Yesterday, after I posted my ode to all that is wonderful in chapter four of 50 Shades of Grey, news broke that Ian Somerhalder, aka Damon on The Vampire Diaries, would be interested in playing Christian Grey on the big screen. Yeah, that’s a great idea, Ian. Go from a fucking terrible show about vampires to a fucking terrible movie ripped-off from fucking terrible books about vampires. That’s a great lateral move. At least The Vampire Diaries had awesome source material (even if the screen writers ignore it). You and your rescue cats will be in kitty kibble and toy mice for ages, but how will your soul feel, Ian? Cheap. Used. Poorly written. That’s how it will feel.
It’s thirst quenching and refreshing. Nothing beats freshly squeezed orange juice for reviving an arid mouth.
This message brought to you by the California Citrus Grower’s Association.
There’s a knock on the door. My heart leaps into my mouth, and I can’t seem to find my voice. He opens the door anyway and strolls in.
Since it is customary to mark the first appearance of a character in a scene by referring to them by name, and since E.L. James has chosen not to do so here, I must assume that we are now referring to Christian Grey as capital H “He”, as is befitting of God Himself.
Holy hell, he’s been working out. He’s in gray sweat pants that hang, in that way, off his hips and gray singlet, which is dark with sweat, like his hair. Christian Grey’s sweat, the notion does odd things to me. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I feel like a two-year-old, if I close my eyes then I’m not really here.
His pants are hanging off his hips in that way. You know, in that way. Which way? Because every person wearing a pair of pants right now are wearing them hanging from their hips. Unless they are very old men who don’t like to wear their pants below their bellies, so they jack them up over their moobs. And two-year-old? Again with the proximity of children to sexuality. Oy.
Christian explains (“Phlegmatically”, which can either mean “having to do with phlegm” or “calm and unemotional”, but I’m going to go with “having to do with phlegm”) that since he didn’t want her puking in his car the night before, he brought her to the hotel rather than driving her home. She asks if he undressed her, which leads to the requisite blushing and questioning whether or not they had sex.
“Anastasia, you were comatose. Necrophilia is not my thing. I like my women sentient and receptive,” he says dryly.
“I like my women like I like my coffee… bound with cable ties and screaming in the trunk of my car.” So, Christian actually did the decent thing (after not doing the decent thing at all by tracking her phone and coming to pick her up when she didn’t want him to) for her after the puke-a-thon in the parking lot, but the moment he tries to lightly tease her about the events of the evening, she complains internally about being “made to feel like the villain of the piece.” When he defends himself, she teases him, and of course, his icy demeanor is melted again. Because if there is one rule that does not apply to Ana, ever, it is “treat others the way you would like to be treated”. It’s okay for her to tease him, but not for him to tease her.
In one of my very favorite twists of awesome fate ever, Ana says Christian talks “like a courtly knight.” And Christian responds with, “Dark knight, maybe.” Which means I get to use this picture again:
“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday. You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk.” He closes his eyes, dread etched on his lovely face, and he shudders slightly. When he opens his eyes, he glares at me. “I hate to think what could have happened to you.” I scowl back at him. What is his problem? What’s it to him? If I was his… well I’m not. Though maybe, part of me would like to be. The thought pierces through the irritation I feel at his high-handed words. I flush at the waywardness of my subconscious – she’s doing her happy dance in a bright red hula skirt at the thought of being his.
So, in other words, the hero of this story is saying he would beat the heroine if she had the audacity to go out with her friends to celebrate graduating from college. He’s also subtly blaming her for nearly getting raped. Let me reiterate for you, gentle reader, this is the man women of America are falling in love with. There was a particularly gross article on The Huffington Post the other day where a woman lamented the fact that her husband isn’t more like Christian Grey. No, there isn’t a slow gas leak in your house, this is happening. Women across the country are feeling somehow cheated by life because their husbands won’t beat them if they want to exercise their right as a human being to go out and get drunk with their friends. Because their husbands won’t blame them if they get raped. Seriously, if any one of my friends dares to complain like that in front of me, I will drown her for the good of the female species. This I vow.
