|By Meul (Meul) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons|
I read these chapters while I blew my hair dry the other day. That’s how long it takes to dry my hair. #thickhairproblems. There has been some controversy because someone said that Matt Bomer can’t play Christian Grey because he is gay. I totally disagree because, as his defenders have said, gay men can play straight roles just like straight people can play gay ones. Also, it might be nice for the actress to have a gay man act with her, so that she can feel more comfortable doing the out-of-the-ordinary things this movie would require. Also also, Matt Bomer is the best-looking man alive.
Sigh. These chapters. I don’t even…They were weird. Christian drives Ana to her duplex, and on the way, they listen to Lakme. Good opera taste, Mr. Grey. Elliot Grey is there, having just boned Kate, who is very happy about that. Methinks she got the nice, normal brother. Ana still can’t see what Christian sees in “mousey” old her. We get it, E.L. James. Christian flies Ana to his home that night, in his helicopter. His love of strapping her into the harness so that she couldn’t move much should have tipped her off to Christian’s predilections. We get some boring pages where he flies the helicopter and speaks into his headphones. Then we get a boring description of his lavish pad. Like Edward Cullen, Christian can play the piano. Ana signs a nondisclosure agreement so Christian can show her the dangerous, awful thing that’s going to make her run away. After she signs it, he shows her his bedroom that’s full of chains, whips, and medieval stuff.
Ana is shocked, but not deterred. He shows her a bedroom where she would stay if she agrees to the arrangement he will propose. They go into the dining room to discuss what Christian showed her. He says that he doesn’t do relationships, but he will lavish her with clothing so that she can look good in the bedroom and accompany him to functions, as a date. She would live with him on weekends and sign a sex agreement. Ana asks Christian if has trouble getting women to let him dominate them. He says, “You’d be amazed.” Actually, I am amazed at how many women get their rocks off reading this stuff. I’d be lying if I said my imagination never went there once or twice, but a) it imagines the girl being the dominant just as much and b) it’s not this extreme. There are no medieval torture devices or spanking/beatings. I think a spanking would just remind me of my dad. Not sexy.
I mean…dude. I’m just amazed that MILLIONS of women want to read something that looks like it’s going to be some seriously hardcore S&M porn. I don't even know if I can handle it. Or if I SHOULD handle it. And I'm a dirty bird, guys, mentally. To think, the old lady living next door to me, the college girl, and the librarian want to read this, and I'm kind of wanting to back away from it. Wow, I actually found something about this book that I’m interested in: I want to know what it is, psychologically, that drives women to this book. I want to know what modern mindset makes this the #1 bestseller today. Where is our consciousness at that women secretly think about a man hurting and controlling them in the bedroom? And is it healthy? And how does it tie in with the sex drive? Is it just curiosity? Did the messed-up parts of Twilight ease them into it?
Christian whips out a contract that has his rules. Ana has to obey him at all times and without hesitation, get at least seven hours of sleep a night when she isn’t at Christian’s, eat regularly from a prescribed list of foods and not snack on anything other than fruit (I would be OUT of there at that one), wear clothes picked out by Christian, exercise four times a week, wax herself (ouch), refrain from drinking/recreational drugs/smoking/danger, and sleep only with Christian. If she breaks the rules, it will “result in immediate punishment, the nature of which shall be determined by the Dominant.” Ugh. This is far from romantic. They negotiate a little about the exercise portion. Ana only wants to exercise three times a week. Hipsters don’t exercise!
Then Christian outlines his list of the things he won’t do. His “hard limits” during sex. He has a few of mine listed, I noted with some amusement. We wouldn’t do anything involving urination or defecation, and nothing with kids or animals. The rest of the stuff is odd. He doesn’t like “acts involving fire play.” He vetoes fire twice. Is he afraid of fire? Or just sane? I hope he’s afraid of fire. Ana is amazed that this stuff has to be written down. As are we. Christian asks Ana to add her “no’s” to the list. Ana tells him that she can’t think of anything because she’s a virgin. This is going to be a problem. He gets angry and says, “Why the f*** didn’t you tell me?”
Other comments: You have to give the guy credit for being totally upfront about all this. He handles it pretty professionally. He wants Ana to agree, in advance, to the things that she finds uncomfortable, and he really puts all his cards on the table. Is this what “true love” looks like? Probably not. Do I know what it is? No, I have no idea about any of this. I know that his control of her outside the bedroom and his love of power concern me and cannot, in any way, reflect love or a good relationship. But he says this isn’t a relationship. It’s play. It’s sating his desire. And he’s been completely honest about everything. I heard that people in the S&M community say this book doesn’t reflect healthy S&M community practices, that it is bad for S&M, and that it’s abusive. We haven’t really gotten into the sex, but at some point I am going to research what their exact problems with Christian Grey’s habits are and how real S&M differs. It should be awkward, but we don’t want to end up as naïve as Ana, now do we?