OH THANK GOD I'VE BEEN SO WORRIED ABOUT THESE GUYS.
Before I continue, though, I want to congratulate Emma Watson for saying that she wasn't interested in playing Ana, nor had she been sent a script. Good girl. Now don't have any tawdry affairs with any middle-aged men and you'll be better off than ninety percent of Hollywood.
Okay, onto the book.
Christian takes Ana to a restaurant that she thinks is nice, but he thinks is just sort of middling. My cousin is dating a guy who was taking her to restaurants and then complaining that they weren't good enough and she confronted him about it. He apologized for bringing down what to her was a nice date, and he's been working on being positive since.
I'm just saying that Christian took Ana to IHOP in the last book, maybe the author needs to snob him down just a bit.
Ana starts getting worried about what Christian might say. Why, we're not exactly sure. It's not like she's done something wrong. I guess she's just worried because he's an unstable person in need of deep therapy so she's never sure what he'll say or do.
He orders steak for both of them (Steak and fries...has this author even been to America, or has she never left England?) and Ana snarks that she might want to make her own decisions. He calls her childish and tells her to not start with him.
Okay, I'm pretty sure that if she walked out right now, Jose would make sure she got home safe and she wouldn't have to rely on Christian's kindness. Honestly, what is it with this guy? Does he have crack on his dick? Why is he attractive?
Oh, but he's not upset about her not wanting to eat steak. He's upset about how she "flirted" with Jose.
Okay, this is the whole of what happened with Jose: He took pictures of Ana and displayed them for sale at a gallery without asking her for permission. Ana forgave him when he apologized, and she honestly wasn't that upset. Then she hugged him and gave him a peck on the cheek. Then she said goodbye and left with Christian.
Christian says this was leading Jose on. Keep in mind that Jose tried to kiss Ana at the beginning of the last book and Christian hasn't been able to forgive him for that. Even if what Ana did was flirting (I have this idea that the author is a Duggar in disguise and would never dream of even touching a boy on the arm without first thinking of marrying him, I mean, this messed up relationship is a product of her rather than anything based in reality), why does Christian care? He thinks what she did was mean to Jose.
|"My sister said, 'You shouldn't have kissed him. If you didn't plan on going all the way.'"|
How many times do I need to say that I just can't with these two? If I had a nickel for every time I kissed a male friend of mine platonically, I'd have...maybe a buck. But still, people are intelligent! If Ana left with Christian, then I'm pretty sure even Jose has figured out that she's with him.
Finally, Ana accuses him of being grumpy. Understatement of the year. He's all, "And why would that be, hmm?" like she should be upset that it's her fault he's grumpy. He has no reason to be, but if he keeps gaslighting her enough, maybe she'll finally believe him.
Ana snarks that he's setting a great tone for a conversation about their future together. He apologizes, but we're not sure for what. He doesn't seem to understand what he's done wrong. Ever.
"Ana, the last time we spoke, you left me. I'm a little nervous. I've told you I want you back, and you've said...nothing." His gaze is intense and expectant while his candor is totally disarming. What the hell do I say to this?Okay, let's break it down again. The last time Ana and Christian "spoke" was on the phone, making the plans for the night they're currently enjoying. But let's put that aside. The last time they were together, he beat the crap out of her and she left him. Both because he beat her and because he has a need to beat and subjugate women like her. He is taking something that he did to her and making it into something about himself. He is upset that Ana left him, but he can't see why she left him. He isn't apologetic about that. He is not empathizing with her or even accepting that Ana made a decision based on what was correct and right for her to do at the time. When someone is hurting you, you need to do everything you can to move away from that person, even if you hurt them. If they really care about you, if they are sincere in wanting what is best for you, then they will hide their hurt in order to help you make the best choice for you. Only a sociopath will try and downplay your hurt by displaying their own. That is called blaming the victim. It is also emotionally manipulative.
So, Ana says that she can't be what Christian wants her to be. She's not that kind of girl. He says he likes her just the way she is.
Since they've been back "together," he has berated her for her eating habits, accused her of leading on a good friend by hugging him, called her childish, and ordered food for her. He does not value her as an autonomous human being. The fact that she lets him get away with that crap just goes to show that she doesnt' value herself either.
Christian says that what he did was stupid, but then says that she never used the safe word.
She made him do it.
|"You never actually said, "Stop.""|
"I don't know. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to be what you wanted me to be, trying to deal with the pain, and it went out of my mind. You know...I forgot," I whisper, ashamed, and I shrug apologetically.
Perhaps we could have avoided all this heartache.
"You forgot!" He gasps with horror, grabbing the sides of the table and glaring. I wither under his stare.
Shit! He's furious again. My inner goddess glares at me, too. See, you brought this all on yourself!
