Don't get me wrong, to me, that makes sense, but I know a lot of people would have invited their S.O. along in that instance. As Kate sees Elliot out Ana, again, ponders the difference between Elliot and Grey. Elliot is so cute and open and physical! Too physical! Can't keep his hands off Kate! Which, again, new couple, what ever, but I can relate. However Ana also says that she's envious, which struck me. Has Ana internalized such brutal views towards female sexuality because when she was celibate, it wasn't entirely by choice and her jealousy led her to bitterness?

So Grey sends a bottle of champagne and a helium helicopter to the girls and then we skip ahead to SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! Ana puts the dress and heels on again, having forgotten about the doctor apparently. As Ana and Grey make eyes at each other, Grey tells Ana that his Mom wants her to come to dinner (Elliot will also be inviting Kate). I am so not looking forward to that scene. It's going to cause skin crawling. I just know it. So the doctor turns up but before Ana goes to see the woman, Grey grabs her and whispers this sweet gem.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” he whispers. “I can’t wait to get you naked.”

And that's the end of the chapter! This one hurt less then chapter 16. Probably because it was shorter? The start of the chapter when Grey is getting his victim-blaming ass-hattery out there I wanted to burn the sofa, but after that he was hardly on page! Funny how him not being on page makes the book more bearable.

Comments and drinks recipes are always appreciated. Until Sunday! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 16 in which I just want the entier cast to STFU

Right, let's get this shit show on the road kids! This chapter just keeps going from where the last one left off. It does so with such specificness that I wonder why we had a chapter break to start with. So Ana starts coming back to her senses and is all "OH GAWD GREY SMELLS SO SEXY" and if just huffing him after the banging, she then gets bold and touches his chest.

“Don’t,” he murmurs, then kisses me lightly.
“Why don’t you like to be touched?” I whisper, staring up into soft gray eyes.
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia.”

I hate it when authors feel the need to title drop. Unless the title of your book is the name of something in the actual book, like a whale, it's just tacky. The thing had already been titled by the point that this chapter was written, so you know it was deliberate.

“I had a very tough introduction to life. I don’t want to burden you with the details. Just don’t.” He strokes his nose against mine, and then he pulls out of me and sits up.

YOU WERE ADOPTED WHEN YOU WERE FOUR! Which means that either EL James doesn't quite get developmental psychology (likely) or the Greys are a bunch of psychopaths (unlikely, but a girl can hope). I'm not saying that traumatizing things that happen to very young children won't traumatize the adult, and it is definitely possible that something DID happen to Grey that would have him not wanting to be touched, but the level of impact EL James is trying to tell us it had just seems... unlikely.

Now that Grey has had his mandatory angst this paragraph he cheerfully informs Ana that she has now completed her basic training, and up next is the- I don't even know. All the really fun stuff is off the table. Caning, fisting, nipple clamps... Really what is left in life for Ana?

I’m still reeling from the tough introduction to life comment. It’s so frustrating – I am desperate to know more. But he won’t tell me.

YOU ARE BARELY A COUPLE! Does Ana expect everyone to start sharing their deep dark angsty secrets with her after three weeks? Thankfully Ana doesn't push it (thankfully because my poor liver) but she points out that if he thinks she believed she had control during that for one second he didn't consider her GPA! Really, Ana? Really? I knew a lot of people with awesome grades who were drooling morons. You can excel in school and not life.Which I imagine Ana has.

“Miss Steele, you are not just a pretty face. You’ve had six orgasms so far and all of them belong to me,” he boasts, playful again.

I also keep track of how many orgasms my partner has. The Boy is up to four! I'm so proud. Ana however seems surprised by this totally normal thing. Grey however, being psychic, realized that Ana's blushing at the number means SOMETHING IS OFF!

“Do you have something to tell me?” his voice is suddenly stern.
I frown. Crap.
“I had a dream this morning.”
“Oh?” He glares at me.
Double crap. Am I in trouble?

 Hey guys, remember when "double crap" was still kind of funny? No? Thought so. So Grey begins to grill Ana about her dream, and what he was doing to her in it.

I throw my arm over my eyes again. And like a small child, I briefly entertain the thought that if I can’t see him, then he can’t see me.

Guys, why does Ana keep making herself sound super childish? It's creepy. So she tells him about the dream without getting even a little sexy. Which gives me a sad. Because if she started going into detail she'd get all hot and bothered, and so would he, and then there would be more fucking as to the pending ANGST.

“Anastasia, what was I doing? I won’t ask you again.”
“You had a riding crop.”
He moves my arm.
“Yes.” I am crimson.
“There’s hope for you yet,” he murmurs. “I have several riding crops.”
“Brown plaited leather?”
He laughs.
“No, but I’m sure I could get one.” His gray eyes blaze with excitement.

And that's it. Then he starts getting ready to go, and Ana is, shockingly, angsting over this and trying to figure out how to make him stay. Get knocked up? That always works!

“When is your period due?” He interrupts my thoughts.

This leads into him telling her she needs to get on the pill or something because he wants to go bare back already. Christian Grey. The classiest of warlocks.  Ana is, once again shockingly, thrown by him springing this on her. He tells her on Sunday that she can see his doctor at his apartment. We get it! GREY IS RICH AND PRIVILEGED AND THE WORLD AROUND HIM IS PERFECT! I hope his doctor is all "Sorry, preforming an abortion that morning, but I can pop by on Monday!" so Grey can loose his shit on the guy and then force Ana to go to a clinic (are any of them open Sundays? I haven't the foggiest) and they can awkwardly sit around with the other commons.

So, this bugs me for a bunch of reasons. One, forcing a woman to go on the pill makes me squirmy. It's a case of a man controlling a woman's reproductive abilities, which is not okay ever. Two, women have reactions to the pill. I used to be on it, and went off because after switching prescriptions 3 times in as many years, I was tired of always being moody, or sore, or tired, or what ever else was the problem. I mention this because if Ana was one of the many women who has a reaction to the pill, I suspect that he would just keep pushing her onto different hormonal contraceptives. I'm sure if his doctor said the pill was dangerous to her* he would back off, but the whole thing just screams a disregard for Ana's wishes and consent, as per usual.

“Are you leaving?”
Don’t go… stay with me please.

I'm torn between yelling at Ana for being needy and being glad she isn't saying it out loud. Seriously, I don't understand how Ana has become this attached to Grey. It's been what, three weeks? She's also going to see him in three days! I used to get bummed out when I was still long distance with The Boy when he left because it was another week until I'd see him again, but I didn't get distraught over it.

“Did you get me tipsy on purpose?”
“Because you over-think everything, and you’re reticent like your stepdad. A drop of wine in you and you start talking, and I need you to communicate honestly with me. Otherwise you clam up, and I have no idea what you’re thinking. In vino veritas, Anastasia.”

So it's okay to get a girl drunk to extort information out of her? That isn't creepy and doesn't carry some very rapey over tones at all! Grey then tells Ana that this will only work if they're super duper honest with each other all the time! Ana then asks for more bang to try to get him to stay. That is actually how this conversation is progressing. Ana isn't the least bit concerned that he got her drunk to try and get her consent. This book is so loaded with rape-culture that I'm past the point of having snark. My snark glands are over powered by all of the rage. Sigh. Moving on, Grey promises to have a revised contract for her by Sunday. Once she signs on the dotted line.... and initials on the margins on page 3, 6, and 7... and prints her name on the top, before signing next to where she printed her name... THEN they shall play!

“Oh. So I could stretch this out, if I don’t sign?”
He gazes at me assessing, and then his lips twitch into a smile.
“Well, I suppose you could, but I may crack under the strain.”
“Crack? How?” My inner goddess has woken and is paying attention.

So, her inner goddess is not only really childish, it enjoys being manipulative and distressing other people. Just gonna point that out.

“Ugly, how?”
“Oh you know, explosions, car chases, kidnapping, incarceration.”
“You’d kidnap me?”
“Oh yes,” he grins.
“Hold me against my will?” Jeez this is hot.
“Oh yes,” he nods. “And then we’re talking TPE 24/7.”
“You’ve lost me,” I breathe, my heart is pounding… is he serious?
“Total Power Exchange – round the clock.” His eyes are shining, and I can feel his excitement from where I sit.
Holy shit.
“So you have no choice,” he says sardonically.

Okay, I get that they're supposed to be kidding, but holy shit. I've had guys make "I could hold you down and rape you" "jokes" and gotten really uncomfortable because even though they were smiling and joking, they were still telling me they had thought about raping me enough to decide that it was a thing they could do. It's only happened twice, and both times were really disturbing. Last time that happened was at a party. I didn't drink another drop after, and stuck close to The Boy and the other women at the party. Maybe I'm just filtering through my own experience, but even with all the HA HA JUST KIDDING stuff, this is really disturbing to me. The fact that Ana isn't totally sure that he is joking doesn't help. Has he kidnapped someone before and just made it go away with his power until he got bored of her? This reads as a threat, "Do what I want, and you can be free when I bore of you". Or maybe more accurately, "You can sell this to me, or I can take it by force. Either way it will be mine."

Ana's response to Grey saying he'd kidnap her is to roll her eyes at him. Which means it is spanking time. Ana is scared, she hasn't signed yet! She has an out! LOL NO!

“I told you what I’d do. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard. Looks like we’ll need that condom after all.”


His voice is so soft, menacing, and it’s damned hot. My insides practically contort with potent, needy, liquid, desire.

Needy liquid desire. Hot? Also Ana, the more you tell us he's hot, the less I believe you.

Should I run? This is it, our relationship hangs in the balance, right here, right now. Do I let him do this or do I say no, and then that’s it? Because I know it will be over if I say no. Do it! My inner goddess pleads with me, my subconscious is as paralyzed as I am.

Really? This is the water shed moment? I thought that was at the grad reception? Naturally she cracks and gets thrown over Grey's lap! Then Grey asks “Why am I doing this, Anastasia?”

“Because I rolled my eyes at you,” I can barely speak.
“Do you think that’s polite?”
“Will you do it again?”

So I can almost see the sexy here. Almost. It's hidden by the fact that Ana keeps making herself sound childish so this seems way too much like a parent disciplining their kid as to... Y'know. Sex.

Very slowly, he pulls down my sweatpants. Oh, how demeaning is this, demeaning and scary and hot. He’s making such a meal of this. My heart is in my mouth. I can barely breathe. Shit, is this going to hurt?

And then he starts spanking her!

Ana... Doesn't seem to like it.

Holy fuck it hurts. I make no sound, my face screwed up against the pain. I try and wriggle away from the blows – spurred on by adrenaline spiking and coursing through my body.

