Friday, June 29, 2012

You're a lesbian if you don't think Christian Grey is hot

Hi, people. OMFG I can't believe you guys are finally starting to comment (and spew Twining's English Breakfast tea, thank you, Kelly!). I'm getting some great comments, too. I've had confirmation that this book is not BDSM, and many of you are just confirming that I'm as funny and awesome as the voices in my head tell me I am. One of you (hi, Zee! Welcome!) said that there's a review at Amazon that basically accuses anyone who doesn't find Christian (and by extension, Edward) sexy and doable of being a lesbian. I spent a few seconds trying to find the review so I could rip it to shreds, but then I stopped. Firstly, anyone that narrow minded (is being a lesbian a bad thing? Was she insulting people?) probably wouldn't benefit from the shredding, and secondly, the author is the one who sets this idea up.

I've mentioned this before, but I'll just say it again for context: I am not gay. My obsession for Nigella Lawson aside, I like men.
She's cooking both literally and figuratively.
I don't like Christian Grey for a myriad of reasons that I have outlined on this blog numerous times. Probably the number one reason is that he is abusive. I don't think that I need a number two or three or eleven after that. If I need more, he is also controlling and overbearing. He is mean and arbitrary, he thinks that his girlfriend is a weakling who needs protection from the Big Bad World, and his perspective on life is by necessity skewed towards some crazy alternate reality where he is the moral center. He is narcissistic, having built himself onto a pedestal (probably more the authors doing) that no man can topple. Christian puts himself first in every situation, even when he's trying to perform some sleight of hand where it seems like he's putting Ana first, he puts himself first. I cannot respect this man, and by extension, I could not love him.

The book, however, is hell-bent on making us love Christian. Everywhere Ana goes, there are women looking at her with jealousy. The maid at his parent's house, random strangers on the street, his exes, everyone is jealous of Ana. Why? Because Christian is so hot, they want to be with him. Anyone else reminded of the Chris Brown tweets after the music awards where tons of girls were like, "I'd let him slap me around." Looks aren't everything, but they are also subjective. Looks, however, are the only reason why these women are staring daggers at Ana. And let us not forget the auditorium full of families waiting for the commencement of their loved one, that shining moment when their little boy or girl will finally accept their diploma and enter the wonderful world of adulthood. What does Ana think? That all the women in the place are hanging on Christian's every word. Is it because what he's saying is erudite and eloquent? Is it because of the suffering of the unfed masses that he is bringing to life through his prose? No. It's because of his face.

This face.
I've already talked a little about how the author has made her characters out to be objectified sexual creatures, but I'll go there again. This author does not conceive of a scenario where her characters would not be attracted or attractive to someone of the opposite sex. In the third book, Ana actually says that Christian doesn't work with brunettes close to him because he's attracted to brunettes, so he hires blondes. Not only is he setting himself up for a lawsuit, but he's also saying that he has no control over his libido. This explains his attraction towards Ana and his subsequent pursuit of her, but it's not a realistic view of the vast majority of human beings. Not only does it not account for a scenario where Christian is not attracted to a brunette woman, but it also does not account for a brunette woman not being attracted to Christian. It also does not allow for personality and habits. What this author is writing about is lust. Uncontrolled lust.

This lust is not centered around one or two characters, however. Everyone in this world is governed by this same lust. Guess what? I'm not a part of that world. I'm a part of the real world that is happening around me, and no matter how attractive a man may be to me, I don't go off on uncontrolled binges of arousal when I'm around them. They also show me the same courtesy. I see a person who is attractive to me, and I think, "Oh, he's a good looking man," or, "Oh, what a pretty woman." And then I let it go. Why? Because they are a human being and they don't deserve to have me drooling all over them, no matter who they are or how attractive they are. I might flirt or smile, but if I don't get a reaction in return, it holds no bearing over how I conduct my life. I totally felt that, when I read the passage about the blondes/brunettes, that if a girl didn't show interest in Christian, he would stalk and harrass her until she either gave in or filed a restraining order. How am I supposed to find that attractive?

I get that these books are supposed to be fantasy for bored hausfraus, but there is a sinister edge to them underneath it all. Few men can measure up to Christian Grey because few men would feel comfortable displaying his blatant sociopathy, and those that would probably wouldn't be attractive to the vast majority of the population. People are real, flesh and blood. People have flaws that go beyond arrogance and clumsiness. People are gay. People have fetishes. People have specific likes and dislikes. People are diverse and interesting and so much more than a bland two-dimensional character in a book.

If I'm a lesbian for preferring a flesh-and-blood man who gets tongue tied while talking about his interests because he just can't get less passionate about them, or a guy who is unashamed to impersonate Captain Picard at any given moment, or a guy who drives an old beat-up Honda, then sign me up for lesbianism. If saying no to someone like Christian Grey will turn me into the crazy cat lady down the street, then get me about ten more cats because I'm there. Don't waste time looking for this guy, people. Look at the one right in front of you. The one sleeping beside you. The one you smile at every day in the coffee shop. Getting your face out of a book means being susceptible to hurt and all sorts of other unpleasantness, but isn't it better than staying with that book?

Even for him. Especially for him.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My freaking out, let me share it with you!

I called a pet sitter several weeks ago to come and watch Mr. Chekhov and Rain Bird while I'm away on vacation. This lady came on election night at the beginning of the month, and everything was great as far as I could tell. She left me with information, and Mr. Chekhov actually let her pet his chin, although immediately afterwards, he wanted to hide under a bed.

My travel times changed, so I called on Monday to talk with this lady about a change of schedule and asked her to call me back. She didn't. On Tuesday, I did the same thing. No call. On Wednesday, I called again and it rang once and then went to voicemail. I was being ignored.

I freaked out a lot because I'm leaving Monday at midnight and I can't just leave my cat and bird alone. I mean, I'm not even that mean. Both my friend and my coworker (#5 for those keeping track) urged me to find someone new. So I did.

You know, I get that people get busy and have other stuff happening. I get that our lives become complicated and we get depressed (or I do) and don't want to see or talk to anyone. But this passive-aggressive bullshit just kills me. Maybe it's because I go to therapy where I'm regularly urged to actually speak my mind and be honest that I just happen to be honest with people (though I can also be passive-aggressive at times, see: coworker #7), but this is just no way to run a business. If she had called me and said, "I just don't think I can take on another client right now," I would have been pissed, but I would have understood. Heck, she could have texted that to me. But now, since she didn't have that courtesy, I'm sitting here wondering why she won't answer my calls, why she doesn't want to watch my cat and bird, and if I did something wrong.

This same exact thing happened with the person I thought was my best friend at the beginning of the year, so I now am doubly wondering, "What's wrong with me?" I don't know how I come off on this blog, but people who read my Fifty Shades reviews probably think I'm some sort of sex goddess with a steel backbone and a ton of self-confidence, but like all people, I have doubts about myself now and then. I actually think I'm a pretty cool person. I'd be friends with me. I'd certainly watch my cat for me. Especially if I was paying myself $25.00 a day.

Anyway, I'm really glad that I'm dealing with this now instead of on Saturday or Sunday or even Monday when every pet sitter in the city would have probably charged me double and I'd have had to take it. The lady I am hopefully hiring has a website with all of her information and credentials displayed as well as her business license and references. She didn't ask me what type of cat I had, like the other lady did. She also seemed to be unfazed by the fact that I live in an apartment building whereas the other lady found it to be incomprehensible. So maybe I just wasn't rich enough.

Anyway, it's all good. Crisis averted. The good news is that this prompted me to look at my clothes and think about the outfits I want to take with me. I also bought my little niece a cute sun hat and sunglasses for her birthday that I think she'll kill in.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To support or not to support

So, Oreo posted this picture to Facebook:

I saw it because George Takei (Sulu from TOS Star Trek) posted it almost immediately afterwards. I...don't like Oreos. Don't yell or throw things at me. I look at that, and I think about the lard-consistency of the frosting inside and I'm repulsed because of the taste. (I do enjoy the chocolate cookie part, though.)

Anyway, immediately afterwards, people who claim to be Christians started posting smack about Oreo and Kraft and Nabisco and even General Mills. Apparently, no one knows who makes Oreo cookies. On person posted that homosexual love is not real and cited John 15:13 (though without giving chapter and verse) that "Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay his life down for his friends." I know that scripture. It's basically Jesus telling everyone that he has big love for them because he's about to lay down his life for them. What it has to do with homosexuality, I have no clue. Jesus never spoke against homosexuality, he was too busy with all of the religious muckety-mucks who were running the temple and selling plastic junk to tourists for exorbitant amounts of money.

Another comment centers around wanting to bash [gay people's] heads in with a hammer because they shouldn't be allowed to live. (Oh, and God Bless America. Except for the gay people. They aren't American. Not really.)

Someone actually said that they only support "1 Man + 1 Woman 4 Life" which is great, but then I guess they don't support most of the heterosexual marriages in the United States at this time, because most people have been divorced and are on second or even more marriages.

Someone else bemoaned another "liberal" company destroying religious values and teaching "immorality." Um, newsflash? Corporate America does not destroy or build up or teach any sort of morality other than the morality of making as much money as possible. It's like the Baptists when they sent out their manifesto of how they can't "trust Disneyland to raise our children any more." The underlying fact there is that they are expecting a business to rais their children rather than raising children themselves. Corporate America is not responsible for how you or your children view the world. You are. And this view seems very narrow.

