Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Friday, May 20, 2011 or “The Hero Portland Needs”

Welcome, welcome, one and all, back to the nightmare tragedy that is this book.

Before we get started, I’ve got a link to share, courtesy of someone on Twitter who I’m so so sorry, I can’t remember your name. If you sent this to me, feel free to speak up in the comments and be like, “I SENT YOU THAT, YOU UNFEELING BITCH!”

In her article “Women, Know Your Place!”, writer Tracy Kuhn posits that criticism of E.L. James comes not from a place of rational thinking, but unbridled misogyny for misogyny’s sake:

Her books have turned everyone into a literary critic. Her readers (predominantly female) are called stupid or desperate. Her writing is picked apart, sentence by sentence. She’s torn apart on social media. It’s not bullying of course, it’s for our own good and it doesn’t count in this case because hey, most of us doing the attacking are women who are defending other women, so you can’t touch us. To do so would be to condone abuse, you animal!

Meanwhile we carry on going to see films and read books and watch television programmes that subliminally give out really damaging messages about women and use rape scenes again and again to move a plot forward, but again, who cares about those?

I’m sharing this article, this passage in particular, because it highlights a new resistance I’m seeing to criticism of media created and consumed by women. I’ve had a few vocal objectors on Twitter come to me with this very argument: how can you criticize Fifty Shades if you’re not criticizing everything else? Or if you’re consuming media that’s problematic in the first place? I find this attitude fairly comical; it’s like saying that you can’t know if you dislike broccoli until you’ve eaten every piece of broccoli ever grown. Or, you can’t say you dislike broccoli if you’re eating something that has broccoli in it, even if you pick it out and push it to the side.

All media is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages, because all life is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages. To suggest that E.L. James is being unfairly attacked simply because she wrote something women enjoy, and that her critics have no place in shaming her unless they somehow consume and dissect all media while at the same time shunning all media, leaves us with a catch-22 in which all criticism is effectively silenced in the name of haphazardly defined feminism.

This isn’t a new approach to silencing critics, and it came as no surprise to me that the last lines of the article read:

Have a look at yourselves before you make that next witty comment. And be nicer to each other.

Feminism Tip: your argument is fairly destroyed when you call upon other women to Be Nice, as the very concept of Be Nice is an ages old silencing technique brandished almost solely against women.

With that out of the way, onto the recap!

This Day In History: Professional wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage died at age 58.

To read side-by-side with my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps, here’s chapter four.

Chapter Friday, May 20, 2011 begins:

I’ve slept well for the first time in five days. Maybe I’m feeling the closure I had hoped for, now that I’ve sent those books to Anastasia. As I shave, the asshole in the mirror stares back at me with cool, gray eyes.

I’m going to need a photoshop here. No, wait, don’t do that. DON’T DO THAT!

Chedward knows he’s lying to himself. He really wants Ana, I’m sorry, Anastasia, to call him.

This chapter also introduces Mrs. Jones, the housekeeper. As always, underlines indicate italics and are not present in the actual text:

Mrs. Jones looks up when I walk into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Mr. Grey.”

“Morning, Gail.”

“What would you like for breakfast.”

“I’ll have an omelet. Thank you.” I sit at the kitchen counter as she prepares my food and leaf through The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, then I pore over The Seattle Times.

How long does it take to make an omelet?

Here’s something interesting: Mr. Exacting Specifications tells Gail he wants an omelet, but not which kind of omelet. Hold onto that thought for a bit, because I’m going to go into it in depth later.

As Christian reads the papers, his brother, Elliot, calls.

“Dude. I need to get out of Seattle this weekend. This chick is all over my junk and I’ve got to get away.”

That is one painful attempt at American male dialogue. So is the remark that follows it, wherein Elliot suggests that Chedward doesn’t have a penis.

I ignore his jib, and then a devious thought occurs to me. “How about hiking around Portland. We could go this afternoon. Stay down there. Come home Sunday.”

I’m  interested in the line of reasoning behind this development. On the surface it seems like this is an explanation for why Christian is in Portland when Ana drunk dials him, and he’s able to ride to her “rescue.” On the other hand, it’s still very creepy. He’s willing to aid his brother in getting out of his current predicament, because it offers Chedward the opportunity to stalk the current target of his obsession.

Alleged work-a-holic Christian Grey is going to leave work at his big, important, titan of industry job at lunch time to drive his brother to Portland on a covert stalking mission.

After they hang up, Christian thinks:

Elliot has always had a problem containing himself. As do the women he associates with: whoever the unfortunate girl is, she’s just another in a long, long line of his casual liaisons.


A black pot

Pictured: Christian Grey

a black kettle


You’re joking, right? Christian Grey, the man who views all women as potential sex objects to be dominated or dismissed according to his criteria for female perfection, finds his brother’s treatment of women distasteful. And he finds the women distasteful, as well; they have no self-control, and therefore are “unfortunate.” Never mind that he himself wanted Ana to let him bend her over and spank her within two minutes of meeting her. Which leads me to wonder: if Ana had enthusiastically responded to his advances, would he have deemed her “unfortunate” and rejected her? We already saw evidence of this in the scene in which she wanted him to kiss her. So can we assume that he’s attracted only to women who don’t want him to pursue them?


“Mr. Grey. What would you like to do for food this weekend?”

“Just prepare something light and leave it in the fridge. I may be back on Saturday.”

Three things:

  1. There is no transition from the phone call to this dialogue in which we are reminded that it’s Mrs. Jones speaking to him. The first line of this dialogue needs to be tagged to keep it from jarring the reader.
  2. He told Elliot they would come back on Sunday, now he’s telling Mrs. Jones he may be back on Saturday. Christian is driving Elliot to Portland. This tells us that Chedward is the kind of dick who will commit to plans with someone, then abandon them halfway through, leaving the person he’s made the plans with no choice but to come along or be stranded.
  3. Mrs. Jones gets vastly different treatment than what Chedward expects of other women.

Let’s talk about number three, shall we? We already know from Fifty Shades of Grey that Mrs. Jones is an older woman. More specifically, an older woman with whom Chedward has no past sexual experiences. The women at his office are young, blond, and beautiful. They appear to be sexually attracted to Christian. He expects them to anticipate his every need and fulfill them without question. Is it because they’re his employees? That doesn’t make sense, because so is Mrs. Jones. Is it because they’re sexually attractive to him? We already know Chedward has no interest in the women at work.

So, what is it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Chedward is critically demanding of the women he works with to punish them for being attracted to him when he doesn’t want their amorous attention. Yet at the same time, he relentlessly pursues Ana, a woman who seems to have very little interest in him. In other words, he punishes women for treating him the way he treats women. Since he’s not interested in banging Mrs. Jones, she’s exempt from this treatment.

After a section break, we’re in the car:

Elliot sleeps most of the way to Portland. Poor fucker must be fried. Working and fucking: that’s Elliot’s raison d’être.

A black pota black kettle


Christian calls Andrea and asks her to have mountain bikes delivered to the Heathman hotel. She not only asks what time the bikes should be there, to which Christian gives her a precise answer, but whom the bikes are for and how tall his brother is. Well, ask isn’t the right word. She confirms, as she has already memorized how tall his brother is. This is yet another example of Christian requiring more from his fuckable employees than from his unfuckable employees.

Then Christian calls Taylor, and I’m baffled by part of the conversation:

“Will you bring the R8?”

“With pleasure, sir.” Taylor is a car fanatic, too.

Leaving aside the fact that Christian the car fanatic only seems to own one supercar, and a modestly priced one at that, why didn’t he just drive the R8, if he wanted it in Portland so badly? I would be tempted to say he did it so they would have two vehicles in case he needed to drive back early without stranding Elliot, but that would require me to assume that Chedward would go out of his way to avoid inconveniencing someone who isn’t himself.

I end the call and turn up the music. Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.

The Verve? As in, Coldplay’s older, slightly more aggressive brother? Yeah, Elliot, let’s see if you can sleep through that blistering hard rock.

Christian wonders if the books have been delivered to Ana yet, but he doesn’t want to ask Andrea in case it starts some office gossip. He wonders why he sent Ana the books, but he already knows that it’s because he wants to see her again. So, he warned her away from him, then gave her an expensive present to further warn her away from him, but he wants to see her again. Okay.

Elliot wakes up, and Christian informs him that they’re going to go mountain biking, the way they used to with their father.