Not sexy. I get that Ana it's supposed to be punished here, but, well, reading about Ana getting spanked for rolling her eyes and squirming and trying to wiggle away on instinct but she can't because Grey is holding her... The whole thing doesn't feel consensual. In between each slap he also gropes her ass a bit, which Ana points out over and over, but again, not feeling the sexy here. This is more creepy. If she was enjoying it, I'd be less uncomfortable, but she's just upset that he's hitting her.

“Aargh!” I cry out on the tenth slap – and I’m unaware that I have been mentally counting the blows.
“I’m just getting warmed up.”


And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. He continues the unrelenting rhythm. I cry out six more times. Eighteen slaps in total. My body is singing, singing from his merciless assault.
“Enough,” he breathes hoarsely. “Well done, Anastasia. Now I’m going to fuck you.”

It's okay though, guys, because then he just rams a finger in Ana and she's positively dripping, so she liked it! She just didn't know! So this really creepy uncomfortable narrative was Ana lying to herself! Grey knows what she really wants and likes before she does so all of his actions are infallible.

“I’m going to take you now. You can come,” he murmurs.
What? Like I have a choice.

I'm so glad Grey gives Ana permission to orgasm *eye roll* WAIT OH NO FU-

He moves, pounding into me, a fast, intense pace against my sore behind.

Bets on how long until he bums her after spanking her? Also, really, "behind"? The language in this book is disconcertingly clean sometimes. Almost as if it were meant for a younger audience.

NO… and my traitorous body explodes in an intense, body-shattering orgasm.

I'm a little miffed at why Ana is always so upset when she's about to orgasm. That isn't having a traitorous body, that's having a really good shot at multiple orgasms. Which is awesome. So then Grey finished up seconds after Ana, because that's how sex always goes. I should just be glad they don't always come simultaneously.

“Oh, baby,” he breathes. “Welcome to my world.”

His world is pretty similar to her world. The only difference is the occasional spanking thus far. Really. That's it. That was the new thing he brought to the table that is supposed to make this ZOMG SO DIFFERENT.

Boy… I survived. That wasn’t so bad. I’m more stoic than I thought. My inner goddess is prostrate… well at least she’s quiet.

Stoic? Really? Also if your inner goddess has shut the hell up, let me enjoy a moment without her. So Grey pats Ana on the ass and tells her "good job".

I’m so pleased that he’s happy.

Ana is secretly a Labrador retriever, isn't she? We then get some pontificating about Ana's first spanking. Are you excited? Because I'm not.

My backside is sore. Well, glowing now, and amazingly I feel, apart from exhausted, radiant. The realization is humbling, unexpected. I don’t understand. Holy shit.
 I’m so confused by my reaction. I remember him saying – I can’t remember when – that I would feel so much better after a good hiding. How can that be so? I really don’t get it. But strangely, I do. I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience, in fact, I would still go a long way to avoid it, but now… I have this safe, weird, bathed in afterglow, sated feeling. I put my head in my hands. I just don’t understand.

Is this going to happen every time Ana experiences something new? Shock, awe, and confusion? And what is so confusing about this? "Hey, that was unexpectedly kind of fun!" then you get on with your day. I know this is supposed to be BRAVE NEW WORLD stuff but Jesus Christ, it's a spanking not a new continent. Also Grey has once again known what Ana really wanted before she did and the text is beating us over the head with it and grrrr.

“I found some baby oil. Let me rub it into your behind.”

Lol what? Is that a thing for pummeled skin? I have never heard that before. So Grey yanks down Ana's sweats because it is baby-oil time.

Up and down like whores’ drawers my subconscious remarks bitterly. In my head, I tell her where to go.

I'm not the only one who thinks this is just a manifestation of very deep self-loathing, right? Not to mention evidence that Ana may have been totally celibate not just because no one before Grey caught her eye, but because she has some serious issues with slut-shaming on some level. Also, I want to know why EL James felt the need to put this in here. Can Ana not just have a sexual awakening and say "Jeeze this is awesome!" without there being some insipid narrative in the back of her (and now our) heads saying "You're a whore"? I know you could build the argument that EL James was trying to be realistic, but, this is fantasy, and absolutely nothing else any of the other characters do is realistic, so why start here? Why start somewhere so toxic?

“Don’t you have to call Taylor?” I ask, avoiding eye contact.
“Taylor’s been here since nine.

So, question. Why? No, really. Grey has a car. We have seen him give Ana rides on multiple occasions. It's implied he likes to drive, too. So why did he not drive himself to Ana's? Why did Taylor have to spend an hour and a half just sitting in her front drive way with his thumb up his arse?

I close the door and stand helpless in the living room of an apartment that I shall only spend another two nights in. A place I have lived happily for almost four years… yet today, for the first time ever, I feel lonely and uncomfortable here, unhappy with my own company. Have I strayed so far from who I am? I know that lurking, not very far under my rather numb exterior, is a well of tears. What am I doing? The irony is I can’t even sit down and enjoy a good cry. I’ll have to stand.

How is it ironic you can't sit and cry? Hey, you guys remember when Kate was all "OH ANA YOU NEVER CRY BECAUSE YOU ARE SO STRONG!" how many times has she started to bawl over Grey? I can think of two or three off hand now. This is also not the first time we've seen her heart broken about Grey leaving, which does not sit well with me. Three weeks and seeing him in two or three days. It just, it doesn't make sense. Why? Why is him going home for the night ZOMG SO HEART BREAKING?

So Ana realizes that it's late, and decides to give her Mum a call. How much do you want to bet this is just going to dissolve into Ana's Mom being all "ZOMG WHAT IS WRONG!??!"

“Ana? What’s wrong?” She’s all seriousness now.

THERE ARE TWO LINES OF DIALOG BEFORE THIS! TWO! "Hi! How was grad?" "Hi. Fine" and then that. That is the flow of this conversation.

“Please, Ana,” she says, and her anguish reflects mine.
“Oh, Mom, it’s a man.”
“What’s he done to you?” Her alarm is palpable.


“I’ve kind of fallen for this guy, and he’s so different from me, and I don’t know if we should be together.”
“Oh, darling. I wish I could be with you. I am so sorry I missed your graduation. You’ve fallen for someone, finally. Oh, honey, men, they are so tricky. They’re a different species, honey. How long have you known him?”

I'm torn on how I feel about her Mother's reaction here. I can sort of get it. She's just so relived that, you know, Ana hasn't been raped/beaten/etc and it's JUST that she's miffed over a crush. What confuses me is that she opened with "I'm sorry I missed your grad". I mean, I'm sure she is. Is this supposed to be that her Mother regrets not being around on a larger scale and that this is the thing on her mind at the moment? That makes enough sense that it seems unreasonable for that to be the author intent. The other thing that irks me is "You've fallen for someone, finally." Finally? Really? You're throwing that in there? When she's distraught over it?

“Ana, darling, that’s no time at all. How can you possibly know someone in that kind of time frame? Just take it easy with him and keep him at arm’s length until you decide whether he’s worthy of you.”

So we know where her inner goddess gets it from now. Ana's Mother then gushes about "Honey come visit! We want to see you! Honey you're too young to let a man get under your skin!". So, let me get this straight, Ana's Mother, who if she has a name I have no idea what it is, thinks it's about time Ana fell for a dude, but she shouldn't let him under her skin? Can't brain that one. So Ana mulls if she should visit her mother (she wants to but moving and job interviews) and gets off the phone when Kate enters stage right.

“Has that obscenely rich fucker upset you again?”
“No… sort of… err… yes.”
“Just tell him to take a hike, Ana. You’ve been so up and down since you met him. I’ve never seen you like this.”
The world of Katherine Kavanagh is very clear, very black and white. Not the intangible, mysterious, vague hues of gray that color my world.

WHY MUST YOU POINT OUT HOW RICH/SEXY GREY IS ALL THE TIME KATE?! Also, this is two border-line title drops IN ONE GOD DAMNED CHAPTER EL JAMES I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU. You know what though, Ana? Kate's right. Your life is as complicated as you let it be (well, ignoring things like illness and death etc) and Ana, you have the power to make your life simpler by ditching Grey, who has become a huge source of stress for you. Kate isn't over simplifying, you're just making things more complicated. SELF-AWARENESS. I WANT IT IN MY LITERATURE.

“Are you okay?”
“I fell over and landed on my behind.”
She doesn’t think to question my explanation, because I am one of the most un-coordinated people in Washington State.

This just sounds like Ana covering for an abusive husband. To me, this is terrifying, not a giddy thrilling secret.

my mind glazes over and I’m pulled back to the Heathman – “Well, if you were mine you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.” He said it then, and all I could concentrate on at the time was being his. All the warning signs were there, I was just too clueless and too enamored to notice.

THEN GET OUT NOW YOU GIT! I was expecting Ana to start perking up about things now that she's made her decision, but, she just insists on being an angst bucket. I can't be the only one who's just annoyed by this at this point, right?

“Kate, it’s complicated. How was your evening?” I ask.
I can’t talk this through with Kate without revealing too much, but one question on her day and Kate is off.

Kate is just awful. She has the attention span of a goldfish unless it's about herself. She is an awful BFFF.

The hot news is that Ethan may be coming to live with us after their holiday. That will be fun – Ethan is a hoot. I frown. I don’t think Christian will approve. Well… tough.

So Ethan will move in with them for DRAMA! I think EL James decided that Jose being brown just wasn't a viable romantic rival so she's throwing Ethan in to pick up the slack? Or is he just going to be one more thing for Grey and Ana to fight about? THE SUSPENSE! So Ana gets ready for bed and then checks the "mean machine". That is an awful name for a computer.

Dear Miss Steele
You are quite simply exquisite. The most beautiful, intelligent, witty and brave woman I have ever met. Take some Advil – this is not a request. And don’t drive your Beetle again. I will know.

I groaned out loud as I read that. The Boy looked over "You working on the blag?" "Yup" "Sucker." SHE'S SO BRAVE AND WITTY AND AWESOME YOU GUYS! And look at how much Grey looooves her! Ana ignores the niceness and sends back a response about how she has to drive the beetle to bring it to a garage to sell it and that red wine is better then advil! Yeah, you won't be saying that in the morning sweet heart. Grey INSTANTLY responds being all "Taylor will take care of it. Now go to bed drunkard" Ana shoots back a response titles "Taylor - is he the right man for the job?"

Dear Sir
I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right hand man drive my car – but not some woman you fuck occasionally. How can I be sure that Taylor is the man to get me the best deal for said car? I have, in the past, probably before I met you, been known to drive a hard bargain.

I don't even have anything snarky to say about this. I'm just so tired of Ana. "I'm just some woman he fucks occasionally! We're not a real couple!" when he ALREADY SAID HE WOULD TRY TO DO A REAL COUPLE THING! He also just sent her an e-mail gushing about how awesome she is seven seconds ago! Seriously. Is Ana not following along with the plot? I RESENT HAVING TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR LIFE THEN YOU ARE ANA! Grey's response is titled "Careful!"

