Thursday, January 10, 2013

50 Shades Darker Chapter 4 in which they ruin Ice Cream.

Alright, happy new years y'all! Hope that your hangovers were gentle and your year is already off to a rockin' start!

So, chapter 4 takes off seconds where chapter 3 left off. I feel the chapter breaks in this book are arbitrary. This wasn't a dramatic break, it was just some dick sneeze where they cut it. Most of the chapter breaks are like this and I just- DAMN IT EL JAMES DO YOU NOT EVEN READ?! Ahem. So this chapter starts with Grey pulling his dick out of Ana--no, really, and with this little nugget in there:

his hands holding mine by the side of my head. Sadly, I suspect that’s so I don’t touch him.

There is a lot about this book that makes me sad. The fact that it's wildly successful when it's such shit, the fact that it romanticizes abuse, the fact that Ana is an insufferable wank, the fact that other women out there LIKE Grey. The ongoing inability for Ana and Grey to not empathize with each other is climbing on that list. While I never agreed with Ana's inability to respect Grey's wish to not be touched simply because he didn't want to be--a wish she herself has wished more people were respectful of when it comes to her--but I can understand how when you don't know the why of a thing it can be hard to simply accept it. I still maintain she was shitty about it, but I could at least wrap my head around it. I'm having a much harder time doing that now and remaining sympathetic to the character. She observes that he is doing things to prevent her from touching him, and while I don't fault her for being sad that she can't, she should be able to realize that he doesn't trust her enough not to, and maybe go about making it obvious to him that she is going to respect the hell out of that boundary instead of pushing it at every given opportunity?

He takes hold of my chin and kisses me hard. A passionate, beseeching kiss, asking for what? I don’t know. It leaves me breathless.
“Don’t leave me again,” he implores, looking deep into my eyes, his face serious.
“Okay,” I whisper and smile at him. His answering smile is dazzling; relief, elation, and boyish delight combined into one enchanting look that would melt the coldest of hearts. “Thank you for the iPad.”


So I assume he was asking her not to leave with the tongue-slipping? I find this passage just weird and awkward. Why have Ana ask what he's trying to ask without words and a line later have him just say it? I find this troubling as well--Grey was trying to hold Ana to something she said in her sleep it's easy to say "sure I won't leave you" in the afterglow of perfect sex, you know, the only kind these two will ever have, but it doesn't mean anything, and it makes me sad that neither of them recognize this.

I also find the mention of the iPad here so weird. I mean, I get that it was a sentimental gift, and she really is into it, but she already thanked him, a few times, and they just boned. I know iPads can be addictive but it should not be the first thing you think about after sex.

She also then asks him which his favorite song on the playlist was and he's all "OH THAT WOULD BE TELLING OF MY DEEPEST FEELINGS WOULDN'T IT HMMM?" and I started screaming at the book.

"GOD DAMN IT GREY NO IT WOULDN'T. SOME OF MY FAVORITE SONGS ARE ON THAT LIST FOR BEING CATCHY AND UP BEAT OR HAVING CLEVER LYRICS NOT BECAUSE THEY'RE ABOUT ADVENTURES! NO, APPARENTLY EVERY SONG MUST BE CHOSEN BASED ON HOW IT RELATED TO YOU AND YOUR FEELINGS" Is EL James secretly 13?

“Come cook me some food, wench. I’m famished,” he adds, sitting up suddenly and dragging me with him.

YES BECAUSE I LOVE IT WHEN MY EROTICA MAKES "GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN" JOKES! I get that they're supposed to be cute and silly but really, I actually have to listen to this shit from men (always men) cracking jokes about it and I'm just--I want them to get a new bit already.

Since we've gotten Grey's Dark! Tragic! Past!(TM) it is not time to get Ana's, because that is how this book runs.  

Christian and I sit on Kate’s persian rug,

Why the FUCK does a recent college grad have a fucking Persian rug?! How rich IS her family, and how spoiled is she?

Since we know husband Number 1 (Ana's Dad) died because of generic war training stuff, and that Ana wasn't raped or beaten in her youth, that means we get to find out what the hell the deal with Husband Number 3 (or he who shall not be named) is!

Christian gazes down at me. “You didn’t stay in Texas with your mom?”
“No. Steve, her husband and I, we didn’t get along. And I missed Ray. Her marriage to Steve didn’t last long. She came to her senses, I think. She never talks about him,” I add quietly. I think that’s a dark part of her life, which we’ve never discussed.