My father is a polymath, a real renaissance man: academic, sporting, at ease in the city, more at ease in the great outdoors. He’d embraced three adopted kids…and I’m the one who didn’t live up to his expectations.

In case Chedward didn’t have enough emotional baggage, he’s also got daddy issues.

And I want to know how you fail to live up to a parent’s expectations when you’re literally the richest man in the world and you’re feeding starving children in Africa. What the fuck did daddy Grey expect?

But before I hit adolescence we had a bond. He’d been my hero. He used to love taking us camping and doing all the outdoor pursuits I now enjoy: sailing, kayaking, biking, we did it all.

Puberty ruined all that for me.

Since I’ve read the original series, I know that he’s probably referring to the whole thing where he started getting into fights and he fucked his parents’ married friend. But I was never under the impression that either Mommy Grey or Daddy Grey knew about the latter.

I swear to Christ, if we find out that Daddy Grey molested Christian, I will burn down an abandoned strip mall.

Christian asks Elliot about the girl who’s chasing him out of Seattle for the weekend:

“Man, I’m a love-’em-and-leave-’em type. You know that. No strings. I don’t know, chicks find out you run your own business and they start getting crazy ideas.” He gives me a sideways look. “You’ve got the right idea keeping your dick to yourself.”

“I don’t think we’re discussing my dick, we’re discussing yours, and who’s been on the sharp end of it recently.”

The sharp end?!

Elliot asks Christian about work, and Christian asks:

“You really want to know?” I shoot him a glance.

“Nah,” he bleats and I laugh at his apathy and lack of eloquence.

“I laugh, because I am superior to everyone and everything. Even though I displayed a ‘lack of eloquence’ myself by leaving the ‘do’ off the beginning of my sentence.”

Here’s an interesting development, dear readers:

“How’s the business?” I ask.

“You checking your investment?”

“Always.” It’s my job.

“Well, we broke ground on the Spokani Eden project last week and it’s on schedule, but then it’s only been a week.” He shrugs. Beneath his somewhat casual exterior my brother is an eco-warrior. His passion for sustainable living makes for some heated Sunday dinner conversations with the family, and his latest project is an eco-friendly development of low-cost housing north of Seattle.”

This may have been in the original series, but I don’t remember Christian owning his brother’s company, or his brother being into environmental housing and stuff. This leads to some more questions. If Elliot and Christian do basically the same thing–improve the world through their businesses–how come Christian is the one who let the family down? Also, if you’ve got two successful businessmen in the family who do work on ecological stuff, why would there be arguments around the dinner table? I’d think everyone would be on board with all that money rolling in.

After a paragraph break, Elliot and Christian are mountain biking, and Elliot is faster than Christian. Surprisingly, Chedward does not throw a fit about this. He does think that he can’t enjoy the scenery when they’re going so fast, but he doesn’t get his asshole in a bind because he’s not the very best mountain biker ever.

“That was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in a while,” Elliot says as we hand the bikes over to the bellboy at The Heathman.

“Yeah,” I mutter, and then recall holding Anastasia when I saved her from the cyclist. Her warmth, her breasts pressed against me, her scent invading my senses.

I had my clothes on then…

If the most fun you’ve had in a while is watching someone almost get run over by a cyclist, then you probably need to get out more. Unless that’s your thing. Me, if I’m going to watch bike accidents, I don’t want them to be near miss. I live for the thrill.

They go upstairs, and Christian checks his phone:

I have e-mails, a couple of texts from Elena asking what I’m doing this weekend, but no missed calls from Anastasia. It’s just before 7:00–she must have received the books by now. The thought depresses me: I’ve come all the way to Portland on a wild-goose chase again.

The problem, Chedward, is that you’re playing too hard to get. You told her you’re not interested in her. Then you sent her expensive books with a warning to stay away. Of course she’s not going to call. Why would she?

Chedward has no idea how boundaries work, which explains some of his treatment of Ana and the women around him. He clearly sees “stay away from me” and “I don’t want you” as invitations, and he’s baffled as to why Ana isn’t seeing things the same way.

“Man, that chick has called me five times and sent me four texts. Doesn’t she know how desperate she comes across?” Elliot whines.

“Maybe she’s pregnant.”

Elliot pales and I laugh.

“Not funny, hotshot,” he grumbles. “Besides, I haven’t known her that long. Or that often.”

What kind of sex education did these guys get? It literally only takes one ejaculation to get someone pregnant, if the timing is right. I’m starting to get a clearer picture of why Christian is angry and shocked to find that Ana is pregnant in the third book, if they both got the same birds/bees talk.

After another section break, Christian and Elliot are watching a Mariners game and drinking beer, when Ana calls. He can tell right away that she’s drunk.

Hell. Who is she with? The photographer? Where’s her friend Kate?

At this point, all he knows is that she’s drunk, and somewhere with a noisy background. His first thought is that he doesn’t want her to be with José.

He asks her where she is, and she says she’s in a bar, but won’t tell him which bar.

Anxiety blooms in my gut. She’s a young woman, drunk, somewhere in Portland. She’s not safe.

I laughed out loud at this one, because I’m sorry, there are drunk young women all the fuck over Portland on a Friday night. I’ve seen my friends’ pictures. Is Chedward going to put on his cape and save them all? Is he Batman? NO. Because Abed is Batman.

Abed from Community, dressed as Batman.

I’ve missed you, friend.

Ana demands to know why he sent her the books, and he keeps asking what bar she’s at.

“You’re so…domineering.” She giggles. In any other situation I would find this charming.

No you wouldn’t. We’ve all read the other books. Any time Ana says or does anything that isn’t something you’ve explicitly asked or allowed her to do, you fly off the handle and she gets scared of you.

“Ana, so help me, where the fuck are you?”

She giggles again. Shit, she’s laughing at me!


See. You don’t find that charming, just like you didn’t find her laughing at you charming in the last chapter.

Then Ana hangs up on him. On him! The Master of The Universe!

She hung up on me! I stare at the phone in disbelief. No one has ever hung up on me. What the fuck!

“What the fuck?” is a question. And I find it hard to believe that a guy like Chedward has never been hung up on before.

“What’s the problem?” Elliot calls over from the sofa.

“I’ve just been drunk-dialed.”

9-1-1? I’ve just been drunk dialed. Send help immediately.

William Shatner in a promo pic for Rescue 911

Shatner would never stand for this.

I press the callback button, trying to contain my temper, and my anxiety.

Hey, you know what they always did on Rescue 911? They used a callback function in the dispatcher’s office.

William Shatner in a promo pic for Rescue 911

Shatner has this on lockdown, Chedward. Stand aside.

“Hi,” she says, all breathy and timid, and she’s in quieter surroundings.

“I’m coming to get you.” My voice is arctic as I wrestle with my anger and snap my phone shut.

“I’ve got to go get this girl and take her home. Do you want to come?”

Okay, first of all, you don’t have to go get her. You’re choosing to go get her. And while this scene gives us a clearer picture of his alleged motives from the first book (there is a heavy emphasis on Christian’s anxiety and fear for Ana in this scene), it does seem quite convenient that his need to protect her coincides neatly with the opportunity to abduct her. This particular sequence, however, is way, way less creepy than it looked from the other side.

Which is frustrating. If I were reading Fifty Shades of Grey as a traditional, dual POV contemporary romance novel, the “I’m coming to rescue you drunk at the bar” wouldn’t actually bother me all that much (until we get to a later section, which I will note). I’d have been reading Christian going, “I’m really worried, because she sounds like she’s completely out of it,” within pages of reading Ana being completely out of it. Combining the two literally years later doesn’t make the first book seem any less creepy. I’m starting to see where we desperately needed Christian’s POV throughout the entire series. He would have still come across as an Alphole, but probably no worse than the other Alpha heroes on the market at the time.

But he still tracks her phone:

I speed-dial Welch and within seconds his rasping voice answers.

“Mr. Grey?”

“I’d really like to know where Anastasia Steele is right now.”

“I see.” He pauses for a moment. “Leave it to me, Mr. Grey.”

I know this is outside the law, but she could be getting herself into trouble.

See, this is the point where Morgan Freeman needs to bust into the room and tell Chedward to pump the brakes.

Morgan Freeman and lucius fox in The Dark Knight

You’ve turned every cellphone in Portland into an Anastasia Steele homing device. This is wrong. And creepy.

There are a few things I want to know here. One thing is, Chedward has all of these horrible secrets he doesn’t want in the press. But he keeps close a guy who can track people down via cell phones and such. How does he know that this guy isn’t going to be able to find out all sorts of shit about him and blackmail him with it?