Taylor is ex-army and capable of driving anything from a motorcycle to a Sherman Tank. Your car does not present a hazard to him.
Now please do not refer to yourself as ‘some woman I fuck occasionally’ because, quite frankly it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Holy shit you guys. Grey is The Hulk.

So, he's basically threatening Ana here. "Do what I want or I will be awful to you". This is after Ana has said that he scares her when he's angry, so he should be aware that it has some weight. I get that he's upset that he's been making the closest thing to a real attempt that he can when it comes to her, but this response is actually one of the red flags for "Are you in an abusive relationship?" It's incredibly manipulative.

Also Taylor just got a lot more interesting. If he used to be an Army Guy why on Earth is he working for Grey now to wait in a driveway for two hours while Grey gets his bang on? Alright, time for Ana's response. It's a short and obnoxious one with a subject of "Careful yourself!". I'm just going to put the exchange here and snip out the subject lines and such.

Dear Mr. Grey
I’m not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment.
Ms. Steele

 Why don’t you like me?

Because you never stay with me.

And then Ana is all proud of herself for giving him something to think about.

It’s been one long day, one emotional wrench after another.

Ana then recaps what has happened over the last three chapters. Thanks, Ana! Glad you went over that so I could remember! It isn't like I didn't read them myself!

And then this evening, he actually hit me. I’ve never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself into? Very slowly, my tears, halted by Kate’s arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears.

SHE'S SO SAD! That said, the fact that thinking "I've been hit" is what's triggering her is... Terrifying. However, the real reason she's sobbing isn't over being beaten. 

Why is he so fucked up? It must be awful to be as affected as he is, and the thought that as a toddler he suffered some unbearable cruelty makes me cry harder. Perhaps if he was more normal he wouldn’t want you, my subconscious contributes snidely to my musings… and in my heart of hearts I know this is true. 

The real reason Ana is sobbing is over how TRAGIC Grey is because being so DAMAGED and TRAGIC he is surely going to break her heart! This is all topped off with an order of piping hot self loathing! Ana thinks that the only way a man could want her is if he is deeply damaged. That's... Really sad. Ana's weeping is interrupted by yelling from the hallway!

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?”
“Well you can’t!”
“What the fuck have you done to her now?”
“Since she’s met you she cries all the time.”
“You can’t come in here!”

That's right, Grey has, once again, turned up uninvited. I imagine this is just for some snuggles, though. He also bursts past Kate who is screaming the above at him. Oh, Kate, you sad excuse for a character you. So Grey lets himself into Ana's room, where the lights are all off because she was trying to sleep, and start turning on EVERY LIGHT IN THE GOD DAMNED ROOM! Grey, you suuuck. What if she had been sleeping? Couldn't just let a drunk girl sleep it off and talk to her tomorrow? No, no, that wouldn't be DRAMATIC enough, would it? Kate lurks at the door growling at Grey until Ana tells her to heel and she stalks off.

“Part of my role is to look after your needs. You said you wanted me to stay, so here I am. And yet I find you like this.” He blinks at me, truly bewildered. “I’m sure I’m responsible, but I have no idea why. Is it because I hit you?”

I'm kind of with Grey on this one. He then stalks off to get her advil because she didn't take any like ordered. I also get that this is showing that NO HE'S TOTALLY GOING TO TAKE CARE OF HER AND TREAT HER LIKE A PRINCESS! But to me "princess" is starting to mean "spoiled child" which in a book about FUCKING is not a welcome parallel.

“Talk to me,” he whispers. “You told me you were okay. I’d never have left you if I thought you were like this.”
What can I say that I haven’t said already? I want more. I want him to stay because he wants to stay with me, not because I’m a blubbering mess, and I don’t want him to beat me, is that so unreasonable?

Why are they still talking? So, Grey isn't being a dick, though he's being dense, which considering he's damned near psychic half the time is confusing. Ana is also being dense and as I said before, petulant child.

“Anastasia, you can’t tell me what you think I want to hear. That’s not very honest,” he admonishes me. “How can I trust anything you’ve said to me?”

And then Grey looks at Ana, who is emotional and vulnerable and weepy, and... Makes it about him. Why you gotta be like that Grey? 

“How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”
“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”
“You weren’t meant to like it.”
“Why do you like it?” I stare up at him.

Is this whole book going to be about how Ana fixes Grey's BDSM obsession? It is, isn't it? God damn it. Also haven't we been over why he likes it already? He likes to control the everything because his damaged youth had him in a powerless position.

“I like the control it brings me, Anastasia. I want you to behave in a particular way, and if you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn to behave the way I desire. I enjoy punishing you. I’ve wanted to spank you since you asked me if I was gay.”

See? Ana then thinks "IF KATE HAD GONE SHE'D BE SITTING HERE INSTEAD OF ME!!!" right after this. No, Ana, she wouldn't. Kate would have told him to suck it. Also, I want to point out that Grey's first response to a younger woman asking if he was gay was to want to hit her. Why does anyone ever like Christian Grey? There is then some really tedious dialog. I'll try and sum it up.

Ana: Why don't you like me how I am? Why must you try and change me?
Grey: I don't want to change you. I just want you to act/think/talk/behave in a way that I want you to. I gave you the rules. Follow them or I will beat you.
Ana: I don't get.

“It’s the way I’m made, Anastasia. I need to control you. I need you to behave in a certain way, and if you don’t – I love to watch your beautiful alabaster skin pink and warm up under my hands. It turns me on.”

Grey just talks like a robot. A creepy abusive robot. Then again, maybe this is just proof that I could never be a BDSM Sub. Or Dom. The "I like to watch your ass" part, meh, but "I need to control you as a human being entirely" part? I'm struggling to see this as not being controlling and abusive. If Ana was happier, or more at peace, about the issue, I'd simply accept it as one of the many cases of "I don't get but they're happy and seem to work together so what ever" but that isn't how this is coming across at all.

Look, I’m not explaining myself very well… I’ve never had to before. I’ve not really thought about this in any great depth. I’ve always been with like-minded people,” he shrugs apologetically.

And he then changes the topic. To how Ana felt about things after the spanking. He explains that she was turned on. He has to tell her that she liked it. Maybe Ana should be with someone totally domineering if she's this bad at gauging her own reactions. Ana derails the conversation by getting a lady boner.

“Don’t look at me like that,” he murmurs.
I frown. Jeez what have I done now?
“I don’t have any condoms, Anastasia, and you know, you’re upset.

Yup. That happened. Grey then complains that Ana isn't honest with him in person, just in e-mail.

“You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me. I feel like Icarus flying too close to the Sun,” I whisper.
He gasps.
“Well, I think you’ve got that the wrong way around,” he whispers.
“Oh, Anastasia, you’ve bewitched me. Isn’t it obvious?”

THEY'RE JUST SO IN LOVE AND IT'S A SILLY MISUNDERSTANDING!! So Grey tells her to send him an e-mail since that seems to be the form of communication she's more comfortable in. I kind of like that. It shows that he's paying attention and at least wants her to, you know, talk to him. However I'm miffed that he expects her to be totally honest when he has made it very clear that a misstep ends in a spanking. Or him being sullen and angry. Then they snuggle up and Grey demands that if Ana must cry, she should do it in front of him. So he can bottle her tears to use as lube.

“Do you want me to cry?”
“Not particularly. I just want to know how you’re feeling. I don’t want you slipping through my fingers. Switch the light off. It’s late, and we both have to work tomorrow.”
So here… and still so bossy, but I can’t complain, he’s in my bed. I don’t quite understand why… maybe I should weep more often in front of him.

Ana is thinking about using her tears to manipulate him. She is also painfully stupid. I'm sorry, but you sent a sulky e-mail about him not staying that concerned him so he came to investigate and saw you weeping. That is why! How is this so difficult to figure out Ana?!

So Ana assumes the little-spoon position and they snuggle up and she goes to sleep. That's end. Chapter end!

This chapter just hurt me. I just hate the entire cast so much. The whole thing is tedious and the characters are all awful and arg. Comments and drink recipes always welcome. Till Thursday!

*A friend of mine can't be on hormonal contraception otherwise she'll have a stroke. She's 23. I'm not saying the pill is bad or evil, it isn't. It just irks me that so many people think that hormonal contraception is safe and feasible for everyone. If it works for you, awesome. If not, join the club!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Randoms - Shit my editors says

I won't lie, I kind of love referring to "My editors" even though they're just friends of mine who are great with spelling/grammar and deconstructing scenes to point out where they do and don't work. They've been incredibly patient and encouraging and constructive as I slough through the incredibly long editing process. Sometimes however, I break them a little. Here are a few of my favorite examples of breaking Editor Number 1 (or him being a bastard). I hope that those of you aspiring writers see that with a little help, editing can be fun!

"Sentences are baked goods, punctuation is the frosting and related decorations, and you insist on using a melon baller"


"I almost wish I had been keeping count of all of the then/than mistakes. Almost."

"I'm at the point where I'm just curious what you think the the rules of punctuation are. I feel like I've found some rare and strange breed of butterfly."

"We will have a punctuation workshop – there may be a flipchart with pictures of monsters, and well-structured sentences to describe them"

"I am leaving the paragraphing to Alex, because his suffering amuses me"

"Do you just hate scene breaks?  Did you once share an apartment with a scene break that stole your stuff and never washed dishes?"

"You have the soul of a poet
trapped inside an onyx casket in your closet
screaming for an end to its suffering"

"This wording seems out of place to me. I need to come up with an acronym for that. TWSOOPTM."

Editing has been going well, as you can all see.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

50 Shades of Poor Time Management

So this week has been super busy and kept me from proper blogging. I had been hoping to get today's chapter done and up by tonight, but I am just in a really unfortunate head space today and I don't think I can get anything good out. It's hard to be clever and insightful when you just want to eat a pint of ice cream straight from the carton.

So chapter 16 should be up tomorrow. Sorry!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

50 Shades of Grey chapter 15 in which I am too drunk to come up with a good title.

A quick note before we get started. I've been having some spam-bots wandering into my corner of the internet lately, so the spam filters are getting a little... Twitchy. If you make a comment and it doesn't show up, as strange as it sounds, make another saying so. I see all comments in my inbox, but it doesn't mention that it filtered some to the spam folder. If you comment again I'll know to rescue your previous comment.

Right! Onto chapter 15! I have high hopes for this chapter despite the boring and tedious never ending that last chapter was. Why? Because Ana just said yes. They have to be close to the banging all the time, right? The rest of the three books will only be a series of sex acts, right? Right?! Please? I'm also starting this chapter with a drink in hand. Because I don't work tomorrow. The Boy is going to be confused when he comes home from work and I'm half in the bag. Now, ONWARDS!