Or Steve. I guess we could call him Steve. And I guess the Dark Tragic Past for Ana isn't so much dark or tragic and just that her mother married a jackass who she quickly divorced and that Ana was lucky enough to have a loving surrogate parent who was happy to take her in. Sure, he couldn't cook anything at all ever, and she took care of him because she's such a GOOD GIRL and Ana has always been taking care of other people, but ignoring the author's heavy implications, that's a pretty decent crop. It's still not a good crop, and I'm not trying to belittle the experience of being chased out of your own home because your mother married a man so foul that you felt you couldn't stay--and, rather than leave him because he chased you out of the house, choose to stay with him. That sucks, but that's a realistic sort of suck, not a big dramatic AND HE STOLE HALF OF ANA'S COLLEGE FUND AND BROKE ALL OF HER SNOWGLOBES! It's a nice change of pace from EL James' usual over the top angst for all.

“Sounds like you looked after him,” he says softly.
“I suppose.” I shrug.
“You’re used to taking care of people.”


Oh, EL James, you had gone three whole lines without trying to wring every interaction for maximum drama and angst. I was almost proud of you. Grey then goes on to tell Ana that HE SHALL TAKE CARE OF HER!

“I’m still mad at you for buying SIP.”
He smiles. “I know but you being mad, baby, wouldn’t stop me.”
“What am I going to say to my work colleagues, to Jack?”
He narrows his eyes. “That fucker better watch himself.”
[....]

“Oh . . . will I be out of a job?” I ask, alarmed.
“I sincerely doubt it,” Christian says wryly, trying to stifle his smile.
I scowl. “If I leave and find another job, will you buy that company, too?”
“You’re not thinking of leaving, are you?” His expression alters, wary once more.
“Possibly. I’m not sure you’ve given me a great deal of choice.”
“Yes, I will buy that company, too.” He is adamant.
I scowl at him again. I am in a no-win situation here.
“Don’t you think you’re being a tad overprotective?”
“Yes. I am fully aware of how this looks.”
“Paging Dr. Flynn,” I murmur.
He puts down his empty bowl and gazes at me impassively. I sigh. I don’t want to fight. Standing up, I reach for his bowl.
“Would you like dessert?”




Holyfuckingshit. Remember what I said before about this book needing very little editing to be an erotic horror? Oh, what's that, there is nowhere you can go where he won't find you? He'll fire any man (and maybe woman) who so much as looks at you? Telling him you are angry and not okay with this is of no concern to him because he's concerned about your... safety? Grey is a fucking sociopath who has basically kidnapped Ana without physically restraining her. She went to Georgia to visit her mother, and he followed her when she made a cutesy "Miss you!" comment. She knows he can (and will) follow her where ever she goes, she knows he has power and resources beyond anything she could possibly hope to combat. Sure, she could go to the cops, but do you really think Grey wouldn't just buy them off? This book isn't erotica, it's a tragic tale of domestic abuse, and about how Grey strips the agency and power from Ana to control her. He's also training her, I'd like to point out. She doesn't want to fight, so she offers a domestic, ladylike (hey, remember that list from book 1 that listed the obscene things he wanted in a woman?) out. He's trained her to be afraid to fight with him.

“Now you’re talking!” he says, giving me a lascivious grin.

And when she acts in the way he wants her to she's rewarded with the side of him she likes. He's wonderful and sweet and fun so long as she never pushes too hard for any given want or need or boundary. I was bitching about Ana pushing against Grey's boundaries early, but he just steamrollers over hers to cartoon villain lengths.


“We have ice cream. Vanilla.” I snicker.
“Really?” Christian’s grin gets bigger. “I think we could do something with that.”




NO YOU LEAVE ICE CREAM ALONE!

“In the oven.” I smile sweetly at him.
He cocks his head to one side, sighs, and shakes his head at me. “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, Miss Steele.” His eyes glitter.


I thought that was toilet humor and/or puns. One of us has been lied to, Grey, and I suspect it's you.


“I am very glad to hear it, Mr. Grey, and I thought you said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit.”
“Well, Anastasia, my new motto is if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”


WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT PUNS GREY?! Ana is properly shocked and disgusted at him for making that joke but he distracts her with his black magic penis glamour.

“This will do just fine.” He looks up at me, eyes dark. “Ben & Jerry’s & Ana.” He says each word slowly, enunciating every syllable clearly.
Oh fucking my.


Sometimes when I work on these posts The Boy looks over at me as a thrash and groan and scream and suggests that rather than do a decon, I just film my reactions to reading the book. This section would have been a good one for it, as I suspect I may be curled into a small, trembling ball by the end of this chapter. Grab your drink, this one's going to be a doozy.

I feel winded. Desire, dark, sleek, and wanton runs hot through my veins. We’re going to have fun, with food.

OH MY HOW EDGY! NO ONE HAS EVER DONE THAT BEFORE! Although seriously, considering how fixated Grey is on food I'm surprised it's taken until book 2 for this to happen.

