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Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Sunday, May 22, 2011 or “I’m not sure this whole day-by-day instead of chapter numbers thing is practical PART TWO”

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Because this is yet another unbearably long chapter (thirty-three pages, according my Kindle app), I’m dicing this one up. For my reading challenge, I’m reading Anne by Constance Fenimore-Woolson, and the chapters in that are also very, very long. The reason for this is that it was a serial in Harper’s Bazar, and serial installments back in the day were long-ish. Grey is not a serial, and therefore that is absofuckinglutely no need for these chapters to be this long.

I don’t know what I have against long chapters, I honestly don’t. It’s not just this particular book. And it’s not like I don’t write them, either. But as a reader, I absolutely loathe them. Maybe I like that sense of completion you get from reaching a natural stopping point. I don’t know.

In Fifty Shades Darker movie news, the internet was positively abuzz with casting announcements. Bella Heathcote came on board as Leila, and Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde. But perhaps the most exciting casting news came when it was announced that Tyler Hoechlin would portray the unforgettable character Boyce Fox. (warning: autoplay video on that link)

Wait, who?

Turns out Boyce Fox, a character that even I could not remember, is the author Ana signs to her publishing house. He’s mentioned briefly in the third book, if I remember correctly. They’re “expanding” Boyce’s role in the films, so I assume he’ll be yet another handsome man who can’t resist Ana. Okay, I know that I can’t resist Dakota Johnson, either, but this isn’t about me. This is about the fact that the last two movies are apparently being written by E.L. James’s husband, so let’s not kid ourselves. E.L. probably wants the role expanded so her onscreen avatar can be lusted after by even more hot guys.

Also, Hugh Dancy has joined the cast as Dr. Finn, since being in one show about a shitty psychiatrist wasn’t enough for him. He’s dead to me now.

With all of that out of the way, let’s recap.

This day in history: The composer, director, and serial rapist Joesph Brooks died by suicide.

 

When we left off, Chedward had just told Ana that he really enjoyed the vanilla sex they had the night before. Because what better way to compliment a woman than to act surprised that you enjoyed sex with her.

So, now he and Ana are in the bathroom together, filling up the tub and getting nekkid.

Normally, I would expect any woman I was about to bathe with to have her eyes cast down in modesty.

But not Ana.

She doesn’t drop her gaze, and her eyes glow with anticipation and curiosity. But she has her arms wrapped around herself; she’s shy.

It’s arousing.

No. It’s confusing. You’re turned on because she’s not modest, you’re turned on because she’s shy, which one is it? I mean, I get it, it’s flattering that she’s so into your glorious semi-nakedness (remember, Christian is a Never Nude for the first book and Donald Ducks it through a lot of the sex scenes). Maybe it’s just the way it’s written, though I don’t know what I would do to fix it.

Full disclosure, I’m pretty high right now.

Me, holding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (and the peanut butter is crunchy. You can't see that in the photo, but I thought you might be curious). Anyway, it's a picture of me holding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and giving a thumbs up. My eyes are very red.

So, he takes his t-shirt off, reminding me that, despite what the movie’s lies have told you, the first time Christian and Ana have sex, he’s straight up Pooh Bear sticking it to her honey pot. I honestly cannot think of anything I find less attractive than a man wearing nothing but a t-shirt, a full-on rager poking out beneath the hem of it. I suppose that’s why they left that bit out of the movie.

And to think she’s never bathed with a man.

I can claim another first.

I bet he’s scrapbooking all of her milestones. He probably saves the tampon from the tampon scene later and pastes it in there.

“I know that lip is delicious, I can attest to that, but will you stop biting it? Your chewing it makes me want to fuck you, and you’re sore, okay?”

“Can you stop doing this thing you’re doing unconsciously that makes you solely responsible for my behavior k thnx by”

Chedward mentions something about his iPod an water not mixing, and you know, yeah, it dates the book to have the iPod mentioned in there, but I’ve never understood that whole, “Don’t date your book by putting brand names, etc. in it.” In ten years, any mention of anything is going to be dated, because things move that fast, technologically. And in a hundred years, is it really going to matter? Do we look at Jane Austen’s books and go, “Gosh, Jane, you really dated your work with all this carriage talk”?

Immediately she hangs her head when I step back to admire her.

“Hey.” My voice is gentle and encourages her to peek up at me. “Anastasia, you’re a very beautiful woman, the whole package. Don’t hang your head like you’re ashamed. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a real joy to stand here and look at you.”

Okay, but read that last part again, but imagine this prickhole saying it:

A picture of Donald Trump making a dumb face, with one finger in the air. But not the finger you'd like to stick up at Donald Trump's dumb face.

You can hear it, can’t you? Oh, you can’t? Just switch out “Anastasia” for “my daughter, Ivanka.”

She sits down with indecent haste and winces as her sore body hits the water.

Indecent haste? Every time I think we’ve hit the pinnacle of clumsy, weird wording, we’re forced higher yet up the summit of Mt. Word Garbage. Also, did Ana have sex, or a baby? I get that because Fifty Shades Of Grey is a rip-off of Twilight, Ana must be injured by sex in some way (as Bella was in Breaking Dawn). But how dry and unaroused was she that he tore her whole downstairs deal up that badly?

I could get into this whole thing about why women so enjoy reading depictions of first time sex as inevitably painful to the point of total genital obliteration, but I don’t have that kind of time. I don’t mind reading a depiction of first time sex in which the heroine experiences some level of discomfort. I think many people with vaginas have had at least some feeling of unpleasantness during first time intercourse, ranging from “Holy shit, ow!” to “This doesn’t hurt, but it feels fucking disgusting.” It’s not even a big deal for a heroine to be sore. But the whole, “It’s so super painful, his powerful cock just tore my entire business to pieces,” thing being not just common in a defloration scene, but expected by readers perplexes me.

She asks Edward to join her (oh my god, I legitimately forgot it was Christian, not Edward, for a minute), and he gets in the tub and starts washing her and grinding on her, etc.

I wash her arms and her underarms, then reach my first goal: her breasts.

He gets out of the bath and runs to the other room to check “breasts” off on his to-do list for the week (not really), and we get to hear more about Ana’s spectacular body, which continues to annoy me not because Christian finds Ana attractive, but because Ana doesn’t believe she is attractive, and this book takes the “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” trope to such an irritating summit that I doubt even the most seasoned sherpa could reach. We get it. Ana lights up your world like nobody else. The way that she flips her hair gets you overwhelmed. And as she smiles at the ground it’s not hard to tell she don’t know, oh oh, she don’t know she’s beautiful.

And yes, I like One Direction, but that song is as disgusting and horrifying as a trash barge capsizing and somehow Grey is even worse.

I still sing along with that fucking song when it comes on, though.

She’s aroused. My body responds in kind, growing beneath her.

He’s secretly one of those little capsules you dissolve in water and it becomes a foam dinosaur or something.

Christian sexily washes Ana’s undercarriage with a washcloth all lathered up with body wash.

She starts to pant and her hips move in synchronization with my hand.

She’s trying to get away from your hand, because you’re scrubbing soap directly into her urethra.

“Feel it baby.” I run my teeth along her earlobe. “Feel it for me.”

If you want to feel it, just squish your pee hole open and rub it hard with some soapy terrycloth.

So, he gets Ana really close to orgasm and stops, and he’s all, I have other plans for you, and then he tells her to wash him. In the process, Ana makes a new acquaintance and learns an important lesson about being a good friend.

Lifting my hips, I grab my cock. “I want you to become well-acquainted, on first-name terms, if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I’m very attached to this.”

When I first recapped these books, we had a contest to name Chedward’s penis. The winning entry was “Buster Hymen.”  But all I can think about now is the fact that on Sex And The City, Charlotte’s weirdo Dune husband called his penis his “John Thomas” and spoke about it as though it were another person.

Her mouth drops open as she looks from my penis to my face…and back again. I can’t help my wicked grin. Her face is a picture of maidenly outrage.

Why would she be outraged?

But as she stares, her expression changes. First thoughtful, then assessing, and when her eyes meet mine, the challenge in them is clear.

