redmond shooting stars- just like you
Hey! I moved. Once I dig 50 Shades out of storage, I can hopefully restart this project for the millionth time. I also have AUDIO FILES of me reading some salacious excerpts, for your titillation, dear readers. I can post those up here once I figure out how.
In the meantime, here’s what I’m currently reading for serious. What are you into?
Would you be interested in AUDIO FILES of me reading the sexy parts alound?
did… did you just compare his penis to steel covered in velvet??!?
Drinking a cold beer while I write this because I fucking earned a beer today.
Anastasia’s best friend and aspiring journalist Kate is really excited that Christian Grey has agreed to do a photo shoot for the article. I forgot to mention that Anastasia’s ripped best friend José is a killer photographer. Kate asks “who is going to do them [the photographs], and where?” JOSE, IN YOUR SMUSH ROOM.
They ask José to shoot the photos and he weakly protests, saying “I do places, Ana, not people.” I’m eagerly looking forward to José Does Dallas. Ana and Kate use their feminine wiles to convince José to do it anyway. Anastasia has a dream about “smoky gray eyes, coveralls, long legs, long fingers, and dark, dark unexplored places.” You know a crush is serious when you start dreaming about your favorite’s pube thatch.
They take the photos. It’s very boring. Following the photo shoot, Christian asks Anastasia out for coffee. This coffee date scene is a Literary Masterpiece. Christian takes Anastasia’s hand as they walk outside to go to the coffee shop, and she is predictably dumb about it. They are waiting to cross the street for an unreasonable number of words, until: “The green man appears, and we’re off again.” It seriously took me several reads to figure out that EL James means the traffic light (the Ampelmännchen) and not the Hulk. You can’t just do that, EL James. You can’t just like fucking mention some shit that follows from a train of thought you had without situating it somehow in the narrative that you are creating. I mean, you can, and the result is this. So whatever.
Christian asks Anastasia what kind of coffee she would like. She says English Breakfast tea, bag out (just hot water?) to which Christian replies “Okay, bag out tea.” (I repeat: water?) “Bag out tea” sounds really vulgar. Christian Grey actually asks her “PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?” which I didn’t realize was a thing people said. It turns out that Anastasia’s English Breakfast tea is Twinings brand, because she is a fucking amateur. Anastasia tells Christian boring things about her family life. Then she watches him sipping his coffee and gets really turned on, or something, and tells herself that she shouldn’t look at his mouth because it’s “unsettling.” Does he have a lamprey mouth? I hope so. LAMPREY MOUTH CUNNILINGUS - almost as good as “bag out tea,” don’t you think? They talk more about things I don’t care about. Then Christian smiles “his odd I’ve-got-a-whopping-big-secret smile.” This is a smile that Christian Grey has, that we should know about? Fuck.
Leaving the coffee shop, a cyclist almost hits Anastasia as she tries to cross the street, but Christian ~rescues her~ at the very last moment. Cool Twilight homolog, bro. Fun fact: one time, a famous actor who stars in a lot of shitty rom-coms almost hit me as he rode his bicycle down Avenue B in New York, ignoring traffic lights because movie stars are above the law. Anyhow, Christian pulls Ana back from the CERTAIN DEATH of being hit by a person on a two-wheeled bicycle and she looks up into his eyes and wants to be kissed.
Christian Grey = Patrick Bateman.
I’m a whopping eight pages into the book. Picking up where we left off…
Anastasia says something stupid about Christian’s artwork, then calls him an Adonis. (HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK.)
The interview begins. She asks Christian if he is gay and this is supposed to be a big embarrassing deal for some reason. The interview contains such gems as:
My belief is to achieve success in any scheme one has to make oneself master of that scheme
Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries you were born to control things.
No one has ever used the phrase “secret reveries” in an actual conversation, ever.
I’m a very wealthy man, MIss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies.
I don’t have a philosophy as such. Maybe a guiding principle—Carnegie’s
Then some trite shit about consumerism. WOW, ANASTASIA STEELE HAS SUCH A CAUSTIC AND INCISIVE MIND. Anastasia gets a boner and then narrates: “The temperature in the room is rising, or maybe it’s just me.” Are you levitating, Miss Steele?
The interview ends and Anastasia leaves. End Chapter 1.
At the beginning of Chapter 2, Anastasia is thinking about how Christian Grey makes her tingle down there, which is something no man has ever done for her before. As in Twilight, the physicality of her attraction is… bordering on medically unsafe. Anastasia drives back to college listening to “thumping indie rock music” and that’s all there is to say about that. Then we learn that she works in a hardware store. I’m sorry. No one named Anastasia Steele has ever worked in a hardware store. Anastasia claims that despite having worked there for four years, she doesn’t know anything about tools and that she “leave[s] that all to my dad.” Haha, yeah, boys understand tools, because of Genetics.
Anastasia gets home. We learn that her mom is a flighty dipshit who has been married a bunch of times and that she has a totally ripped best friend named José who is totally in love with her. But she’s not interested, and she wonders if this is because she has “spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes.” Yeah, that Alec d’Urberville was a real winner. (I’m not even cherry-picking, Tess of the d’Urbervilles is name-dropped just a few pages earlier. I’m gonna be hella bummed if this is the Literary Analog the way that Romeo and Juliet/Wuthering Heights were for the Twilight books.)
Somewhere in Chapter 2, Anastasia is at work at the hardware store when Christian Grey shows up out of nowhere. BUYING KINKY SHIT AT HOME DEPOT, NO BIG DEAL. When she notices him, she is surprised:
I think my mouth has popped open, and I can’t locate my brain or my voice.