Grey turns up looking good in leather (yeah you do) with a bottle of champagne. Ana drools a little and then apologizes that they only have tea cups as everything else is packed. I now want to have a grown up tea party, but tea party like when I was little, and instead of juice have hard liquor. Grey then finds the books Ana is planning to give back to him.

Crap… this is probably going to be a fight.

That is her first thought. They are barely even dating and she's expecting a fight over every little thing. WHY DO WOMEN IDEALIZE THIS RELATIONSHIP? I was talking to a friend of mine who's on book 3 of this series and she made me feel a little better "I don't find him or the relationship even a little attractive. The only appeal of Grey is that he's hot and rich." which is still concerning that this is so popular, but less scary. She also added on "Plus it's hot how open he is about what he wants in the sack." which I actually am not scared by. I'm not into Grey, but sexual empowerment? Hell yeah.

So Grey comments about HOW PERFECT the quote is and says that he bought them for Ana and he'll go easier on her (her request) if she keeps them. He's her Dom now so she doesn't need to think about these things, just accept them and be happy. Ana however has a surprising back up plan.

“So they are mine to do with as I wish?”
He eyes me suspiciously, but concedes.
“In that case, I’d like to give them to a charity, one working in Darfur since that seems to be close to your heart. They can auction them.”

Well played, Ana. Well played. However because it's Grey that won't work quite so simply.

“I’ll think about it,” I murmur, I don’t want to disappoint him, and his words come back to me. I want you to want to please me.
“Don’t think, Anastasia. Not about this.” His tone is quiet and serious.

Again, encouraging her to be mindless. He doesn't want a girlfriend or relationship, he just wants some beige blob to boss around. I'm confused that he keeps saying how much he likes things about HER (her ready wit, negotiation skills, ability to make a point) but when ever she does anything, dismisses her.

You can pretend to be a car, like his other possessions, my subconscious makes an unwelcome vitriolic return.

And Grey then kisses her and says he's going to buy her lots of things and she should learn to get used to it and like it because he can afford it and wants to.

‘Ho’ my subconscious mouths at me.

SHUT UP ANA'S SUBCONSCIOUS YOU'RE AN AWFUL HARPY! This chapter I am playing the drinking game of "Every time I yell at a characters as I read, I drink!" so far we're at two. One for Grey telling Ana not to think, and one for Ana's subconscious. Don't worry, I'll write up a proper drinking game in the future.

Ana tells Grey that it makes her feel cheap (don't give into your harpy of a subconscious! Shove a ball gag in her mouth and then let Grey do the same to you!) and Grey is all "STOP THINKING YOU SILLY WOMAN! YOU'LL LEARN TO LIKE IT! DON'T WORRY WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK!" I'm sure this book will end with the two of them riding off into the sunset, but let's pretend they don't for a moment. This is Ana's first relationship. If she and Grey split, how damaged will she be when it comes to dating another guy? Will she expect lavish gifts in exchange for emotional availability?

“It’s pink,” I murmur, surprised.
“Bollinger Grande Année Rosé 1999, an excellent vintage,” he says with relish.
“In teacups.”

I'm just putting it up here because I feel I should point out the parts that make me giggle. Again, I'd be using watermellon jolly rancher vodka myself, but I am so planning a tea party. There will be tiaras and candy necklaces and copious amounts of hard liquor.

Ana then tries to talk about the soft limits because they're still up for negotiation, but Grey wants to talk about Ray. He's a taciturn man! Ana just wants to get this over and done with so he can get her over and do her (heyo!) but Grey wants to get chatty. So they talk about the move, where he says he would help but he's picking his sister up from the airport in Seattle early Saturday. Bets on if his sister will be Ana's NEW BFFF or if she'll be an OBSTACLE? I want to say obstacle because that fits the genre better, and Grey has one sister to Edward's two. Grey's sister could be Rosalie OR Alice. I'm hoping for an antagonist, personally. Grey then gets prissy over Kate and Elliot for no real reason (he doesn't approve of his brother sleeping with someone close to his girlfriend would be my bet). Grey is just pumping Ana full of champagne and goes from grilling her about her interviews at publishing houses (I still think he's going to try to force her to work for him) and then changes the topic to the soft limits. Then he asks her if she ate and she's all "YES! GOD!"

He leans forward and holds my chin, staring intently into my eyes.
“Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”
“Oh,” I breathe, and I can see the excitement in his eyes.
“Oh,” he responds, mirroring my tone. “So it begins, Anastasia.”
My heart slams against my chest, and the butterflies escape from my stomach into my constricting throat. Why is that hot?

And another drink. Not because of Grey, surprisingly. I kind of get that one, I think, but because Ana is questioning WHY she finds it sexy. Because you like the thought of being spanked? There is nothing wrong with a good spanking, Ana. Specially if you've been a bad, bad girl.

“Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”
“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia. But we’ll wait for that. Besides, it’s not something we can dive into,” he smirks at me. “Your ass will need training.”
“Training?” I whisper.
“Oh yes. It’ll need careful preparation. Anal intercourse can be very pleasurable, trust me. But if we try it and you don’t like it, we don’t have to do it again.” He grins down at me.

"I'd really like to claim your ass. But first, TRAINING MONTAGE!!!" I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I get the character and author intent here. It makes SENSE that Ana is freaked out over going the rocky road. It also makes sense for an erotica author to want to write anal, so she needs to come around with a reason to get around it. What bothers me is that Ana is saying "No I don't want to do that" and Grey's response is "No you'll love it!" when BDSM is largely about consent and negotiation is a huge part of it. Grey is, ONCE AGAIN, ignoring what Ana wants and pressuring her into things. I could have forgiven, "I want to claim that ass, so how about this: We'll try some little things, like, a finger, and if you like that, then we can try more, if not, then it can go on the limits, okay?" instead he goes on how she'll go through a whole training montage and THEN if she doesn't like it she can say no. She shouldn't have to. She should be allowed to simply say "exit only".

Ana however is probably in the bag, as she's had about four tea cups of champagne in the last... Hour? Maybe? And simply questions how Grey knows anal is so great. Naturally, he has taken it up the butt.

“Have you done that?” I whisper.
Holy crap. I gasp.
“With a man?”
“No. I’ve never had sex with a man. Not my scene.”
“Mrs. Robinson?”
Holy shit… how? I frown. He moves on down the list.

I'm just glad he didn't say "NO THAT WOULD BE GAY" though I'm sad that Ana's first thought is "how?". With a fist and/or strap on and/or dildo, Ana.

“Okay… swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that.”
I flush, and my inner goddess smacks her lips together glowing with pride.

Smacking her lips together enjoying Grey's semen which must taste like candy. DRINK! (I'm counting my yelling "WHAT")

“More?” he asks.
“More.” And I’m suddenly reminded of our conversation earlier today as he refills my cup. Is he referring to that or just the champagne? Is this whole champagne thing more?

I'm confused by this passage. Is she implying the champagne is him trying to be "hearts and flowers" or if the champagne is symbolic of him offering more then... His wang. Grey then starts to go over sex toys and has to explain that "eggs" are not REAL eggs and then laughs and laughs at Ana. Ana gets upset at him laughing at her and he apologizes through his giggles. DOUCHE. (drink). She stays upset until he gives her the puppy eyes and then he moves the conversation along.

“Right – bondage,” he says, returning to the list. I examine the list, and my inner goddess bounces up and down like a small child waiting for ice cream.

So Ana's subconscious is a shrieking harpy and her inner goddess is entirely dimwitted and often reacts to things by bouncing or clapping or dancing. I've been glossing this over, but I feel the need to point it out. EL James has been listing the excerpts from the e-mail/contract (Grey pulled out another printed version, by the way.) which we have read like, 40 times now.

“Don’t laugh at me, but what’s a spreader bar?”
“I promise not to laugh. I’ve apologized twice.” He glares at me. “Don’t make me do it again,” he warns. And I think I visibly shrink... oh, he’s so bossy.

DOUCHE! (drink). Ana is nervous here, and kinda drunk, you should at least pretend to give a fuck what she thinks/feels Grey.

“Okay… Well gagging me. I’d be worried I wouldn’t be able to breathe”
“I’d be worried if you couldn’t breathe. I don’t want to suffocate you.”
“And how will I use safe words if I’m gagged?”
He pauses.
“First of all, I hope you never have to use them. But if you’re gagged, we’ll use hand signals,” he says simply.
I blink up at him. But if I’m trussed up, how’s that going to work? My brain is beginning to fog… hmm alcohol.

I am suddenly terrified of Grey. He's been extremely predatory/date rapey with Ana so far but now he's getting her drunk to negotiate this, and being dismissive of her concerns. "Oh, you'll never have to use the safe word! Don't worry!" arg. He's basically gas-lighting her! Also editing, shouldn't that "hmm alcohol" be capitalized on the hmm? Did EL James not even have a proof reader? So Ana insists that she's nervous about gagging, but not ruleing it out. Grey makes a note of it. I'm glad that EL James is trying to show negotiations. I really am, but how Grey responds to Ana makes me nervous for the people who read this book and go "I'M GONNA GO GET ME SOME OF THAT!" so if you know anyone getting into it, here is is a really great article from a super awesome blog about BDSM.

Then things get... Stupid. Again.

“Do you like tying your submissives up so they can’t touch you?”
He gazes at me, his eyes widening.
“That’s one of the reasons,” he says quietly.
“Is that why you’ve tied my hands?”
“You don’t like talking about that,” I murmur.
“No, I don’t. Would you like another drink? It’s making you brave, and I need to know how you feel about pain.”

I dislike that Ana needs to air every little thought she has when it comes to unraveling this "dark kinky man". Can't she just... Realize that? It seems super awkward a thing to just ASK (I am also making a lot of typos at this point for those of you playing along at home!). His "It's making you brave which is good because now we need to talk about pain" bit irks me, though I'm not sure why. It may be that I feel his intentions for getting Ana drunk are sinister, but I know that isn't the author's intention, but the conflict between how the author wants me to view Grey and how I actually do are just making him seems MORE sketchy in my eyes, not less. So Grey asks how Ana feels about pain, and she's all shifty and awkward because she doesn't have a sphere of reference. Wait, isn't Ana supposed to be SUPER clumsy? I was never "physically punished" as Grey puts it, as a kid (or more commonly known as BEATEN! WHAT THE FUCK?) (drink) but I AM very accident prone, and I work in kitchens*, so I feel I would "have a sphere of reference" because hey, I've hurt myself before! One time I fell down a giant flight of concrete stairs so epically people stopped to stare and didn't move on until I got up because they were sure I had a concussion/broke my neck for sure!** So if Ana is even SORT of clumsy, let alone as clumsy as she claims to be, I am... Suspicious, that she has no frame of reference.