I think James is trying to convey that Ana is surprised by how impressive Buster Hymen is, but that she becomes comically determined. But she chose the most sinister possible way of wording it.

Christian teaches Ana how to jack him off with body wash lube.

What is it about her inexperience that is so arousing? Is it that I’m enjoying all her firsts?

This is what I have been asking, Chedward. I bet you post “FIRST!!!!” in the comments sections of articles about horrific tragedies whenever you get the chance.

Suddenly she draws me into her mouth, sucking hard, her tongue torturing me.

I know she’s inexperienced and maidenly and virtuous and all that, but it seems like she would know enough, from common sense alone, to wash the soap off his cock before a blow job.

So, of course Ana is a natural at giving head. She has no gag reflex her first time out of the gate, she instinctively knows to cover her teeth, she’s a pro.

Except the way it’s described, he basically just uses her mouth like a vagina, then she bites him:

I thrust into her again and again, watching my cock disappear and reappear from her mouth. It’s beyond erotic. I’m so close. Suddenly she bares her teeth, gently squeezing me, and I’m undone, ejaculating into the back of her throat, crying out my pleasure.

This is yet another area of the book where the sex is so bland that it destroys the image of Christian Grey, sexual adventurer and connoisseur of all things naughty. Blow jobs require more than just an open mouth. You need tongue action. Ball fondling. Use of hands in conjunction with licking and sucking. But this insert-tab-a-into-slot-b beej is mind blowing to Christian Grey. He makes a huge deal about how great it was, then thinks:

Wait, that was so good, perhaps she has some experience after all. “Have you done that before?” I ask, and I’m not sure I want to know.

“No,” she says with obvious pride.

“Good.” I hope my relief is not too obvious. “Yet another first, Miss Steele. Well, you get an A in oral skills. Come, let’s go to bed, I owe you an orgasm.”

Christian can’t even recognized a polished, practiced oral technique, but I’m supposed to believe he’s a sexual dynamo?

They get out of the bath tub.

I hold her against me, kissing her, really kissing her.

Sorry, they got out of the bath tub, really got out of the bath tub.

Staring down into bemused eyes, I implore her. “Say yes.”

“To what?” she whispers.

“Yes to our arrangement. To being mine. Please, Ana.” And it’s the closest I’ve come to begging in a long time. I kiss her again, pouring my fervor into my kiss. When I take her hand, she looks dazed.

Dazzle her further, Grey.

Edward Cullen, with animated sparkles super imposed over the entire photo and "Do I dazzle you?" printed at the bottom in an ugly font and color.

He uses his tie to bind her wrists.

Gently I tug both her braids. “you look so young with these.” But they’re not going to stop me.

Me, miming barfing into a wastebasket I've sloppily written "Official 50 Shades Puke Bucket" on in black Sharpie.

He tells her not to touch him, and she’s like, I won’t, but then of course she does try to touch him, and she also moves which is also not allowed, and he kisses her all over, erotic, erotic, erotic, intercourse, orgasms, etc. I’m not going to read the whole sex scene. It’s going to be the same one, over and over, for the entire book, and probably the next two books she rewrites as she waits for Stephenie Meyer to write something else she can rip off.

Oh, except for two things:

Once she’s prostrate, I lie down beside her, grab her fists, and raise them above her head.

Ana’s hands are tied in front of her. If her wrists are tied behind her back and he raised them above her head, he would probably break her shoulders, possibly her clavicles. Best case scenario, he blows every tendon her arms. So, Ana can’t be lying prostrate. Certainly that’s a one-time mistake, right?

Yet despite their missionary position sex:

Ana is still prostrate on the bed.

And there’s no mention of flipping her over or anything.

An animated .gif of Oprah asking, "So what is the truth?"

They hear that Christian’s mom has come over unexpectedly, and he tells Ana to get dressed:

“Come on, we need to get dressed–that’s if you want to meet my mother.” I smile at Ana as I pull on my jeans. She looks adorable.

“Christian–I can’t move,” she protests, but she’s grinning, too.

Never a mixed signal with this guy. I don’t want to be your boyfriend, Ana! Now come meet my mother!

Ana doesn’t want to meet his mother, though, since she doesn’t have any clean clothes and she doesn’t want to wear the we-just-banged uniform of his clothes.

“Anastasia, you could be wearing a sack and you’d look lovely. Please don’t worry. I’d like you to meet my mother. Get dressed. I’ll just go and calm her down. I’ll expect you out of that room in five minutes, otherwise I’ll come and drag you out of here myself in whatever you’re wearing. My T-shirts are in this drawer. My shirts are in the closet. Help yourself.”

Her eyes widen.

Yes. I’m serious, baby.

This is a lot like what I imagine dating a producer of Project Runway would be like. “With only the contents of this room,  you’ll put together an appropriate ‘meet the parents’ outfit. You have five minutes.”

Also, Christian is serious. If Ana isn’t dressed, he’s going to drag her out to meet his mother in whatever she has on. The threat implied here is that he’s going to drag her naked out of the room in front of his mother. What kind of fucked up mommy issues does this guy have that he’d involve his mother in his sex life?

Oh, shit. Right. My bad.

Christian goes out to see his mother talking with Taylor, and Chedward is all, “I’ll deal with her,” because romantic heroes should speak that way to their mothers who have never done anything but lavish them with gifts and praise and opportunity, but that’s neither here nor there. At least she calls him on it.

“Deal with me?” she says in rebuke. “I was shopping downtown and I thought I might pop in for coffee.” She stops. “If I’d known you weren’t alone…” She shrugs in an awkward, girlish way.

She has often stopped by for coffee and there was a woman here…she just never knew.

“What is ‘something a murderer would say’.”

Grace is surprised when Christian uses “she” pronouns to refer to Ana, because remember, everyone thinks Christian Grey is gay and it’s hilarious because obviously a glorious specimen in his virile prime like Christian Grey could never, ever, be gay in the fucked up heteronormative world of the Shadesverse. Which is the unofficial name for the series canon. I believe it’s really called Hell, because that’s where you are when you’re reading it.

So, Grace came over for coffee.

“Would you like some coffee?”

“No. Thank you, darling.”

Okay, sure. Why not.

“I’ll meet your…friend and then I’ll go. I don’t want to interrupt you. I had a feeling that you’d be slaving away in your study. You work too hard, darling. I thought I might drag you away.”

What is all this hard work he does? He does literally nothing but drive around to stalk a girl and occasionally bark orders into his phone.

Christian asks Grace why she didn’t go to church.

“Carrick had to work, so we thought we’d go to an evening Mass. I suppose it’s too much to hope that you’ll come with us.”

They’re Catholic? Did this detail ever once come up during the first series?

Of course, Christian isn’t Catholic.

I raise an eyebrow in cynical contempt. “Mother, you know that’s not for me.”

God and I turned our backs on each other a long time ago.

This sounds like something an anti-hero would say in a comic book movie, just before he started plowing through zombies with a chainsaw.

Ana comes out and meets Grace Trevelyan-Grey, who I will continue to refer to as Chevalier Grey for the rest of the book. So, Ana has done what Christian wanted, what Christian expressly asked her to do.

“What a pleasure to meet you,” Grace says with a little too much enthusiasm for my liking.

“Dr. Trevelyan-Grey,” Ana says politely.

“Call me Grace,” she says, all at once amiable and informal.

What? Already?

So, Christian has gotten what he wanted, and now he doesn’t want it anymore. At least his spoiled brat contradictions are getting more predictable.

Ana gets a phone call, and excuses herself to take it. Christian ignores his mother while she talks to him so he can focus on eavesdropping on Ana.

Who is it?

“Look, José, now’s not a good time,” I hear her say.

That fucking photographer. What does he want?

“I left a message for Elliot, then found out he was in Portland. I haven’t seen him since last week,” Grace is saying.

Ana hangs up.

Grace continues as Ana approaches us again, “…and Elliot called to say you were around. I haven’t seen you for two weeks, darling.”

“Did he now?” I remark.

What does the photographer want?