“I hope you’re warm,” he whispers. “I’m going to cool you down with this. Come.”

Die.


“Wouldn’t dream of it, baby, but I do want to mess with you and these sheets.”
My body practically convulses.


She actually then hits the floor and has a seizure.

My robe falls open while I stand paralyzed under his heated gaze.

He's got eye lasers now?! Warming her up so the ice cream melts and makes a huge fucking mess of her mattress. Sure, the sheets are still there, but it'll soak through so he'll have to buy her a new super comfy huge bed with a head and foot board perfect for bondage.

When I’m tied-up, staring at him, he visibly relaxes. He likes me tethered. I can’t touch him this way. It occurs to me that none of his subs would have touched him either—and
what’s more, they would never have the opportunity to. He would have always been in control and at a distance. That’s why he likes his rules.


THANK YOU FOR THAT INSIGHT ANA! THAT WAS IN NO WAY OBVIOUS UNTIL JUST NOW! Gotta love that his BDSM tendencies are being drawn more and more as a sign of damage and not kink. Those two things are clearly the same thing! I'm such a fool for assuming it's a matter of different strokes for different folks! Thank you Ana/EL James for showing me the light! Seriously, you're stark naked being threatened by a man armed with a spoon and carton of ice cream, your mind should be in other places.  

My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars, and abruptly my mouth is dry. He really is beyond beautiful. He has a physique drawn on classical lines: broad muscular shoulders, narrow hips, the inverted triangle. He obviously works out. I could look at him all day.

I've been trying to leave the inner goddess stuff out as much as possible. It's all just mindless obnoxious fluff and I really just want her to get crushed by an anvil, but I want you to know I have been avoiding putting it here for your sake. There is a lot more of it than you're seeing here. Also how many times do you think EL James will describe Grey to us (IT HAS BEEN TWO BOOKS WE GET IT DUDE'S A BABE!) before the pages turn purple from all of this purple prose? That or start having to reach for things that prove the sonofabitch isn't human. "As his turgid wang glittered with saliva and fairy dust"

“Hmm . . . it’s still quite hard,”

That's what she said.

 he says with a raised brow. Scooping out a spoonful of the vanilla, he pops it into his mouth. “Delicious,” he murmurs, licking his lips. “Amazing how good plain old vanilla can taste.”

Hey, remember last book when he was mocking vanilla? Because I do.

“Hey,” I start in protest.
“Why, Miss Steele, do you like your vanilla?”
“Yes,” I say more forcefully than I mean and try in vain to buck him off.
He laughs. “Getting feisty, are we? I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”


Because if you get feisty he'll leave you there until Kate comes home to find you naked tied to the bed. Just kidding he'll only blue ball you. Grey decides that he will be a good boy and share his pilfered ice cream.

“Hmm, well, this is one way to ensure you eat—force-feed you. I could get used to this.”

Uhm?


“Mmm. Tastes even better off you, Miss Steele.”

Melted ice cream does not taste better than unmelted ice cream, even when eaten off of a sexy lady. I'm sorry, it just doesn't.

I pull against my restraints and the bed creaks ominously, but I don’t care—I’m burning with desire, it’s consuming me.

Pleasebreakthebedpleasebreakthebedpleasebreakthebed.


and into my navel where he deposits a large dollop of ice cream. Oh, this is chillier than before, but weirdly it burns.

Ana, have you never been stuck in the cold long enough for it to burn a little? She's been in Washington for a good chunk of her life, I'm pretty sure they get cold winters. You should understand how cold/burning works. No? Oh, er, uhm, alright. I guess.

And I try, I try to stay still despite the heady combination of cold and his inflaming touch. But my hips start to move involuntarily, gyrating to their own rhythm, caught up in his cool vanilla spell.

cool vanilla spell.

Cool vanilla spell.

Cool Vanilla Spell. 

I don't even have words. 

I moan. Holy cow. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s tantalizing, but he doesn’t stop. He trails the ice cream further down my body, into my pubic hair, on to my clitoris. I cry out, loudly.

"IT'S CALLED A YEAST INFECTION ASSHOLE!"

I erupt unexpectedly

Show of hands, who didn't expect this? That's what I thought.

 into a mind-blowing orgasm that stuns all my senses, obliterating all that’s happening outside of my body as I writhe and groan. Jeez, that was so quick.

Is it really that hard to write an orgasm? There's exploding and shattering everywhere. It all sounds very messy, and not even from all of that wasted ice cream.

I am vaguely aware that he has stopped his ministrations. He’s hovering over me, sliding on a condom, and then he’s inside me, hard and fast.
 
 
 


Give a girl a second to catch her breath won't you?