"How can I trust you?" His voice is low. "Ever?"
Oh geez. How? This is the 21st century. How can we have this in a book with no victim advocacy groups standing up and yelling, screaming, trying to raise awareness that if a guy ever...ever...oh good gracious, EVER FUCKING BLAMED YOU AFTER HE BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU THEN YOU NEED TO FUCKING RUN AWAY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! HOW? HOW IS THIS A WOMAN WRITING THIS? HOW DID ANYONE PUBLISH THIS? THIS BOOK IS SAYING THAT IT WAS ANA'S FAULT THAT CHRISTIAN NEEDED TO BEAT HER SO HE COULD FEEL GOOD ABOUT HIMSELF.
NO, I WON'T EXIT CAPSLOCK. YES, I WILL CONTINUE TO SHOUT. WE'RE LEFT WONDERING HOW CHRISTIAN CAN EVER TRUST ANA AGAIN? HOW CHRISTIAN HAS TO DEAL WITH THE PAIN OF HER LEAVING HIM? SHE IS EMBARRASSED THAT SHE DIDN'T THINK TO USE A SAFE WORD THAT SHE HAS NEVER HAD TO USE BEFORE IN ANY RELATIONSHIP?
I can handle a book about pseudo-BDSM. I can handle a book about a stupid heroine having sex with idiots. I can almost even sort of deal with the formatting and run-on sentences up there (seriously, a capital letter after a question mark and quotation?), but I cannot excuse victim blaming, nor can I feel sympathetically towards a character who doesn't even feel sympathetic towards herself!
I love how Christian deflects. That is classic abuse behavior. Ana has good reason to be upset with him, but then he deflects by bringing up the safe word. Like that would have made everything better. Like if she had just used it, it would make him a different sort of man and her a different sort of woman. And then he turns the tables by blaming her for what happened and finally says he doesn't know if he can trust her.
This author is a psychologist's wet dream, I swear. What sort of fucked up woman do you have to be to fantasize about being with this guy? To not only fantasize, but to write him into existence?
The inner goddess glaring at Ana is what sets the final pathetic nail into the coffin. She is now blaming herself. She has accepted that she could have prevented all of this. I am embarrassed for this author. I am embarrassed for my sex and any of us who find these books thrilling and erotic. I am embarrassed for the editor who had to read their way through this. But I am not embarrassed for any person, male or female, who has been abused. I'm sure they feel ashamed and guilty, but I will not let this book go on confirming their feelings. I will not let this piece of..."literature"...stand as a beacon of what women want, or what sexuality should be. And I most certainly won't let it stand as a blueprint for relationships. If this is you, then there is help for you. There are people who want to help you get out of your abusive relationship. It is not your fault.
|It's not your fault. It's his fault. He was the one who hit you, you did not run into his fist.|
Okay, are we all good?
Well, Ana's not. She apologizes and Christian says that yes, they could have avoided all of this with a safe word.
If you need to go and cry now, I don't blame you. I think I might need a moment.
Oh, and if you think Christian might change or go into the "honeymoon" phase of domestic abuse, then you need to know that he threatens to spank Ana if she won't eat her food, right there in the restaurant. This guy is just a gem.
I'm going to stop using the Bingley picture for him because I quite like Bingley, and I no longer want that actor associated with Christian.
Okay, I guess I was wrong thinking that they're back together. Apparently nothing has changed for Ana. But Christian has a proposition. He calls Taylor to pick them up and they get in the car so he can drive them home. I guess taking the chopper would make too much sense.
So, Christian asks if Ana wants only vanilla, or if she's good with some kink. What she's not good with is punishment for crossing lines. She doesn't want rules, and she doesn't want to be something that he punishes to make himself feel good.
He's fine with that. No rules, no punishment. But he likes to spank her, and she likes being spanked, so that's a good thing.
She says that she is the undeserving one in the relationship. I sigh with resignation. People, you can actually have self-esteem. It's something that is really quite easy to get to. You can do it. Start by staring in a mirror and thinking only positive thoughts. The minute you think something negative, walk away. This isn't a failsafe way of never being taken in by an abuser--most abusers know how to worm their way into your life--but it gives you a good foundation.
I also want to point out that Ana looks at how "beautiful" Christian is and thinks that he's not for her because he's so perfect or whatevs. How someone looks is not the same as how they act, how they treat other people, how they treat you. It is no indication about whether or not they are an addict or a spendthrift or if they have herpes. If they regularly drive drunk. There are many things that make attractive people unattractive. Like my mom says, "Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes straight to the bone." I don't care how "perfect" Christian looks. He acts like every cliche about a basement-dwelling pedophile with kiddie porn all over his computer.
|Oh look! A panda nomming bamboo! How cute! Let us meditate on this image for a while.|
So, Ana falls asleep on Christian's lap in the car and he wakes her up outside her apartment. She wants to go with him to his house. Oh, but Christian isn't taking her there. And he's not going to her apartment, either. He's not going to touch her until she begs for it.