Someone else is saying that "God made us to be men and women, not gay and lesbian." I'll give you a few minutes to stop laughing. Yes! God made you to be either a man or a woman. Your entire identity is wrapped around that gender! When I sleep, I sleep in a womanly way. When I shower, it's a womanly shower. When I work, it's women's work. Or maybe I'm a person with a gender, and my sexuality is only a small part of who I am.

And now a call to arms to declare anyone eating Oreos to be a heretic. I may have to start eating Oreos.

The part that bothers me the most is that these people consider themselves to be Christians. Nevermind that they seem to have never read the Bible, they go to church on Sunday and listen to their pastor give a sermon against homosexuals despite the fact that homosexuals make up about .01% of the population and yet one in four children have been sexually abused. There really are fewer things in this world that are more horrifying than zealots, but I have to say that ignorant zealots are by far the most frightening. And I bet that most of these people would laugh about suicide bombers and say things like, "Do they even read the Koran?" when they themselves don't read their religious book. Only one person up there even attempted to recite a verse from the New Testament, and it was a verse that did nothing at all to punctuate their point.

I get into this with my mom sometimes. She's a "to the bone" Christian, but she actually reads her Bible, and she has admitted that homosexuality is mentioned four times. Twice in Leviticus, once in Timothy, and once in Corinthians. Jesus never mentioned it. He did exhort us to love one another. He said to love our neighbors as ourselves and put no stipulations. He told a story about a man who was hurt and bloody, and how someone who was not even of the same religion helped that man when the people of his own religion wouldn't touch him. He went to the areas of uncleanliness and loved people. He talked to whores and murderers and tax collecters and all sorts of people that the negative commenters would shy away from.

I get mad because these people are speaking for me. They are representing me. When I meet someone and they find out I'm a Christian, I have to explain myself.

It just makes me sad. It makes me want to walk away from the whole thing. It makes me want to turn against them. It makes me wish that Jesus would come back in some sort of crazy rapture and take only a few people out of this world, a lot of them probably homosexuals, and leave all these crazies behind. They are the blight on humanity. They are the ones who are bringing immorality into the world. They are the hypocrites and the heretics, and they are the ones committing sins against the commandments of Jesus, which are to love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. That's it. They can't even do those two simple things, and yet they insist that they speak for Christians everywhere.

All of those comments can be found here. I highly recommend you just stay away, it's really depressing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting ready for a vacation, or, Look how long I can procrastinate!

Monday night, I will drive to LA, leave my car at a car park run by persons of dubious criminal backgrounds, and board a flight (piloted by persons of dubious criminal backgrounds) to North Carolina, where my family and my friend Kim live. I have known about this vacation for about a month already. So far, I have:

Bought and wrapped a gift for each of my nieces

Managed to make a huge mess on the kitchen table

Not vacuumed the floor

Hired a pet-sitter (hey, there's one good thing!)

Not cleaned the bird cage

Not cut the cat's claws

Not groomed the cat

Not cleaned out the refrigerator

Not dusted at all

Not sat down to compile a list of things to pack (hint: underwear)

Whenever I pack, I always do it at the last minute. I'm usually up the night before I leave, cleaning, scrubbing, putting shampoo into little tiny bottles, and writing out a permission letter for the pet sitter should anything happen with the pets while I'm gone. Just once, I'd like to do things a little less frantically. But...I have to be honest...I don't think that's my thing. When I plan ahead, I always forget something, but when I do my frantic dash through the medicine cabinet, I always make sure I grab all the right stuff.

Does this come from my being visual? I think it could. I think that maybe when I'm looking through my closet and drawers, I get a better idea for how to put outfits together using only two pairs of pants and three shirts. (the variety comes from tanktops and undershirts that you layer. Really.) I think that when I'm looking at the medicine cabinet, I see all the stuff I use on a daily basis much better than when I'm writing out a list from memory.

Anyway, regardless, all of that stuff up there needs to get done, and it probably won't get done until sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Kim, get ready, 'cause here I come!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chapter by Chapter synopsis: Fifty Shades of Grey: chapters 17-20

Chapter Seventeen

When we last left Ana and Christian, Christian had come back to Ana and Kate’s house because Ana said she didn’t like how he left her alone after spanking her and they ended up sleeping in the same bed together, something Christian just doesn’t *do*. So in this chapter, they wake up together, both commenting on how well they slept. Christian maybe slept a little too well because he’s late for a meeting or something. He leaves, threatening Ana again to not drive her car.

Ana emails Christian to explain a little more about how the spanking felt, and his response is to be like, “You never used the safe word.” I cannot stress how much Ana is not a sub. Maybe one day she could be, but she currently is not used to safe words and stuff like that. Heck, I’m pretty savvy, but I don’t know if I would remember to use a safe word my first time being “punished” by a Dom. This is not the first time I think Christian is being unreasonable, but I think he’s being particularly unreasonable and callous here. And when Ana threatens to run off? Christian can track her cell phone, of course. Keep in mind that he said he wouldn’t chase after her if she decided to leave.

Every move you make, every step you take...

Ana finally goes to the hardware store and really enjoys driving her new car. Around lunch, a messenger comes with a blackberry that has email capability so that Christian can continue to talk to her. I don’t see why she can’t just text him? Is that hard? Is it so different from e-mailing? Or is it just that with texts, we can’t get his “cute” little titles for himself and subject lines? I suspect it’s the latter. Anyway, Ana promises to e-mail Christian once she gets home.

Ana leaves the normal world behind when she quits her job, and goes home to find Kate completely unimpressed with the brand new car. Taylor comes for the Beetle, and I have huge issues with this. Not only does Christian pretty much out and say that Ana is weak and unable to be safe, but Jose should have been offered the car. Jose Sr. should have been offered the car. It was Jose’s dead mom’s car. I’m pretty sure he would have wanted it back. As Taylor leaves, he tells Ana that Christian is a good man. Hey, Taylor? If Christian wanted your daughter to be his sub, would you still feel that way? As any of us who love Professor Snape. He’s a good man, but not particularly kind. It’s easy to be that way.

Elliott comes over to see Kate later, and Ana rolls her eyes at how he acts towards Kate. Ana feels free being able to roll her eyes at someone. As Elliott and Kate get loudly busy, Ana decides to go out for a drink with Jose (oh noes, what will Christian think??) and as they walk out, Ana thinks about how uncomplicated Jose is. She also thinks he’s going to be upset about the car, so she’s afraid to talk to him about it. Does this girl have a relationship with anyone where there is an open and honest line of communication? Signs point to “no”.

Ana gets back home kind of late and finds e-mails and missed calls from Christian. She realizes that she didn’t e-mail him like she said she would, and now she’s all worried that he’ll be angry. She calls him and has to make him feel good about himself now, because you know, that’s her job.

The next day is moving day, and Elliott helps both Kate and Ana and hangs their TV on the wall and everything. It’s really sweet. It’s how boyfriends act. Christian is not a boyfriend, so he’s not there. He sends a bottle of pink champagne and a helicopter balloon that looks like Christian’s helicopter. Throughout the move, Ana was jealous about how demonstrative Elliott is towards Kate, but she’s not willing to give up Christian in order to find someone who will behave that way towards her, so I just really can’t feel sorry for her.

Ana e-mails Christian to thank him for the balloon and says it’s currently tied to her bed. Christian’s all, “Lucky Charlie Tango.” I mean, I know he’s (probably) not jealous of the balloon (maybe), but honestly? He can be tied to Ana’s bed. He can be there. He just has these stupid arbitrary rules that say he can’t spend the night or be romantic or relinquish any sort of control, so saying something like that is monumentally illogical. It’s not like there’s going to be an occasion where he will ever be tied to Ana’s bed, so why say that?

I tell you what's illogical.

The next day, Ana heads over to Casa Christian, and he shows her that they made the newspaper with the photo that got taken at graduation. To his credit, he’s not flipping out. What he is flipping out about is that his mom wants him to bring Ana to her house for dinner that evening.

Christian rolls his eyes at Ana, and Ana confronts him about how he’s allowed to do that, but she’s not. He’s like, “Oh, I wasn’t aware I was doing that…” Idiot.

Chapter Eighteen

Christian has a gynecologist called into his apartment on a Sunday, and she examines Ana and prescribes hormonal birth control (HBC) for her. I am so hoping that this is the end of the condom descriptions.

Ana comments that Dr. Green doesn’t suffer fools gladly, like Kate. Does this mean that Kate also doesn’t suffer fools gladly, or that Dr. Greene doesn’t suffer Kate? Either way, both suffer Ana, so make of that what you will.

We return to “The Red Room of Pain” (a new movie starring Vincent Price!) that is so red and like a womb and sexy because it’s reminiscent of a woman’s reproductive pouch. Christian shows Ana what he expects, which is the first thing he’s really done in this regard. Ana kneels with her palms on her thighs and waits for Christian. He doesn’t tell her she can’t look around with her head down, so I’m assuming she’s allowed to and that is the reason she’s not in trouble for staring at his feet.

Finally, Christian has kinky sex using handcuffs and a riding crop that is just like the one from Ana’s dream. She decides she enjoys it just fine. Then he uncuffs her and uses the zip ties instead and finally she gets his little shopping spree at the beginning of the book. I just want to reiterate that there’s really not a lot in this scene that I can’t imagine the president doing to Mrs. Obama. Not that I would imagine that. But I’m just saying it’s not anything…oh, never mind.

"Let me show you my technique."

Chapter Nineteen

After a nice nap, Ana and Christian get ready to go to the Grey House, only Christian has Ana’s panties and hasn’t offered them back yet. She decides to not ask for them back and goes around commando. This is a good plan if you’re woman enough to pull it off, particularly in a skirt. It makes the guy think that you’ve been thinking about him all night, and that you want him. Ana, of course, is not woman enough to pull it off and is totally a basket case over it.