Christian goes to take a shower, so of course, Ana sits there on the bed in a puddle of girl goo because he’s so sexy. Victim blaming gets her so wet, you have no idea.
One minute he rebuffs me, the next he sends me fourteen-thousand-dollar books, then he tracks me like a stalker.
And for all that, I have spent the night in his hotel suite, and I feel safe. Protected. He cares enough to come and rescue me from some mistakenly perceived danger. He’s not dark knight at all, but a white knight in shining, dazzling armor – a classic romantic hero – Sir Gawain or Lancelot.
They should print this out and just stick it in the pamphlets for women’s crisis centers hidden in the bathroom at the gynecologist’s office. “Is this how you feel about your partner? Call this confidential help line.” There’s nothing romantic or noble about “rescuing” a woman from her friends. Okay, yes, she was being assaulted when he showed up at the bar, but (and this is an important ‘but’) she wasn’t being assaulted when she called him. He had no reason to believe she was in any danger, and every reason to believe she was just out having a good time. This isn’t romance. This is an abusive relationship in the making.
Christian comes out of the shower in just a towel, and she’s there in just her t-shirt, and the sexual tension is palpable:
“If you’re looking for your jeans, I’ve sent them to the laundry.” His gaze is a dark obsidian. “They were spattered with your vomit.”
Swoon. Then, Ana flushes scarlet. I’m wondering what other colors she thinks people flush. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone flush azure. The good news is, Christian’s bodyguard has bought Ana some new pants. She goes to take a shower and while she’s in there, she realizes that for the first time in her life, she’s sexually attracted to someone. But he hasn’t made a pass at her, like Paul and Jose have. I like how this book not only tries to justify Christian’s abusive behavior as romantic, but seems to also caution against normal human interaction as some kind of future warning. Jose asked her out like normal guys do, but then he kisses her without her consent. Paul asks her out, but then turns into a jerk when she says no. See, ladies? You don’t want a guy to just ask you out. He needs to stalk you and buy scary items at your work.
In the shower, the smell of Christian’s body wash get Ana all hot and horny, and she’s pretty invested in a solo heavy petting session when he knocks on the door to tell her breakfast is ready. Ana gets out of the shower and finds that along with jeans and new shoes, Christian’s bodyguard has also picked up matching, lacy blue bra and panties for her. Ana flushes when she thinks of the bodyguard buying them for her, but I like to think that he considers shopping for ladies underwear is a perk of his job, and maybe he picked up something frilly for himself, too. Everything fits perfectly, because this is a fantasy, and everyone knows that women ultimately fantasize about clothes that fit perfectly, so good on you for this one, E.L. James. Ana also struggles with her just plain awful hair, but not for as long as the opening scene in the book, thank God. She takes a deep breath and goes out to the bedroom, but Christian is gone, so she takes another deep breath. This is a throwback to her time on the space station and her fear that the room beyond the next airlock would have been compromised and without oxygen.
Taking another deep breath, I enter the living area of the suite. It’s huge. There’s an opulent, plush seating area, all overstuffed couches and soft cushions, an elaborate coffee table with a stack of large glossy books, a study area with a top-of-the-range Mac, an enormous plasma screen TV on the wall, and Christian is sitting at a dining table on the other side of the room reading a newspaper. It’s the size of a tennis court or something, not that I play tennis, though I have watched Kate a few times.
That’s a big newspaper. Thinking of Kate’s privileged life reminds Ana that her friend exists. Crap! Christian explains that Kate knows where she is, because he texted his brother.
Oh no. I remember her fervent dancing of the night before. All her patented moves used with maximum effort to seduce Christian’s brother no less! What’s she going to think about me being here? I’ve never stayed out before. She’s still with Elliot. She’s only done this twice before, and both times I’ve had to endure the hideous pink PJs for a week from the fallout. She’s going to think I’ve had a one-night stand too.