His obsession is super scary. His mother is sitting in front of him and he’s ignoring her, so consumed by the idea of another man calling Ana–a girl he’s just met, who’s slept over one night, and who he has explicitly stated he has no intention of dating–that he can’t even bother to be polite.

Grace has to leave, and as she does:

“Of course, darling.” Grace turns her bright–and if I’m not mistaken, grateful–smile on Ana.

It’s irritating.

Again, he’s gotten what he wants, and now that he’s gotten it, he’s not happy with it.

My mother’s always thought I was gay. But as she’s always respected my boundaries, she’s never asked me.

Well, now she knows.

And again with the “I assure you, Christian Grey is not gay.”

Which, you know, we don’t need that kind of proof, do we? He expresses a sexual attraction only toward women throughout all the books. His only sexual partners have been women. Why does James feel the reader needs desperately to know that he’s straight?

Oh, homophobia. That’s right. Carry on.

You know what else Grace thinks about her son? That he’s darling. You know how I know that? Because she refers to him as “darling” three times in her very short appearance. Twice in one bit of dialogue.

Once Grace leaves, it’s time to deal with Ana’s pesky outside social life.

Ana is worrying her bottom lip, radiating anxiety…as she should be.

“So the photographer called?” I sound gruff.

“Yes.”

“What did he want?”

“Just to apologize, you know–for Friday.”

“I see.” Maybe he wants another shot at her. The thought is displeasing.

I feel so repetitive pointing this stuff out, because every thought in his head is like, “Ana is an object that belongs to me. Not a person. Unless that person is a child. Now I am mad at her, now she is perfect and her body is perfect, but also she’s like a child,” on a constant, gross loop.

So, Taylor comes in and tells Christian that the Darfur shipment has hit a snag. And finally we get to see Christian Grey’s job in action.

“Ros, what’s the issue?”

“Christian, hi. The report back from Darfur is not good. They can’t guarantee the safety of the shipments or road crew, and the State Department isn’t willing to sanction the relief without the NGO’s backing.”

Two things: While I know that “sanction” here is being used to mean that they condone the relief, when used in this context it’s very easy for a reader to believe that they want the State Department to impose a sanction on the relief effort. This is just a case where someone should have noticed the word choice and gone, “Wait, this can be taken a different way in this context,” but for whatever reason it slipped through the cracks. I’m only really pointing it out here to a) be pedantic and hypocritical, like I don’t make those types of mistakes all the time, and b) because it’s a really good example of why careful word choice is essential in some situations.

The other thing is, “without the NGO’s backing.” Okay. That sounds very business-ish and important, but which NGO? That acronym stands for Non-Governmental Organization. This is another word choice issue. Even though Chedward and Ros presumably know which NGO they’re both talking about, using the acronym as though it was the name of an actual organization looks like a mistake.

Fuck this.

“I’m not having either crew put at risk.” Ros knows this.

“We could try and pull in mercenaries,” she says.

“No, cancel–”

“But the cost,” she protests.

“We’ll air-drop instead.”

Okay, so…does Christian Grey run an NGO? The reason I ask is, he’s sending a relief shipment directly into a war zone, with what sounds like multiple teams of peace keepers that he directly employs. They know there’s an option to hire a company like Blackwater, and they’re going to stage an air-drop without support from an NGO and without permission from the United States.

Am I the only one who’s thinking, “Yeah, uh, for-profit corporations don’t really handle those types of projects”? It would make sense for Christian’s company to help fund a special interest NGO, give them products and stuff that would help relief efforts. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for one man to undertake a relief effort entirely on his own.

More support from the State Department would be helpful. I resolve to call Blandino to discuss this further.

My attention reverts to Miss Steele, who’s standing in my living room, regarding me warily. I need to get us back on track.

This super important business call has just happened about this super important thing, and Chedward is like, “hold on, I have to tend to my sexual garden.”

Yes. The contract. That’s the next step in our negotiation.

In my study, I gather the papers that are on my desk and stuff them into a manila envelope.

Ana’s not moved from where I left her in the living room. Perhaps she’s been thinking about the photographer…my mood takes a nosedive.

I’m just imagining Ana standing frozen in the middle of the room, unable to move and think at the same time.

Chedward gives Ana the contract and tells her to research BDSM on the internet. Which she can’t do, because:

“I don’t have a computer. I usually use the computers at school. I’ll see if I can use Kate’s laptop.”

No computer? How can a student not have a computer? Is she that broke? I hand her the envelope. “I’m sure I can, um–lend you one. Get your things, we’ll drive back to Portland and grab some lunch on the way. I need to dress.”

Christian echoes what we all thought when we read Fifty Shades of Grey. But again, here goes Christian, in the middle of a giant business crisis, stopping everything he’s doing to drive Ana back to Portland and have lunch with her on the way. He has a driver, and he could easily send her back home with said driver and handle this huge problem. But nope, Mr. Busy McBusiness Man has time to spare.

Sorry, starving people in war-torn Darfur. Chedward is horny. You’ll just have to wait.

“I’ll just make a call,” she says, her voice soft and hesitant.

“The photographer?” I snap. She looks guilty.

What the hell? I don’t like to share, Miss Steele. Remember that.” I storm out of the room before I say anything else.

Is she hung up on him?

Was she just using me to break her in?

Yes, Christian. Anastasia Steele has a thing for José, who clearly has a thing for her, and rather than hooking up with him, she decided that nay nay, she must first have sex with someone else, lest her virginity be lost to someone she cares about.

That all makes perfect sense.

I stuff the tie and two others into a messenger bag along with socks, underwear, and condoms.

What am I doing?

Deep down I know I’m going to stay at The Heathman all next week…to be near her.

Now Mr. Busy Businessman is going to leave the city where his company is headquartered so that he can spend all week in a different city just so he can have the peace of mind that he’s geographically closer to her.

The next section bogs us down with boring details about Elliot bringing back the SUV and how Taylor needs to call Audi because Christian will need the A3 sooner than he thought. Yet another example of how James tries to make Christian seem wealthy and important with the addition of these details about what the reader is meant to assume are expensive and exotic cars. The Audi A3 is a four-door hatchback that retail in the $30,000 neighborhood. I blame this mistake on the fact that Christian also drives an Audi R8, a supercar that costs almost $200,000 dollars. Maybe James assumed that the entire line was so decadently priced.

Christian also calls Barney:

“I’m working on the tablet design. The solar-cell issue is bugging me.”

Wait, isn’t this the same Barney who can get background checks on people? I spent the entire first trilogy assuming Barney was a private investigator. Now he works in tech at Grey Enterprises Holdings Incorporated NGO CPA Realty?

Chedward asks Barney if he has any laptops just sitting around, and he’s like, yeah, we just got two from Apple, so Christian asks him to set up an email for Ana. And Barney asks how she spells her name. And Christian spells it for her. And Barney tells Christian he’ll contact Andrea to set up a delivery. And Christian texts Andrea with the info to make the delivery. And we have to experience every torturous second of it.

Ana fidgets beside me as we wait for the elevator, her teeth on her plump lower lip.

It reminds me of her teeth on my cock.

“What is it, Anastasia?” I ask, as I reach out and pluck her chin. “Stop biting your lip, or I will fuck you in the elevator, and I don’t care who gets in with us,” I growl.

Yes you do. If you didn’t care who knows you’re into kinky shit, you wouldn’t have asked Ana to sign an NDA. And while we all know you go super hard in your darkity dark BDSM, public sex is still pretty fucking kinky.

“I need to talk to Kate. I’ve so many questions about sex, and you’re too involved. If you want me to do all these things, how do I know–” She stops, as if weighing her words. “I just don’t have any terms of reference.”

Not this again. We’ve been over this. I don’t want her talking to anyone. She’s signed an NDA.

See. You do care if people know about your sexual relationship with Ana. But Christian graciously consents to Ana talking about sex with Kate as long as it’s only stuff he and Ana have already done. Which is totally not what Ana just asked for. She wants advice specifically about “all these things” he wants to do to her.

“The sooner I have your submission the better, and we can stop all this.”

“Stop all what?”

“you, defying me.”