He then flips her over, seats her on his dick (facing away, so she can't touch him, naturally) and starts to go to town. 

“Do you know how much you mean to me?” he breathes against my ear.
“No,” I gasp.
He smiles against my neck, and his fingers curl around my jaw and throat, holding me fast for a moment.
“Yes, you do. I’m not going to let you go.”
I groan as he picks up speed.
“You are mine, Anastasia.”
“Yes, yours,” I pant.
“I take care of what’s mine,” he hisses and bites my ear.


This all seems really kind of threatening and black magic/warlocky to me. I think his powers work better when he's inside her, and she will now be less resistant to him owning every place she ever works. Also, how does she know he's smiling when she is facing away?

His magic is powerful, intoxicating. I’m a butterfly caught in his net, unable and unwilling to escape. I’m his . . . totally his.
“Come on, baby,” he growls through gritted teeth and on cue, like the sorcerer’s apprentice I am, I let go, and we find our release together.


If this is not proof that Grey is, in fact, a warlock, I don't know what is. 

They then immediately get into a conversation about how much they love each other and never ever ever want to break up. 

“I’ve never felt the way I felt when you left, Anastasia. I would move heaven and earth to avoid feeling like that again.” He sounds so sad, dazed even.

And by "move heaven and earth" he means "lock her in a cabin in the woods".

He then asks her to go to a random charity party his Dad is hosting tomorrow, and confesses he kept all the clothes he bought for her. 

I purse my lips. “Do you, now?” I mutter, my voice sardonic. I don’t want to fight with him tonight. I need a shower.

Again, there's this "I don't want to fight with him so I won't enforce a boundary" and it makes me both sad and uncomfortable and I feel like he's training her with his rage when she dares object. 

The girl who looks like me is standing outside SIP. Hang on—she is me. I am pale and unwashed, and all my clothes are too big; I’m staring at her, and she’s wearing my clothes—happy, healthy.
“What do you have that I don’t?” I ask her.
“Who are you?”
“I’m nobody . . . Who are you? Are you nobody, too . . . ?”
“Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell, they’d banish us, you know . . .”1 She smiles, a slow, evil grimace that spreads across her face, and it’s so chilling that I start to scream.
       


The one is a footnote, before I go on, pointing out that this is from "I'm nobody. Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson. Ow, my liver.

So Ana wakes up screaming and Grey is reasonably worried and freaked out and asks what the fucking hell and Ana tells him about the girl who looks kind of like her that she met outside of SIP.

“Who?” I press.
“It’s Leila.”
I swallow. The ex-sub! I remember Christian talking about her before we went gliding. Suddenly, he’s radiating tension. Something is going on.
“The girl who put ‘Toxic’ on your iPod?”
He glances at me anxiously.
“Yes,” he says. “Did she say anything?”
“She said, ‘what do you have that I don’t have?’ and when I asked who she was, she said, ‘nobody.’ ”
Christian closes his eyes as if in pain. Oh no. What’s happened? What does she mean to him?
My scalp prickles as adrenaline spikes through my body. What if she means a lot to him? Perhaps he misses her? I know so little about his past . . . um, relationships. She must have had a contract, and she would have done what he wanted, given him what he needed gladly.


Jesus fucking Christ Ana he has said he would buy entire organizations to keep you safe and would move the stars and moon to keep you two together. I'm not saying these are good things, but can you stop being so uncertain? If a friend said these sorts of things to me, assuming they're sprinkled with stories of how way too into her he is, I would be grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking while letting out a wordless scream. If that didn't work I would bounce because fuck. That. Noise.

Grey's response is to ask about the girl, and for the new readers, at the end of the last book there was some crisis where someone went missing. A she. We weren't told who or why or what or how or huh, but it was left hanging. After this he calls... someone, to tell them about this sighting.

“Find out how . . . Yes . . . I wouldn’t have said so, but then I wouldn’t have thought she could do this.” He closes his eyes as if he’s in pain. “I don’t know how that will go down . . . Yes, I’ll talk to her . . . Yes . . . I know . . . Follow it up and let me know. Just find her, Welch—she’s in trouble. Find her.” He hangs up.

He then once again tries to drag Ana back to bed for even more sex. Jesus Christ, how are they not chafed?


“Well, I need some tea. Would you like to join me for a cup?” I want to know what’s going on. I will not be sidetracked by sex.

Oh hai there Ana's back bone! Nice of you to drop in! Ana asks and he refuses to talk, on account of it has nothing to do with her and he doesn't want her tangled up in this! Ana points out that she showed up at her place of work and knew her name and what she looked like and spoke to her.

“Okay,” he says, resigned. “I have no idea how she found you. Maybe the photograph of us in Portland, I don’t know.” He sighs again, and I sense his frustration is directed at himself.