“Goes with the territory, Anastasia. It’s what I do. I can see you’re nervous. Let’s go through methods.”
He shows me the list. My subconscious runs, screaming, and hides behind the couch.
• Spanking
• Paddling
• Whipping
• Caning
• Biting
• Nipple clamps
• Genital clamps
• Ice
• Hot wax
• Other types/methods of pain

Everything he goes over looks like this. We get THE WHOLE LIST AGAIN and then they discuss what Ana was upset about. Nipple clamps are off the list, which Grey is fine with because it's caning that REALLY hurts!

“We can work up to that.”
“Or not do it at all,” I whisper.
“This is part of the deal, baby, but we’ll work up to all of this. Anastasia, I won’t push you too far.”

Again, Ana is saying "I'm not okay with this" and Grey is saying "Don't worry it'll be fine". Ana insists she's worried about punishment in general and Grey promises to be gentle with her and they'll go super slow. So Grey tells her that there's one more thing he wants to go over then he's taking her to bed.

Ana is shocked but excited, and Grey's all "Come on, you don't get hot negotiating contracts?!" No, Grey, because Ana is an alien that was at least raised by humans, and not in a cult like you! (drink).

“Well then. Look, earlier today you were talking about wanting more,” he halts, uncertain all of a sudden.
Oh my… where’s this going?
He clasps my hand.
“Outside of the time you’re my sub, perhaps we could try. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know about separating everything. It may not work. But I’m willing to try. Maybe one night a week. I don’t know.”
Holy cow… my mouth drops open, my subconscious is in shock, Christian Grey is up for more! He’s willing to try! My subconscious peeks out from behind the couch, still registering shock on her harpy face.
On one hand, I'm glad Grey is being a little flexible here, on the other, I'm distressed that Ana has started to call her subconscious a harpy because I WAS DOING IT FIRST! THAT IS MY GO-TO INSULT!*** (drink) However I feel Ana's relationship with her subconscious is really indicative of a very deep level of self loathing. It's a little sad. So, Grey tells her he'll try for "more" on ONE CONDITION! SHE EAT THIS NEW BORN BABY! Nah, he has a grad gift for her, which will be some sort of fancy car. MAYBE he'll have bought her another Beetle, or a mini, something that suits what she likes, but I'm betting on an Audi or something. 

Parked outside is a red hatchback car, a two-door compact Audi.
CALLED IT! I hope Ray shits a BRICK when Ana tells him that Grey bought her a FREAKING BRAND NEW LUXURY CAR! Ana is, well, upset, and wrestling with herself. 

“Anastasia, that Beetle of yours is old and frankly dangerous. I would never forgive myself if something happened to you when it’s so easy for me to make it right,” he trails off.
“I mentioned it to your stepfather. He was all for it,” he murmurs.

Pineapple, what the hell is going on here? I don't even know! (Also, drink).

“It’s a gift, Anastasia. Can’t you just say thank you?”
“But you know it’s too much.”
“Not to me it isn’t, not for my peace of mind.”
I frown at him, at a loss what to say. He just doesn’t get it! He’s had money all his life. Okay, not all his life – not as a small child – and my world-view shifts. The thought is very sobering, and I soften towards the car, feeling guilty about my fit of pique. His intentions are good, misguided, but not from a bad place.
“I’m happy for you to loan this to me, like the laptop.”
He sighs heavily.
“Okay. On loan. Indefinitely.” He looks warily at me.
“No, not indefinitely, but for now. Thank you.”

And then Ana kisses him on the cheek and calls him sir. You know what, I need to stop and talk about Ana letting Grey's past influence how she feels. First off, she is making a lot of assumptions on what he has been through, and how it has affected him. Secondly, it shouldn't matter. His intentions would have been coming from somewhere "good if not misguided" to start with. Him being "tragic" is influencing Ana in a way that makes me uncomfortable. He's still just a person. Well, no, he's a warlock, but he's person shaped.

He kisses me passionately, forcing my lips apart with his tongue, taking no prisoners.

Again, what does this mean? He punches her teeth out with his tongue? 

“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car right now, just to show you that you are mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls. “Now let’s get you inside and naked.”
She's certainly had enough champagne for that to sound like a good idea!
“Please don’t be angry with me,” I whisper.
His gaze is impassive; his gray eyes cold shards of smoky glass.
“I’m sorry about the car and the books,” I trail off. He remains silent and brooding. “You scare me when you’re angry,” I breathe, staring at him.
This needs repeating. 
“You scare me when you’re angry,” 
RUN YOU STUPID GIT! (also drink. Twice.) Grey then takes a deep breath and tells her to turn around, he wants to get her out of that dress. Arg. 
“I like this dress,” he murmurs. “I like to see your flawless skin.” 
My first thought was "creepy" my second thought was "Man I wish I had flawless skin. Why do fictional characters get all the awesome but totally underrated traits?"

“You smell so good, Anastasia. So sweet.”

That's because she's sweating champagne now.

“You. Are. Going. To. Have. To. Learn. To. Keep. Still,” he whispers, kissing me around my nape between each word.
Why. Is. That. A. Good. Thing? Does he WANT a dead fish?

“No bra, Miss Steele. I like that.”

So, bet's on Ana's cup size? She can't be bigger then a B if she can get away with that. I was a C cup for a very long time and I basically couldn't wear halter dresses because I couldn't go bra-less, or strap-less bras. I've since discovered halter bras. That was a good day. I've been struggling to get a strong grasp of what Ana looks like. Ana herself keeps saying she's awkward and gangly and her eyes are too big and her hair does this thing- but Grey, and every other male in the cast are all over her, so I think we're supposed to look past Ana's self esteem here and see that she's a babe.

His hands reach round and cup my breasts, and my nipples pucker at his touch.

Want to know what's a sexy word? Pucker. Definitely sexy. 

I obey immediately, and my breasts rise and push into his hands, my nipples hardening further.

How do you think nipples work, EL James?

he starts to extend my nipples with his long fingers

Is he hoping to cut glass with them or something?

I gasp at the exquisite, acute, pleasure/pain.

Is that seriously how you're going to sell us on pain during sex, James? Really?

“I don’t think you’re ready to come yet,” he whispers, stilling his hands, and he gently bites my earlobe and tugs at it. “Besides, you have displeased me.”
Oh… no, what will this mean? My brain registers through the fog of needy desire as I groan.

It means he's about to finger blast you.

His fingers hook into my panties at the back, stretching them, and he pushes his thumbs through the material, shredding them and tossing them in front of me so I can see… holy shit

 Holy shit indeed. What the HELL were her panties made of? Ratty old granny panties held together by wishful thinking? Does he have a fucking knife?! Sigh. Drink. So he starts to finger her a little and is all "AW YEAH SUPER WET RIGHT AWAY! UNDRESS ME SWEET GIRL!" Sweet girl is a weird pet name, right? That's not just me?

He puts his finger in his mouth. “You taste so fine, Miss Steele.”

She also tastes like candy. Everyone in this book always smells/tastes sweet. I WANT PEOPLE TO SWEAT DAMN IT! (drink) So Ana goes to take his shirt off, uncertain where to start because SHE'S NEVER UNDRESSED A MAN BEFORE! Has she never baby sat? Undressing a grown up, not that different then undressing a child. Just saying. Less crying. Usually.

 Oh… this is news… I can touch with clothes. He takes one of my hands and places it against his erection.
“This is the effect you have on me, Miss Steele.”
I gasp and flex my fingers around his girth, and he grins.


“I want to be inside you. Take my jeans off. You’re in charge.”
Holy fuck… me in charge. My mouth drops open.

This is strange to me. Or rather, this is strange to me at this point in time. Grey has spent the last 15 chapters trying to get Ana to be his sub. He has gone to great lengths to try to get this. So now that she has officially signed on, he's celebrating by... Letting her be the dom this time? I would understand his motivations here if this was six chapters later, but here? It strikes me as awkward. I think EL James just wanted Ana to be clumsily fumbling around with Grey's boner rather than him guiding her.

Oh the possibilities… my inner goddess roars, and from somewhere born of frustration, need, and sheer Steele bravery, I push him on to the bed. ... My inner goddess is going to explode.

Things Ana's inner goddess has been: A child, a cheer leader, a light bulb, a salsa dancer, and now a bomb.  So Ana climbs up on Grey and starts clumsily undoing his fly and tugging on his "oh so happy trail".

“You’ll have to learn to keep still,” I scold, and I tug at the hair under his waistband.
His breath hitches, and he grins at me.
“Yes, Miss Steele,” he murmurs, eyes burning bright.

OH LOOK SHE'S SO COY AND FUNNY! Blech. Drink. Is he doing this so he can show Ana how to properly sub?

I fish out both foil packets that I find and lay them on the bed by his hips. Two!

Why is this shocking? Two makes sense for Grey. Ignoring the implication of he plans to bone her THAT HARD, sometimes condoms break, or you accidentally start off putting it on the wrong way so you need a new one, or any number of other reasons you need a new one halfway through.

I tug down the zipper, and now I’m faced with the problem of removing his pants… hmm. I shuffle down and pull. They hardly move. I frown. How can this be so difficult?

Seriously Ana? Seriously? Drink.

Holy Moses, he’s all mine to play with, and suddenly it’s Christmas.
“Now what are you going to do?” he breathes, all trace of humor gone.


I suck, hard.

Buzzkillington. So she slurps on his wanger for a bit and Grey tells her to stop because he doesn't want to come yet.

I sit up, blinking at him, and I’m panting like him, but confused. I thought I was in charge? My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream.

Again, Ana's inner goddess is going past obnoxious into creepy and childish. Seriously, what the flunch?

“You’re innocence and enthusiasm is very disarming,”

"Now put on this princess dress and draw me a picture with these crayons!" drink.

“Here, put this on.” He hands me a foil packet.
Holy Crap. How? I rip the packet open, and the rubbery condom is all tacky in my fingers.

Is it a Canadian thing where they show you how to do this in the 9th grade sex-ed class? Because that was when I actually saw it. Also when she describes the condom as "all tacky" my first thought was "shit the package must have been punctured, because that sounds dried out and expired.". EL JAMES YOU ARE NOT PAINTING GOOD IMAGES.

He really is a fine specimen of a man, looking at him is very, very arousing.

Well, I'm glad you're getting turned on, because I'm sure as hell not. So Grey pulls Ana onto his dick because she's daunted at hopping on and riding that shit.

And he’s inside me, sheathed to the hilt, and he holds me in place, for seconds… minutes… I have no idea,, staring intently into my eyes.