She’s defying him by wanting to share personal details of her life with someone she trusts and who can advise her about sexual experiences she hasn’t had yet. And Christian doesn’t want that. No abuser wants that, because they know that if their behavior is exposed to someone they can’t manipulate, there is a risk that the abuse might also be exposed to their victim. And this isn’t accidental, or something they do without thinking. Christian even has the explicit thought that Kate would “have his balls” if she found out his “real intentions.” He knows that Kate will stand between him and his goal of total physical, mental, and emotional control of Ana.

So far, this weekend has been unexpected. But what did I expect? I thought we’d have dinner, discuss the contract, and then what…? Perhaps fucking her was inevitable.

…Yes? Because the whole point of getting her to sign the contract was to make her a sex partner? I don’t…I just…

Christian thinks about how hot the blowey was, and how much he wants to fuck her again. But first they need to get lunch.

“Hungry?”

“Not particularly,” she responds, subdued.

This is getting old.

No shit. It got old three books ago. At least she didn’t say, “Not for food.” I’ve already got the cyanide capsule tucked into my cheek for when that happens.

Tune in next time when we’re still on the same goddamn chapter.

101 Comments

  1. Anna
    Anna

    I bet chedward is an arms dealer and all this charity talk is a front. Why else would he need mercenaries to air drop supplies into a war zone or whatever it is he was talking about.

    Also, i really dont think the state department gives a fuck what NGOs think or what projects they’re backing as long as its not, you know, arms dealing or human trafficking.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Jo
      Jo

      I agree with thus headcanon. Chedward uses his front as a charitable wealthy businessman to hide all sorts of dirty, illegal business practices and eventually Kate will blow the lid on all of them and use them as leverage to get him to divorce Ana and give her full custody of their kids. And then Ana, her internalized homophobia and repressed bisexuality fixed, will convince Kate to leave Elliot and they’ll leave happily ever after and have tons of lesbian sex.

      That’s the way I choose to think the story ends.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • SamBeringer
        SamBeringer

        Better; Ana enters a polyamorous relationship with Kate and Elliot.

        April 13, 2016
        |Reply
      • M-A
        M-A

        Bu-but, that would make the story actually slightly interesting!!

        April 14, 2016
        |Reply
    • grr! arrgh!
      grr! arrgh!

      OMG this bugged the crap out of me because there is SO MUCH WRONG in such a small section of dialogue! NGOs in this context are usually relief organizations like the Red Cross or Medecins sans Frontieres. State does not give two cold shits whether some NGO “backs” their plan or not. They may work cooperatively with them if it suits their interests but they are running the show. They’re the US Government. James got this completely backwards.

      Not that State would even be the department to appeal to here. The State Department is mainly concerned with advancing US interests and helping/protecting US nationals in foreign countries through diplomatic means. Peace keeping is way, way outside their purview. If Chedward wants to coordinate relief efforts in an active conflict zone, he maybe could talk to the US military, but really, he needs to be talking to the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) who have over 15,000 peace keepers on the ground. They are the ones who are going to be protecting your supply lines.

      Finally, you don’t just say “we’ll air lift instead” and have that solve your problem of getting supplies into an active conflict zone. You’d still need to coordinate with UNAMID because that is sure as hell restricted air space and flying into it without their express blessing is a good way to get shot down. And even if they do sign off, it’s not exactly safe. It may be safer, but if you’re flying low enough to do a relief drop, you’re probably low enough to get shot down by an RPG mounted to the back of a Toyota Hilux. I know it’s “primitive Africa” James but the factions are well-armed and have shot down planes before.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • Amatyultare
        Amatyultare

        This comment makes me so, so happy.

        April 14, 2016
        |Reply
      • mydogspa
        mydogspa

        Ah, this is the equivalent of the “Stupid-Radio-Station-in-Apolonia-where-our-untrained-heroes-convert-an-abandoned-AM-Radio-station-to-transmit-faster-than-speed-of-light-microwave-signal-across-the-solar-system-so-Appy’s-Daddy-can-Deus-Ex-Machina-the-end-of-the-book.”

        Hats off to you, you did a better job than I could have.

        April 15, 2016
        |Reply
  2. Belle de Jour
    Belle de Jour

    FIRST!!!!!

    C. Grey
    Grey Holdings Enterprises NGO CPA Realty

    Wait, what? (Looks above this comment) FUCK! My cock is enraged.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • SamBeringer
      SamBeringer

      You, sir/madam/whatever you may prefer, have made my day.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
    • Megan M.
      Megan M.

      This comment is going to crack me up all day! 🙂

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
  3. Carolina West
    Carolina West

    I want that zombie scene to happen in this book, except with Ana and all the other shitty characters in this series being cut to ribbons. That is what all these terrible caricatures of people deserve.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  4. CIB
    CIB

    This sounds so, so much worse inside this dude’s head.

    Am I the only one that reads the sex scenes as going by pretty fast, like Chedward is in fact kind of a one-minute-wonder? Or is it that the scenes are so repetitive that they read fast and make it seem like these Kinky Erotic Couplings are shorter than an average pop song? If this supposed sexual dynamo with years of experience blows his load from what sounds like a middling-to-poor beej/facefuck, maybe he’s got a low orgasmic threshold. Kind of detracts from his “amazing sex god” image…

    Also, I heard another term for male shirt-and-no-pants a while back: shirtcocking. Donald Ducking is pretty comical, too, though.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Mr. Bells totally walks around all Donald-Ducky at bedtime and it is really not the most attractive thing. Lucky for him I love him.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
  5. SamBeringer
    SamBeringer

    I assume that ELJ is actually working on a gender-swapped version of 50Shades to silence all the haters who say that it’s sexist. Because that worked so well for Meyer and Twilight.

    “Christian sexily washes Ana’s undercarriage with a washcloth all lathered up with body wash.”

    I actually crossed my legs and whimpered “nope nope nope nope” at that line.

    Also, JEALOUSY: a sure sign of true love and trust and not at all a serious issue in a relationship.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      First time my dude came at me with a washcloth (“down there” in FSoG speak) I was all ‘NOPE, and here’s why…’

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
    • Thea
      Thea

      I’m so disappointed. I thought you were saying there would be another book,
      “Fifty Shades to Silence”
      Silence would sound so much better than all this nonsense.

      April 19, 2016
      |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Oh god.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
  6. anon
    anon

    All the “I am STRAIGHT, dammit!!” is making me want Taylor/Christian where Taylor proves him very wrong (and preferably proves Christian’s a switch by going some degree of Dom on him, because he’s canonically subbed for Elena.)

    It would have to be either pure PWP or really AU (Christian gets a redemption arc-type bullshit), though, because I cannot wish canon Christian Grey on *anyone* (let alone my favorite character in these crappy books.)

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  7. Hiela
    Hiela

    In my imagination, Hugh Dancy is just pumped that he gets to BE the shitty psychiatrist this time. “I’ll show you creepy, Mads Mikkelsen!”

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Anna
      Anna

      Ha! wouldn’t it be great if he takes a leaf out of Mads book at plays Chedward’s psychiatrist like Hannibal Lecter?

      On second thought, that would be great because then Ched would just get murdered and served for dinner.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • SamBeringer
        SamBeringer

        Well, Grey is a rude little shit. And we all know how Hannibal feels about rudeness…

        April 13, 2016
        |Reply
      • Hiela
        Hiela

        That would be amazing. Now I want to see Hannibal talk Ana into doing it. “How would killing Chedward make you feel?” “Jeez!” Metronome. Antlers. Slow-mo drops of blood.

        April 14, 2016
        |Reply
        • JennyTrout
          JennyTrout

          *sound of someone pushing an old steel refrigerator full of scrap metal down a flight of stairs to serve as the soundtrack*

          April 14, 2016
          |Reply
        • Mel
          Mel

          GOLD

          April 15, 2016
          |Reply
      • RELEVANT TO THIS THREAD is a Tumblr post:
        “50 shades of grey au where John Flynn is Will’s new identity post s3, Hannibal and Will switched careers on a double dog dare (you can’t refuse a double dog dare man) and now Will is a therapist and Hannibal is a scruffy teacher. they end up eating christian grey after he interrupts their office sex quickie ”
        And then someone wrote the scene.