Second, why isn’t Elliot, who just said that the girl who keeps calling him looks desperate, pointing out that his brother is looking pretty desperate, himself?

Third, this post is turning out to be just riddled with Batman references.

Frank Gorshin as The Riddler

God damnit!

But that happened when recapping the same events in the other book, too. Chedward is the hero Portland deserves, I guess.

After Elliot teases Christian about being into a girl, there’s a section break and we’re at the bar:

The bar is crowded, full of students determined to have a good time. There’s some indie crap thumping over the sound system and the dance floor is crowded with heaving bodies.

It makes me feel old.


Rihanna looking up in disgust and confusion

She has no idea what you’re talking about, Grey.

Let’s see if we can spot the not-so-subtle slut-shaming:

Scanning the room, I spot Katherine Kavanagh. She’s with a group of friends, all of them men, sitting in a booth.

Why is it important for us to know that Katherine is sitting only with men, if not to emphasize that Katherine is a slutty slut slut slut? We know she’s going to hook up with Elliot, so do we need the foreshadowing?

Christian doesn’t see Ana with Kate, and he thinks:

Well, let’s see if Miss Kavanagh is as loyal to her friend as Ana is to her.


I hate when things are so true that they’re funny, but also so true that they’re sad at the same time. In this case, it’s hilarious that Chedward would describe Ana as “loyal” to her friend. I guess from his perspective, she is, since she did so much hard work on the article for her. But since we’ve read the other series, we know that Ana does so much internal bitching about Kate that they’re basically frenemies, but Kate doesn’t know it yet. But here’s where things are sad: Christian believes that Kate will prove herself loyal if she hands a drunken Ana over to a guy who’s basically a stranger. And we know that Kate is going to.

an animated gif of Harry Potter that says "at first I lol'd but then I serious'd."

“Katherine,” I say by way of greeting, and she interrupts me before I can ask her Ana’s whereabouts.

“Christian, what a surprise to see you here,” she shouts above the noise.

Well, she didn’t really interrupt you, Chedward. You stated right there that you greeted her. She greeted you back in kind. See, in normal human interaction with people you are not paying or contracting as your submissive, when someone delivers a greeting it isn’t meant to silence the party being greeted so that the greeter can just start talking right away.

The three guys at the table regard Elliot and me with hostile wariness.

They probably just want to fuck you.

“I was in the neighborhood.”

“And who’s this?” She smiles rather too brightly at Elliot, interrupting me again. What an exasperating woman.

Again, not an interruption. You finished your sentence, and she asked for an introduction to the person who’s with you. Not interrupting, not rude.

Katherine tells Chedward that Ana is outside, in the parking lot, where, Christian notes, he and Elliot have just come from. Which clears up my question from the first book, which was how did Elliot meet Kate if they’d just arrived at the bar and hadn’t even been inside yet. He sees Ana with José:

She’s in his arms, but she seems to be twisting away from him. He mutters something to her, which I don’t hear, and kisses her, along her jaw.

“José, no,” she says, and then it’s clear. She’s trying to push him off.

She doesn’t want this.

This gives us some insight into Chedward’s notion of consent. He recognizes that a woman saying “no” to someone else is a sign that consent is being violated. But when women say it to him, he’s a little fuzzy on the idea, probably because every woman would obviously want to have sexual contact with him. He doesn’t see this irresistible quality in other men, so he can’t recognize when woman don’t want him.

For a moment I want to rip his head off. With my hands fisted at my side I march up to them. “I think the lady said no.” My voice carries, cold and sinister, in the relative quiet, while I struggle to maintain my anger.

This is the part where we should be like, “Oh, how romantic, he rescued her.” But that kind of gets blown apart when he takes her to his hotel while she’s unconscious.

Get ready for the romance!

Ignoring him, I grab her hair and hold it out of hte way as she continues to throw up everything she’s had this evening. It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.

Swoon. I love a man who’ll inspect my vomit. Chedward should get together with the dude that pregnancy tested his wife’s pee without her foreknowledge.

This book also addresses another of my concerns, which was why did a twenty-seven year old American man have a handkerchief?

Releasing her, I give her my handkerchief, which by some miracle I have in the inside pocket of my jacket.

Thank you, Mrs. Jones.

Yet this still does not explain why an American woman in her forties would think to put a handkerchief in the pocket of her employer when he has not asked her to do so, or why Chedward has the handkerchiefs, which he’s apparently surprised to see, in the first place.

But whatever.

So, Ana is puking, Christian is happy because he’s with Ana, and nobody likes José the Hands, so he goes back inside.

“I’m sorry,” she says finally, while her fingers twist the soft linen.

Okay, let’s have some fun.

“What are you sorry for, Anastasia?”

So, she’s vulnerable and drunk, puking, she’s just been betrayed by a friend, and your first thought is, you know, this is a good time to fuck with this girl.

Perhaps she has a problem with alcohol. The thought is worrying, and I consider whether I should call my mother for a referral to a detox clinic.

Yeah, you should definitely probably get involved in somebody’s private life like that. I mean, if they do have a problem, I bet they’ll listen to you, a nosy ass stranger.

Ana tells Christian that she’s never been drunk before, and she doesn’t want to get drunk ever again. So remember that when he plies her with alcohol further down the road.

She might pass out, so without giving it a thought I scoop her up into my arms.

She’s surprisingly light. Too light. The thought irks me. No wonder she’s drunk.

the drunk skeleton from last unicorn

Pictured: Ana

So, remember when I said before that Christian’s concern for Ana would make the scene less creepy, had this been a dual POV contemporary novel, but there would come a point where it went off the rails? Okay, so assuming we were in a dual POV (even third person dual POV), I would have been like, “He tracks her cell? Ugh, gross alpha behavior,” but I wouldn’t have flipped my shit. Until we get to this part, where I would have EXPLODED:

“Come on, I’ll take you home.”

“I need to tell Kate,” she says, as her head rests on my shoulder.

“My brother can tell her.”


“My brother Elliot is talking to Miss Kavanagh.”


“He was with me when you called.”

“In Seattle?”

“No, I’m staying at The Heathman.”

And my wild-goose chase has paid off.

“How did you find me?”

“I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.” I head toward the car. I want to drive her home. “Do you have a jacket or a purse?”

“Er…yes, I came with both. Christian, please, I need to tell Kate. She’ll worry.”

This exchange, right here, is where Christian Grey crosses the line from garden variety Alphole male to straight up creepster. He’s now picked up the heroine and bodily started carrying her toward his car, denying her request to tell someone where she’s going with him. He brushes off her concern and she has to ask him a second time, hey, let me tell my friend I’m with you. That’s not acceptable, not even for an alpha. And editor should have dinged that the first time around. But then, an editor should have dinged a lot of this shit the first time around. Like, the blatant theft of another author’s property, for example, as this is the scene from Twilight in which Edward saves Bella from near gang rape.

I stop and bite my tongue. Kavanagh wasn’t worried about her being out here with the overamorous photographer. Rodriguez. That’s his name. What kind of friend is she?

Mark my words, there is a woman named Katherine in E.L. James’s past, and Katherine did E.L. some kind of wrong.

They go into the bar, where one of the guys Kate had been sitting with tells them that she’s dancing. Ana gets her stuff and puts her hand on Christian’s arm:

I freeze.


My heart rate catapults into overdrive as the darkness surfaces, stretching and tightening its claws around my throat.

“She’s on the dance floor,” she shouts, her words tickling my ear, distracting me from my fear. And suddenly the darkness disappears and the pounding in my heart ceases.

So, this is foreshadowing that he doesn’t like to be touched. Here’s the thing. We’re in his head. So when a few lines later he refers to his “confusion” and then:

And I think of what just happened to me.

Her touch. My Reaction.

it comes across as needlessly and unrealistically vague. If his PTSD is being triggered by her touch, he’s not going to be romanticizing his reaction with talk of darkness. The reason he doesn’t like to be touched is going to be at the forefront of his mind. I get wanting to create suspense, and it might seem artless to just blurt out, “he was molested and abused so he doesn’t like to be touched!” but there has to be something here to indicate that there is a reason behind not liking to be touched. It can’t just be SUDDENLY DARKNESS AND WOE EVERYWHERE! then WOW THAT WAS WEIRD WELL BACK TO THE STUDIO without any indication that he knows why this is happening. It could have been taken care of with a single line, something like him thinking it’s the first time that she’s touched him, instead of him touching her, and how he doesn’t like another person touching him, and he has to push troubling memories aside so he can concentrate on caring for her or something.