Drink. One, "sheathed to the hilt". Just, read that again. I don't even have a joke to make. I just want to point it out. Also, do I have this right? Ana is just sort of sitting on his dick, staring at him for so long she looses track of time? Dude, bust out your phone and start playing Angry Birds or something.

“You move, Anastasia, up and down, how you want. Take my hands,”

DRINK. Seriously, they've fucked before, she needs to be told? That's sort of... Intuitive, isn't it? Also I assumed this was "take my hands and put them somewhere sexy."

I clasp his hands, holding on for life.

So, Ana is straddling Grey, holding his hands in her own, staring at him as she starts to bounce on his dick. None of the mental images I'm coming up with here are any good guys.

I am fucking him. I am in charge. He’s mine, and I’m his.

You'd be fucking him even if you weren't "in charge" Ana. I don't think you're using that phrase right. Also the "YOU ARE MINE" thing has always struck me as creepy. My ex used to try and say that. I'd be all "Dude no. I'M mine. You can have you. Not as awesome, but this shit is already dibbed". However it's this thought that makes Ana come, which is... I don't even...

I collapse on to his chest, overwhelmed, somewhere between fantasy and reality, a place where there are no hard or soft limits.


And that is the end of the chapter! I'm gonna go lay down now. Comments/drink recipes always encouraged and appreciated! Till Thursday!

*When I told my brother I was going to cooking school he paused, "Wait, do YOU are going to be around knives, open flames, and boiling oil all the time?" "Yes?" "Well, nice knowing you." >:( I AM INVINCIBLE!
**Other then some epically bruised and battered legs I was totally fine. I didn't even rip my tights! Some how. Those tights are invincible. I was admittedly a little disoriented at first, but once I was on my feet I was fine. Still, INVINCIBLE!
*** I feel "bitch" is unfeminine, and, well, uncreative. So I use harpy. Plus it's a LOT more fun to yell.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Random - Bisexuality

Alright, this post is not going to be a cheerful fluffy one, and it is not one that is easy for me to write. This particular subject is one I have a hard time talking to about. It's something that, until the past year, I had never even been able to begin talking about.

I'm bi-sexual.

I think.

Let me explain. I have always gotten along better with men then women. Ever since I was a little kid. I like (yes, present tense) dinosaurs and lasers and robots and sci-fi and fantasy and video games and things that are often considered "male". I still did the pretty princess thing, despite my tastes I was never a proper Tom-Boy and to this day I'd rather wear a cute skirt then a pair of jeans (though that may tie into what an impossible task finding jeans that fit right for me is). It always put me in a strange place with the other kids, and the boys tended to be less freaked out that a Pretty Princess wanted to go and slay the dragon, too, then the other Princesses. So I tended to hang out with the boys more then the other girls, and as I got older, just more, period. So I've always gotten along better with men. We have more in common. I HAVE female friends, just not as many. This was the case back in high school, and college. You know, the times in my life before I was engaged. I never gave it much thought in high school. I was geeky and cute, and so there were a bunch of geeky cute boys who would sometimes ask if I maybe wanted to go see a movie some time? There just weren't a lot of gay or bisexual women around me in those days, and the few that were just weren't my type/never approached me anyways. Even in high school I couldn't get a crush going unless I thought the person was the right mix of funny/smart/goofy/nice/interesting, and the particular mix that I was into isn't one you find terribly often in teenage girls. Girls don't usually want to be "goofy" for some reason.

I never thought anything of being able to say "Man, that girl is pretty/cute/sexy" because hey, it's easy to appreciate the female body! Lots of women do! It's totally normal! Later on in life I realized I wasn't looking at these women like art, I was looking at them the same way I looked at a man I found attractive.The opportunity for me to be with a woman has never come up, though. Through the tail end of high school and all of college (the times I was starting to realize that I might be bi) I was in a serious relationship. I only dated a little bit after that relationship before I started dating my now fiancee. Since I have never been with a woman, I'm afraid to talk about being bisexual. Though there are a lot of other reasons I'm scared to talk about it, that's one of the biggest.

Bisexuals will often hear some awful things.
"You're just saying that for attention" which I wouldn't know how to face because hey, I HAVEN'T been with women, so CLEARLY despite the fact that I'm happily engaged and monogamous I'm still trying to get me some of that sweet male-gaze fueled validation!
"Pick one or the other, both is just greedy."
"Pics or it didn't happen"
"Bisexuality is just a stop on the train to Gay-Town"
And a friend having an imaginary conversation with his own Mother. "Mom, what would you do if I was gay?" "Nothing. You're my son and I love you anyways." "What would you do if I was bi?" "Disown you. No son of mine will be a whore."
"If you like both, why not just be straight?" This, I almost feel, is essentially what I've done, though not on purpose. Which brings me into a whole OTHER slew of anxiety I face when talking about it. I know one of the first things people will ask me is "Well, how do you KNOW? Other women think women are pretty all the time. Doesn't make them gay/bi!" I'm well aware of that, but trust me, imaginary person who just said that, my feelings go beyond "oh she's pretty". How did you know you were heterosexual before you started dating? You just do.

I've waffled on how to define me sexuality. I've always been attracted to women, but for a long time I thought it was the same way all women are attracted to women in that "Oh she's pretty" and I am DEFINITELY into men. I KNEW I was into men. I also had bisexuality explained to me as the preference was even. You liked men as much as you liked girls. It has been about a year since I stopped trying to talk myself out of identifying as bisexual. In the year since I became comfortable enough to identify as bi to myself, I've spent most it not sure if I should talk about it at all. To anyone. Up until earlier this week, I had out right told two people. My fiancee (who shrugged and said "I figured. It doesn't matter. Well, I mean, it matters but is doesn't change anything." <3) and another friend of mine who has come into my life within the past year and didn't already just assume I was heterosexual. It made it easier to say it.

So while I've waffled over if I should post this, and tried to write it about seven different times, I managed to just... Bring it up. A friend of mine was going on as many people do about how bisexuality is just a stop on the way to homosexuality. He wasn't being malicious or cruel, he was just... Talking. It was topical at the time, but he noticed I was very deliberately not looking at him and frowned, "Am I upsetting you with this?" he asked, confused. I found it funny that he knew me well enough to know that was a sign of me being upset, but not that I liked girls.

And then I did something that I've been debating how to, or if I even should, for a year. I brought it up. "So, you know I'm bi, right?" my stomach was in a knot as I said it, and I felt anxious, and, to be honest, guilty for saying it after. He didn't know, he didn't mean any harm, and I just made him feel like a huge douche-canoe! He even apologized, once as a knee-jerk "I was being insensitive shit" and then again later in a "No, really, that was shitty, my bad." He hadn't known, and he hadn't meant any harm, but I realized that was what made it more important for me to speak up. People don't know. And they never mean any harm, but I wonder how many closeted bisexuals are out there just being functionally heterosexual because they're afraid to speak up? How many of us just keep quiet while people go on about how there's no REAL such thing as a bisexual because we're scared to face their judgement and questions?

So I'm speaking up. I am done with being scared to talk about such a huge part about myself. I am terrified, I am anxious, and I don't think I'm the right person to be a spokesperson, but I'm doing it. Because this is important. Because someone has to. People are entitled to their privacy and have every right to keep their sexuality to themselves, but I feel that this is a narrative that we need more of.

My name is Erika, and I'm bisexual. I'm not desperate for attention because I'm unloved by my parents/significant other. I'm not just trying to hook up with anything that moves. I'm not "on my way to gay town" and I am not "confused". It is a legitimate sexual orientation, and anyone who tries to say it isn't in the comments of this blog will be promptly banned.

So, thanks for reading, and I hope none of you stop because of this, because honestly? It doesn't change a thing. Back to the norm of fisting jokes and heavy drinking Tuesday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chapter 14 in which WHY DOES THIS NOT END YET?

Hey remember at the end of last chapter how Ana was all “MAYBE I CAN CHANGE HIM?” which I mocked, but I realize that is essentially what Grey is doing to her..? I expected this chapter to make me want to kill all the things, but it's starting off super promising.

Christian is standing over me grasping a plaited, leather riding-crop. He’s wearing old, faded, ripped Levis and that’s all.

That is the first line of this chapter. James skips over Ana agonizing over will she/won't she and telling Grey straight to the established relationship and fucking.

And THIS is what we get. I know it doesn't say he's wearing a cowboy hat, but he totally is in my head.

I am naked and shackled, spread-eagled on a large four-poster bed.

The second sexiest position a woman can take. The sexiest is, naturally, “Making a sandwich”*

He pushes the tip into my mouth so I can taste the smooth, rich leather.
Suck,” he commands his voice soft. My mouth closes over the tip as I obey.

God I hope he boiled that thing before using it on Ana as odds are he did that with the last girl and just – SANITATION!

He flicks the crop and it hits my sweet spot with a sharp slap, and I come, gloriously, shouting my release.

Proof that I would be a bad BDSM sub – I read that, recoiled, clutching my groin with a shout of “Aurguosg. Ow. No.” Also I totally missed the comma and read that as “Gloriously shouting my release” which made me think Ana was busting into some serious operatic moves.

Abruptly, I wake, gasping for breath, covered in sweat and feeling the aftershocks of my orgasm.

What EL James giveth EL James taketh. That skeeze weasel.

Ana wakes up befuddled and confused by her first wet-dream and solo-orgasm. We don't get to skip ahead. Booooooo. So Ana staggers out to the kitchen to face THE SPANISH INQUISITION! And by that I mean Kate who is, you know, showing an interest in her friend's life.

What can I say? His HIV status is clear, he’s heavily into role-play, wants me to obey his every command, he hurt someone he tied to his bedroom ceiling, and he wanted to fuck me in the private dining room. Would that be a good summary? I try desperately to remember something from my encounter with Christian that I can discuss with Kate.
He doesn’t approve of Wanda.”
Who does, Ana? That’s old news. Why are you being so coy? Give it up, girlfriend.”

Wanda is Ana's car, for those of you who can't be bothered to keep track of these things. I envy you guys. So, James, do you really think any 22 year old ever will sincerely utter the phrase “give it up girlfriend”? Perhaps if it were a sassy gay man trying really hard to be a stereotype, but these words feel alien coming out of Kate's mouth to me. Ana distracts Kate with the topic of, well, Kate, and offers to listen to her valedictorian speech. Kate, actually being a budgie, is quite happy to oblige and talk about herself.

If I tell him I want more, he may say no… and I could jeopardize what he has offered. And this is what concerns me most, because I don’t want to lose him.