        April 17, 2016
        |Reply
      • Hollykim
        Hollykim

        It’d be more satisfying for him to manipulate Chedward into Mason Vergering his own face….

        August 11, 2016
        |Reply
  8. Does anyone else see Kate telling this story from the outside on some show about stalkers? “I never thought giving her that interview would have lead to all of this.”

    Also, I hadn’t remembered his mother having the maiden name Trevelyan. I’m not letting ELJ ruin my Dragon Age character for me, dammit.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Anna
      Anna

      Cracking up at the Dragon Age reference. I totally named my character Elena Trevelyan…and then I realized how that sounds to anyone remotely aware of 50 Shades. Womp womp. Still not changing it though.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • My Trevelyan is Aliénor, so it’s far enough away but I still yelled “OH NO” when I read the recap today. And she’s romancing Cullen too.

        April 13, 2016
        |Reply
    • Sheila
      Sheila

      I don’t even play Dragon Age and I’ve been waiting for like two years to run into other people who got the reference. Like, why has no one mentioned that?

      April 14, 2016
      |Reply
      • I only just started playing it late last year and it honestly slipped my mind until now. Though my brain could just be trying to prevent any 50sog trivia from sticking out of self defense.

        April 15, 2016
        |Reply
    • Milady
      Milady

      When I started playing Dragon Age I nearly named one of my characters Edward, then I had a Twilight flashback, said “NOPE” named him Christian and romanced Merrill.

      And then Fifty Shades happened.

      June 21, 2016
      |Reply
  9. Do you think that since SMeyer produced Austenland if ELJ would try to do the same? But hers would be about a woman obsessed with Thomas Hardy books who goes to Hardyland.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  10. “You have nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a real joy to stand here and look at you.”

    WHO TALKS LIKE THAT????

    “But all I can think about now is the fact that on Sex And The City, Charlotte’s weirdo Dune husband called his penis his “John Thomas” and spoke about it as though it were another person.”

    You’ve read Lady Chatterly, haven’t you? That’s straight out of that book.

    “‘Yet another first, Miss Steele. Well, you get an A in oral skills. Come, let’s go to bed, I owe you an orgasm.'”

    WHO TALKS LIKE THAT???

    “I need to dress.”

    WHO TALKS LIKE THAT???

    “It reminds me of her teeth on my cock.”

    She’s a dickface …

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  11. Melodie
    Melodie

    I have a theory about the “everyone thinks I’m gay but I’m totally not” theme in this book, other than the homophobia. I think ELJ is trying to play up his hotness by using the old “all the good looking guys are gay” trope. He’s super super hot so everyone assumes he’s gay but he’s totally not but he has to keep proving that he’s not because he’s just too damn hot. It’s stupid but I wouldn’t put it past her. I really think this was what was in her head when she kept bringing it up, Ana wins at being a woman because she bagged the one super hot gay guy that ended up not being gay.

    It’s a weird fantasy but I could see some women having it.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Ag
      Ag

      Actually, the whole “everyone thinks I’m gay” is really easy to explain. Grey is hot and rich, but he doesn’t have a wife or a girlfriend, neither he is like Tony Stark showing up with a different girl every time. He just seem not interested in women but guy like THIS can’t just not have sex. His handsome. His rich. There is no way that he’s just to busy to be in the relationship or that he’s private and don’t want paparazzi to hunt his SO or that his asexual or whatever. A guy like THIS has to have a lot of sex. The only explanation is being gay, otherwise he would show up with some girls and everyone would know who he is slepping with. Because in Greyland being gay is something to be ashamed for, he wouldn’t speak about it and noone would ask, they just assume his dirty secret.

      I see it as a form of manhood shaming. Like all those “you don’t have a girlfriend for so long? You’re not getting laid? What are you, gay?”. Obviously, this is disgusting.

      Sorry for any mistakes, english is not my first language.

      April 15, 2016
      |Reply
  12. zeee
    zeee

    skipping down to comment this before i forget: “..and Donald Ducks it through a lot of the sex scenes” made me imagine him literally turning into donald duck to have sex, and i laughed so fucking hard.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  13. Jon
    Jon

    Ana/Kate and Christian/Taylor. I recall both those pairings in the Cosmo hate fic list from last year. As far as I know no one wrote a zombie fic – that would be interesting… 😉

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Mandi Rei Serra
      Mandi Rei Serra

      I wrote a spite fic a few years back where Grey was a scientist, working on bioweapons. Made a virus/bacteria hybrid that made people get zombified. If the zombie bit another infected person, it’d start a chain reaction where their anatomy became in essence, a dirty bomb.

      Christian planned to nuke the world ala God and use Ana as his new Eve.

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
  14. Kylie
    Kylie

    I would just like to say all of the pictures this recap cracked me up so much. I am sure the bucket will make a return but man that one just slayed me.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  15. AltoFronto
    AltoFronto

    I am totally taking it as headcannon that Grey’s company is an arms dealership. It would also explain his billionnaire playboy lifestyle without any apparent scrutiny into his salary ratio.

    Why does Barney need to ask how to spell Ana’s name? Didn’t he run a full background check on her once already? Unless he has to run a lot of invasive intel on lots of different women every day, I’d have thought he’d remember it after seeing it written a few times. It’s not even a difficult name to spell. She’s not a Siobhan – “Anastasia” is practically phonetic.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  16. Razwick
    Razwick

    Wait, his mother makes a comment about him having a woman over, and then is surprised that his guest is a woman and not a man?

    And I guess it’s not impossible to believe but I just find that it stretches the imagination that at 28 years old and having not had any serious relationships as far as he knew, that his mother would never have asked him about it. Like yeah yeah, respecting boundaries but I don’t think it’s unusual or disrespectful to want to know what’s going on in their kid’s lives.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  17. “He’s secretly one of those little capsules you dissolve in water and it becomes a foam dinosaur or something.” – BEST. That would be so much more entertaining, really.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  18. Maril
    Maril

    The guy I have been nursing a crush on is a really awesome, respectful, considerate guy who has not only never done or said anything to me to suggest he would ever be any other way, but has multiple times proven himself to be even more worried about my comfort level than I am, picking up on any resistance or discomfort I’m showing and changing the subject/making sure I’m okay. It’s made me feel very comfortable around him and trusting of him. But, he wants me to watch the 50 Shades of Grey movie. And not in an ‘it’s so bad it’s funny’ sense. He has brought it up more than once and seems to REALLY want me to watch it. Reading these recaps is not helping me view that as any less worrying for what a relationship with him might look like XD

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Renee
      Renee

      I wouldn’t even be so much concerned that he might treat you badly as I would be that he might be really dumb and boring and how many good years can you have with someone like that?

      April 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        Oh no, I’ve known him for a few months now and spent a couple whole days alone with him. I know he’s neither boring, nor stupid. Weird, but not boring XD Normally has better taste in movies too…

        He likes to be in control, has serious insecurities that he’s not as good at hiding as he thinks he is, and plans to start his own company in a couple of years, so I think he sees a bit of himself in Christian. And unfortunately I’ve given him reason to see a little of Ana in me 😛 I’m fairly new to his country so a lot of the time I’m kind of lost and mildly uncomfortable (I’m Canadian living in Britain, and I am absolutely shocked at how many words and phrases he uses that I have no idea wtf he’s saying… though that does work the other way around too. And it’s kind of hilarious listening to him try and mimic my accent when he’s asking what the hell I’m talking about XD), I’m shy, kind of naive at times, and I have a health thing that makes me not feel hunger (not as great as it sounds. I have forgotten to eat till I gave myself an ulcer more than once) so ‘have you eaten?’ is something that gets asked a lot.

        April 13, 2016
        |Reply
        • L
          L

          It could also be that he’s trying to figure out your sexual preferences/limits.

          April 14, 2016
          |Reply
        • Zweisatz
          Zweisatz

          Honestly, that description of him makes me worry a little. You know what’s best for you and all, but identifying willingly with Christian Grey is … not a great sign.

          April 16, 2016
          |Reply
    • Anna
      Anna

      Maybe he’s heard from female relatives / friends that is sexy and he thinks it would be a good date movie?