At The Grey House, we meet Mia, Christian’s really annoying little sister. She’s about Ana’s age and has Curves in All the Right Places®. If any guy ever thought about doing to Mia what Christian does to Ana, then Christian would kill the guy. This is what we call a double standard, children.

So now that Ana is in The Grey Living Room, she starts realizing that the only reason Christian invited her was because Kate was invited, and that he didn’t want her to feel bad about not going. I actually come out on the side of Christian in this one, because I don’t see him as the sort of guy who would allow people to tell him what to do. He’s a control freak, and if he didn’t want Ana there, she wouldn’t be there.

"I never let anyone tell me what to do! Except Darcy. And my sister."

There’s a maid because of course there is, and of course, she’s hot for Christian. This is getting old.

Around the dinner table, everyone starts bringing up fabulous vacations, so Ana sort of defensively says she’s been thinking about visiting her mom in Georgia. What she doesn’t say is that she’s been thinking about it for the last two minutes or so.

Christian, of course (all together now) is angry.

This is my issue: Christian only wants Ana on the weekends. If she goes to Georgia during the week, why does he care? If he doesn’t want the sort of relationship with hearts and Hallmark cards and unicorns pooping rainbows, then he can’t expect this stuff from Ana.

Kate takes this opportunity to start riling Christian up about how Ana went out for a drink with Jose. Honey badger cares. Honey badger gives a shit. Honey badger is angry. Ana is understandably scared.

"No! I don't care! I don't give a fuck! I just got bit by a cobra!"

Ana shouldn’t be scared. This is bullshit. Jose has been her friend for years, and yeah, when he was drunk he tried to kiss her because alcohol removes inhibitions. But he apologized and Ana is now okay with him. Christian should be too. And you should never be this scared of your boyfriend!

But then he’s suddenly fine and so is Ana because both of these people have the intelligence and attention span of a goldfish.
"I speak on behalf of all goldfish when I say I am offend...bubbles!"

However, when Christian offers to take Ana on a tour of the grounds, we all know what’s going to happen. He’s going to spank her for being a bad, bad girl.

See, in normal relationships, you say that “bad, bad girl” part with sarcasm dripping. In this relationship, he means it.

Chapter Twenty

Ana manages to talk Christian out of hitting her, which confuses him. I guess because he’s used to subs? And he’s also confused that she refused him at dinner. You see, he was putting his hand up her thigh and she squeezed her legs together to stop him, and that’s never happened to him before. He finally settles on getting himself off, but not letting her orgasm. And we’re treated to even more condom fun. Joy.

Mia, of course, breaks in on their post-coital bliss causing them to scramble into their clothing really quickly. Mia doesn’t know how to not be annoying. I also don’t see how she doesn’t know what’s going on. I mean, she’s supposed to be around 22, so clearly she should have this whole sex thing figured out.

Back inside, Ana asks Kate to stop antagonizing Christian. Kate says that she wants Ana to see him as he really is. Which might be okay if you had a friend who was not consenting to being abused. If you do know someone who is being abused, though, antagonizing the abuser will probably just make your friend cling to the abuser even more, and the abuser will single you out as the first person to be isolated from. The best thing I’ve found, back when my friend was with a guy who was really super controlling, not much fun, but my friend felt this crazy compunction to be with him, was to just start talking through hypotheticals with her. And even that was only after she called me really upset and worried about how things were going. I also started out the conversation defending him against a mutual friend, so I started out from a place that was not antagonizing. I mean, these are things you really have to skate a fine line with. Kate is as subtle as Baldric with Ana as her crazy Blackadder.

"I am no longer the worst human being on the face of the earth! Curse you, Christian Grey!"

On the way home, Ana confesses to Christian that she only brought up Georgia so she didn’t seem like a loser with no vacation plans in front of his parents. Had she not brought this up a few chapters ago, I’d believe her. Anyway, Christian encourages her to go visit her mom, and I hope she has tons of money because transcontinental flights on the fly aren’t cheap or easy to get. I hope she has a long book to read on stand-by. Finally, she admits that she’s also feeling really overwhelmed by him and needs Georgia in order to think away from him.

Christian begs Ana to stay the night in his bed. Funny, because when Ana begged Christian, he still left. But Ana stays. He wants to go to Georgia with her because he doesn’t understand the whole “need for space away from you” part of the issue. Ana tells him no. Note from the future: he’s going to show up.

Okay, Christian puts some Benewah Balls inside Ana. What are Benewah balls? They are weighted, generally stainless steel, balls that you stick in your vagina in order to exercise your Kegel muscles. Since Ana is very young and virginal, I don’t think her muscles are very stretched out, but learning to clench is also learning to unclench, so it’s never too early to start. (Unclenching would help with fisting and also extreme/double penetration, if you’re into that or thinking about either of those things, you may want to look into the balls.)

The balls in question are stainless, and held together by a black thread. I googled for ages and could not find any Benewah balls that looked like this. I found something called “Luna Balls” that were silicone and held together by silicone with a silicone pull-cord to remove them, but all the Benewah Balls I could find were separate, and can I just mention that I doubt that little black string is too easy to sanitize? Benewah balls are separate usually because you’re supposed to start with one, for just a minute or two, and then slowly build your muscles to handle the weight for a full fifteen minutes. Then you start with the second. If you can sneeze and not have the balls shoot out, you’re doing good. It’s about controlling the muscles, not just making them tight. Benewah balls help with incontinence, too, and even men find them useful for the “back door” as it were, so they’re really good for all sexes.

These are actually Baoding Balls because I wanted this to be SFW.
(this is funny because they look exactly alike)

Christian’s balls, I have mentioned, are held together by a black string and have a pull cord with them. I don’t see how even synthetic string could be sanitized easily, but whatever. This author also has Ana with a full bladder in the third book while she has a catheter inside of her, so it’s not like I expected her to research or anything, but making it seems that someone can just do this right away is really irresponsible to me. What does she have to do? She has to walk and get him a drink of water. Then he spanks her, but for pleasure, and then he has sex with her.

More to come

Update: My Kindle died last night, and I'm about to go on vacation for over a week, so I probably won't update about Fifty Shades for a couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll be getting back to Christian and Ana around July 16th or so, so try and hold on. I mean, who knows what's going to happen between these two crazy kids! I mean, their relationship is so strong and built on tons of trust and friendship and respect for one another, so it'd be terrible if something came between them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The coworker issue

I was actually going to post about something else today, but something just happened and I need to write about this because it's bothering me.

Okay, so I have this coworker. CW#7. He's an okay guy. I would dare to say that I don't mind his company. But he has some odd behaviors, like he's one of those people who will tell a story where he did something and then everyone clapped for him. He also exaggerates stuff that happens in the office to create even more drama when there is enough drama, trust.

He started with me really oddly. He would come to my cube, where I have two counters that are about the right height to lean your elbows against and talk to someone. He would come here, lean against my counter, and take a packet out of his pocket. From that packet he would produce a tiny little pill. He would bring it to my attention. "Look at how small this thing is." So, thinking he wanted to talk about it, I said, "Oh? What's it for?" And then he would hedge. "'s just something I need."

I am not someone who is dying for information about other people, so I started ignoring him, and he eventually stopped taking his pill at my desk. Apparently, though, my silence got to him so he finally told me it was for blood pressure. Big whoop.

He will also come to my counter and prop himself up and then just stare at me. When I finally say, "Yes?" he'll say, "Oh yeah?" back. I've started just igorning him, and he'll go, "Fine!" and then slap my counter and leave. He does this several times a day.

About two or three weeks ago, he told me that a position would be opening in the Emergency Operations Unit of the public agency I work for. I said, "Oh? That sounds interesting." He asked me if I would apply for it and I confirmed that when it opened, I would submit an application. (HoweverI believe I'm on the list for that position and will probably be asked if I want an interview.) Last Friday, he called me into his office. He does this a lot. He'll call, "Hey, Heidi!" from his desk and expect me to walk to his office. I usually say, "Yes?" and he'll say, "I need to ask you a question, so I say, "Okay." and ignore him because I know he wants me to stop working, get up, walk to his office, and then either look at something really stupid and inconsequential or ask me a question that isn't a huge privacy killer that he totally could have asked from my desk. Anyway, one of my other coworkers was in his office and said, "Can you come here?" so I went. CW#7 asked me again if I would go for this position.

"Oh, is it open? I'll go apply," I said and I turned to leave.

"No, Heidi, come here," he said. I turned around. "It's not open yet, but are you going to apply when it does?"

"I might as well," I answered. "I mean, why not?"

"Well, if you want the job, I'll put in a good word with you to [Manager]."

I said, "Oh, okay, that's nice of you." and turned to leave again.

"Heidi," he said, and I had to turn back. "But do you want the job?"

I don't know if I want the job, but I may as well apply for it. Right? I mean, what could it hurt? So I said, "I will apply for it. If you want to tell [Manager] about me and put in a good word, that would be nice."

"But do you want the job?" he asked again. Okay, what's his thing?

"Yes, I will apply for the job," I said and left.

Later that day, he asked if I would go for a walk around the block with him, so I got my walking shoes on and went with him. He broached the subject of the job yet again.

"So, are you going to apply for that job at Loma Ridge?" he asked for the hundredth time.

"Um...yes. I've already told you that I would when it opens."

He then started telling me that I would not have a flexible schedule there and that it was a really long drive and a few other bad things about the job. He didn't mention the scorpions and snakes that other people who work at Loma Ridge have to deal with, but maybe he doesn't care about that. I dont' know. I do. Anyway. I just really hate it when people pull crap like that, and then he kept on about putting in a good word for me.