Basically, a character can’t hide shit from himself in his first person POV just to create suspense for the audience. That’s shitty writing.

After Christian gets Ana some water, they head onto the dance floor to find Kate, who’s probably eating babies or something else that evil witches do.

This I can handle. When I know she’s going to touch me, it’s okay. I can deal, especially since I’m wearing my jacket.

This thought or some variation on it would have worked fantastically with the stuff I just complained about. If he’d specifically said that being touched bothered him, rather than just THE DARKNESS! when she touched him before, this would have had so much more impact.

I weave us through the crowd to where Elliot and Kate are making a spectacle of themselves.

Right, dancing on the dance floor. Super conspicuous. Unlike lifting a woman into your arms like you’re Colonel fucking Brandon carrying Marianne out of the rain in a fucking parking lot.

Christian tells them that he’s taking Ana home, which is when she blacks out. He takes her out to his car.

I know I should take her home, but it’s a long drive to Vancouver, and I don’t know if she’ll be sick again. I don’t relish the idea of my Audi reeking of vomit. The smell emanating from her clothes is already noticeable.

I head to The Heathman, telling myself that I’m doing this for her sake.

Yeah, tell yourself that, Grey.

I’m glad you called yourself out on your shitty reasoning so I didn’t have to do it. I feel like I’m doing all of the heavy lifting here. But yeah, how romantic. I want to ride to the rescue of this fair maiden, but she smells bad, so…

At the hotel, he carries her, still unconscious, up to his room.

The stale stench of vomit pervades the space. I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety.

And this isn’t?

Is my Kindle made of psychic paper? Because my thoughts keep popping up in Chedward’s head. If I don’t watch it, Chedward’s conscience is going to take over my job.

But here’s the thing. He’s thinking, “this is too far,” but he’s still going to strip her down while she’s unconscious. If he didn’t want to deal with how she smelled, he could have taken her home, long drive or not. He can afford to get his Audi detailed, right? Or, he could have just left her in her clothes, since it’s a hotel and if she stinks up the sheets, it’s not his problem. There’s no reason, there’s never any reason, for a man to strip an unconscious woman naked just because her clothes smell bad.

E.L. does try to make Christian mostly all business while he’s undressing Ana:

Briskly I remove her shoes and socks and put them in the plastic laundry bag provided by the hotel. Then I unzip her jeans and pull them off, check the pockets before stuffing the jeans in the laundry bag. She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs, and for a moment I picture those legs wrapped around my waist as her wrists are bound to my Saint Andrew’s cross.

So, he does have a fleeting sexual thought, which is to be expected, right? But he’s basically unaffected. So that’s okay. NO IT’S NOT IT’S STILL CREEPY AS FUCK.

There’s a fading bruise on her knee and I wonder if that’s from the fall she took in my office.

She’s been marked since then…like me.

He’s all, “She’s been marked, much like my tortured soul” and she’s probably like, “Another bruise? Damn, I’m clumsy.”

Christian takes her jacket off her and tucks her in, after smelling her and another mention of her “flawless” pale skin. Ana’s paleness is mentioned so often, I think she might need iron supplements.

Before I check my emails I text Welch, asking him to see if José Rodriguez has any police records.

That should keep Welch plenty busy, scrolling through those forty-eight thousand possible matches. While he’s at it, he should check and see if John Smith has ever been arrested, too.

Then Christian emails Taylor to ask him to have some stuff delivered for Ana:

Jeans: Blue Demim Size 4

Blouse: Blue. Pretty. Size 4

Converse: Black Size 7

Socks: Size 7

Lingerie: Underwear–Size Small. Bra–Estimate 34C

That’s a pretty decent rack for a woman who’s so dangerously thin.

Christian texts Elliot to tell him that Ana is with him and to relay the info to Kate, and Elliot replies:

Will do.

Hope you get laid.

You soooo need it. ;)

“Hope you get laid”? Ana was unconscious. So at least now we know that Elliot is a rapist.

I guess it runs in the family.


225 thoughts on “Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Friday, May 20, 2011 or “The Hero Portland Needs”

  1. I’m so damn tired of the “Be Nice” crap, and it goes hand in hand with this bullsh*t idea that feminism means supporting anything and everything done by a vagina-haver, regardless of it’s merit. Things do not become super-awesome and above criticism because the person doing them has a vagina.

    1. I’m also so tired of that argument. It’s not like critiquing something is akin to being mean for no reason. “Be nice” argument always seems to imply that we can’t express differing opinion respectfully. No one has to get personal or use insults in order to criticize products and ideas. Most people don’t go there. “Be nice” proponents see one comment that personally attacks someone and think all critics think that way. Not so. In terms of 50 Shades, critics focus on the content of the book, not on James as a person. Just because some people on twitter go off the rail, doesn’t mean that there are no legitimate reasons to critique her work. If some readers feel these books are problematic, we have every right to express that opinion. Just because we’re not gushing how great those books are, it doesn’t mean we’re “not nice.” And what’s the alternative, silence? Conformity?

    2. Seriously, it discounts the fact that women can have sexist/misogynistic tendencies, too. And defending someone who puts them into their work because they’re a woman and therefor their work is feminist only perpetuates those notions. People will go “see? A woman said this isn’t anti-feminist, so it’s okay!” rather than realize that it’s one woman and it may not be a universal viewpoint.

      1. It’s just Woolf’s” Angel in the House” again–only now we have to be Nice to Women, instead of just to men (Warning, LONG excerpt):

        I discovered that if I were going to review books I should need to do battle with a certain phantom. And the phantom was a woman, and when I came to know her better I called her after the heroine of a famous poem, The Angel in the House. It was she who used to come between me and my paper when I was writing reviews. It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her. You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her — you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it — in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all — I need not say it —-she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty — her blushes, her great grace. In those days — the last of Queen Victoria — every house had its Angel. And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page; I heard the rustling of her skirts in the room. Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous man, she slipped behind me and whispered: “My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure.” And she made as if to guide my pen. I now record the one act for which I take some credit to myself, though the credit rightly belongs to some excellent ancestors of mine who left me a certain sum of money — shall we say five hundred pounds a year? — so that it was not necessary for me to depend solely on charm for my living. I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self-defence. Had I not killed her she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writing. For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must — to put it bluntly — tell lies if they are to succeed. Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the inkpot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. She was always creeping back when I thought I had despatched her. Though I flatter myself that I killed her in the end, the struggle was severe; it took much time that had better have been spent upon learning Greek grammar; or in roaming the world in search of adventures. But it was a real experience; it was an experience that was bound to befall all women writers at that time. Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.

        from “Professions for Women”

        1. I’ve not read this before, but definitely will now. Thanks for sharing. I’ve definitely felt this in the workplace. As an “Angel”, I have to be gracious, clever, modest etc. it is unnacceptable for me to be moody, difficult, etc in the same way that men who are good at their job can be.
          That said, when there’s a chicken, I always take the leg, because I think that’s the best bit!

          1. You may enjoy this sample of Woolf’s shameless bitchery (and I mean this as a compliment) about other authors, male and female. Her essay “Miss Mitford” is a review of an apparently vapid book about 19th-century writer Mary Russell Mitford’s village upbringing. Since Mitford’s upbringing included a d-bag of a father who frittered away first his own mother’s legacy and then his daughter’s lottery money, then lived off his daughter who never married nor even got to take an overnight trip away from him, none of which seems to show up in the book, Woolf obviously regarded “Miss Mitford and her Surroundings” as a thoroughly whitewashed, saccharine account. Rather than say as much and leave it at that, Woolf skewered the author (female, BTW, so we see she did not target men only), as someone who didn’t exactly lie, but left so many holes in her story that the reader was the one who ended up telling lies to fill them:


  2. I am so ridiculously happy to see the drunk skeleton from The Last Unicorn as a reaction image. I love that movie <3

  3. Eliot doesn’t know she is unconcious. Christian never took Ana to him and he never saw Ana, he just heard she was out in the parking lot and that she is tipsy.

    1. Nah, Ana is on the dance floor with Christian and passes out during the conversation. Either way, he knows she’s too drunk to consent.

  4. So what I got out of the chapter is that Christian Grey shaves his asshole. Good to know, I guess.

    Also, as someone with a PTSD diagnosis, it really pisses me off the way his being triggered by Ana grabbing his arm is written. I’m not saying that this sort of thing is the same for everyone, but the writing there just especially rubs me the wrong way.