      April 14, 2016
      |Reply
    • Neurite
      Neurite

      It’s possible that he is simply interested in BDSM and trying for a conversation starter to see if you’d be into it, too – as in, just good old-fashioned wholesome BDSM, not the messed-up version with the possessiveness and the abuse and the rapeyness portrayed in 50SoG.

      If he’s interested in BDSM but not all that experienced himself, or at least not in touch with any sort of kinkster community, then 50SoG may be the only cultural reference to the topic he’s familiar with. Plus the movie is recent enough and was a big enough mainstream commercial success that he may feel that it makes for a more natural, less blatant work to bring up with you (rather than, say, asking you to see “Secretary” or read “Exit to Eden” or some such, which would be enough of a reach that it’d be kinda obvious what he’s going for… he might think that 50SoG gives him more plausible deniability in case you’re not into it, like “oh, I just heard it was super popular with women and they found it really sexy”.)

      So he may just be into BDSM (not a bad thing, at least if that’s something that you’re also interested in) rather than wanting a relationship like in the books (definitely a bad thing).

      Though him thinking that 50SoG is a good way to bring up the topic might indicate that he’s a bit inexperienced/clueless about BDSM (’cause you’d have to be in order not to realize how wrong the book gets it), and would benefit from some gentle cluebatting so he doesn’t think emulating the books is the way to go.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        (Re-reading the archives for some laughs, thought I’d update since I was on this post anyway)
        It turned out to be just that. He’s into being in control in the bedroom and a few aspects of BDSM (not hardcore though) and that’s the most culturally acceptable way to bring it up 😛 Though I would not at all compare anything he does to Christian unless it’s to point out the differences between Christian and someone who actually gives a shit about the comfort, safety, and happiness of their partner.

        June 3, 2016
        |Reply
  19. Brian
    Brian

    “So far, this weekend has been unexpected. But what did I expect?”

    Obviously not THE WEEKEND! NOBODY EXPECTS THE WEEKEND!

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
  20. Is . . . is it symbolism that his name is Christian but he’s rejected God?

    I just . . . I don’t know. I’m trying and I don’t know why.

    April 13, 2016
    |Reply
    • Quelaag
      Quelaag

      He’s probably just jealous of God’s stalking capabilities since God gets to watch Ana more than Grey can and doesn’t need to order background checks to do it…

      April 14, 2016
      |Reply
      • Aletheia
        Aletheia

        This is also why Chedward isn’t allowed in any malls around Christmastime… 😛

        April 18, 2016
        |Reply
        • the-great-dragon
          the-great-dragon

          Christian, hauled away by mall cops for punching a mall santa, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, Ana. WHEN YOU’RE SLEEPING!!! Only I’m allowed to do that!!!”

          April 19, 2016
          |Reply
          • Lan
            Lan

            Oh that is funny, and I can totally see it

            April 20, 2016
  21. “He’s secretly one of those little capsules you dissolve in water and it becomes a foam dinosaur or something.”

    HEY do not sully the name of those foam capsule dinosaur things by even remotely tying them to Chedward Grellen, those things were my JAM BACK IN THE DAY AND CAN’T I HAVE JUST ONE THING, HERE?

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
  22. Ashley
    Ashley

    First off, I have to share that I knew Tyler Hoechlin when we were kids, though not well. My mom worked for his father, who is a doctor (and an Amway salesman).

    Second, the whole “wearing a t-shirt with nothing else” on a guy is called Shirt Cocking in the Burning Man community. There is a group of us called “Shirt Cockers against Shirt Cocking” 😀

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
  23. Megan
    Megan

    That 1D song is easier to listen to if you imagine it’s the self-affirmation they sing to themselves in the mirror before they go on stage.

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Awww, that just makes me kind of sad, that they would need that kind of psych up.

      April 14, 2016
      |Reply
  24. Laina
    Laina

    Oh, Hoechlin. Why do you do these things to me??? (Not that I know him, since apparently that’s a THING in these parts now, I’m just a fan, and this joke is a lot less funny now :P)

    WHAT IS WITH ALL THE SOAP????? That is just. I’m not okay with this. I’m not okay with any of this.

    The sex scenes in this book are just so uncomfortable. This is not good sex. Why do people say this is good sex????

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
  25. fluff
    fluff

    I just… Like I don’t get it… ELJ has a “down there” so wtf is up with the lathered soapy washcloth??! Is this something she’s been fantasizing about and didn’t realize she could just try it on her own? Is this part of her bathing routine (hey I guess everyone’s down there is different), b ut thinking about Chedward controlling it makes it sexy? I’m just confused. Who first gave this the stamp of good sex, and who the fuck agreed???

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
    • Zweisatz
      Zweisatz

      IT’S JUST SO UNHEALTHY FOR YOUR VULVA. I am recoiling. Do not put soap on your private parts, seriously. (Not meaning you you, but general you :D)

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
    • Casey
      Casey

      Not even the first book I’ve seen with it though. Definitely skimmed through a romance novel as a wee lass and there was a guy going to town on his lady with a bar of soap. I thought it was hot, because I was young and stupid, but now just the idea makes me cringe.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
      • GS
        GS

        You’re giving me new appreciation for the sex ed book I got back in the day. When I first read stuff like that in a fanfiction (because as every teenager in probably every generation ever, I blithely ignored ratings in favor of my own, mature judgment), I knew it was bullshit because they’d put it in the “Don’t do this EVER!”-category!

        April 17, 2016
        |Reply
    • Cara
      Cara

      Are Americans putting acid in their soap or something? I don’t get what the problem is here. I mean I’m not advocating it but if you get soap or lather up in your lady parts it doesn’t feel much different from just water…?

      April 18, 2016
      |Reply
      • Zweisatz
        Zweisatz

        It’s really not healthy to put anything but water on your vulva. At maximum some special soap with the right ph value if you have issues that make it helpful. The vulva is self-cleaning. Using anything soapy can do longterm damage which in turn leads to yeast infection and worse.

        April 22, 2016
        |Reply
  26. Tanya
    Tanya

    ” I’ve already got the cyanide capsule tucked into my cheek for when that happens.” HAHAHAHAHAHA I could not stop laughing for about 10 minutes when I read this. I love you Jenny and your recaps! They are the only way that I get through this series.

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
  27. Katsuro Ricksand
    Katsuro Ricksand

    I agree completely about the NGO. It’s weird that they wouldn’t just use the name, like “…without the sanction of the Red Cross.”

    That mistake is something I’ve seen in manga and Japanese novels a lot. In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, somebody says “Did you watch that TV show last night? The one that starts at nine.” As if there’s only one TV show in all of Japan that starts at nine.

    And in Clear Skies, an auhtor talks about his novel with a reader, and they only refer to the protagonist as “the main character.” Sure, it’s convenient for those of us reading Clear Skies, but it’s not how people talk.

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
    • Ida
      Ida

      (In a Japanese context they aren’t allowed to say the names of other shows in stuff. I know at least some animes that makes fun of it by refering to other animes in really wordy ways and make sure everyone knows which show they’re talking about, or at least shine a spotlight on the whole thing.

      Here, not so much.)

      In other news, Christian contiues to be super creepy. I’ve had to half-way out myself a lot to explain what’s wrong with the BDSM in the books… maybe I shout quote them stuff about soapy vaginas instead.

      April 14, 2016
      |Reply
      • Katsuro Ricksand
        Katsuro Ricksand

        Thing is, the Haruhi Suzumiya show wasn’t any specific show. They said nothing about the show at all apart from what I quoted here, so there was no reason not to just make up a fictional show name, or at least say “That new sports show” or something like that.

        And the book in Clear Skies wasn’t based on any real-life book, either. It was a book written by one of the characters in Clear Skies, so not making up a name for the main character in the book was just weird.