What? Compare this to some more colorful imagery from a few pages later:
With my heart almost strangling me—because it’s in my throat trying to escape from my mouth—I head down one of the aisles to the electrical section.
Does anyone else visualize like a sinister Valentine heart with arms? Or is this supposed to presage BREATH PLAY? (Probably not.)
Anyway, servile Anastasia helps Christian locate electrical cables and masking tape and rope. Totally normal. He touches her hand and she feels it “somewhere dark and unexplored, deep in my belly.” IT’S UR WOMB, ANA. She tells him that books are “her thing” and I get nauseous. She recommends that he buy coveralls. She gets him to agree to do a photo shoot to accompany the interview that will appear in the school newspaper. Anastasia realizes she likes him.
Sorry this isn’t better. The sex doesn’t happen for another few dozen pages.
Hello dear readers! My latest project is going to be an extended read-along with Fifty Shades of Grey. Marcy has been bothering me to do this, but I figure it’s suitable for this blog anyway—apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey originated as a Twilight fan fiction and later became its own thing. The premise (spoiler alert?) is that the “Bella” character (here, Anastasia Steele—more on that later) enters into a contractual relationship as a sexual submissive to the “Edward” character’s dominant (Christian Grey in these books).
I guess I should get the requisite apologia out of the way—I am not a very good writer, I don’t know jack shit about feminist or gender theory (or anything else in the entire world, really) except as a total lazy amateur, and I am not a part of the BDSM community so I’m poorly equipped to comment on how silly (or not silly) the BDSM aspects of the book are. Just to orient you, I want to state up front that I don’t have any theoretical problem with the idea of a woman submissive and a male dom as long as both parties enthusiastically consent. Purple prose and fuck words still make me giggle, though, so get ready for long blockquotes of mind-numbing ~erotica.~ I sort of feel bad, because with Twilight, I definitely had a social agenda; those books contain a discernible anti-feminist message that I was interested in picking apart. With this, I’m not sure there’s an agenda that I want to counter. I mostly just want to laugh at penises, and EL James is rolling in dough, so good for her. Whatever. If anything I say on here seems particularly shitty, you should definitely tell me because I definitely am not trying to be full of shit and am totally open to being corrected.
So, FIFTY SHADES OF MF GREY! From the very first paragraph in the book, I’m struck by how much continuity of style there is between this and Twilight—the writing is fucking terrible, but it’s fucking terrible in exactly the same way that the writing in Twilight is bad. Maybe what the GoodReads Choice Awards (for which this book was a finalist—a finalist!!—as the back cover informs me) is for—one bad author imitating another bad author in a consistent way.
Anyway, the book opens with our heroine whining about some damn thing and attempting to brush her hair “into submission.” Proud of EL James for dropping mad hints in the first sentence as to what this book is about.
Then there’s this:
“I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up.”
Is there a strange child in your room? CONTACT LAW ENFORCEMENT IMMEDIATELY PLEASE. Oh BOOP just kidding, it’s our heroine, describing herself. Whaddya know, ladies, she underestimates her own beauty, and you probably do, too! (I mean, if you are a woman in the world, you probably actually do, but that’s beside the point.) We are quickly apprised of the fact that our heroine is going to interview some young business magnate named Christian Grey as a favor to her best friend and roommate, editor of their college newspaper. Grey is a benefactor of the university and CEO of something called Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc., which sounds an awful lot like Dobis P.R. (or Bankia, or Asset Co.) to me.
Our heroine drives a car down to Seattle to visit the global headquarters of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc., which is a big, intimidating, phallic building “with GREY HOUSE written discreetly in steel over the glass front doors.” GREY HOUSE. Are you shitting me? I wonder if Christian Grey has POOP TOMB written “discreetly” over the door to his bathroom. As I’ve said, this is an office building, so everyone in it is naturally an office drone, except for our heroine—whose full name is finally revealed as Anastasia Steele. I’m sorry. What? Anastasia Steele is the name of a dime store romance novel author/protagonist, not of an actual human being in the world, especially one who is supposed to be so QUIRKY AND AWKWARD. Truly awkward people have nondescript, boring names. Maybe ANASTASIA STEELE is supposed to tip us off that she’s a real diamond in the rough or something?
Anastasia (abbreviated throughout the book as “Ana,” which makes me think of “anorexia” and truly bums me out on a visceral level) makes her way to the elevator, which “whisks [her] at terminal velocity” to meet Christian Grey. I was really bad at physics, but doesn’t terminal velocity describe an object that is in free-fall, not one that is being hoisted up by a bunch of pulleys and shit? No time to ponder these questions, as Ana has arrived in the C-suite as we in the private sector call it, and is rapidly losing control over somatic muscles (twitching, fidgeting) due to a variety of things—the view, the expensive (and “clinical”) sterility of the surroundings, Christian Grey himself, who is (of course) a nethers-moistening dreamboat. (Also, at some point, some assistant brings Ana a glass of “iced water”—what the fuck is iced water? A slab of ice?)
Upon walking into Grey’s office, Anastasia trips over her own feet and falls onto all fours. Subtle. I like it. She says something trite about his stupid paintings that we’re supposed to think is deep (that they “raise the ordinary to the extraordinary”).
Clinical, sterile, surroundings and our main characters are Grey and Steele. INTERESTING. Are we supposed to understand Anastasia’s name as phallic? Or am I a Beavis and/or Butthead for reading too much into the fact that our heroine’s last name is a hard substance? (HEHEHE YOU SAID HARD)
I’m only halfway through chapter 1 but I’m stopping here because I’m tired and this post is too long already. Until tomorrow!