        1. between his tie and his butt, I’m getting kind of worried.

          (btw, there’s actually a Japanese cyclops called a Shirime that has it’s eye in it’s butt. Just in case anyone’s looking for visual inspiration for that photoshop Jenny (kind of) asked for)

          1. Well, if he’s shaving his eyeballs, this could get very “Andalusian Dog.”
            Who knew the Eel could get so Meta?

  5. Who calls shirts “blouses”? And uses numbers for sizing them like that? I’ve only seen S/M/L/XL ect. and depends wildly on boob sizes to make them fit. A size four would be like, a S/M i guess, but that would be hella tight with 34Cs, since 34″ is the underbust, making the bust size 37″. I guess this is just to show us how tiny she is without lacking boobs or whatever, but like… that’s not really how shirts work. Boobs take up space, yo.

    That’s my only comment, because Chedward being an unrepentant creep isn’t surprising in the least.

    1. Sorry, not an English native speaker, but… aren’t blouses and shirts two different things? Or do you call blouses shirts too? When I hear blouse, I picture a garment you button up.

      1. Traditionally, blouses have their buttons on the left, while shirts have their buttons on the right. So a blouse doesn’t have to be fancy or frilly, it can look just like a plain, white business shirt. It just depends which side the buttons are on.

        But yeah, I find it hard to believe that a 27 year old American would know that. He’d totally say “shirt.”

      2. To be fair I’m a 23 year-old Brit who works in a clothing store and I’ll be damned if I know the real difference. It seems to me that if someone asks for a shirt they mean “has a collar and buttons” and if they ask for a blouse they mean “smart top in nice fabric”.

        Tbh I work with an older clientele and half the time I’m like “a what now?”. Like I have no idea what you call a dress that is inside a dress like as a kind of lining (a slip?). Basically clothes are more complicated than I ever imagined.

    2. Who calls shirts “blouses”? The English. And uses numbers for sizing them like that? The English. And English bra sizes are the measurement at the fullest point of the bust, so the size he gives makes sense only if you are ordering from Marks and Spencer or another famously English shop. Someone with a 34″ bust is a British size 10.

      Actually, no-one says “blouses” much any more – it’s a your Grandma sort of a word. He ought to have asked whoever to get her a nice pair of slacks, too, to complete the outfit.

      But, yes – another glaring failure to write in the sociolect of the characters. Before anyone says anything, I do realise that is the least of our worries.

      1. I was going to take umbrage here, but I guess I am now technically old enough to be someone’s grandma. :-P

        Looking at retail outlets that sell to the non-aged, though, “blouse” still gets used to mean a woman’s buttoned shirt made of woven fabric….

        1. I’m old enough to be someone’s grandma, too :) No, I didn’t mean the word is never used, I just meant that it’s not a word a 27 year old man would use. It’s just a piss-poor effort at characterisation. You say your character is a twenty something American man, and then you have him ask for a list of clothes in UK sizes, using UK terminology. Well, I say “piss-poor effort”, but that’s not right, since obviously no effort was involved.

      2. I read the description of the clothing, and assumed it was in UK sizes, so her legs sounded really weirdly out of proportion to me.

        Jeans: Blue Demim Size 4
        Blouse: Blue. Pretty. Size 4
        Converse: Black Size 7
        Socks: Size 7
        Lingerie: Underwear–Size Small. Bra–Estimate 34C

        I have large feet for a woman (at size 8, I’m pushing the upper limit for women’s shoes) and I take a size 8 jeans UK.
        Ana must have stick-legs and clown-feet. And I don’t think you can have a 34″ chest and wear a size 4 blouse, let alone boobage considerations. I’m a 32A and I take a size 8 top.

        If the quoted measurements are in US sizes, Ana is a size 6 UK and wears a size 5 shoes, which makes a lot more sense, but she is still popping out of that shirt, because a 34″ chest measurement gives a UK size 10 blouse.

        … Or else Grey can’t eyeball measurements for shit, but I thought he was supposed to be super exacting and perfect at everything, and a connoisseur of teh fillies, so he’d be all over this kind of thing, I would have thought.

        Also, is it common to buy underwear with the S, M, L system? All mine have a size label, because everyone’s ass is a different size and shape, I thought this was the case everywhere…

        I probably put too much effort into looking for conversion charts over this, but EL James is so vague on the major details like Christian’s job that these weirdly specific nuggets of useless information really stick out and demand analysis.

        And it sure saves me from thinking about all the creepy rapist stuff in this chapter.

        1. Fruit of the Loom and Hanes both do numbers that aren’t actual sizes and then I think sometimes switch when they go into plus sizes into 2x and what not. Which I’m not sure about because I don’t wear the same size in underwear as in pants or anything else. But in Hanes/FOTL, an 8 is like 14/16, a 9 is like a 16/18.

          I know other plus sized people who have to go to Lane Bryant, or Torrid or the like for undies, though, and stores like that, I think they’re more likely to have numbers for sizes that correspond with the actual size of your clothes.

          Ana’s size 4 pants could be an underwear size 4 or 5, but it’s hard to guess that looking at someone. I think this is another reason this whole deal doesn’t really work – how do you know what cut of underwear someone likes? Or how tight they like them?

          /rambled creepily about underwear for way too long.

    3. Eh… the numbers thing does happen in America, especially with expensive/fancier clothes (i.e., the clothes Chedward would be familiar with, but probably not the clothes Anna would be wearing… and I highly doubt Chedward would be able to translate female sizes to the perfect number size) and pants. Generally, this is how the lettering breaks down to numbers (with variation in brand, style, etc, as women’s clothing is sized by voodoo and dark magic no matter what style of sizing is used):
      XS: 0-2
      S: 4-6
      M: 8-10
      L: 12-14
      XL: 14-16
      XXL/2x: either 16-18 or 18-20

      ….actually, now that I think about it, it’s not even necessarily the expensive clothes that’re sized with numbers. Jeans almost always are, as are dressier slacks. Shirts and dresses and things like that tend to only be sized with numbers when they’re more expensive brands, sure, but… yeah. At least that’s how it is here in the NE US. ^ ^;;

      1. 2x can also be 20/22 or even 22/24 depending on the brand. A lot of my 2x’s are 20/22s or 22/24s. Which is why I can wear both Old Navy’s XXL and 2x clothes, but they fit quite differently usually. (Actually, I have one thing of XXL pants and a 1x pant because that pant runs really large. Hahaha thanks Old Navy you’re awesome. Really.)

        I think the rule of thumb, in my experience of wearing 2x clothes, is “straight size” XXL or 2xs are generally 18/20, “true” plus sizes like you’d get at stores with a specific plus range and not “tacked on” plus sizes are 20/22. Exceptions vary, obviously, but that’s my experience in buying and wearing clothing in the 2x range.

        Otherwise, like, if your 2x is 16/18, your 3x is 18/20, your 4x is only 22/24, and you get the case of 4xs running VERY small, and highly excluding actual people who actually wear 4x clothes. (Probably why I do have some 4x shirts that fit me well.) A 4x should really be more like between sizes 26 and 30, though. From what I know of my 4x friends, generally they assume a 4x is around a 26 to 28.


    4. And sock sizes? No American womens’ sock is sized! Mostly they’re labeled 6 – 11, which means they will fit women’s shoe size 6 to size 11; smaller than that is a children’s size; if a woman has larger feet, they have to make do with men’s socks)

      1. *raises size 10 foot owning hand* If a sock is labelled 9-11, it’ll usually fit me okay. Anything like 6-9 or that starts with a smaller number than 9, I’m probably gonna wear through them in like a minute and a half if they fit at all.

    5. Additionally, for most women size of the shirt is a starting point, and not enough to go on by itself. How long is the shirt? How tailored around the middle? How much does it stretch? How low is the neckline? Similar thing with pants – how’s the hip-to-waist ratio? How much space in the butt? What’s the length of the crotch? Even jeans, which usually let you choose both the waist and the inseam length, are still hugely variable. I’ve got a friend who wears nominally the same size I do, but she’s more one-size-all-the-way-down where I’m of the bubble-butt variety. We cannot wear each others’ pants.