"I'll totally talk to [Manager] about you if you want me to."

"Yes," I said, feeling really frustrated and surly, and trust me, that's not a hard thing to do, but in this case I really do think I was past the limit that most people would have cracked at. "If you want to put in a good word with [Manager] for me, it would be very nice of you."

I went home and told my mom about the conversation and how it, combined with the other stuff, was making me feel "fifty shades" of creepy (see what I did there?). My mom was totally on my side as all moms should be and even thought maybe he was expecting favors in return from me.

Honestly, I don't think that's what he's after. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to have clandestine romances with coworkers, and he certainly should know that I'm not the kind of girl who has romances with married men. I do think he wanted me to jump up and down and make a big deal about him offering me the job and putting in a good word, like he was giving me a huge gift or something.

So, anyway, this week started out really badly. There were some issues with some things and I was getting really upset with my coworkers who talk all day and with myself for making a mistake, and I just wasn't in the mood to deal with this guy. I finally confided in Coworker #5 on tueday, who is a nice person and business savvy although she can be a bit sanctimonious at times (I'll have an example of that in a minute). She nodded and told me he pulls the same crap with her, but that like me, she's just started ignoring him. She said she gets uncomfortable with people when they watch her work, but if she asks him if he wants something, he just says, "no," and goes back to staring.

It's important to note that he does not do this stuff with Coworker #6, who is a guy. He does other stuff to him.

On Wednesday, CW#5 said, "You know, Heidi, I think CW#7 is just insecure."

"I know he's insecure, but I don't care, I just want him to stop this behavior," I said back.

"Yeah, but insecurity is a really big thing. Like, I know I earned my job, but I think he feels he didn't earn his, you know?" (See what I mean? She literally said that.)

"Um...I don't think it's necessarily a work-related issue, his insecurity," I answered. "I think he just is insecure and he thinks that if he doesn't talk to us every five minutes, then we aren't going to like him any more or something." I mean, honestly, it's not my job to make everyone in the world feel good about themselves.

Anyway, she said that since she's in the office a few hours before me, and so is CW#7, that he goes to her when I'm not there, but after I show up, he leaves her alone, and she said she just wanted me to know that it really is apparently me he wants and he uses her as a crutch when I'm not available. This is even weirder. And even creepier. And I'm even more ready now to get out of this office.

Yesterday, CW#6 (the dude) asked me if I wanted to go out for Pho today. I said, "Yeah, that sounds really good! Should we ask CW#5 to join us?" CW#7 was not supposed to be in today. CW#6 said we should ask her, and we all three said it sounded great.

Today, it was just the three of us and we were discussing how Pho just sounds really good today.

And then about an hour and a half ago, CW#7 walked in. Immediately after he came in, I went for a walk with the other two. #7 couldn't come because he had just walked in. #5 said, "Well, I was having a really good day, and then something happened to make it bad. But, I'm going to stay positive and say that this is still a good day." I thought she had read the e-mail I sent to her when he walked in that said, "WTF?? I was totally looking forward to a quiet day today!" No, she didn't see it until she got back and we had a quiet laugh about it. "I thought so too," she said to me.

Okay, maybe you see where I'm going with this. But come on, this is crazy! Why is he here today? Is it really because we were planning on going out to lunch together without him? Is he here because of me, or is it some other huge thing that I only factor in in a small way? I'm just really feeling confused, and my desire to leave this job is getting stronger.

Anyway, I don't know what to do. I just don't.


Okay, we went to lunch. CW#7 was all up in my grill. He kept just making inane jokes, like if you say "We're going for Pho", he'll come back with, "You're going to flow? Where?" like that. No, it's not funny. But he does that shit all the time.

Anyway, CW#5 is Peruvian and loves futbol, so when she saw that the restaurant had the futbol game (Germany against Greece) playing on the TV, she decided to sit at this ginormous table by the TV. There were tons of seats. CW#7 decided he absolutely had to sit next to me. He kept commenting that I just didn't think he was funny today or something, I don't. I don't think that taking something someone says and turning it into something else not even remotely funny is funny at all. Anyway, #5 is like, "You need to just go with it." and I was like, "FU." So I started swearing in German at the TV everytime the guys missed the goal and talking smack about the Greek team. (Oh, they're greasy? Huh! Did you say those players were greasy? Or did you say they greased the field?--CW#7)

So, anyway. I think...I think this guy is okay in small doses. But he's been overdosing me lately, and I'm just not in the mood. I just want to get my work done. That's all.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bits and pieces...

Since the whole Ana/Christian thing has got me down (seriously, this is not a relationship to emulate! Johnny and June had a less destructive relationship, and he was an addict!), I'm just going to take a few things and type.

1. I hate my job right now. Not only am I currently doing three jobs for the pay of one, but now I have coworkers who are full of drama. Coworkers 1-3 do nothing but talk all day, coworker 4 does something all day, but no one knows what because it's not work, coworker 5 is pretty cool, but can be sanctimonious at times, coworker 6 is my homie, and coworker 7 is currently acting in an inappropriate way towards me. Not sexually, just...inappropriate. He's very clingy and kind of insecure right now, and he seems to want me to be his life raft. I'm just not down with that stuff. I can be friendly and supportive, and have been, but he's recently crossed the line. I've put in for some transfers, and hopefully one will go through. Both transfers will work with my schedule to help me go to college a little more full-time (hopefully three classes a semester).

2. I'm getting ready to go to the Goblin King's Ball, so I've been putting my costume together. I got a really pretty medieval costume online, and I've been tweaking it to fit my tastes a little more. I still need to do something about a mask. I'd like to paint one on since I hate masks, but I don't know if I'm talented enough, and face paint is expensive so it's not like I'd be able to just practise beforehand without dropping some Hamiltons first. Still, I'm really excited, and looking through the photo gallery at the website, it seems like I'll fit in with my costume.

3. I'm also getting ready to go back east just a few days after the ball. It's my niece's first birthday, so I'm excited, but I haven't purchased anything for her yet. It seems like my nieces both have plenty of clothes and toys. I've lately been buying the older one crafts that we can do together, but what can you do with a one-year-old? I've so far gotten them both matching blouses from Old Navy and some cute little matching bags to put them in, but that's it. I guess I need to hit up Toys R Us to work out what to do. Suggestions? I have a comments area for you to leave them! Thank you in advance!

4. I've started doing Yoga regularly. I really enjoy it, and I need the stretch in my back. My cat, who is OCD, has accepted this change of schedule and is actually enjoying it. He actually will come to my mat give a stretch in only a way a cat can, and then head off to the sofa where he will watch me for the rest of the time, silently judging me. He's a really funny little guy, so it totally cracks me up. The other night while I was twisting with my arms spread out on the floor, he put his paws over mine which was totally sweet. On the nights that I don't stretch, he gets really upset with me and will start stretching in the middle of the floor while looking at me pointedly. Suddenly that Cat Flexing book my mom got me years ago doesn't seem so crazy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jeneration X: Why Jen Lancaster maybe will end up on my zombie fighting dream team

When last I wrote about Jen Lancaster, I was reading her novel If You Were Here and loving it. I mentioned at the time that she had written Jeneration X, another memoir that sends her back to her roots of Bitter is the New Black and my all-time favorite, Such a Pretty Fat.

By the way, I now always say "Memoir" the way John Malkovich said it in Burn after Reading; "Mem-Wah" because that movie was mad hilarious and you need to go watch it now, for Brad Pitt playing a gay personal trainer who is faaaaaaaaaaaabulous if for nothing else.

Anyway, Jeneration X is a bit different than Lancaster's usual style (have I determined yet if I can call her Jen? I think I decided I could...) since every chapter is more of a bullet point than a cohesive story, but it works for her. Basically, Jen is finally growing up, and each chapter represents a life lesson that she has learned. She does sometimes contrast in the Millennial generation to prove her point, but she mostly pinpoints Generation X, which I am a part of, and you are too if you were born between 1960 and 1980. Basically, there are all sorts of issues that we Gen-Xers have to deal with that our parents didn't, and how it affects us and our interactions with the generations we are sandwiched between.

Every life lesson is of course peppered with Jen's humor and charm and stories about her dogs and husband and various others in her life (Thun-Thun-Thundercats! Hooooo!)

But every time I read a book by Jen, I always come to the same conclusion: I can never have her in my zombie fighting dream team. And I should, really. I mean, she wields a pretty mean shovel and her husband is practically a Navy Seal (in his dreams), so they should totally be on my list to help me vanquish the undead horde.

The issue really comes down to the fact that I think Jen and Fletch would naturally start trying to run the whole operation, and that's my job. I promise to be a benevolent overlord, but an overlord nonetheless, and I don't see any future with Jen and Fletch in my batch of freedom fighters that doesn't end with us all dead, leaving the rest of my crew leaderless and, quite frankly, a yummy feast for the zombies. You see, eventually, she would question my authority, and then I'd have to kill her in order to make an example of her, and then Fletch would have to kill me in retaliation, and then whatever hot boy toy I have slobbering after me would have to kill Fletch in retaliation, and it just wouldn't work. In the past, I have thought, "Well, I'm sure they'll be fine after the zombpocalypse happens."

I have, however, found a solution. After reading Jeneration X, it was clear that Jen needs to lead her own troops to safety. Naturally, both she and Fletch will have to work with their friends (hint: not all of your friends will take you seriously when you broach the subject with them. When the zombies attack, these friends will always be "bait" in your zombie attacks) and be responsible for their own cell. I'm not saying we can't work together in the future to trade for food, shelter, or DNA diversity. That's always going to be open between my faction and any other faction that wishes to negotiate peacefully. We will be like America and Canada, willing to live peacefully side-by-side.