How are you already this emotionally invested in him? No, really. I want a diagram and flip charts. That is what it will take for me to understand this character's motivation, and I'm reading her every thought. Ana keeps telling us she's afraid of loosing Grey, and how into him she is, but I really don't get how she got here, or why she got there so quickly. She's so into this dude she's afraid to speak up about her own needs because she's afraid they won't mesh with his, and she wants him to want her and I just- What? Ana, does it hurt having a back bone that magically comes and goes when it's convenient? This is also how NOT to have a healthy, happy relationship. Communication kids. I am a firm believer that if two people respect each other and can communicate honestly and fairly, they can work through about 98% of anything that might come their way.

So Kate reads her speech and Ana tries to listen but it's hard to hear through the haze of black magic that clings to her these days. Then cut ahead a little bit to Ray turning up to pick Ana up. Despite there having been a few scenes “with” Ray he's yet to actually say anything until this scene. If he is this uninteresting all the time I guess I understand James choice to not narrate his dialogue. Seriously, I'm trying to justify putting this scene up at all, but it's just “HI DAD!” “Hi kid.” “So we have some time to kill. Come in and tell me how people back in Monteseno are!” and then Ray grunts. Next scene is a little better.

Good luck, Annie. You seem awfully nervous, do you have to do anything?”
Holy crap… why has Ray picked today to be so observant?
No, Dad. It’s a big day.” And I’m going to see him.
Yeah, my baby girl has gotten a degree. I’m proud of you, Annie.”
Aw… thanks Ray.” Oh I love this man.

Ana, I get that it's sweet that you love your folks, but please stop bashing us over the head with it, it's getting weird. Also either Ana is an open book and has failed to realize this, or everyone in this fucking book is psychic. So Ana files in with all of the other students, feeling happy to be part of a big, matching mass. She doesn't seem to know anyone, or talk to anyone, or mind that she doesn't know anyone in her surroundings, which strikes me as strange. Shouldn't she have made friends with some of the other students? I get that you're seated alphabetically (although for my grad we were seated by faculty, and THEN last names, so all the bakers were together, then all the police kids, and so on) it still seems strange that she doesn't see anyone at all that she knows. Not even a wave to Charlie from Contemporary Post-Modern Literature? Instead Ana is flanked by two girls who she doesn't know, but who know each other.

Must be Christian Grey.”
Is he single?”
I bristle.
I don’t think so,” I murmur.
Oh.” Both girls look at me in surprise.
I think he’s gay,” I mutter.
What a shame,” one of the girls groans

Really, Ana? You're going to go around telling people he's gay? Also Grey has come on stage wearing A GREY SUIT! Oh my GOD you guys! I am so shocked at his fashion choices. Seriously, I am so bored of his wardrobe. Also, he's wearing “that” tie. The one he's tied Ana up with a few times now. She assumes he does it on purpose. Which he likely did. Or maybe that's the only one he owns?

Then they make eyes at each other for a second and Ana gets another boner before he goes back to looking properly bored, as is only right at a graduation proceeding. Then Ana is annoyed that Grey won't KEEP looking at her even though she was trying to hide from him a few minutes ago. Groan. Then it's time for Kate to give her speech.

She’s so composed and funny, the girls beside me erupt on cue at her first joke. Oh, Katherine Kavanagh, you can deliver a good line. I feel so proud of her at that moment, my errant thoughts of Christian are pushed to one side.

I like that Ana is capable of being so proud of her friend that she stops thinking about Grey for three seconds. We don't hear Kate's awesome, funny speech. It's theme is “What comes after college?” so I can't imagine it's too funny, or original, but it strikes me as odd that we get to real a 300 page legal document about fisting**, but don't get to hear the valedictorian speech.

No” El James thought to herself as she sat at her desk made entirely out of human bones as she worked on this from her mac, “No one wants to read that. The fisting contract, written in fake legal language though, that shit if fascinating. People definitely want to read that.”

So Kate finishes her speech and Ana thinks about “What if I hadn't gone to the interview for Kate?” and thinks how Grey could be with literally every other woman in the room. Tragically not at once. Then it's Grey's turn to speak.

In fact, I think most of the female members of the audience inch closer and a few of the men.

That's right. Anyone attracted to men is trying to get a better look at dat ass. Grey is EVERYONE'S type. I don't know how. He's a GINGER!

 And soulless.

Naturally we are so going to hear every pretentious word out of Grey's mouth for this speech, aren't we? Yup. He starts talking about the environmental science department and how farming and fighting hunger are very personal problems to him.

I have known what it’s like to be profoundly hungry. This is a very personal journey for me… ”
My jaw falls to the floor. What? Christian was hungry once. Holy crap. Well, that ex­plains a great deal.

The Boy looked over at my screen and read that line. “Wait, is that real?”
“Yeah. Not like “I haven't eaten yet today” but “I am a poor starving orphan” hungry.”
“Taken out of context, that line is amazing!” He then burst into a dramatic speech as if he were Ana. “What? He's known hunger? But he's so perfect! I can never love a man who has known hunger pains from skipping lunch!”

I'm surprised Ana hasn't figured that one out on her own yet, though. I mean, come on woman. Ana then wracks her mind for details of her sort of boyfriend's life from the article Kate wrote. He was adopted at age 4. Would you even really remember that in a way to impact you as an adult at that age? I don't remember shit from when I was 4. This is an honest question, by the way, not me being a snarky jack ass. I can see it being traumatic enough to leave a mark, but... I dunno. 4 is awful young to be formative.

I swallow, my heart constricting at the thought of a hungry, gray-eyed toddler. Oh no. What kind of life did he have before the Greys got hold of him and rescued him?

He isn't a kitten, Ana. She is then so torn up over the thought of

poor, fucked-up, kinky, philanthropic Christian – though I’m sure he wouldn’t see himself this way and would repel any thoughts of sympa­thy or pity.

And then it's the end of the speech and Ana thinks about how much GOOD he is doing in the world all while chasing after her! So, bets on her telling him “yes” as she gets her diploma? No, he just asks her if her laptop is working. She's confused and says yes, and he's all “OH SO YOU'RE IGNORING MY EMAILS” and Ana is confused as she just saw the one. Which she tells him and then off she goes because, well, she's holding up the line. This is a grad ceremony. I'm a little sad she didn't just honk his junk before skipping away in front of everyone though. So the thing wraps up and as Ana waits to escape the herd Kate comes to summon her for Grey. She signals to Ray “five minutes” and goes.

Thank you,” he says, and before she can reply, he takes my elbow and steers me into what looks like a men’s locker room. He checks to see if it’s empty, and then he locks the door.
Holy shit, what does he have in mind? I blink up at him as he turns on me.
Why haven’t you emailed me? Or texted me back?” He glares.

BECAUSE I LOVE IT WHEN GUYS TREAT MY BFFF LIKE THE HIRED HELP! Seriously. There have been studies done saying that one thing that endears women to a guy is if he's nice to her friends/family. Treating Kate like a minion and being super rude to her should be pissing Ana off. Grey also thinks the world revolves around him. She's going to be there with family, doing... You know, grad shit. Pictures and dinner and toasts and speeches about how her whole life is in front of her. And you drag her off, lock her away alone with you, to demand why she hasn't e-mailed you in LESS THEN 24 HOURS?! Wow. If I were Ana I would spontaneously stop giving a crap and be all “I was, you know, doing grad/family stuff. Which had you stopped to think for seven seconds you would have figured out. Now fuck off.” and left. Sadly, Ana doesn't have a real backbone, just a plot device that looks like one on occasion.

So Ana derails him a little by talking about his speech and then Grey confesses that he was SO WORRIED is why he's upset she didn't respond, though he doesn't tell her why he didn't, you know, just call. Text, email, fine. But he's SUPER WORRIED because she was driving in a DEATH TRAP of a car! Not worried enough to call, but worried enough to freak out on her for not letting him know she's alive through passive often delayed forms of communication. He then demands an answer out of her and she's all “Dude, here with my Dad. Now is not a good time” and Grey then takes the hint and gracefully lets her leave. Just kidding! He gets pushy and asks to meet him!

Are you ashamed of me?”
No!” It’s my turn to sound exasperated. “Introduce you to my dad as what? ‘This is the man who deflowered me and wants us to start a BDSM relationship’. You’re not wear­ing running shoes.”

God I wish I had had an excuse to utter that phrase to my Dad***. I found out he used to mess with the first guy I dated seriously when I wasn't looking. Just, freak him out and stuff. My sister ratted him out years after I broke up with the guy. I felt a little bad for always getting mad at him when he said he expected my Dad to just answer the door in full safari gear and tell him to start running, it was hunting season. I can only imagine how this would have gone down with him. Epic mind games would have ensued.

Grey is just “Pfft tell him I'm your friend” and off we go. Everyone is staring at Ana because she was just abruptly dragged off to seclusion by Grey. So Ana goes to find her Dad and they go to get a drink, which means that Grey will pounce. Though Ana wanted him to say no so they could bounce, so I'm not sure why she wasn't all “Alright, let's go now” upon return. Is it so hard for people to just... Say what they want? I understand that with Grey that hasn't been working, but she has an out here with her own Dad who's very much “Today is your day what ever you want sweetykins.”

You look kinda dorky… my subconscious is at her snarky best. So are you going to introduce Ray to the man you’re fucking? She is glaring at me over her wing-shaped spec­tacles. He’d be so proud. God, I hate her sometimes.

Wow. Ana, your subconscious is awful. I mean, I get most people have some less then kind internal monologs (I'm terrified people can read my mind sometimes.) but her's is unyielding in its awful. She also has unfortunate glasses for reasons I don't totally understand. Seriously, Ana, why do you have such deep rooted issues with your sexuality that your subconscious viciously slut-shames you and mocks you for wearing a grad gown?

So they get awful cheap fizzy wine and sip on it with everyone else until Kate's brother appears from the ether and bear hugs Ana. Why does EVERYONE Ana knows do this? He came back for his little sister's grad, he didn't want to miss her being valedictorian. Alright, a character doing something not awful and not trying to get laid out of it. So far, not hating him. Bets on how long this lasts? I'm giving it ten lines, tops.

Ethan has his arm around my waist when I look up into the frosty gray eyes of Chris­tian Grey. Kate is beside him.

Why is he still hanging off of Ana? Does Ana just have a great big “touch me” sign on her back? Also Grey is going to crap a brick over this later, isn't he? Kate then cock blocks her own brother.

Hello, Ray,” Kate kisses Ray on both cheeks, making him blush. “Have you met Ana’s boyfriend? Christian Grey.”
Holy shit… Kate! Fuck! All the blood drains from my face.

Is Katherine Kavanagh French? Because that is a gesture that unless you're French makes you kind of a pretentious jerk. Half of my family is SUPER FRENCH and I only ever bust that one out when dealing with SUPER FRENCH people because everyone else is just kind of thrown and/or confused by it (Pro tip- left cheek first.). Kate, you're a bad sister. Then again, if my brother was hitting on my friends I'd be cock-blocking him, too. Partially because I like his current girlfriend more then I like him****.