      1. Thiiiiiiiiiis. I can’t just jump into any old brand of shirt or pants in the same size and have it fit right. I spent a couple of years trying to find jeans that really fit right after my old favorites started to wear out. Also, since I’m a bit tall, I often have to make sure I buy a specified “tall” or get a brand that has to be taken up by almost everyone. Ana probably doesn’t have that problem but she still has her own curvature to fit. And shirts? If Ana is built small but a bit stacked, she’s also probably found just the right cut of shirt that has room for breasts but isn’t overly large and unflattering (shoulder seams falling off the shoulder, overly long, etc.).

        Number sizes are all well and good but they REALLY don’t tell the whole story. If my husband bought me something fitted and non-stretchy in a size he read on the tags of my clothes, he might get lucky and find a fit, but the chances are not good.

        1. It’s very simple. Chedward knows her sizes because he is RHETT FREAKIN’ BUTLER:
          On Rhet and Scarlett’s honeymoon:
          “More exciting than the people she met were the frocks Rhett bought her, superintending the choice of colors, materials and designs himself.”
          Earlier, when Rhett runs some satin for Maebelle Merriweather’s wedding gown past a blockade:
          “He not only brought Maybelle the satin but he was able to give excellent hints on the making of the wedding dress. Hoops in Paris were wider this season and skirts were shorter. They were no longer ruffled but were gathered up in scalloped festoons, showing braided petticoats beneath. He said, too, that he had seen no pantalets on the streets, so he imagined they were “out.” Afterwards, Mrs. Merriwether told Mrs. Elsing she feared that if she had given him any encouragement at all, he would have told her exactly what kind of drawers were being worn by Parisiennes.
          “Had he been less obviously masculine, his ability to recall details of dresses, bonnets and coiffures would have been put down as the rankest effeminacy. “

      2. UGH, you’re so right. I had to say, “Well, my size depends on where I’m standing in the store.” ever since I started buying clothes for myself (my mom liked to buy larger clothes believing that they’d shrink one day, or provide me hand-me-downs of t-shirts and dresses which were way too big).

        I live in the UK at the mo’, and I find myself either being a size 12, 14, or 16 at M & S, and shirt sizes 10-14 (and bra sizes ranging from 34D, to 36C in the same damn store. I gave up shopping by myself and always had to ask for a bra-fitter). I hear people suffer the same in the US, because shops typically don’t seem to look at whether their sizing makes any sense (and whether it changes during the course of the year). Plus, I hear that some stores get different sizes depending on the brand that they sell (such as the ‘limited’ collections compared to the rest of the clothes in the same store). So Chedward’s safer in just getting an extra size just in case (and forget about the fucking bra, why the hell is he bothering to look at it?!).

    6. Also, why is he so specific with everything else and guesses at her bra size? At this point he’s already crossed the line with increasing her, just go a little further and check the tag on her bra!

      Or he’s going for the oh-so-casual “dude I’m hooking up with a girl with a great rack”

      1. I’d assumed that he checked the tags on her clothes for her sizes (after removing them) but had to guess at the size for her underwear.

        I know it’s not mentioned in the (direct, first-person) text, but it’s entirely possible that James just assumed that we’d make the logical connection.

    7. Some business attire shirts do come in the 2/4/6/etc. type of sizing, but I think it’s definitely less common.

      And I think a 34C would probably fit into a size 4. I am a 34DD and I typically fit into size small tops or if we’re using the numbers either a size 2 or 4 depending on the brand. Though I normally avoid button up shirts because they tend to be tighter and less forgiving and it looks awkward around the chest area. But I don’t think a C cup would have that problem as much.

    8. In modern sizing. a size 4 would be closer to an extra small shirt, maybe a small. I can fit into most mediums and am definitely NOT a size 4! But I can’t do button-downs. They only ones that fit my boobs are way too big everywhere else. A knit/stretchy T-shirt kind of shirt would probably work, though, with 34Cs. it isn’t as huge as it sounds.

    9. Working in retail, there ARE some shirts that come in number sizes. Small is 4/6, Medium is 8/10, Large is 12/14, and XL is 16. They’re usually shirts that are less stretchy and don’t have a lot of give, so they need more precise labeling. THAT part isn’t totally weird.

      I think when I was a 34C I wore a dress size 12, which is a large. My bust didn’t it in anything smaller. Buttons would pop.

      According to this site, she’d probably have to wear a size 12 if your bra size to inches conversion is correct.

    10. As someone who is a size 4 with 34C boobs, I would like to say that shirts fit better than you might think, haha! And yeah, 4 is in the S-M range, mediums tend to fit me better.

    11. Canadians, too. At least some of us. I call tops with buttons all the way down, blouses, especially if they’re for business or dressing up. I call the men’s ones dress shirts. Everything else is a shirt (unless it’s a sweater or a sweatshirt lol)

  6. I’d only ever seen Converse sold in men’s sizes, so I lol’d imagining petite Ana with flipper feet. (Apologies to anyone who actually is 5’4″ and wears a US women’s size 9 in shoes.)

    It appears that I’m roughly Ana-sized, but two inches taller. I can’t imagine that she’d actually be as waifish as he obsesses over, given that. With those measurements, she’s pretty healthy and average. Maybe making her a size 0 was a bridge too far for the fantasy?

      1. A 34″ bust is a UK size 10. So what on earth is going on with these clothes here is anyone’s guess. He must be ordering them from British Home Stores. :)

    1. I like to think she has an average ribcage and pelvis, but everything else is concave and skeletal to compensate and keep her weight low.

      1. I think I need a sketch artist’s rendition of Ana based on this, now.

        “So she’s short with a nice rack and big feet. But skinny. Like, hella skinny.”

        “But she’s got boobs?”

        “Oh, of course! But absolutely no body fat anywhere else.”


        1. Thing is, the idea that all breasts are mostly fat is a misconception. Some women’s breast size will vary wildly with weight gains and losses, but I, for example, have breasts made mostly of mammary tissue instead of fat. I can gain and lose a ton of weight and while the band size changes, if you compare the cups on my various bras, they are all the same size. My breasts do not change sizes with weight fluctuations.

          At my smallest, when I was young and very thin (smaller than Ana based on the description), I was a 34C. I went up a cup size when I had my daughter and never lost it, but I remained a 34 until I gained weight.

          1. Generally, with each band size you change, you also gain or lose half a cup. Hence, sister sizes. A 32D will be slightly smaller in the cup than a 34D, for instance.

          2. Actually, Laina, you misunderstood what I was saying. If you cut the cups out of my 38, 36 and 34-band bras and put them inside each other, you will find they are all the same size. My actual breast size doesn’t change. And mammograms have confirmed that my breasts have very little fat in them.

            As for sister sizes, that has NEVER worked for me. As far as my body is concerned, there is no such thing.

          3. When bras bands get bigger, the cup size gets bigger. When bra bands get smaller, the cup size gets smaller. It’s how bras are made. Either you don’t notice because it’s not a big change, being about half a cup, or you adjust for that. I’m just trying to figure out what you mean here.

            But you’re right, every time I engage you, you are insulting and rude. Forgot not to do that!

          4. This is what I am saying: “If you cut the cups out of my 38, 36 and 34-band bras and put them inside each other, you will find they are all the same size.”

            I thought it was pretty clear the first time.

            My breasts, the things you could actually pick up and hold in your hands, do not get bigger as my band size increases (due to fat around my back and rib cage), nor do they get smaller as I lose said fat. They changed size once, when I was pregnant, and remained that size. I do not have fatty breasts. I have actual medical tests that show that. I realize you have an extremely narrow view of how women’s bodies work, so this may be difficult for you to understand, but I’m not sure how much more clear I can be about it.

            You have repeatedly attacked me over innocent statements that don’t jive with your aforementioned narrow view. That tends to put me in a not-so-good mood.

          5. I wasn’t saying your breasts changed. I was saying BRAS change, and asking if you adjusted by changing cup size when your band changed, i.e. going down a cupsize to compensate when your band size became larger. Because GENERALLY when a band size gets larger, so does the cup size OF THE BRA, so you either end up needing to compensate, or end up with too much room in the bra.

            It has nothing to do with your body, as bodies can be very, very different, but with BRAS, because that is GENERALLY how they are made, which you can find from many sources if you don’t believe me. I don’t understand how you aren’t getting that I’m saying BRAS are GENERALLY made to change cup volume when the band size changes.

          6. Because I was responding to this:

            “But she’s got boobs?”

            “Oh, of course! But absolutely no body fat anywhere else.”

            Which has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re saying.