The best part is that maybe Jen can start working on her Amish zombie YA novels. Rumspringa-ding-dinga is sure to be a best seller in the post-Z world. Max Brooks stresses that The Arts are going to be the frist thing that everyone will want to abandon once the zombies attack, but that we in our own groups can't let that happen. I'm just betting that Jen will be able to make us laugh so hard as to completely forget for a few minutes that outside of our safe sanctuary, there are hundreds of undead, just waiting to make a meal out of us.

So Jen, Fletch, start working on your plans. We're counting on you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter by Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapters fourteen through sixteen

Chapter Fourteen

We enter Ana’s dreams and find that she’s having sexy times with Christian and a riding crop in her fantasies. She wakes up with an orgasm and is sort of weirded out because, you know, he was hitting her with a riding crop.

Okay, throughout the book, Ana has an “Inner Goddess” and an “Inner Subconscious” giving us commentary on the state of her emotions. You know. Instead of just having her emote like a normal character. The whole thing is really super annoying, and while I’m sure I’m supposed to see both of these characters as looking like Ana, I really just see them as cartoon drawings of old ladies, which makes the whole thing even more ridiculous. The Inner Goddess does things like back flips and triple salchows while Christian is seducing Ana, and the Inner Subconscious gives disapproving glances and snide remarks when Ana is being seduced by Christian. (Note to the author: this is not a “sub” conscious. It’s just a conscience. You know, the little friend who tells you when things are good or bad?) I am not putting either of these things in this review because, frankly, I’m better than that. Too bad the author isn’t.

Seriously, they look like this to me.

Back to the story. Ana wakes up feeling conflicted because the dream was hot and something she’d like to try with Christian, if he were looking to be her boyfriend and not her employer. She feels that he’s offering her a job rather than a relationship, and it’s great, but we already did the angst thing last chapter. Can’t we move on? Note from the future: No. You will never move on.

Ana’s dad comes to take her to the school for graduation, and Kate is naturally the valedictorian. Earlier, Kate called Christian creepy to Ana, which made me like her a little more. But she’s still pretty annoying and stupid and I’m tired of Ana going on and on about how Kate is supposedly gorgeous.

Anyway, Ana takes her place in the auditorium next to two girls who are drooling over Christian Grey. Ana, very horridly, tells them she thinks he’s gay. I know she can’t say that he’s probably dating her because the girls would never believe her, but she could just keep her mouth shut. This is not an option apparently.

Christian gives a speech, and Ana has this idea that every woman in the room is hanging on his every word. This is really, really weird. Just every woman? And it can’t be that he’s giving a speech that these people are obligated to listen to? This author has a pretty dim and shallow view of women.

Christian looks just like Paul! Wait, no...that's Ringo

Christian’s speech is about how he went hungry as a child, and how the agricultural department is near and dear to his heart. This is great. Really. But every time Ana didn’t eat her food and he didn’t ask for a doggy bag come back to me, and really? I love leftovers and I never went hungry as a kid. I have a healthy appreciation for food and would never leave a bunch sitting on a plate. I take food home, or I hand it off to a homeless person before I get there, but I never leave it. This author tells us in gory detail about Christian putting a rain jacket on his little tadger, but no mention of taking food home or handing it off to a homeless person and then she wants us to believe that he takes hunger seriously?

And then there’s Ana’s reaction. Instead of thinking of the food she’s wasted and how she can start giving more and doing more for the homeless population around her, all she can think about is Christian as a toddler, starving. You know what? He’s doing fine now. Let’s deal with the actual issues at hand. Christian is a big boy with lots of money. He can find a psychiatrist. It’s not Ana’s job. What can be Ana’s job if she decides to take it, are the children in the here and now who are starving. Save a little righteous indignation for them, eh? And let’s not even get into how Christian is focusing on other countries when an estimated 17 million American children go hungry every day. I’m not saying to not worry about other countries, just that pretending it’s not a local issue is irresponsible.

Moving on. Christian greets all of the graduates as they go to get their diplomas, but of course he stops Ana to grill her about why she didn’t email him back the night before. This is totally a conversation that should happen on a stage in front of all sorts of people. What is wrong with this couple?

After graduation, Kate comes to tell Ana that Christian wants to see her. The two girls that Ana lied to gape at her, probably thinking what a jerk she was for saying he was gay when he wasn’t, and saying it like it was a horrible thing (in this world, it probably is), but I guess we’re supposed to think they’re jealous. Why does Christian want to see Ana? Why does he need to pull her away from her father and her friends and her special day that is all about her? Why, to talk to her about the Beetle, of course. It’s just “ A deathtrap.” Get a grip.

Nein! Das bin ich nicht! Ich bin ein gutes auto. Und so shön, auch.

Ana’s like, “It was José’s mother’s car.” Christian actually says, “And probably her mother before her.”

Okay, the Beetles have been created since the 1930’s, all the way through about 1998 in Germany. They were hugely popular in America during the 1960’s-early 1970’s. Assuming Jose’s mom was in her twenties when she had him, and he is now about 21 or so making his mother, if she was alive, about 45-50 maybe. That would mean she was born between 1961-1966. Maybe earlier if she had kids later in life. That means it is entirely plausible that the Beatle was hers originally. This is an incredibly ageist thing for Christian to say. Not only that, but the Beetle has been a staple in America’s past. He is overreacting and being an ass over this car that is made completely of steel and curves. This car is practically indestructible. It is one of the sturdiest and long-lasting cars on the market, and according to its Wikipedia page, it actually surpassed the Ford Model T in terms of production. Have some respect!

Christian wants to meet Ana’s dad. Ana doesn’t think this is a good idea. Christian thinks Ana is ashamed of him. I think Christian has a flimsy grasp on reality. As Christian meets Ray, Kate and her brother Ethan come up. Ethan hugs Ana and Christian goes all Alpha Male because remember: there is no way that a man exists who does not want to have sex with Ana. Except maybe Ray and José Senior. Kate immediately tells Ray that Christian is Ana’s boyfriend because Kate sucks.

In this room full of people, with her father close by, Ana tells Christian that she hasn’t talked to him because she wants more. But she’ll try and she’ll sign the contract. Then Ray tells Christian to take care of Ana, and she’s like, “If he only knew…” because yeah. If he did know. Christian tells Ana he’ll see her later and he’ll drive to her place because he doesn’t want her driving the Beetle. If I were Ana, I’d get in the Beetle and go cross country and never come back, but then I have self respect.

Chapter Fifteen

So, I kind of feel like I’m beating a dead horse when I point out how destructive this “relationship” is, so let’s just go over some things.

Ana wants to give Christian the expensive first-edition books back. His reaction is to tell her that now that she’s his sub, she doesn’t get to think, she just needs to accept.

Ana decides then to donate the books to charity. Christian is angry at this.

Ana has interviews on Monday. She hasn’t mentioned them to Christian as of yet, but this is Wednesday, I think? So it’s not like she’s keeping it a secret. Christian is angry at this.

Ana hasn’t eaten at all today. Christian is angry at this.

Ana rolls her eyes at Christian. Christian is angry at this.

Christian wants to give Ana a shiny new car. Ana doesn’t want it. Christian is angry at this.

Ana believes that she is a human being endowed by her creator with certain inalienable rights. Christian is angry at this.

Do you sense a theme?

Okay, onto the chapter. Ana and Christian settle down to go over hard and soft limits and they are listed for the THIRD FRIGGING TIME IN ALL THE GORY DETAILS because this is a fanfiction and the author doesn’t post except maybe once every month or every other month, so the readers have to read this stuff over and over again to remind themselves what…oh. Wait. This is a book? The heck you say! You mean the author could just say that they’re once again going over the aforementioned hard and soft limits and expect the reader to remember them? That’s just crazy talk.

Ana doesn’t want anal. Christian does. Guess what happens?

Ana doesn’t want suspension, and Christian says it’s a hassle to set up and take down, so it’s okay that she doesn’t want it.

Ana doesn’t want caning. Christian does. Guess what happens?

Why are they even going over these limits? He’s just going to do what he wants. And don’t tell me that the sub has control. You put on a pair of handcuffs and a gimp mask and tell me who’s in charge. It’s not the person who’s all trussed up, that’s for sure. Especially in this case. Ana won’t be able to use safe words until AFTER Christian does something she doesn’t like. And how will she know ahead of time if she likes it or not?

I have an idea. Christian should give Ana the cane and the anal beads to use on him, and then let her decide if she wants to let him do it to her. What’s that you say? That’s not acceptable?


The final negotiation is that Christian is willing to give Ana “more” like flowers and cards and rainbow colored unicorns, but she has to accept the car. He’s talked it over with Ray, and Ray agrees. Ana is really angry, especially on Ray’s behalf. He originally bought her the car from Jose’s dad, so naturally it was probably pretty embarrassing to hear Christian tell him how dangerous and horrible it is. Finally, Ana says she’ll accept it as a loan and then begs him to not be angry. Since he doesn’t let her get angry, it’s only fair that she doesn’t let him get angry. But seriously, if you have to beg your boyfriend to not be angry, then there are issues.

I have this in my notes: “this. author. types. this. way. too. much. you can just say that he punctuated each word and write an actual sentence, you know?”

This is so totally annoying. You can do other things to punctuate words, you don’t have to use actual punctuation. That this person got published while my friend Cassandra had to submit her stories to publishers and beg before she finally got published makes me angry. There are seriously fantastic writers out there, and this idiot got a contract. EL James is the Kardashian of the literary world.