So he makes this huge deal about protecting Ana but didn't think of the potential consequences of dragging her in front of a camera with him for random media shots?


I distract myself with pouring tea into teacups. So Leila wants back into Christian’s life and chooses a suicide attempt to attract his attention? Whoa . . . scary. But effective. Christian left Georgia to be at her side, but she disappears before he gets there? How odd.

Grey is handling this wrong. I mean, his ex clearly is in trouble and needs help and I am pleasantly surprised to see a character view it as such and want to do just that, but when someone is engaged in this sort of behavior the right answer isn't try and rush to their side and give them exactly what they want. That's rewarding and reinforcing this sort of thing. If Grey wants to pay to buy her the best shrink money can buy, and hire people to find her and help get her to said shrink since she's vanished, that is an awesome thing for him to do, but engaging with her directly is dangerous to him, to her, and to Ana. Otherwise this is going to turn into the anime trope of "Guy leaves the woman he loves to be with the one who needs him. Even thought she is evil and selfish and awful and abusive". Oh, I just summed up the rest of this book, didn't I? Damn it.

“Let me get this straight. She hasn’t been your submissive for three years?”
“About two and a half years.”
“And she wanted more.”
“Yes.”
“But you didn’t?”
“You know this.”
“So she left you.”
“Yes.”
“So why is she coming to you now?”


So this woman left Grey because she wanted a real relationship, got married within 6 months, carried a torch but tried to live a normal life, ran out on her husband about 4 months ago (I think about the time the first picture with he and Ana surfaced) she took that to mean ZOMG HE HAS A REAL GIRLFRIEND AND THAT BITCH HAS WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED! Turned up on his doorstep, when he wasn't there threw a shit fit, opened a vein causing his poor housekeeper who was just scrubbing out the toilet in her pencil skirt to have to rush her to a hospital, and realizing she had just done something really... dramatic, I will guess out of embarrassment, ran away before Grey got there. She has been MIA since then, and somehow tracked down Ana and harassed her/was creepy as hell at her when she found her. I think that brings us up to speed.

Grey decides he doesn't want to talk about it and drags Ana back to bed, claiming his reward for talking (access to her cooter) and we then get to wake up with them the next morning.

Hmm . . . Reaching up, I tentatively stroke his chest, running my fingertips through the smattering of hair, and he doesn’t stir. Holy cow. I can’t quite believe it. He’s really mine—for a few more precious moments. I lean over and tenderly kiss one of his scars. He moans softly but doesn’t wake, and I smile. I kiss another and his eyes open.
“Hi.” I grin at him, guiltily.
“Hi,” he answers warily. “What are you doing?”
“Looking at you.” I run my fingers down his happy trail. He captures my hand, narrows his eyes, then smiles a brilliant Christian-at-ease smile, and I relax. My secret touching stays secret.
Oh . . . why won’t you let me touch you?


 ANA WE HAVE GONE OVER THIS! This is supposed to be cute, but all I see is her ignoring his direct wishes because his discomfort with being touched isn't as important as her wanting to tweak his nipples.

“I think you’re up to no good, Miss Steele,” he accuses but his smile remains.
“I like being up to no good near you.”
“You do?” he asks and kisses me lightly on the lips. “Sex or breakfast?” he asks, his eyes dark but full of humor. His erection is digging into me, and I tilt my pelvis up to meet him.
“Good choice,”


We shockingly don't see the sex scene, although that's what, the fourth time this chapter? Ow. Instead they cut to her getting dressed and mentioning she needs a haircut, to cash a cheque, and buy a car. Because buying a car is something you just go out and do that day with no previous research.

“Ah,” he says knowingly and bites his lip. Taking one hand off me, he reaches into his jeans pocket and holds up the key to my little Audi.
“It’s here,” he says quietly, his expression uncertain.
“What do you mean, it’s here?” Boy. I sound angry. Crap. I am angry. My subconscious glares at him. How dare he!


Yes, how dare he give you back the car that he forced upon you before. This is totally unexpected and unprecedented. Ana hasn't cashed the cheque that she was given for him selling her old car, and when she tries to give it to him in exchange for the car he's trying to force on her again, he gets pissed.

“Do you really want to argue about this?”
“No.”
“Good—here are the keys.” He puts them on the chest of drawers.
“That’s not what I meant!”
“End of discussion, Anastasia. Don’t push me.”
I scowl at him, then inspiration hits me. Taking the envelope, I rip it in two, then two again and drop the contents into my waste bin. Oh, that feels good.


Grey's response is to have TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS put into Ana's bank account. Apparently her old car was an antique.