I’ve been having a hell of a time imagining these seductive, yet fervent, dance moves since they were mentioned in the last chapter. The way they’re described in the prose gives the impression that these are some fast, sweaty dance moves, but they’re somehow seductive. Is Kate a cabaret belly dancer? I like how Ana automatically assumes that Elliot is just using Kate for sex (like Ana is using her for cheap rent), and that her concern isn’t necessarily for her friend’s emotional well-being, but that she might have to see the bunny pajamas again for as long as a week. I hate when the rich friends I live with for practically no rent have the gall to wear pajamas I don’t like. Ana’s most immediate concern after that is, naturally, also a selfish one. Kate is going to think Ana has slept with Christian Grey, and as every adult woman knows, sleeping with a man is the worst thing you can do.
Christian doesn’t know what Ana likes for breakfast, so he’s ordered a little of everything on the menu. It’s a scene that steals from Pretty Woman more than from Twilight, and it’s a nice change. You’d think that after a wicked black-out drunk, pancakes and eggs would be welcomed, but as we have already learned, Ana is horrible and she likes absolutely nothing in life:
“I didn’t know what you liked, so I ordered a selection from the breakfast menu.” He gives me a crooked, apologetic smile.
“That’s very profligate of you,” I murmur, bewildered by the choice, though I am hungry.
Profligate? I would have called it “considerate”, but by all means, criticize the guy who was trying to give you a nice breakfast. But also, maybe be aware of the consequences of eating that breakfast. It could be drugged.
“Well, when you were nearly run over by the cyclist – and I was holding you and you were looking up at me – all kiss me, kiss me, Christian,” he pauses and shrugs slightly, “I felt I owed you an apology and a warning.” He runs his hand through his hair. “Anastasia, I’m not a hearts and flowers kind of man, I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear from me.” He closes his eyes as if in defeat. “There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away. But I think you’ve figured that out already.”
Christian, please to elaborate on the “something” about Ana that you can’t stay away from. Is it the way she loathes her friends and mentally belittles them at every opportunity? What about the way she has barely mastered the fine art of walking? All we’ve really seen by way of interaction between the two of them is Ana insulting him half the time and mumbling the other half. Where is the connection? It makes no sense for a rich, powerful man to want to put up with Ana’s teenage angst bullshit. But since this fanfic would be sunk if Edward and Bella didn’t get together, I as the reader must bend over and accept that this romantic connection exists. I’ll get the lube.
Anabella suggests that if Chedward can’t stay away from her, maybe he shouldn’t. Then she asks him if he’s celibate. He’s not, and he wants to know what she’s doing for the next few days. Chedward is direct. She’s working, and packing, since she’s going to be moving to Seattle next week. He asks her a few questions about this upcoming move, and you know how Ana likes being asked questions born of genuine interest:
The Christian Grey Inquisition is almost as irritating as the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition.
Here are Jennifer Armintrout’s helpful tips on how to be a good friend to Anastasia Rose Steele:
- Never make fun of her name.
- Give her things of monetary value. Jeans, Converse sneakers, or something intangible, like low rent.
- Don’t ask her questions.
- Don’t wear pajamas she doesn’t like.
- Put her at the center of the universe when she wants you to, fade into the background the rest of the time
There isn’t a lot of pay off to this plan, because she’s horrible, but it will be so worth it, because she’s the heroine of the book and therefore you have to like knowing her. Christian again offers Ana a job, which she doesn’t want, because being a college graduate with a paying job is so 1996.
“I’d like to bite that lip,” he whispers darkly.
Oh my. I am completely unaware that I am chewing my bottom lip. My mouth pops open as I gasp and swallow at the same time. That has to be the sexiest thing anybody has ever said to me.