Cassandra is not a Kardashian in any way, shape or form and her book is available at Amazon.UK!

Our final thought for the chapter leaves us with this: Christian teaches Ana how to put a condom on him. It is so unsexy and stupid. I’m sick of condoms at this point. There is so much mention of tearing foil, rolling it on, taking the packets out of pockets, fooling around with them, removing them, disposing of them, etc. Other authors are not encumbered by this minutiae. Why is this author?

Chapter Sixteen

We learn how wonderful the sex was because Ana is floating on her sea of sensation. When I first read VC Andrews using this phrase when I was about eleven, I thought it was stupid. Guess what? It’s still dumb. Ana wants to touch Christian’s chest and back, but he’s got a hard limit on that one. Why? He’s “fifty shades of fucked-up.” Well, he’s keeping track of how many orgasms Ana’s had, so yeah, I’d say more than fifty.

Of course, now Ana has to talk about her dream because that orgasm doesn’t “belong” to Christian. This is not creepy in any way.

So, now that he’s hit, he’s going to run. Wham-bam, thank you ma’am. Ana rolls her eyes at him. In the last chapter, he threatened to spank her if she rolled her eyes again, so now he gets to spank her and he’s a little too excited about it. After he’s done beating her, he takes her from behind and we get yet another paragraph about him opening the foil packet and unrolling the condom on Little Christian. And then he leaves and Ana decides to call her mom at 10:30 at night PST making it one in the fucking morning in Georgia.

Mom, naturally, knows that something is wrong. Ana thinks she’s all insightful but let’s face it: your kid doesn’t call you at one in the morning because she wants to have a pleasant chat. Mom is like, “Whoever this guy is, he’d better deserve you.

Quote from the book:
“Wow, it’s unnerving when my mother is so insightful, but she’s just too late on this. Is he worthy of me? That’s an interesting concept. I always wonder whether I am worthy of him.”


Kate has been out with Ethan thus far and comes home to find Ana crying softly. She tells Ana to ditch Christian for her own sanity. Kate immediately ratchets up a few points in my estimation of her. She wants to know what’s wrong with Ana’s derriere, and Ana’s all, “I fell down the stairs.”


"I fell. Onto his hand. Several times."

The only thing Ana has to do to keep Kate from talking about Ana is to trick Kate into talking about herself. Kate falls way down the ladder in my estimation of her.

Christian e-mails Ana, but only to threaten her about driving her car again. “Don’t drive it, I’ll know!” or whatever. Ana’s like, “FU, I’ll drive it when I want.” Then she notes that he’ll let Taylor drive the car, but not her. You see, Taylor is accomplished and strong (meaning that Ana is not), so he can drive it without killing himself despite the fact that ANA HAS BEEN DRIVING SAID CAR FOR FOUR YEARS NOW.

Finally, Ana mentions that she’s not too fond of Christian at the moment. Why not, you may ask? Because he’s abusive? Because he hit her? Because he’s controlling her life and telling her what she can and can’t do? No, because he won’t stay with her. If we find out that this makes Christian angry, I will not be surprised.

Ana ends up sobbing into her pillow and Christian shows up uninvited. He gets into a shouting match with Kate but manages to strong-arm his way into Ana’s room where he finds her despondent and sobbing. Kate offers to throw the douche out, but Ana, an even bigger douche, tells her he can stay. Kate doesn’t call the cops, but leaves them alone instead.

Okay, why is Christian there? Because she said she wished he hadn’t left and it made her not like him very much. When he left, she begged him to stay, so why is he there now? It’s the same thing. Is it because she got mad at him and said she didn’t like him much? More than likely, but if he didn’t stay the first time, I don’t get why him staying now really matters all that much. He should have stayed, especially after he beat her like that.

Speaking of which, they talk over the spanking. Ana is confused because it aroused her and that seemed wrong. Also, she didn’t like being punished for doing what she had every right to do vis-à-vis being angry with the guy for not staying when she asked him to, for buying her a new car after she told him not to, for embarrassing her dad for buying her the car in the first place, and for basically rearranging her life to fit his whims.

Finally, she asks why he wants to change her. Why will he punish her for being who she is when he supposedly likes her the way she is? He insists that he likes her, but he wants her to please him. That means no more arguing over gifts or telling him to butt out of her life. You can’t have it both ways.

Christian says that she’s really bold in her e-mails to him, but again, she fought him in person over the car. She begged him to stay. How was she any different in the e-mails? And if he is going to punish her when she does speak her mind, then why would she have any incentive to open up to him at all?

Ana is the sort of victim who makes it really difficult for me to advocate for. Most abuse victims started out as fun, outgoing people with lots of friends and interests and then over the years, turn into the victim from the constant chipping away at their psyches by their abusers. Abusers start small and begin with isolation and criticism before moving onto hitting and withholding and extreme isolation. Christian did this with Ana from the beginning. And she wanted him to.

There is a huge difference between a D/s relationship and an abusive relationship, generally because the Dom never acts out in anger and the sub enjoys being “punished.” Those are really important tenets of the lifestyle. Christian reacts in anger. Ana makes him angry. Upset. Mad. She makes him feel like beating her. He reacts to that stimulation by actually beating her. He calls it D/s, or rather the author does, but this is your basic abusive relationship. He strikes out in anger, and she reacts in fear.

Sorry for the lack of pictures and jokes here, but I can’t with this. It’s just so depressing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Overprotective Boyfriend in Novels

Modern novels pretty much say that if your boyfriend is not actively stalking you, then he must not care. I have no idea if this started with Twilight, but I'm going to assume it did. When you contrast Twilight with a book like The Princess Bride, you see two very different dynamics. Firstly, when Westley discovers that Buttercup loves him, his first impulse is to go away. To leave her. Alone. With any manner of men hanging around her. In Twilight, when Edward realizes that Bella loves him, he becomes attached to her hip even more than he already was. (Keep in mind that before they started dating, Edward was watching Bella sleep at night and followed closely behind her friends while they went for a trip into the Big City for some ho clothes. After they started dating, they were inseparable.) Take even The Dresden Files, where we are unsure if Murphy is dating anyone at all and she's a tough kick-ass cop and she has martial arts awards. And Harry Dresden not only appreciates this about her, but he respects her for it and admires how she's able to bring a grown man to tears by a well-placed knee.

"I don't need a fedora, but I like a fedora."

I'm not saying that male writers do relationships better, I'm just saying that they don't equate constant togetherness with twu wuv.

(You see what I did there?)
Have you the wing?
And it could just be a YA thing, too. I don't see many Adult-Adult books with this theme, but again, most of the Adult-Adult books I read are written by men...

I can't tell if YA novels are preying on the fears of young girls with regards to rape and abuse, but if they are, in the author's attempt to assuage a character's fears about rape generally makes her the prey of every man in the universe except the guy she's currently dating so that he can save her from those men and therefore make her even more dependent on him than she otherwise would be.

Now, the problem with teenaged relationships is that teenagers are basically still children (doesn't adolescence supposedly last until 21-22? I don't know, but it lasts a long time), and children lack the life experience that is required for really good, balanced relationships, and the only way they can get that experience is to have relationships. So they're pretty much doomed until they hit their mid-twenties, fingers crossed that they didn't do something stupid like marry their childhood sweetheart. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) What I'm saying is, remember in New Moon when Bella finally starts snapping out of her zombiehood and her friends are all pissed at her? Most people (well, I can't really speak for guys but most girls I've known) experience this after breaking up with a guy that they dated for an extended period.

I was in the band in high school (shut up), so most of the time when we dated between ourselves (like an episode of Friends), we were usually together no matter what (making breakups haaawkward) so my band friends didn't get into this as much as my non-band friends did. And if you didn't have any classes with those people, you'd see them at lunch and be like, "Where have I been? I've been here, eating lunch at our usual spot while you made out with your pimple-faced idiot boyfriend all afternoon, thank you very much. No, I do not want to share a pizza, just tell me why you're here so I can get on with my day, okay?" Only I was a teenager so it probably came out more like, "Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Most authors probably remember this. Maybe some of them haven't grown out of that phase yet. But the point is that if this boyfriend that this author is writing were a guy in real life, you'd call him a perv and creepy, no matter how floppy his hair was.
Christian Grey/Edward Cullen levels of floppiness should be avoided at all costs.
I think the thing that I find the most disturbing, after the assumption that women don't know how to take care of themselves and that disaster awaits them around every corner, is that the authors create all other men as rapists waiting to happen. They take the lowest common denominator and apply it to all men everywhere, and EL James even went a step further and put Christian Grey in that category. Yes, she did. In the third book, Ana remarks that Christian doesn't hire brunettes to be his assistants because he is attracted to brunettes. There is no room for him to not be attracted to a particular brunette, or to reason that no matter how attracted he is, he can't date her since she's his underling because he's a grown-ass man who knows better. No, he's a walking hard-on, and any brunette in his path will feel his mighty staff.

This makes women objects of lust. It makes us purely sexual creatures. It makes us the prey of any man who finds us attractive because naturally they want us in that way and our simple act of existing is somehow offensive to them. It also objectifies men. They become the walking hard-ons who want only one thing out of life and that one thing is sex. It also takes away any choice from them because there's no room for him to say, "But I don't want to rape this girl if she's unwilling to be with me." He's essentially saying, "I must have this girl, and if she doesn't want me, I shall have to rape her." So that's where the overprotective boyfriend comes in. He doesn't have to rape the female protagonist because she's already giving it to him, but he does have to protect her from all the other guys who just naturally want her because she exists and that's her point of existing.