          7. When people have conversations, often they’ll discuss related things that are not EXACTLY about what you start with. You started talking about about bra bands, I added in an interesting fact about bra bands that not everyone knows. You took it as a personal attack for some gods only know why reason, I am quitting trying to continue any attempt at conversation.

            Apparently this is how it ends.

    2. I’ve five foot two and a half and I wear a women’s size 10!!!!! And sometimes I could use a wide 10 at that.

      *sigh* I should have gotten more height for that foot size.

      1. I’m 5’2″ and an 8.5 shoe size. My friend is the same height and wears a size 3, she gets to buy cheaper shoes and its so not fair.

    3. I haven’t read the article you linked, because it would make me so angry, but I say HELL NO to the idea that you can’t criticize a woman’s writing. It’s goddamn patronizing to think that a female writer needs to be coddled and protected from criticism. If I ever was published, I’d want people to review me honestly (and also, I’d be pissed if my books ever got shelved as “women’s fiction”). Also, it’s not true at all that people overlook misogyny in other books and in movies and TV shows. If you look at current movie reviews, you’ll see a lot of discussion about sexism (specifically in Pixels and Straight Outta Compton).

      I’ll acknowledge that sometimes people are far harsher on works about female fantasies than they are on works about male fantasies. The Kingkiller Chronicles are currently in second and third place on Goodreads’ highest rated books, and they’re absolutely ridiculous wish-fulfillment power fantasies that make Twilight look restrained. However, this doesn’t give EL James a free pass to write such a misogynist series.

      “I stop and bite my tongue. Kavanagh wasn’t worried about her being out here with the overamorous photographer. Rodriguez. That’s his name. What kind of friend is she?”

      Why the emphasis on his name being “Rodriguez”? If this was any other author, I would think nothing of it…. but since it’s EL James, I’m wondering if this is more of her subconscious racism.

        1. I haven’t read it myself, but from the negative reviews on Goodreads I was reading earlier today, the major problem is the hero is so perfect that he can’t fail, which obliterates any potential tension in the conflicts he faces. (If you know your anime, it’s the same criticism aimed at the main character of The Irregular at Magic High School.) All of which is made more annoying by the self-aggrandizing first person narration of his exploits. Plus, the author relegates the female characters to one-dimensional love interest roles.

        2. The main character, Kvothe, is one of the worst Gary-Stus I’ve ever encountered. I ran him through the Universal Mary-Sue Litmus Test and got 126 points (a bad Mary-Sue is 50 points and above). He’s a teenage genius, he’s the best wizard, and almost everyone loves him except for a teacher and a rival who unfairly persecute him because he makes them look foolish. He picks up a secret writing code in a few minutes and new languages in a day. While he’s still at wizard school, he becomes the subject of legends and people start attributing god-like powers to him.

          IMO, it doesn’t become truly ridiculous until the second book. The plot gets put aside for over 100 pages so Kvothe can learn magic sex skills from a fairy woman. She’s the MOST BEAUTIFUL woman in the world, and she puts men under mind control and fucks all her lovers to death, except Kvothe, because he’s just that SPECIAL. And despite being a virgin when he meets the beautiful fairy woman, she tells him he’s so good in bed that she didn’t consider he might have been a virgin. This goes on for ELEVEN CHAPTERS. There’s absolutely no impact on the rest of the story, except that Kvothe gets a magic gift from her and goes off to fuck every other woman he meets. Bear in mind that he’s FIFTEEN, yet he’s sleeping with women twice his age. Later in the same book, the plot is put aside for 200 pages so he can master elite martial-arts and swordfighting skills from a group that never teaches outsiders. He quickly becomes better than the masters who’ve been practicing for decades. They also give him a magic gift. Now Kvothe has fulfilled all the male power fantasies. As A. Noyd says, there’s no tension at all because the readers know that Kvothe will succeed in everything he does. And the series is quite sexist too.

          1. I added this book to my currently-reading list on Goodreads on the 18th January. Two days ago I updated my progress to 41%. Admittedly I’ve not been trying too hard with it, but dear gods it’s hard going. When I realised I was only that far through it, my first thought was “really? But barely anything’s happened!”

            …Based on your comments, I don’t think I’ll bother with the second.

    4. Not to derail the sizing debate here, but why the hell is this fucker buying her new shoes? She leaned over some azaleas to horf up all that alcohol (that frankly should have been causing blood alcohol poisoning at that point). Her upper body was leaned away from her lower body, and you’d think that the flowers and the brick flower bed they were in would have caught most of it. What the hell? James makes her sound like her vomit so projectile that we should be picturing Linda Blair up in there. The shoes should have been fine. At most there may have been a tiny bit of back spatter that could be easily handled with a quick rag scrub. I didn’t notice it in the first set of recaps, because Ana was being so all-a-flustered by the lingerie that you couldn’t notice how stupid everything else is. I was too busy being annoyed that she was going anywhere but a hospital with the types of symptoms she was displaying and horrified that he had legally kidnapped her.
      Also, I can’t help but feel that James missed a golden opportunity for him to “legitimately” stalk Ana, in the form of returning her clothes. Speaking of which, does she ever get those back, or does he just conveniently forget about them as part of his ‘redressing her to his own tastes’ campaign?

  7. Yep, still a gross creep. Not actually surprised that Elliot looks even worse from this side…

    I’ve seen a lot of the same response to criticism in fanfic circles, calling critiques and the MSTing of fan stuff out as anti-feminist and anti-fandom. Statistically speaking yes, any given fanfic is probably written by someone non-dudely, but the point of those critiques wasn’t to target a single person, but terrible tropes and poor writing.

  8. Now I got a mental image of an ass with eyes. It’s hilarible.

    “I end the call and turn up the music. Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.”

    Okay, I’ve never heard of The Verve. But even with your comment about it not being blistering hard rock, I should point out that Grey thinks it is and thus is deliberately playing it knowing it could wake up his brother who’s trying to sleep.


    “And I want to know how you fail to live up to a parent’s expectations when you’re literally the richest man in the world and you’re feeding starving children in Africa. What the fuck did daddy Grey expect?”

    I think this is ELJ trying to cover her ass and failing miserably. See, a lot of critics probably pointed out that the Greys aren’t really as bad as Chedward was making them out to be. Quite the opposite; they seemed to be very loving. So in order to keep her “hero’s” troubled past intact, she threw in lines about how Chedward was such a disappointment to his father and how they fight a lot.

    “It’s just before 7:00–she must have received the books by now. The thought depresses me: I’ve come all the way to Portland on a wild-goose chase again.”

    It occurs to me how much ELJ uses “The thought Xs me” a lot rather than going into the characters’ actual thoughts and is basically a way of having them announce how they feel. The thought irks me.

    “There’s some indie crap thumping over the sound system and the dance floor is crowded with heaving bodies.”

    So apparently, according to another recap going on, indie music is big in Portland. So ELJ is insulting the demographics of the area. Joy.

    “Well, let’s see if Miss Kavanagh is as loyal to her friend as Ana is to her.”

    ‘It turns out she isn’t; she keeps trying to make Ana stay away from me! Clearly, she is a horrible bitch who must be cut away from Ana! Along with Ana’s family, friends, and anyone she had a ten-minute conversation with!’

    “It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.”

    Oh my God. This is straight out of “Growing Up Cullen.” Next thing you know, he’s going to have something to keep an eye on Ana when she sleeps and alert him to any irregularities because she might turn onto her stomach and suffocate herself.

    The whole thing you described with how an actual PTSD reaction should be written reminds me of a fanfic where one of the characters often reacts violently when his wrists are touched because they were held down while he was raped. Naturally, it was a lot better than this crap and I’ll be reading that after finishing this.

    And replaying the songs from the “Sense and Sensibility” musical in my head thanks to your comment about Colonel Brandon and Marianne.

    Yeah, ELJ? If the hero is more concerned about his car than the girl passed out drunk in it, that’s not a good sign. Especially when said-hero is stupid rich and could probably pay for cleaning the interior in a few minutes.

    “The stale stench of vomit pervades the space. I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety.

    And this isn’t?”

    To quote a reviewer I follow “what I’m doing is wrong, I know it’s wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway!”

    “She’s been marked since then…like me.”

    And now she’s CRAWWWLIIIING IN MYYYYYY SKIIIIIIN! *plays song at full-volume*

    “Before I check my emails I text Welch, asking him to see if José Rodriguez has any police records.”

    Because that’s totally not creepy and stalkerish.