Well, this won't last long. Anyone want to make a bet?
Christian is going to pick Ana up tomorrow night after she goes for drinks with her boss. Then he gives her a gift for her to open inside.
Inside the box is her old laptop, blackberry and a new ipad.
She listens to the music stored on it and they e-mail back and forth about it. Once again we get a spectacular playlist that means absolutely nothing because we're reading instead of listening. I don't think I could hate EL James more if I tried, but I will try because of this. One last thought before the end of the chapter: the author seems to like Coldplay. Do with that what you will.
Ana waltzes into her office grinning like a fool and her boss Jack Hyde (the author insists on using his name, so I will too) tells her she looks radiant. Ana thinks this is inappropriate. I am now going to keep a running tally of all the inappropriate things I think Ana will be doing throughout the day.
One: Ana immediately starts in with her cutesy e-mails to Christian instead of reading manuscripts for Jack Hyde.
Two: after lunch, Ana starts in again. Only this time, Christian tells her that her e-mails are monitored at SIP where she works with Jack Hyde. I want to point out that Christian initiated the e-mails, so...yeah. Here we go again with him blaming her for what he started.
Three: she seems to believe that her boss, Jack Hyde, is hitting on her for no good reason (he probably is, but there's no basis to think that.)
They're going to a bar called "Fifty's."
I really hate this author.
Ana goes to the bathroom to e-mail Christian on her blackberry and tells him what the bar is called. He then makes me yearn for the days of "Laters baby" by saying "Sooners rather than laters baby."
Ana examines herself in the mirror, and I only bring this up because apparently after a week of being all pale and wan and mopey, she looks happy. Gee, you think that this is why Jack Hyde noticed a change in her?
|The eighth dwarf, Mopey.|
We all want to know that, sweetheart. Apparently she has a high tolerance for being a doormat. I wouldn't call that a positive.
The woman has a bandage around her wrist and it disconcerts Ana. She also looks a lot like Ana with pale skin and dark hair that contrasts starkly against her skin. I mean, I've already figured out that she's a former submissive, but I have a feeling Ana won't parse this out for a few ages.
Oh, wait, her subconscious seems to think that the girl has something to do with Christian. Well, nice to know that one of Ana's personalities is on top of things.
At the bar, Jack Hyde hands Ana a bottle of Budweiser.
Wow, I guess this guy really hates her. That's too bad, Ana. And he's your boss, too.
|Someone urinated in this bottle!|
Wait, that's how it's supposed to taste.
Hey, English authors of the world, I'm not a huge beer drinker, but I can tell you that we have plenty of good beers here in America, and a lot of bars have their own microbrews. You know. Like European countries do. It's amazing.
I was writing this last night, and now that I come back to it, I want to point out that a hipster capital like Seattel would more than likely NOT have Budweiser on tap...er...in bottles. More like PBR or something equally annoying. You can also find Guinness, Heineken, Jefer (some places), and of course the afforementioned microbrews.
Yes, the lack of research actually really bothers me.
Claire, the receptionist who brings our POC total in this book to a whopping two, the lady that Ana wants to be friends with (or at least wanted to in the previous book) notes that Ana seems happier today. Ana changes the subject without thinking that Claire is hitting on her. Why is that?
I'm thinking about making some stuffed dates. Maybe bleu cheese? I have this idea that I can wrap them in fakon instead of bacon and have them be better for me.
Oh, wait, am I supposed to care about Ana and Kate? Because I'm having a hard time here considering the fact that Kate is about as three-dimensional as a cartoon.
Ana lets us know that Ethan, Kate's brother, will be moving into the apartment, and she muses that Christian won't be happy about that. Like Christian would be anything other than unhappy about any sort of news.
Jack Hyde then comes over and starts engaging Ana in conversation. He asks if she has plans for the weekend, and she thinks he's being creepy. I just want to point out that she asked Claire what her plans for the weekend were, so it's sort of disingenuous of Ana to get tetchy about Jack Hyde asking her in return.
Christian then comes in and pees on Ana so Jack Hyde will know she's his.
Oh, wait. He just puts his arm around her and kisses her hair.
|It's just like saying "hello"!|
I glance up at Jack who is mentally assessing the fine specimen of manhood in front of him.So...Jack's gay? Or he's intimidated in the face of Christian? Or...what am I supposed to think of this exactly?
Jack isn't happy and tells Christian that he thought he was an EX boyfriend. They then start strutting and sticking their chests out in a primal display of beastial fury.