Buttercup had a huge adventure after Westley went away. Count Reugen decided that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and Prince Humperdinck decided to make her a princess so she could marry her (this doesn't happen in the movie). She survived The Cliffs of Insanity, the fire swamp, an ROUS attack, lighning sand, and a nice jump from a castle tower. After that, she totally intimidates the castle guard all by herself and gets Westley, Inigo and Fezzik to safety. (We think.) (Read the book.) If she had been Bella, she would have been dead for all of that because Bella would have killed herself the moment someone told her that Edward was dead. Bella could never switch places with Murphy because after her first martial arts class, she would have fallen and broken every bone in her fragile little body.

Bottom line, this way of writing hurts women. It hurts teenagers. It hurts men, too. It puts unrealistic expectations on relationships and makes controlling, abusive people seem normal. It makes uneven power dynamics in a relationship look reasonable, and I really think it can make inexperienced girls afraid--of men, of being on their own, of not being in a relationship--and that's not what literature should do. Literature should empower women. Katniss was not afraid of Gale or Peeta or any of the other guys trying to rape her. There was one man (one, uno, ein, un) in The Seam who preyed on young women, but he used them as prostitutes so at least they got something out of it. (I know, but...she recognized him as a pervert! Not as a normal example of human males!) Neither did Peeta or Gale stalk Katniss. Westley left Buttercup on her own while he went out into the world to get educated so that he could provide to her. He actually trusted her to not only "behave" while he was gone, but to wait for him and he promised to be true to her as well. Harry might hold information back from Murphy, but we're literally talking about life-or-death, and he actually tells her more than he should (legally by the laws of the White Council) and trusts her to be able to defend herself. If anything, she takes care of him.

So, Authors of the world, can we please have more kick-ass heroines like Katniss and Murphy and put Bella and Ana in the place they should be in: the girls that Katniss and Murphy would try to save from their abusive boyfriends? That's all I ask.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Grams...

My Gramma was born June 9, 1919 and died June 9, 2009.

I thought those dates were weird, but my Auntie told me that lots of people die on their birthdays and on major holidays. She does funeral announcements, so I guess she'd know best.

Grams outlived my grandfather by about fifteen years, though she gave us a lot of scares along the way. We thought we were going to lose her the Christmas directly following Gramps' death day, which had been in October of 1998. Grams got really strong after that, though, and started redecorating her house with a bang. She loved purple, so purple started going everywhere. The downstairs bathroom had been an awesome portal, filled with 70's brown-toned flowered wallpaper, and I'm talking huge flowers the size of your face. Because my grandparents were classy that way.

My cousin had a baby ten years ago, the first great-grandbaby. She brought new life to Grams, especially because my cousin and the baby moved in with Grams while Cuz tried to figure out what she was going to do. The baby, who we nicknamed Concreta (full nickname: Joaquin Ana Concrete Elaine...becase we're horrible people that way) (Ana is pronounced Ah-na), was totally Grams's joy. She loved her, and then when my first niece was born a few years later, Grams got incandescent with happiness.

Grams was the one who encouraged me to go to college. "I'll give you money, if college is what you want," she said. I promised her I'd get student aid, I never wanted her money. "I'm spending your inheritance," she'd say after buying something big. "It's not my inheritance. Nothing is, not until you die, and I'd rather have you than money," I'd tell her over and over again. I'd give every red cent in my (tiny) bank account to have her back. I'd live in my car if it meant having her back.

Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, Grams would call me. "What do you want for Christmas, honey?" I'd always say, "I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action range-model air rifle." "You'll shoot your eye out, kid," she'd say. Every Christmas. No, it never got old.

I always had to wrap my Christmas gift from her. I have three other female cousins, and she'd get us all the same thing, a purse or a makeup set or a brush set or something, and I'd wrap them all. "Keep the one you like best," she'd tell me. "Wrap it the prettiest." Eventually, she told me to stop buying her Christmas gifts, so I told her to stop buying them for me too. So we'd go out the day after Christmas and hit the sales at Target or Walmart and I'd buy her something she'd been wanting, and she'd do the same for me.

The Thanksgiving before she died, my mom and I stayed in San Diego for a few days, and Grams sent us out on Black Friday to buy a few things for Concreta and my niece, and my mom and I found a nice TV for me for only 200.00. I'd been wanting a TV and this one was a flat screen and everything new and shiny, so we picked it up. When Grams found out that I'd bought it, she insisted on giving me money. "It's your Christmas present!" she said. I told her it was 200.00, and she was like, "Oh. Well, I'll give you fifty." I put the money back in her purse when she wasn't looking.

I went to stay with my grandparents every year in summer when I was growing up. Grams would take me out shopping for school clothes, which I later found out she did for everyone, but since I was two hours away at the time, I had to visit. I loved visiting. Thanks to my grandparents, I knew who Perry Mason and James Rockford were. Thanks to Grams, I understood that Pierce Brosnan was the handsomest man in the world.

Pictured: Handsomest man in the world. I made this at icanhazcheezburger a long time ago. You like?
Also? Pierce doesn't sparkle.

I have always loved mysteries and reading because of my grandparents.

When I would go home in the summer, Grams would always say, "I don't know what I'm going to do around here without you." I never knew how lonely her life with Gramps was until after he died. I was so glad she had a second chance at life, and that she got her granddaughter and great-granddaughter to live with her for a time. I'm sure she loved it.

I wish I could have been more for her. I wish she could see all of the changes in the family, for the better, for her sake, that have been happening. My one cousin got off of drugs because he promised her on her death bed that he would. My one cousin is determined that she will keep the family together the way Grams did, and hosts Thanksgiving at her house every year. (Not everyone in my family does the Christmas thing, this particular cousin is Buddhist, so Thanksgiving is our big holiday.) My mom and her brother and sister try and meet up once a month to stay close and discuss the estate.

I will always carry a piece of my grandma inside of me. I will always remember and love her. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her. I have so many memories, and in that I am lucky.

I just wish she would have taken me with her.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chapter-by-Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades of Grey: chapters 11-13

Chapter Eleven

Ana is reading through the contract, and it’s sort of repetitious because some of it was discussed in previous chapters, particularly with regards to how Ana will look, dress, eat, and exercise. I found it to be boring, but this is the sort of thing that fanfiction readers eat up with a spoon and extra sprinkles. But in a book, it’s boring. Really boring.

Ana gets really freaked out about the contract, particularly when stuff like “anal” and “fisting” are mentioned. Note from the future: you will never have to worry about these things, Ana. The kinkiest thing you will do in these books is the reverse-cowgirl, and I don’t think that’s even particularly kinky. (Is it? I mean…I don’t know what other people do, but I’ve never heard a guy say, “Wait, wait, let’s stop this rodeo. I’m a missionary man!”) Her biggest problem with the contract is the actual submissive part: not being able to touch Christian, not being able to look him in the eye or speak without being spoken to. From what I know of BDSM, and we’ve established that it’s not much, these things are pretty normal. I was actually surprised that there was nothing in the contract about Ana needing to wash Christian, wake him, help him dress and shave and whatnot. I just can’t say enough that he does not want a BDSM relationship, but he wants kink and he wants to do it in a D/s way. I just think the distinction is enough that it warrants addressing.

So, Christian wants Ana to research how to be a sub, and he gets appalled at the thought of her using Kate’s computer, so he has a MacBook Pro sent to her, complete with a tech to set it up and show her how to use it. This part really was odd. How did she get through college without a computer of her own? My computer is over four years old and the battery is completely shot, plus it gets hot enough to boil water on after it’s been running for about ten minutes, but it was cheap and it works. If Ana’s dad bought her a car, he can buy her a computer. For what she needs, she can get one for only a couple hundred. Sheesh.

Ana already has an e-mail from Christian, and they end up sending each other really cutesy exchanges and I want to throw up because I really don’t want to see or read any of that. None of the smileys or the cutesy titles Christian gives himself or any of it.

Ana goes out with José, and it actually doesn’t end badly. They manage to clear the air a bit and I kept expecting Christian to walk in on them and start being an ass, but it doesn’t happen, so props, Author.

Back at home, Ana e-mails more with Christian, and it’s sad because she obviously wants a normal relationship with a normal guy, and he’s who she’s set her heart on. Love is not only blind, but in the middle of nowhere and left for dead. Christian keeps telling Ana to research, which she does, and then she gets all freaked out about the BDSM lifestyle and again, Christian is into kink, not BDSM but it doesn’t matter because Ana wouldn’t know the difference between the two with a type-written list.

Chapter Twelve

Ana goes for a jog to clear her head and then goes home and writes to Christian: “I’ve seen enough, nice knowing you.” SOMEHOW, this is supposed to be a joke. How it’s funny is your guess as well as mine. Is this a Twihard thing like the lip biting? How is this a joke? Where does she put something suitably ironic in order to indicate it’s a joke?

Unsurprisingly, or completely surprisingly since this is bat-shit territory, Christian shows up at Ana’s house instead of just accepting defeat and realizing that it’s over Ana’s head. This makes no sense. He also starts in on Ana for biting her lip and I roll my eyes because it’s her body and she’s allowed to chew on any part of it she wishes, regardless of your feelings on the matter. This? This is what makes him abusive. Also, did he get the joke? Did he know it was a joke? Is it a pop-culture reference that I don’t know about? Or is he just trying to seduce her into getting what he wants? This is the definition of “dub-con” or “dubious consent”, by the way. It’s especially potent since he didn’t think it was a joke (because it’s not?) and really did head over to Ana’s house to seduce her into a different mind frame. This is twisted. Really wrong. This guy needs major psychiatric help, and he needs to stay away from other people because he’s a psychopath and he doesn’t understand empathy or the concept of personal space.