        April 15, 2016
        |Reply
        • Sarah
          Sarah

          It might be because in Haruhi Suzumiya there WAS only one show that came on at nine. Since the world Haruhi created/ran was pretty limited. Kyon didn’t even have a real name, and his sister was just called Kyon’s sister…

          May 26, 2016
          |Reply
  28. ella
    ella

    That Trump bit killed me because I did read it in his voice and now feel even worse about the books which I didn’t think was possible

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
  29. Amatyultare
    Amatyultare

    See, that undressing “she’s not subservient because she’s looking at me, but she’s modest!” thing kind of got me, inasmuch as it made me realize the kind of book ELJ wanted to write.

    In the hands of a better writer, I could buy Christian as a man who’d had a difficult childhood where he often felt powerless, and then was re-victimized in his teens when he was molested&raped&forced into an unhealthy version of sexual submission by an adult woman…and who, as a result, had internalized that one’s closest relationships were always going to be a power struggle. He designed his closest adult “romantic” relationships around the need to be the one with the power.

    And with that context, this scene could have worked. It could have shown his growing realization that he’s wrong about all relationships requiring a dominant and submissive partner. From that point of view, the purpose of this scene is to highlight how Ana neither wants to be in control of *him* (modesty, etc.) nor is particularly comfortable being controlled herself (she’s not looking down or playing the part of a submissive like most of his girlfriends and fuck-buddies/short-term submissives have). And yet! He’s enjoying it! His deep-seated belief is starting to change! He’s beginning to ~*~heal~*~.

    It’s just a shame that ELJ is such a bad writer and creates such such shallow and uneven characterization. This potential bit of actual potent character-building sputters and dies almost immediately.

    April 14, 2016
    |Reply
    • Tracy
      Tracy

      True, true. The whole concept of Grey sometimes *almost* makes sense, and then it’s killed off by trite, cliched, or clumsy characterization tropes.

      April 18, 2016
      |Reply
  30. Saint_Sithney
    Saint_Sithney

    Okay, real talk for a moment. I identified as asexual from age 12, and had had my first inklings of my asexuality when I was 8 – I just didn’t know what to call it. When I was 19, I began realizing that maybe I was Grey-Ace (capable of sexual attraction under certain circumstances) when I began having odd feelings about the guy I had started dating. And he had all kinds of happy feelings about how inexperienced I was. He claimed that the first handjob I ever gave was “the best orgasm of his life”. He LOVED the shy, nervous, completely inexperienced thing, and was always pushing towards me doing more and more things so he could do them to me “first”. The words “I’ve never done this before” were an aphrodisiac to him.

    He ended up raping me four times over the course of our five year relationship and cheating on me with a 17-year-old girl that he referred to as his “little sister” and “his daughter”. It’s one thing to have a slight arousal for being with a less experienced person, but my experience is that it’s quite another to have a mania or a fetish for a virginal partner. If you like your partner to be a little on the awkward, adorkable side, cool, or if you enjoy engaging in consensual Littles play. But my experience of people who REALLY like the inexperienced thing is that they are creeps and predators.

    April 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • First off – I’m so sorry that you had to go through that.

      Secondly – yes, that’s what I think of people who fetishize virginity like that (and also that young and hairless aesthetic that usually goes hand-in-hand with it). It’s unsettling.

      April 15, 2016
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    • Tracy
      Tracy

      Yes, some like inexperience, because they want to put themselves in the superior role, often because they don’t have a lot of experience themselves. It’s one of those sexual games people tend to play when they’re younger and one I do not miss at all now I’m an old fart.

      I am still not sure about asexual and almost-asexual identities though. Because this assumes that normal “sexual” people spend a large part of their time evaluating others’ sexual attractiveness, sizing them up as lovers, and trying to get them into bed, and aside from teens and college folk, who’s got the time for that?

      Does asexual mean you do not get feelings in your genitals? Or just don’t care about stereotypical “girly” romance? Sorry for sounding ignorant but I just don’t understand.

      April 18, 2016
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      • Laina
        Laina

        Does bisexual mean you get two feelings in your genitals?

        Asexuality is a sexual orientation. Generally, the defintion is “does not feel sexual attraction”, although individual people may define their sexualities differently as they desire. “Girly” romance has nothing to do with it. Many asexual people are men. Some feel romantic attraction, some don’t. Ones who don’t often identify as aromantic. Some asexual people have sex, some don’t. Asexuality is not about celibacy. Asexuality is not about behaviour.

        No, asexuality does not assume that. Asexuality is a sexual orientation. It is also normal. The word you are looking for is “allosexual”. Asexuality means you don’t feel feel sexual attraction, not that you assume anything about anyone else’s sexuality. Also, rude. We don’t do that, thanks.

        http://www.asexuality.org/home/?q=general.html is a good place to start.

        April 18, 2016
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      • Aletheia
        Aletheia

        Um. I’m going to assume that by saying you’re “still not sure about asexual and almost-sexual identities,” you mean that you aren’t quite certain what that means, instead of you not being sure they’re a thing, because the first few times I read that it came across as the latter, which is extremely rude. Sorry.

        Okay. That being said, I’m ace (or maybe a grey-ace, I don’t really know or care, and ace is easier to explain). I really, really don’t look at people and think “they’re hot,” “I’d do them,” “YOUR FACE. WHY DO YOU EXIST?!,” etc. I hate the word “hot” in that context. Just thinking like that makes my skin crawl; I don’t understand the need to evaluate other people like that (though I’m going to say, that type of evaluation happens a lot more often than you give people credit for). I don’t understand finding people sexy, or wanting to look sexy. I do find people aesthetically appealing, but I don’t need or want them as a significant other/lover/whatever, you know?

        And yes, ace people still get feelings in their genitals. Some/most don’t fantasize about specific people, or people at all, but sexual feelings are in part due to hormones and the like, which run their course every so often. How ace people handle this varies from person to person. If someone’s sex repulsed, they’ll have their own way of handling it. If they aren’t, they can either ignore it, take care of it on their own, or do whatever they’re comfortable doing. Most ace people don’t have a desire to have sex. Some aren’t against doing sexual things (they just don’t feel the need to) if they have a romantic partner who’s not ace. Some (the grey-aces) actually do want to have sex, but it’s either a rare occurrence or only with specific people.

        (And it’s important to keep in mind that, even if an ace person does have sex of their own free will and/or a sexual relationship with someone, it doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly turned sexual or weren’t really ace to begin with. Sexuality is a fluid thing, and there’s always going to be exceptions for everyone no matter their orientation.)

        As for romance… it depends on the ace person, to be honest. Asexuality just means the person doesn’t have a desire to have sex. If someone doesn’t want to have anything romantic, they would be aromantic (not aromatic, hah). Aromantic aces don’t want romantic relationships or sexual ones. [Homo-/hetero-/bi-/pan-/etc]romantic aces are into having romantic relationships, just not sexual ones. Aromantic [homo-/hetero-/bi-/pan-/etc]sexual people don’t want romantic partners, just sexual ones. And even then… I mean, like, I’m a whatever-romantic ace; I’d like to be in a relationship with someone (I have no real preference either way regarding gender, they just have to click with me and be a decent person), but I don’t want to really have sex with anyone (though I’m up for snuggling and lighter things like that). Romance in things like books, comics, etc, is fine; I ship characters with the best of them, and cute romance gives me a horrible case of the fluffies. However, I find myself skipping over the sexual content of things (and/or bitching about how unnecessary it is *cough*) because it’s not something I’m interested in.

        April 18, 2016
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        • Saint_Sithney
          Saint_Sithney

          It wasn’t that my evil ex was inexperienced himself. He just really fetishized inexperienced, probably because he could get a lot more control with an inexperienced person. A more experienced partner could probably have verbalized discomfort a lot more easily than I did… though it didn’t stop him even when I was crying and begging him to stop.

          As for my experience of asexuality, it is different for every person, so I’m just speaking for myself. I do not experience sexual attraction outside of bonding, but since I am on the lower end of being able to form that bond, I say I’m Grey-Ace more than demisexual. I’m hetero-romantic, but I can look at either men or women and evaluate them as aesthetically attractive to some degree. Kind of like one would judge art. But they don’t put the tingle in my jingle, so to say. I’ve never seen a person and gone “Wow – I wonder what it would be like to have sex with them”. If I see an aesthetically pleasing person I can go “Wow, they are super symmetrical” and never think about them again. I don’t fantasize about anything sexually and the “Fuck, Marry, Kill” game makes no sense to me.