Seriously, WTF is wrong with this author?
Ana actually calls him out on his pissing contest and Christian says that Jack Hyde wants inside Ana's panties.
Well, that's good. I thought maybe he wanted inside of Ana herself. I guess she can just throw her drawers at him and we're all good.
Christian wants to know if Jack Hyde is good at his job, and Ana says that he seems competent. But you see, he seems to want what belongs to Christian, and we can't have that, so if he makes a move, Ana needs to tell her man so he can throw Jack Hyde out on his ass.
Ana says he doesn't have that kind of power...or does he...?
Oh, he's bought SIP. Come on people!
Christian needs Ana safe, and no woman has ever been safe working at a company that her boyfriend doesn't own.
I just...what sort of world does this author live in? Why? And what sort of communications mogul wants to buy a publishing company? I mean...this is making me laugh so hard. And it's ridiculous and stupid all at the same time, too.
Christian's like, "Are you mad at me?"
Ana calls him an ass and then gets scared because she may have gone too far. People, when you're afraid your partner is going to haul off and smack you, the fear makes sense. For everyone else, it's like, "Wha..? of course she's angry..."
Ana of course won't stay angry for long.
Pretty soon, they're inside and Christian is telling Ana that she still has to beg. Yeah, after everything he's been up to, she has to beg for him. See what I mean? it's all about him and what he wants. Anything to do with her is incedental.
Ana goes to touch Christian, and he tells her no, he still doesn't like to be touched. Ana suggests that they use a marker and make a map of places she's safe to touch. He thinks that might be an idea with merit.
Christian then decides they need to eat because Ana hasn't been taking the pill, and that makes so much sense. Ana, true to form, begins begging for sex. I'm telling you; he has a dick made out of crack and laced with heroine.
So, they need to go grocery shopping because Ana doesn't have any food. Naturally, Christian has never set foot in a grocery store.
Christian asks why Ana doesn't have any food, and she says he knows why. He's like, "You left me, bitch." Of course, the reason she left him can't factor into this. The fact that she left him is the only part of this that affected Christian. That everything that happened before caused Ana to leave is immaterial. The part that made Christian upset was her leaving him, therefore, it is the only part that matters in this conversation.
|"I lost a bullet! Has anyone seen my bullet! OMG, you better not have gotten melted crayon all over my bullet!"|
Ana finally thinks something relevant: that if she hadn't left, Christian might never have offered any sort of alternative for their relationship. She's got a good point. Of course, this is assuming that she really wants to have a relationship with Christian. I mean, she does, but a normal woman wouldn't.
So, Christian tries to find good wine in a grocery store. The author's snobbery rears its ugly head again, as there are many wonderful vineyards in California that produce excellent, award winning wines (but only in blind tests because the French would never willingly vote on a Californian wine), and most of them are available in grocery stores across America. Also, Seattle is painfully cosmopolitan. I'm sure you could get Cristal in a grocery store if you looked hard enough. I know you can here in OC, so why not Seattle?
While Christian leaves the store in search of drinkable wine (Barefoot Vineyards, just saying!), Ana concocts a plan to get him in bed. There is no way this can end badly.
So, at home, Ana starts thinking about how little she knows about Christian.
Finally, the author is agreeing with me! I feel like this is a long time coming. My god!
Well, let me back that up. Ana starts chopping and prepping her mise en place, and in doing so, she starts bumping and grinding on Christian, so he finally gets hot and bothered enough to beg her for sex.
So, true to his threat, he won't do anything to her unless she asks for it, so she starts telling him what to do.
Fun new game time! I'm so excited, I hope you are too.
Every time Christian and Ana have sex instead of talking about stuff like normal couples do (I'm not going to do this when they have sex at normal times like normal couples do, in other words...which is never, so we'll see) I'm going to bring up an idea for a fun activity that they can do together in order to foster a better understanding of each other. What's funny is that preparing and eating a meal together is number 8 on the list, so we see how badly these things can go. But! We're starting with #1, which is something I would do if I were as rich as God, and that is to buy and put together the Lego Millennium Falcon.
|Right? I know!|
Did I mention it OPENS UP? Because it opens up.
I mean, think about this. You're making dinner and putting together a great little model with your boyfriend, and then the next thing you know, you're both talking about your childhood and how you would beg your mom to take you to McDonalds so you could get the Lego Happy Meal and use it to build more, bigger, better stuff than was on the little card. My brother and I had a castle that took us forever to build, and my parents got in on the action, too. It was great. This of course brings up other toys and childhood memories, and anything else in your past. THEN you can have sex. And you'll know each other better for it.
And that's the end of the chapter.
I think we've done enough for now.