Still, Kate is supposed to be a journalist, and a talented one. The text keeps trying to tell us how OBSERVANT and SMART she is! If she is these things, then what she's doing is just shitty. She knows Ana is flustered and stressed over how things may or may not be going with Grey, yet she's calling him her boyfriend in front of Ray. Something Ana likely wasn't ready to do, and she should have left for Ana to do either way because that shit is Not Cool.

Mr. Grey,” Ray murmurs, his expression indecipherable except perhaps for the slight widening of his big brown eyes. They slide over my face with a when-were-you-going-to-give-me-this-news look.

Considering all of your conversations have apparently been so short and bland that EL James, the writer of the 2000 page fictional legal document can't be bothered to write them, I don't know when Ana could have told you, Ray. Though if she's all “HAY MEET MY BOYFRIEND DAD!” and his response is “Wait, what boyfriend?” that's fair, though Ana didn't initiate this. Grey and Kate did. Still, Ray isn't reacting unreasonably here.

Christian turns his arctic glare on Ethan, who still has one arm around me.

Is it wrong that I’m relived that Grey isn’t just glaring at Ray for daring to have a relationship with Ana and a penis? And then, oh God, we get this. 

“Ana, baby,” he murmurs, and I nearly expire at the endearment.
I walk out of Ethan’s grasp, while Christian smiles icily at him, and I take my place at his side. Kate grins at me. She knows exactly what she’s doing, the vixen!

GREY YOU ARE A MANIPULATIVE COCK HOLE! Stop using your black magic on her. He's toying with Ana's feelings to get her to bend to his will and to show how SHE IS HIS AND NO OTHER MAN MAY TOUCH HER!!!! Honestly, just carve your name on her forehead and call it a day. Also, I'm curious what Kate thinks she's doing. Making Grey jealous with her brother? Ethan could just be standing NEAR Ana and it would have the same effect. So, now that Ethan has been defeated/used as the narrative needed him to be, Kate drags him off, and we get awkward small talk time. Oh. Joy.

 So Ray asks the usual "How long have you known each other?" type questions and Ana gets a bit of an annoyed stink eye because Ray didn't know she was dating a dude of working for the student magazine (I thought it was a paper? CONTINUITY!) but then Grey is all "So I hear you like fishing." and then the two of them start to MAN BOND OVER MANLY THINGS so Ana sensing that this scene will hold not drama gets bored and wanders off to find Kate and her family because...? I'm not really sure why. To let Ethan make another pass at her? 

“Kate, how could you out me to Ray?” I hiss at the first opportunity we won’t be overheard.
“Because I knew you never would, and I want to help with Christian’s commitment issues.” Kate smiles at me sweetly.
I scowl. It’s me that won’t commit to him, silly!

Oh, that's what Kate thought she was doing. So, Ana, considering you refuse to tell Kate what's going on why are you surprised when she gets it wrong? I'm not saying Ana should HAVE to tell Kate everything, it's just her reactions that leave me a touch confused. Kate continues to not get it and tells Ana "He seems trés cool about it" so Kate is not French this chapter it seems. Okay. Kate then points out that Ray and Grey have just been... Staring at her, since she left. ... Alright, then. Weren't they getting along famously a paragraph ago?

“I’d better go rescue Ray or Christian. I don’t know which. You haven’t heard the last of this, Katherine Kavanagh!” I glare at her.

Please please please tell me everyone else read this with Ana shaking her fist a la Dr Claw*****

So as Ana comes back both men seems fine and then Ray skips off to the washroom to give Ana and Grey some time to angst/make eyes at each other. He also makes a comment about wishing he could read her mind which makes me think that this was still Twilight fan-fiction up to this point.

“You look lovely, Anastasia, this halter-neck dress suits you, and I get to stroke your back, feel your beautiful skin.”

So creepy. "Beautiful skin" makes me think he is going to skin her and wear it as a house coat. This book is making me want to write Erotic Horror. Is that a thing anyone ever would want to read? I can only think it would be SUPER messed up.

“You know it’s going to be good, don’t you, baby?” he whispers. I close my eyes as my insides uncoil and melt.

LAY OFF THE BLACK MAGIC DUDE! Ana's back-bone shaped plot device then makes another appearance. Yay?

“But I want more,” I whisper.
“More?” he looks down at me puzzled, his eyes darkening. I nod and swallow. Now he knows.

And he said he couldn't read her mind. Though he takes this to mean "hearts and flowers" not just "a relationship with an emotional bond" because ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE CLEARLY EITHER ALL ABOUT SEX OF SCHMOOPIE ROMANCE! It isn't like there are any poly-amorous couples who are still devoted and in love with each other. Or couples who would stare, confused, if either partner produced flowers or anything heart shaped. Or couples into BDSM who still DO the romance and cutesy stuff, too. Suddenly it feels that the whole room falls away and they're all alone! Then Grey's Dark Lord rises from the shadows and- No? They just keep talking? Boo.

“Anastasia.” His voice is soft. “It’s not something I know.”
“Me neither.”
He smiles slightly.
“You don’t know much,” he murmurs.
“You know all the wrong things.”
“Wrong? Not to me.” He shakes his head. He looks so sincere. “Try it,” he whispers. A challenge, daring me, and he cocks his head to one side and smiles his crooked, dazzling smile.

So much to unpack here. So much. Grey affirms that he isn't willing to be flexible and once again despite all of his talk about consent and her needs, ignores what she is saying she wants. Further research has shown me that in BDSM communities, communication at EVERY LEVEL is HUGE. "Can I touch you?" is a thing that is asked. Often. Grey is not only asking about what Ana wants, just telling her his wants and trying to fit her into them. I am not into BDSM, and have not (yet) found someone to sit down and hash out the finer points of it for me, but I have been doing my homework, so I don't think I'm talking out of my ass here. BDSM isn't just about whips and chains and flogging (Oh my!) it is about being safe, consensual, and communicating with their partner at every stage. Not only is EL James portrayal of it... Warped, it's harmful. Women are testing the waters of BDSM after reading her book (which is awesome! Sexual curiosity and exploration for all who want it!) but she's not selling them an accurate image of it. She's selling them something that undermines the very core beliefs of the community! Once again, if I AM getting this wrong and someone in the BDSM community wants to step up and correct me, please do. You can do it in the comments, or you can e-mail me. [/end rant]

So back to actual deconstruction. Ana is saying what she wants, Grey is saying he can't. He won't even try. Ana points out she isn't versed in either option, but she wants to try, and Grey, being the classy Mother fucker he is, tells her "She doesn't know much". How does Ana not just throw her drink in his face and storm off? Grey is, also, once again being told what Ana wants (a real relationship ON TOP of the bondage and sub stuff, not without it.) and ignores her request and instead pushes his own want. We saw him doing this last chapter when she wanted to leave and he "threatened to make her stay". This time, however... Sigh. 

I gasp, and I’m Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s the serpent, and I cannot resist.
“Okay,” I whisper.
“What?” I have his full, undivided attention. I swallow.
“Okay. I’ll try.”

And then before they can start fucking RIGHT THEN AND THERE Ray returns and Ana realizes that there ARE people in the room with them. 
I blink up at Ray, trying to find my equilibrium. What have you done? My subconscious screams at me. My inner goddess is doing back flips in a routine worthy of a Russian Olympic gymnast.

Man, her inner goddess is athletic. Grey then peaces out because Ray and Ana are going to go get food and Grey as "other plans".

“Likewise,” Ray responds. “Look after my baby girl.”
“Oh, I fully intend to, Mr. Steele.”
They shake hands. I feel sick.

YOU SHOULD NOT BE FEELING SICK! Anxious, embarrassed, flushed, stunned, I would accept all those. But sick? Ana, your body is trying to tell you that something is Seriously Wrong. You should be listening to those signals! Always listen to those signals. Ray then gives the usual "HE SEEMS LIKE A STRAPPING YOUNG LAD WHO WILL BRING HOME LARGE ANIMALS FOR YOU TO COOK ON COLD WINTER DAYS! I APPROVE!" and then lunch is skipped over entirely and Ray drops Ana off at home and is all "Call your Mom. Also love you and wouldn't have missed this for the world!" which makes him a better parent then her Mother. Ana then starts to bawl, again, and Ray assumes it's because it has been a big day and she's overwhelmed, which is a reasonable thought. Ana sends him off because EL James likes to frantically rush through scenes that don't have Grey in them, but again, I don't get why Ana is bawling here. It also brings me back to "YOUR BODY IS TRYING TO TELL YOU THINGS ANA! LISTEN TO IT!"

So Ana goes back in the apartment and plugs in her phone to see what the deal is. Grey apparently did try to call, but her phone was dead, but he still didn't try calling the house. Which Ana wonders about. So she checks her e-mail and Grey has sent her two e-mails and she wants to see him so she offers to go see him to talk. Grey insists on going to her because he doesn't trust her car. 

He's going to wreck the car, isn't he? Like, do something to keep it from starting up and just buy her a new one. With GPS and some device that will let him control where it goes. Maybe a magical self-driving car? So that way her silly little woman brain won't get flustered by driving! Which is super dangerous for wimmenz! Ana then goes about getting one thing ready. The books he sent her that have not been mentioned yet. She then scrawls a note on the brown bag she puts them in, which I would like to point out is in Bradely Hand fond, and is an image in the book, not text, so copy pasting is harder then it needs to be. It's a line from Tess, naturally. 

"I agree to the conditions, Angel; because you know best what my punishment ought to be; only - only - don't make it more than I can bear!"

Is this supposed to be Twilight of or Tess of the D'urbervilles? And that, finally, brings us to the end of chapter 14. Thank God. So, before I leave you till Sunday, I have a question for you, dear readers. At the end of Book 1 I was going to write "50 Shades of Grey condensed" which would be stripping 50 Shades of Grey to the length it needs to be. However I am now giving serious thought to writing 50 Shades of Grey as an erotic horror. Which would you rather see as the wrap up post? 

As always, comments make me feel warm and fuzzy. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drink. And it isn't even 2pm. I AM THE CLASSIEST OF BITCHES!

*For a feminist I make way too many sandwich jokes, don't I?
** “I think I need to add fisting to my dictionary in open office” “Do you? Isn't that like admitting the book has won?” “Nah. We both know how much I love to talk about fisting.” I don't know how I have friends.
***I am the worst daughter ever, by the way.
**** I am also the worst sister, ever, too. Though seriously, his girlfriend is awesome. 
***** Apparently he has a face now? Google images tells me he does. I am upset by this.