And gasping and swallowing at the same time has to be the sexiest noise anybody has ever made. Rather than assuming Ana is choking and immediately leaping up to give her the Heimlich Maneuver (please note that I spelled “Heimlich” correct on the first try, but it took three times to get “Maneuver” right), Christian explains that he’s not going to touch Ana without written consent. And, I would assume, some sort of extra hazard insurance. He wants to explain everything to her over dinner in Seattle, and he’s pretty sure she’s not going to want to see him again once he does explain it all.
Holy shit. What does that mean? Does he white-slave small children to some God-forsaken part of the planet? Is he part of some underworld crime syndicate? It would explain why he’s so rich. Is he deeply religious? Is he impotent? Surely not, he could prove that to me right now. Oh my. I flush scarlet thinking about the possibilities.
So, she thinks he would whip out his cock and beat it to tumescence right at the breakfast table to prove he’s not impotent? Okay, we’ll go with that. Christian arranges a helicopter ride from Portland to Seattle for after Ana’s shift. I don’t get why she doesn’t just call in. She’s not going to keep working in Portland when she’s living in Seattle, right? And she has these expensive books she doesn’t want to keep, she could live off the money from those for a while. (This is why I have been unable to keep any job that wasn’t writing, by the way. This line of reasoning right here). Christian commands, literally commands Ana to eat, because he has an issue with wasted food. He wants her to clean her plate, and he really does expect her to listen to him. When she’d done, he rewards her with a “Good girl” and sends her to dry her hair because he doesn’t want her to get sick, going outside with wet hair. There is absolutely nothing sexier than a guy who gives the same advice as my grandma, let me tell you. Christian also reveals that he’s never slept with someone and not had sex, which means he’s either never been to scout camp, or he has some really bad memories from scout camp.
What in heaven’s name does that mean? He’s never slept with anyone? He’s a virgin? Somehow I doubt that. I stand staring at him in disbelief. He is the most mystifying person I’ve ever met. And it dawns on me that I have slept with Christian Grey, and I kick myself – what would I have given to be conscious to watch him sleep. See him vulnerable.
Okay, 1) you know he’s not a virgin, he said he wasn’t celibate. Words mean things. Didn’t you just graduate with a degree in English? 2) You’re missing a question mark. 3) That’s creepy, and you’re doing this all wrong. Bella sleeps, Edward watches. Get your shit together.
Ana goes back to the bathroom to dry her hair, and while she’s in there she encounters the most erotic, the most thrilling, the most positively tantalizing of all temptations:
I want to clean my teeth. I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth.
[Note: the following section should be read in the voice of Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.] I wish I could tell you that Ana did not use Chedward’s toothbrush. I wish I could tell you that she respects personal boundaries and would never do something so incredibly gross as put another person’s toothbrush in her mouth.
Hmm… Glancing guiltily over my shoulder at the door, I feel the bristles on the toothbrush. They are damp. He must have used it already. Grabbing it quickly, I squirt toothpaste on it and brush my teeth in double quick time. I feel so naughty. It’s such a thrill.
“Oh, fuck the paperwork,” he growls. He lunges at me, pushing me against the wall of the elevator. Before I know it, he’s got both of my hands in one of his in a vice-like grip above my head, and he’s pinning me to the wall using his hips. Holy shit. His other hand grabs my ponytail and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine. It’s only just not painful. I moan into his mouth, giving his tongue an opening. He takes full advantage, his tongue expertly exploring my mouth. I have never been kissed like this.
I’m going to assume Ana has never been kissed, ever, at all, since until the morning she went for coffee with Grey, she hadn’t even held hands with anyone. She goes from first kiss to wanting to have public sex in one paragraph. And then, we have the first appearance (and I have been assured there will be many) of Ana’s “inner goddess.” Christian notices that she’s brushed her teeth (so… he was going to kiss her with all of this morning’s breakfast and last night’s vomit still clinging in a film to her teeth? Hot.), and she fesses up to using his toothbrush. Instead of recoiling in horror and asking her what the fuck she thought she was doing, he’s amused, and they leave the hotel together.
And that’s it for chapter five. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go brush my teeth. With my own toothbrush, thank you very much.