“Good . . . Monday? Excellent . . . No that’s all, Andrea.”
He snaps the phone shut.
“Deposited in your bank account, Monday. Don’t play games with me.” He’s boiling mad, but I don’t care.
“Twenty-four thousand dollars!” I’m almost screaming. “And how do you know my account number?”
My ire takes Christian by surprise.
“I know everything about you, Anastasia,” he says quietly.


AHHHHHHHHHH! And then they start fucking. Again. No, really.

I glower at him and he glowers back, two angry stubborn fools glaring at each other.
And I feel it, the pull—the electricity between us—tangible, drawing us together. Suddenly he grabs me and pushes me up against the door


I keep having to cut sentences off halfway through because EL James hates periods, if you were wondering.


“Lord, I want to take you now, but I’m out of condoms. I can never get enough of you. You’re a maddening, maddening woman.”
“And you make me mad,” I whisper. “In every way.”
He shakes his head. “Come. Let’s go out for breakfast. And I know a place you can get your hair cut.”
“Okay,” I acquiesce and just like that, our fight is over.


Yup, just like that I dropped the topic and he was pacified!

So they go out for breakfast and Grey then takes Ana to the beauty salon he owns for her hair cut.

Yes, that's right, Grey owns a few high ends beauty salons. WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE EVEN DO FOR A LIVING?!
 
 Holy fuck! It’s Rule no 6, the damned beauty salon. All the waxing nonsense . . . shit!
This is where he brought all his subs? Maybe Leila, too? What the hell am I supposed to make of this?
“Miss Steele will tell you what she wants.”
I glare at him. He’s introducing the Rules by stealth. I’ve agreed to the personal trainer—and now this?


You give an inch, they take a mile.

“Yes. It’s a sideline. Anyway—whatever you want, you can have it here, on the house. All sorts of massage; Swedish, shiatsu, hot stones, reflexology, seaweed baths, facials, all that stuff that women like—everything. It’s done here.” He waves his long-fingered hand dismissively.

 Oh hey, something new to talk about besides what a creepy cockhole Grey is and what an awful harpy Ana is! I've talked about gender norms a little bit on this blog before, but this just leaped off the page at me. Grey has casually assumed half of the world's population likes massages and things of that ilk, simply because of their gender, and that the other half does not, because they have danglers. In Grey's list of "SHIT I EXPECT YOU TO DO" back in chapter 11 we saw this:

The Submissive shall not look directly into the eyes of the Dominant except when specifically instructed to do so. The Submissive shall keep her eyes cast down and maintain a quiet and respectful bearing in the presence of the Dominant.
...
The Submissive shall always conduct herself in a respectful manner to the Dom­inant and shall address him only as Sir, Mr. Grey, or such other title as the Dominant may direct.

and I accused Grey of being a fundie. I found then, as I do now, this to be very restrictive and... old school, shall we say. He wanted her to be a good little woman, quiet and meek and not someone who would make him think or pay too much attention. He thinks that's how women should be. I didn't give it much thought beyond that, but we see him painting women with a broad brush again. I've jokes that EL James hates women before, but I'm starting to wonder how much I'm kidding.

I peek up at him, and suddenly he blanches—something, or someone, has caught his eye. I turn to see where he’s looking, and right at the back of the salon a sleek platinum blonde has appeared, closing a door behind her and speaking to one of the hair stylists.
Platinum Blonde is tall, tanned, lovely, and in her late thirties or forties—it’s difficult to tell.


OH HAI MRS. ROBINSON!


“Excuse me,” Christian mumbles hurriedly.
He strides quickly through the salon, past the hair stylists all in white, past the apprentices at the sinks, and over to her, too far away for me to hear their conversation. Platinum Blonde greets him with obvious affection, kissing both his cheeks, her hands resting on his upper arms, and they talk animatedly together.


I'm torn on this. Given how Ana has spoken of Elena before, I'm not surprised that Grey wants to talk to her not-near Ana. I however still think this is probably kind of shitty. Unless he's about to talk her out of coming over to say hello so Ana doesn't try to claw her eyes out?


Platinum Blonde turns and looks at me, and gives me the same dazzling smile, as if she knows me. I smile politely back.

Also we're up to four brunettes that have been mentioned in the book. Ana, Grey's sister Mia, Grey's ex Leila, and the receptionist at Ana's work. This is counting every service person they've ever met, most of which were women. Just throwing this out there.

Christian looks upset about something. He’s reasoning with her, and she’s acquiescing, holding her hands up and smiling at him. He’s smiling at her—clearly they know each other well.

How the hell can Ana tell from across the room that he's reasoning with her as opposed to just talking animatedly about something? Maybe they're having a passionate discussion about which is better, raspberries or cherries? Raspberries, for anyone wondering. It's science. You can shove a chocolate chip inside of them. Can't do that with a cherry. And those pits? Raspberries are simply superior.

