50 Shades of Grey is, without question; a phenomenon.
a. An unusual, significant, or unaccountable fact or occurrence
That doesn't automatically put it into the 'good' category however. On the contrary, I have heard on good authority that this piece of landmark literature is quite frankly, pants. And very much tailored only to women.
I find that fascinating; not only is this story about male domination, sadomasochism, bondage and fricking spanking but it apparently does so in a way to make the man seem as perfect as a Sunday roast with dumplings (or nut loaf for you kinky veggies) and not a dirty fetish crazed failure of a male specimen that deserves to be spat on whenever at fleming distance; as most women would think to an actual practitioner of such dark arts. Those dreamy Times New Roman italics however? Not a dry pair of knickers in the house.
So here's the question: Can a book about all things very much in most men's fantasies actually appeal to men? Or is it purely a humongous vibrator cleverly disguised as a paper back; not really that much of a turn on for us and we'd be quickly amusing ourselves by switching it to the 'cum in 60 seconds' setting and watching it breakdance on the floor.
So I'm going to read 50 Shades, I'm going to read it all the way through despite my common sense throwing away the now broken alarum bell and is readying the air raid siren, and I'm going to do so one chapter a week. No more no less. I don't want to push myself to breaking point just yet and can only handle so many orgasms at once. Despite what the books say we men DO have limitations.
Hold on to your handcuffs.... let's begin
So we start off with Ana (Anastasia Steele) getting ready in the bathroom, getting ready in a hurry and trying to insert a subliminal message into her head to never go to sleep with wet hair. I feel your pain Ana (seriously, if I do that I wake up looking like Mr Majeika too)
However I do find it a bit pointless to rinse repeat this statement when the task is already done, it's like me holding a wheelie bin full of beer cans whilst watching the truck's headlights disappear round the corner and repeating to myself 'Must remember, recycling is Thursday every other week' I appreciate the sentiment but chances are I'll forget about it again by the time a fortnight swings around with mere suggestions of the mind alone. The only reason for you is because you've washed your hair late at night and have been too tired to anything other then catching zeds as soon as you gain sight of your bed. Let's be honest here Ana; it was your fault for having a shower so damn late in the first place.
Getting back to the story at hand, Ana is getting ready for the purpose of interviewing the CEO of the eponymous Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc; a major benefactor of the university she attends, for a student newspaper. Is she a reporter? Nope, she's doing this to help out her journalist housemate Kate, who has the bird-flu (something I can also relate to at this point, the stench of Vics in this place is so potent that even my cats are looking light headed)
Will anything happen if this interview doesn't go ahead? Is the shadowy Grey Enterprises going to cut funding of the university if the CEO doesn't get their say? Nope, life would go on as per normal without as much as a personal fine for time wasting. Hell even a flipping dentist has more clout than that. It is mentioned that it took Kate nine months to get this interview and would take a further six to reschedule, which by that point both of them would have graduated, moved on and no longer giving a shit. I can accept that, what I can't accept is that Ana was Kate's only hope for this interview to take place. She's not a part of the student newspaper, she doesn't know who the guy is nor is she remotely prepared for the very task at hand. Why not someone else from the newspaper? Are they all too damn busy to not step in as substitute when they have been waiting nine months for this story to break? What the hell could be more important? Flaming Lacrosse play-offs?
Also haven't they all got exams they have to study for? They do? That actually makes sense, turns out Ana has too and yet still has to sacrifice her time when none of this has anything to do with her other than having the unfortunate coincidence to be friends with someone who it does.
Is Kate the only person on staff? Is this whole student paper just run by her as editor in chief of staff roving reporter, photographer journalist? No wonder she got sick, her life must be a minefield of stress claymores triggered by hidden dead lines.
Being the good friend that she is however, Ana agrees to go in her place, conduct the interview herself even though she has no idea who this person is nor what to ask, she sets off on the 165 mile drive to do so; like the really good good, superfantiliastic friend she is!
Seriously this is almost the equivalent of me driving to London and that's a long journey. We're talking over 3 hours and that's only if the traffic is light. At least she has the decency to lend Ana her car though, I hope she remembered to fill it up with a full tank because she's going to bloody need it. Kate has also given her pre-prepared cheat sheets of questions, so I guess she's not going into the lions den without a wooden chair and whip.
Ana makes it to the interview and meets her mysterious interviewee and wouldn't you know it? Christian Grey turns out to be a plain, modest man with a kind smile and an unintimidating physique. He's dressed smartly but looks so normal you wouldn't look at them twice if you were seated opposite on the train. He's friendly, polite and overall a very nice if somewhat unassuming chap.
"So young-and attractive, very attractive"
'He's tall, dressed in a fine grey suit (subtle) , white shirt and black tie with unruly dark-copper hair (brought to you by Schwarzkopf) and intense, bright grey eyes (bright grey? like fluorescent black?) that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice"
"He smiles, revealing perfect teeth, white (not grey this time) teeth. I stop breathing (medic!)
He really is beautiful. No one should be this good looking"
So this is Mr Christian Grey, a hunk with a heart of intemperate severity and aloofness. Actually the guy comes across as a walking dick and this is before he gets the 'bad girl' paddles out. I'm guessing that EL James wants the reader to think this and has written him like so for a reason. At least I fecking hope so.
What unnerves me however comes towards the end of the chapter. After reading from the cheat sheet of questions and so far only establishing that Mr Grey is very wealthy, is looking into investing in farming technologies and is generally an arse hole, she blurts out the question 'Are you gay, Mr Grey?'
I could be wrong but this question could be the catalyst for the entire book to unfold. He is so taken aback, insulted and angered by her question I'm surprised he didn't whip out is johnson and prove to her that she is very much mistaken by banging her senseless around his 'too big for one man' room (she's clearly up for it anyway given she's left a snail trail of drool from the doorway to the seat she's now convulsing in.) I think Kate just set her up to get nailed, HARD
I'm exaggerating obviously but the fact is over the course of the book; that's exactly what he does. Just in a slower, deliberate, need to fill a further 500 pages kind of way.
Am I the only one that finds this very homophobic? Really wasn't expecting that in 50 Shades of Giving Her One.
What's in the next chapter? Scientology?