After Christian leaves, Ana starts feeling used, like a receptacle for his sexual energy. This is good because it’s pretty much the truth. Of course, instead of telling him she feels this way, she cries on Kate’s shoulder, and Kate says that he has ‘commitment issues’ which is like saying that the sea is salty.

Ana e-mails Christian in detail about her issues regarding the contract and some of the language, but never addresses the larger issue about how this does not feel like a relationship to her, at least not an equitable one where both partners discuss their innermost feelings and are validated and reassured by each other. Christian promises to talk more on their date, which seems like bullocks since his idea of communication is to have sex.

Chapter Thirteen

Ana finds out that her mom can’t go to her graduation because Ana’s stepfather has fallen down and he can’t get up. I get that Mom has to take care of StepDad and all, but this is her daughter’s graduation. Get a nurse or a friend or something and stay for only long enough to see the graduation. I understand that it’s hard to go from Georgia to Seattle as my family lives in North Carolina and I’m in California, but you can bet my mom dragged her ass across country to see my brother graduate from college, and he was thirty-five when he graduated. This is family. Ana of course says it doesn’t bother her. Why? Because saying it bothers her would be a character flaw? I don’t understand why Ana can’t be let down about her mom. Supposedly they love each other. This is one more odd part of this story. I feel that Ana is detached from her parents, which I guess is typical YA territory, but this is not a YA novel. She’s twenty-two years old, and she is celebrating a major life event. She can be disappointed that her mom won’t be there. But all she can think about is Christian.

After that, Ana calls Ray, the one parent who will be in attendance for her graduation, only Ray’s like, “Yo, there’s a baseball game about to start so I can’t talk long.” The fact that he’ll be there, though, speaks volumes about his relationship with Ana.

Christian e-mails Ana about when he’ll pick her up, and she’s like, “I’ll drive” and he gets upset and pouty because he even has to control her mode of transportation. He e-mails the definition of “Submissive” to Ana who counters with the definition of “Compromise.” The bottom line is that Ana is a little uncomfortable around Christian right now because of this stupid contract, and she wants her car around so she can get away without him next to her, trying to seduce her or coerce her into doing something she’s uncomfortable with.

So, Kate gives Ana a couple of dresses, and she puts on one for the date as well as matching stilettos, and for someone who can’t walk across the street without getting run over by a bike, let me say that this is a really stupid idea. I get that her “flaw” is supposed to be clumsiness, but the alacrity with which the author has abandoned this one flaw gives me whiplash. Ana is, of course, fine in her heels.

Ana tells Christian that the contract isn’t binding, but he counters that it’s good to have everything up front and on the table before they begin, and that he won’t prosecute her if she breaches. No, he’ll just stalk her to death.

I have this in my notes: “It’s not like these two aren’t going to end up together.”

This is the thing: if this were a book series about a virgin exploring the world of sex, and if the books were all about her trying different things with different partners, then I’d wonder who she’s going to end up with. But there’s no suspense here. It’s like the current generation watching Star Wars. If they start with the prequels, then they will be completely unsurprised when Darth Vader ends up as Luke’s father. That is this book in a nutshell. You already know they’re going to get married and make babies ever after. They have to. That is this book. All of this suspense is unnecessary and a little boring.

Anyway, moving on. So, Christian wants Ana to be honest with him, which is so stupid considering the fact that any time she has expressed any modicum of having her own opinions or feelings, he brushes her off and dismisses her boundaries and personal space. Case in point, he gets all over Ana about whether or not she’s eaten, again. Since it seems that Ana doesn’t eat when she’s nervous or upset, it’s no surprise that she hasn’t eaten, but he still gets all over her about it. Also, he asks if she wants to stay in the common room or go to a private room. She says she wants to be in public, but he’s already booked a private room, so no go Ana. The question is completely moot. Why did he ask her opinion when he had already made up their mind what they were going to do? I really hate it when people do that. It’s not fair and it isn’t kind. Also, he’s already ordered for her, including oysters. As a person with severe food allergies, I balk at his incessant obsession over food and his forcing it on Ana.

Okay, Christian starts going over the contract piece by piece, outlining Ana’s issues with what it says. He assures her that he is not HIV positive, nor does he do drugs. He actually goes into his company’s anti-drug policies and mentions random drug testing and Ana’s like, “He’s such a control freak!” Well, get used to it sweetheart, but in this case, he is perfectly within his rights, and few companies don’t issue random drug tests or have strict anti-drug policies. It’s like she nitpicks all the unimportant stuff, but lets his constant, persistent and pathological need to dominate her entirely slide by the wayside. It makes no sense!

Christian says he wants to try their relationship for three months, and Ana starts feeling railroaded. Finally. How long did this take you, Ana?

I have this in my notes: “I can’t believe how boring this is. Ana finally admits she trusts him. Thank God. Can we find the plot now? “

Sorry, self. This is me from the future. There will be no plot. Not ever. Not even with painfully transparent attempts to create drama will there be a plot. This fanfiction is labeled “PWP?”

So then we get to this: Ana is asking why she can’t touch Christian, and she thinks Mrs. Robinson had something to do with it. He says,
“No, Anastasia. She’s not the reason. Besides, Mrs. Robinson wouldn’t take any of that shit from me.” Oh…but I have to. I pout.

Yes. Exactly. He wants you to do things that he would never do himself. He expects of you that which he would never give to you. This is the relationship you want. This is the relationship millions of women want. No wonder men hate us. I’m starting to hate us. This is the type of guy who ‘nice guys’ rail against when they’re trying to ask a girl out.

[You know Nice Guy Syndrome, right? The guys who think all women want Bad Boys who will break their heart? The reason I would find Christian more attractive than a Nice Guy is simply because he knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to say so. The fact that he isn’t interested in what Ana wants and doesn’t care what she has to say is what turns me off to him. But between the two, yes I’d go with Christian Grey. This isn’t saying much.]

Ana brings up his no masturbation clause and he’s like, “I want all of your pleasure.” Sorry, Christian. Until you figure out the Vulcan Mind Meld, all of her pleasure is her own. You can be there to witness it, but she’s the one who feels it. Ana accuses him of using sex as a weapon when he threatens to “fuck” her in the dining room just because he can, and he has the good sense to not deny it. He also brings up how if she were his sub, she wouldn’t have to think about anything anymore, just go along with him. That’s a really great prospect, Christian. Every girl dreams of a guy telling her he’d like to not be able to distinguish between her and a lobotomy victim.

Ana says she feels like she’s playing a game where “[Christian is] the only one who knows and understands the rules.” This is pretty much the definition of an abusive person. Their rules are arbitrary, and what is true today may be false tomorrow, and they change all the time. This is so that Christian can “punish” Ana for not doing what he tells her to do. That is the bottom line.

Thankfully, Ana decides to leave before Christian can seduce and use her again, and she starts wondering if this is the last time she’ll see him, blah blah blah. Look, again, if there were any suspense, I would be on the edge of my chair (not really), but there is no suspense. They are going to get together. I don’t understand this sort of foreplay. Surely the author could have found some other avenue? At this point, it feels like a child’s game of pretend. “Let’s pretend that Christian and Ana won’t get together at some point in the future, okay?”

And now we get to Ana’s Beatle. Christian is all upset that she drives it and keeps asking if it’s road worthy, etc. It’s a steel car with lots of curves on it. It might not have a five-point harness or even a three-point seatbelt, but it’s not a bad car, especially not for a college student. Ana gets adamant that Christian won’t buy her a car, but you know he will.

Ana drives home crying, and lamenting that she won’t be allowed to sleep with or touch her boyfriend if she agrees to the contract. Yes, these are actually huge concerns. The magnitude of these concerns is almost suffocating. Especially the part about looking at him and talking without being spoken to. I mean, if she’s not into D/s or kink, then this isn’t the relationship for her.

She worries he’ll tire of her. Again, no suspense. He sends her an e-mail saying he doesn’t understand why she ran from him, but he wants to make it work, take it slow. One of the first signs of an abuser is that he tries to force you into a committed relationship very quickly. She falls asleep thinking that since this is all he knows, and her view is all she knows, maybe they can forge their own path. Note from the future: yes.

Rant: I think that BDSM is a viable “alternate lifestyle” and that kink and whatnot are perfectly normal between consenting adults, so the undercurrent in this book that says that Christian has something wrong with him because of BDSM bothers me. He has something wrong with him because he had a horrible childhood and upbringing. That’s where his issues stem from. He hides behind BDSM and D/s and kink in order to keep people at arm’s length, but the actual lifestyle is not what has made him this way. He is this way and turned to the lifestyle in order to handle his demons. I feel that this book paints those in “alternate lifestyles” (quotations because I think the term is improper, but I don’t know of a better one) in a light that there must be something wrong with them that they enjoy doing this and classes everyone with Christian Grey. To me, it’s on par with saying that homosexuals are only “that way” because they were abused as a child or just haven’t met the right woman/man to make them not be homosexual any more. In Christian’s case, he just hasn’t met the right girl yet. That’s what this author is saying. It’s easy to get over decades of hurt if you just meet the right person. And it is. If that person happens to be a therapist. But to say that all problems are got over really easily is cheapening the hurt of people like Christian and relegating BDSM to a band aid or crutch-like lifestyle that helps gloss over true problems until that one romantic partner comes along to take you away from “it all.”

I’m sure that this isn’t the author’s intention, but that’s what I’m getting from this book.

Okay, more to come.