It is after this that Ana realizes it's Mrs. Robinson, because it wasn't dramatically appropriate for her to do so until EL James could end the chapter with her realizing it.

I'd rant about "WHY THE FUCK DID GREY BRING ANA TO THE SALON ELENA WORKS AT?" but I suspect, since he owns several, that means she owns several, and the odds of her being there were low.

Alright my dears, that is it from me this week. As always, comments make me want to continue with this project, so you should leave lots of them to assure my liver that it's worth it. VALIDATE ME DAMN IT! *Ahem* Until Tuesday!

PS: This chapter basically caused my proof reader to repeatedly curl up in a little ball screaming "WHHHYYYY"  He looked like this:

21 comments:

  1. "Jeez, that was so quick."

    Jeez, Ana really knows how to ruin the (non-existent) mood. I mean, I just can't imagine it: reading the book, actually getting turned on, and suddenly "jeez!"

    "“Come on, baby,” he growls through gritted teeth and on cue, like the sorcerer’s apprentice I am,"

    There's nothing sexier than being reminded of Mickey Mouse during a sex scene. Okay, okay, I know it's a poem, in fact I had to learn it by heart in school. Still, what does it have to do with anything? But since we're already talking about Goethe, I'm just waiting for an Erlk├Ânig comparison.

    " This is supposed to be cute, but all I see is her ignoring his direct wishes because his discomfort with being touched isn't as important as her wanting to tweak his nipples."

    This is so infuriating to me. I hate having me hair touched. Don't touch my hair, unless maybe I asked you to style it for me. (Or you know, at the hair-dresser's.) But other than that, I don't want anyone to touch it. No affectionate ruffles, no admiring "whoa, how long!" or "how soft", and god help you if you pull it, no matter how gently. And if some person decided that they have to do that despite me repeatedly telling them to stop, they probably won't stay friends with me.

    But the thing about Grey is, he generally doesn't act like someone who doesn't like being touched. I mean, irl, it would be a different situation. But in this story, it just feels like a random way to control Ana. Unless he literally always wears a shirt when they're fucking, she ends up touching him. Because at that level of intimacy, the difference between "touching" and "being touched" vanishes. I feel like the whole touching thing is only brought up for instant drama.

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  2. Happy New Year, and thank you fo still working on that horrible horrible book!!! I've been so behind on your last posts, as soon as I have some free time, I will make sure to reand them all and comment.

    I still hate this story, it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen/read, and I've spent a lot of time on Youtube.... I hate these stupid characters sooooo much. And the whole Leila stuff was so obvious since the last book, it's disgusting. More to come I'm sure, oh the drama!

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  3. "My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars"

    Her inner goddess is doing a figure-skating jump (which requires, you know, being on ice skates) off gymnastics equipment? Oh, EL James.

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    1. I wish the system for comments allowed me to "like" this.

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    2. Next she's gonna to a triple half-caff off a diving board

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  4. Hey :)
    randomly found this a couple of weeks ago whilst procrastinating for exams, and yeah, it rocks! I can now sound relatively well informed when criticizing this:) and what more can you ask for?
    Two things though- you described England as "exotic" a couple of blogs ago- I've been to Canada, and there were wild turtles!!! That is the most awesome thing, and pretty exotic. Here, the most exotic thing we have is chavs. Also, good drinks (you stopped asking for recipes, but this was too good) try a bloody mary. Although you may want to leave out the sheep eye. I don't think i could ask for anything more from a drink that it tastes nice, has vitamin c and gets me happy ;)
    Anyway, love it all, you're awesome.

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  5. Oh, yes, he's training her, all right. Training her to be that meek submissive woman in his contracts rather than believing a real relationship requires some amount of give as well as take. He's training her to be a victim of abuse that believes the abuse is all their fault. And showing her that he has enough resources and clout to basically be able to find her anywhere and drag her back to him, should she run away. At that point, Christian should expect that he will end up on the business end of a kitchen knife or rat poison. Perhaps his contract says that he can't be killed until Satan personally comes to fetch him.

    With the past Ana supposedly has, I would have thought she would be hyper-vigilant to the possibility of a relationship turning abusive. Apparently not, as she seems to be abused by just about every male in he life.

    Also, ice cream? Great gods, no. Ice, straight up. All the sensation, smaller risk of possible yeast infections. (Or so I've heard.)

    Much laughter for thoac pointing it the incompatibility of the move and the apparatus.

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  6. Fun fact: sticking a blunt butterknife in the freezer makes it a great approximate for a sharp knife if the person being "cut" is blindfolded. Great for couples heavy on the roleplay but light on the masochism: the shock of the cold feels like being cut except for the part where you're fine a minute later.