          I have had and currently do have a sexually fulfilling relationship with an allosexual person. He has a high sex drive and a huge aesthetic appreciation of women. I have an entirely conditional sex drive. If I feel secure and safe and wanted, then I can enjoy sex, probably more than the average female-bodied person. The rest of the time, sex may as well not exist, or exists remotely as a pleasant activity. When I’m with my partner, we usually have sex, because he likes and values sex, and it is physically enjoyable for both of us. If he is not around, then having sex with him is not really what I’m thinking of doing. I’m more likely to be thinking of another pleasant activity, like visiting a petting zoo, or watching a really good movie, or talking about history with him.

          I don’t think all allosexuals are sex-obsessed, but I know sex is at least something they have a general urge towards. It’s not something that goes away when their partner goes away, which is my experience of being a Grey-Ace/demisexual. That’s the best way I can explain it.

          April 19, 2016
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  31. Anon123
    Anon123

    On “carriage talk,” you reminded me of my #1 pet peeve in reading like, virtually anything historical: I come across unfamiliar word that in context sounds like a type of carriage. I dutifully follow the footnote/endnote. I learn that indeed, it’s a type of carriage. What have I gained here by interrupting the flow of the narrative for your distracting little superscript numeral?? It’s ALWAYS a carriage! (Or sometimes a boat, but that, likewise, is easy to tell from context.) Do the footnotes really have to condescend to to me this way all the time???

    Also, you’re dating your work with all these Donald Trump images. 😛

    I think you’re misinterpreting the use of “prostrate,” though. Clearly, James is going for Wiktionary definitions number 2 and 3: “Emotionally devastated,” and “Physically incapacitated from environmental exposure or debilitating disease,” respectively. (The “environmental exposure” is to Chedward and his lethal urethra-soap-grinding fingers, of course.)

    Anyway, a hilarious recap as always, and thanks again for reading this so we don’t have to!

    April 15, 2016
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  32. bkbuglet
    bkbuglet

    awe! Don’t let Hugh Dancy be dead to you.

    Yes it sucks that he’s in this film but he’s a good guy and a really good actor who’s often overlooked so he’s gotta take the work wherever he can get it. It’s not like he’s buried under praise and Emmys like his wife. Let him do these bad movies, cash the check and hopefully give us a Hannibal impression that will bring a smile to all our faces.

    April 15, 2016
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  33. Casting Tyler Hoechlin was a pretty clever move – how many people will go to see the film just because he’s in it?

    I really, really hope this isn’t going to backfire on him.

    April 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • Mel
      Mel

      True… but I’m so turned off by the Christian Grey character that even the promise of Tyler Hoechlin won’t tempt me. Going to watch Teen Wolf now, bye.

      Kidding. Sad that he and Hugh Dancy were so lacking for decent parts that they felt they had no choice but to sign on to Fifty Shades, though.

      April 15, 2016
      |Reply
  34. Casey
    Casey

    Yeah, when it comes to porn involving controlling douchebags, I’ll take Caligula any day. (Link warning: boobs and awkward moaning set to disco music. (N)SFW depending on what kind of job you have, I guess.)

    April 16, 2016
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  35. Rhapsody
    Rhapsody

    “This is what I have been asking, Chedward. I bet you post “FIRST!!!!” in the comments sections of articles about horrific tragedies whenever you get the chance.”

    I immediately began singing the first comment song by Rhett and Link, so I’m leaving you this so that whenever Chedward harps on about firsts, this can be the soundtrack https://youtu.be/bXzUcqQM8qw

    April 18, 2016
    |Reply
  36. E
    E

    “Normally, I would expect any woman I was about to bathe with to have her eyes cast down in modesty.
    But not Ana.
    She doesn’t drop her gaze, and her eyes glow with anticipation and curiosity. But she has her arms wrapped around herself; she’s shy.
    It’s arousing.”

    Argh! Is she modest, or not? James has said nothing except to contradict herself; what a waste of words.

    What a load of patronizing, sexist bullshit. Why is she expected to be modest and shy? Why does a girl/woman have to be both pretty and insecure as if being confident would make her less attractive or a slut? I wouldn’t care if this was only one book, but this trope is SO pervasive.

    “Blow jobs require more than just an open mouth. You need tongue action. Ball fondling. Use of hands in conjunction with licking and sucking.”
    You also shouldn’t BITE DOWN, not even “gently”, not even if Cosmo recommends doing this. I don’t have a penis, but I cringed at this part.

    Has EL James ever had soap go into her eyes or mouth by accident? It tastes HORRIBLE, and it makes mucous membranes (like all the parts inside the outer labia) burn. I thought that every woman knows not to rub soap into your “down there” (a quick soap and rinse is fine, rubbing it into the urethra or deep inside the vagina is not).

    April 18, 2016
    |Reply
  37. BlackSwallowtail
    BlackSwallowtail

    “Ana is worrying her bottom lip, radiating anxiety…as she should be.”

    Why? Why should she be? The dude sexually assaulted her, you should not want her to be feeling anxious. You should be asking if she’s okay, because, y’know, sexual assault. This guy. This fucking guy.

    April 21, 2016
    |Reply
  38. Priyanjana
    Priyanjana

    Jenny, this is my first time commenting, though I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now. I’d just like to say you are absolutely brilliant, and thank you for doing this.

    May 7, 2016
    |Reply
  39. Adeline
    Adeline

    Hi Jenny,

    This may have already been mentioned, but,

    >>> I thrust into her again and again, watching my cock disappear and reappear from her mouth.
    <<<

    Reads like Ana deep throated him. Now this could be one of two things, Ana may have some horrible medical condition which renders her gag reflex non-existent. As I don't know any woman who can deep throat an average sized dude without several weeks of practice on dildos/root vegetables first. I mean, maybe she has an uncle who used to be in the circus as a sword swallower who taught her sword swallowing from a young age?

    The other scenario, which I find immensely more plausible given Ana's virginal status and lack of dildo ownership (still having a hymen), is that Chedward has a clinically diagnosable micro peen… it may also explain why Chedward enjoyed the sex so much, as Ana's hymen and nervousness likely would have pulled her vulva/snatch tighter than a sexually experienced and relaxed woman.

    Thoughts?

    June 19, 2016
    |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      Hymens… don’t… work that way.

      And there’s nothing wrong with having a small penis. Genital shaming is weird, and using a small penis as an insult is transphobic and gross. So… not sure where you’re going with that.

      June 19, 2016
      |Reply
    • Saint_Sithney
      Saint_Sithney

      I’ve never had much of a gag reflex. Doctors always commented when doing throat swabs (really prone to sore throats – maybe that’s why?). I didn’t realize it was a thing until my evil ex saw me cooling a sore throat by sticking an entire popsicle into my mouth. He was both shocked and delighted… because I was a totally inexperienced virgin who had never had the slightest interest in sex, and he found out I could deep-throat like a porn star without even knowing it was a thing.

      I guess that’s why Ana never having interest in sex never bothered me, because I didn’t either, but it’s just so weird that people claim demi/Grey-Ace isn’t a thing when it’s literally our most popular romance story trope.

      July 22, 2016
      |Reply
      • Laina
        Laina

        I’m super prone to sore throats and have a pretty sensitive gag reflex.

        YEAH THAT SUCKS.

        July 23, 2016
        |Reply
        • Saint_Sithney
          Saint_Sithney

          I dunno… I guess it’s just a different folks, different bodies, different whatevers kind of thing. I’ve always had a really low gag reflex, and there are plenty of people who have a medium one or a high one, and no amount of practice changes it. I never decided I was going to be able to stick things really deep down my throat, I was just always able to. I can also tell all the chocolates in a box apart by smell. Just weird little things my particular body can do.

          And I KNOW RIGHT!?! I don’t know how we decided as a society to make something THE most popular romance trope in the world and then turn around and say it didn’t exist at all. Obviously it must exist to some extent, or how would people know to write about it? And it can’t have been “made up” by this generation, because these stories go back hundreds of years!

          July 23, 2016
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