    Given that context... not really interested in play with ice cream, thanks.

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  7. You've titled the post 50 Shades of Grey, not 50 Shades Darker. Might want to change that, lest you confuse some passer-by.

    “Possibly. I’m not sure you’ve given me a great deal of choice.”
    “Yes, I will buy that company, too.” He is adamant.


    What if she gets a job at Walmart? Are you going to buy Walmart?

    Is it really that hard to write an orgasm?

    I don't know about you, but I've never read a description of an orgasm that sounded appealing. They never make me feel jealousy or vicarious joy, just pity.

    His magic is powerful, intoxicating. I’m a butterfly caught in his net, unable and unwilling to escape. I’m his . . . totally his.

    If this is not proof that Grey is, in fact, a warlock, I don't know what is.

    Just be mind-control porn already, 50 Shades. You're practically there, you just need to shift focus a little.

    you know . . .”1 She smiles

    Please tell me that typoed 1 is in the book and not transcriber error. It would be much funnier if so.

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    1. All typoes in the bolded sections are in the book itself, carefully transcribed to the blog by good old cut-n-paste, which is far too simple to lie. (I am the occasionally-mentioned proofreader here; I know of what I speak.) In case we were wondering just how slapdash these books really are: this blog has more dedicated proofreading than these hojillion-copies-sold travesties.

      I really can't describe how much I want Ana to get a job at Walmart just to spite Grey.

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  8. I love your blog! I wish I had half your wit! Thank you for the weekly entertainment :)

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  9. "Desire, dark, sleek, and wanton runs hot through my veins."

    I think she means a horny panther - I mean doesn't, "A horny panther, dark, sleek, and wanton runs hot through my veins," sound more sensible?

    Also, I'm glad these have returned (not glad for your liver's continued torture, but quite glad for the hilarity)!

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  10. It's painful to even read the passages you posted here. I don't know how I read the entire trilogy, it was awful. I love your commentary, it is so accurate! Love it! Keep quirking, it keeps the masses amused (I name myself among the masses...)! Stay awesome!

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  11. I haven't read the books, just this blog, and I'm having a hard time understanding how it is BDSM. Aside from the guy being generally very controlling and unpleasant, and the orgasms that shatter the girl's body, the sex scenes appear fairly vanilla with maybe a little kink. Unless a lot of the really BDSM stuff is not being discussed on the blog? I think that securing a girl's wrists with a tie or spanking are pretty common things. Nothing crazy there. Anyway, I love the blog; very funny and I've gotten some friends to read it too.

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    1. It really is that vanilla. But I guess that contributed to its success, because it doesn't actually alienate people who are not into BDSM, Not to mention that Ana's reactions additionally tone down everything, because she basically keeps going "But this is so wrong! Holy Moses! Jeez!"

      I can see how one might think it's super-kinky, if they have never read fanfic or erotica before.

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  12. I find myself reading this blog, and laughing. Every reaction that I have to the snippets from the book, you seem to word perfectly- sadly, I lack your wit and writing skill.

    It seems I find myself having that constant feeling of disappointment the further you delve into this book, like Ralphie from A Christmas Story when he sees that the decoder spelled "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine." It's becoming increasingly hard not to scream as I read the quotes from this book, and it takes all of my strength not to bash my head against my desk.

    You are my salvation from this shitty book, but I feel extremely sorry for your liver :[

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  13. I stumbled upon your blog by accident but it was the best find in a long time. I don't think I've laughed so hard at a review in a while, its unbelievably true what you say but it takes someone sarcastically pointing out to make you realize how ridiculous some of it truly is.
    Thank you! :)

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  14. THANK YOU. I was about to post something about that, but thought I'd read all the comments first and see if anyone else noticed that really irritating snippet.

    I wonder why those two things would be correlated enough in James' head to mix them up. Or else Ana's inner goddess is a combination of Gabby Douglas, Mao Asada, and Polina Semionova. Granted, that would be an awesome inner goddess to have.

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  15. By the way, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you' would be super hot coming from any Dom (or Domme) in any erotic novel (who played by the Safe, Sane, Consensual rules), but coming from Christian, it's just... creepy. Also, all Christian wants is a nice quiet woman AND (something I JUST realized by the way) his ex-Dom/child-abuser aka the only non-quiet, myogenic (romantic) relationship he ever had, is a PLATINUM BLONDE hair-dresser (btw, I don't know how Platinum blondes work in Canada/USA/UK, but in my country they look totally cheep and not-at-all-classy). I hate this book, so much...

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  16. Did anyone else notice the random 1 in the passage with the Emily Dickinson quote?

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  17. James will not ruin Dickinson for me. No. That passage was never written...

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