    1. The Verve’s most famous song is “Bittersweet Symphony.” You’d have trouble NOT sleeping through it. Although Chedward might like the video, which involves a guy walking down the street, oblivious to others, but using his body to walk right through them, because shoving them out of his way with his hand or elbows would be acknowledging their existence.

      1. It was most famously used in the movie Cruel Intentions, which is a modern high school retelling of Dangerous Liaisons. It’s the song they play at the end, when Katharine gets caught with her drugs and her burn book and Reese WItherspoon is driving off in Sebastian’s car.

    2. Reply to Sam Beringer:

      I think instances of “The thought is _________” should be added to the drinking game.

    3. Pretty sure Colonel Brandon DOESN’T carry Marianne. (Mr. Fucking Willoughby does.) Brandon just longs for her like a creeper, thanks to her resemblance to his first love/sister-in-law.

      Sorry, I know that’s pedantic. But I will never, ever miss a chance to complain about the total failure of the romantic storylines in ‘Sense and Sensibility’.

      1. Willoughby caries her after she messes up her ankle, in one film version Brandon carries her back when she gets sick in the rain, but haven’t read book in a while.
        Alan Rickman was WAY too hot for Brandon. Couldn’t believe Marianne preferred Eric Wise to him, just lost me any sympathy for her.

    4. “It occurs to me how much ELJ uses “The thought Xs me” a lot rather than going into the characters’ actual thoughts and is basically a way of having them announce how they feel. The thought irks me.”

      The same goes for how she uses Ana’s subconscious and inner goddess and Christian’s cock (“my cock agrees”) instead of actually writing how the character feels. It’s fucking annoying, and it shows what a piss-poor writer she is. There are so many amateur mistakes in her writing – using the same descriptions over and over, describing the fucking walls and floor and the fucking color of the spanking bench in Christian’s sex dungeon like she’s writing copy for a furniture catalogue, writing out conversations and emails in excruciating detail, using euphemisms for body parts in an erotic story. I don’t know why people are paying for these books and reading the same garbage over and over again.

  9. Not only is this creepy as hell, but now he’s getting bras wrong! 34C = approx. 34 inches around the underbust, and Ana’s supposed to be a delicate waifling. Maybe he thinks it’s an exotic punishment to give her a band that rides up to her neck.

    1. I thought about this, since most women wear the wrong size in the US. She might be a 28 band with huge boobs wearing a sister size?

      1. If only. You know EL wrote it so that Christian is just that great he got her measurements perfectly just by looking.

        Which of course means EL knows nothing about bra sizes and body proportions in general.

  10. Goddamnit, ELJ. Elliot was one of the few semi-tolerable characters in this trainwreck of a series. (Seeing as how he and Kate actually seemed to communicate and share decisions and shit. And he seemed to even express concern for Ana a few times.) He had douchey moments, but they seemed like fairly normal for his age-group insensitive jerk moments. Why did you have to ruin him?

    I think for my own sanity, I’m just going to assume that Elliot was too busy flirting with Kate to notice that Ana was literally unconscious and just figured his brother was being a melodramatic asshole as usual.

    This will probably get disproven in a chapter or so, but a little denial goes a long way.

    1. Actually, he never knew that Ana passed out. Neither did Kate. I was confused by the conflict in the action about what I thought I remembered from the first recaps and what was happening in this scene, so I had to track down a bootleg copy of 50 Shades (I know, I know. I don’t approve of pirating in a generalized sense either, but in this case that vague disapproval is very firmly countered by, “FUCK YOU, E.L. James, you will NEVER have my money!”)
      So what actually happens, at least in the Writer’s Coffee House version, is that she insists on going to speak to Kate. He drags her inside, gets her some water, drags her to dance across the floor to where they are, and then he gets close enough to Elliot to yell something in his ear. Elliot smiles at whatever Christian says and pulls Kate into his arms. I’m going with the theory that he’s happy his brother is finally going to openly get laid, so the family can stop worrying he’s gay? He relays whatever bullshit message Christian handed him. Kate grins and waves at Ana, presumably because they aren’t actually close enough to talk and because she was probably told that Ana has boning plans for Christian. And then Christian drags Ana away, while she frets over not getting a chance to actually speak to Kate directly like she had wanted to.
      Here is the direct quote from the book:
      She nods at whatever Elliot says and grins at me and waves. Christian propels us off the dance floor in double quick time.
      But I never got to talk to her. Is she okay?I can see where things are heading for her and him.
      I need to do the safe-sex lecture. In the back of my mind, I hope she reads one of the posters on the back of the toilet doors. My thoughts crash through my brain, fighting the drunk, fuzzy feeling. It’s so warm in here, so loud, so colorful – too bright. My head begins to swim, oh no… and I can feel the floor coming up to meet my face or so it feels. The last thing I hear before I pass out in Christian Grey’s arms is his harsh epithet.

      So what we see is that Kate is never fully aware of the true situation, and frankly neither is Elliot. Christian herds her away after a brief check in with only his brother who has no reason to question Christian’s plan to take the roommate of the girl he is macking on home, and this happens in the middle of a dance floor where Elliot is distracted by his own plan for hooking up with Kate. Then Christian “propels her away” from them. We can assume by their lack of concern the next morning, that they were completely unaware that Ana ever lost consciousness.

      So take heart. Kate and Elliot may retain the title of decent human beings in the healthiest depiction of a romantic relationship in this series.

      1. “I need to do the safe-sex lecture”? From the chick who hasn’t masturbated, doesn’t know how contraception works, and not only doesn’t own a computer but barely knows how to use one?

        If Ana had a lick of sense, she’d be asking Kate for advice, not presuming to dispense it. But then, if Ana had a lick of sense, we’d have no plot.

        1. Haha, yeeeaaah, the safe-sex observation in the middle of this scene is probably there to make her seem like a responsible and caring friend (unlike Kate who is too busy being a slutty slut to spare a moment for her sweet and innocent roommate), but it just serves yet another moment of stupidity that adds to the awareness of my own capacity of incandescent levels of rage. Her ignorance of sex is exactly what allows him to continue to abuse and assault her under the guise of a BDSM relationship. I can’t wait to see how EL James justifies Christian’s rape of Ana in Chapter 12.

        2. Haha, I thought the *same thing.* Ana giving “the safe sex lecture” seems akin to an aging, virgin celibate nun teaching sex ed. You know how fun those types are on a wild night out!

          1. “Woohoo! Take it off!”
            *Ana shyly takes off her nun’s habit before diving back under it and using it to hide her face.*

            Lol. It’s a strange mental image, but surprisingly eloquent one for the wrongness of that particular line of the book.

  11. “She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs”

    “After they had all gone my Lo said ugh, closed her eyes, and dropped into a chair with all four limbs starfished to express the utmost disgust and exhaustion and swore it was the most revolting bunch of boys she had ever seen.”

    OH no, EEL James, you are NOT gonna rip off sick but brilliant narrator Humbert Humbert for your sick but, um, REALLY sick Chedward.

  12. I just want to projectile vomit all over this series.

    Also, please let that Rihanna pic come back for the other updates. I’m sure it will be relevant many times over.

  13. I do agree with that article about one thing — it’s crazy to criticize E.L. on her appearance. (There’s plenty in her actual work to criticize). That is something that happens annoyingly often to female writers/politicians/CEOs/doctors/lawyers/any other vocation that may be noticed publicly that has zero to do with looks or clothes. I’m not on board with “be nice and never criticize anything a woman does” but I could get behind “leave clothes, makeup, and looks out of it if those things are irrelevant and wouldn’t be mentioned if it were a man.”

    1. The looks comments always come from trolls though, and not real critics who have issue with the product/ideas. Those people would make those comments regardless of the merit of the books. The article erroneously fails to acknowledge that majority of critics of the series have a problem with James’s books not because of her looks, but because, despite her intentions, her books romanticize very abusive behavior and it’s wrong.

      1. Except that defenders tend to lump trolls and critics together. It doesn’t matter that one group is a bunch of a-holes and the other is explaining in a rational manner why something is problematic; what matters is that they’re saying bad things about something the defenders like.

  14. Glad you’re back with recaps!

    Also, the more references to The Last Unicorn you can work in, the happier I’ll be. HYPE for that sheeeeeyittttt!

  15. Others have pointed out a lot of the problems with the “Be Nice” stuff, but another thing that drives me nuts about it is the exclusionary stance. I hate it when people do this. A person can say 50SOG is a misogynistic POS book and still feel there are other shitty misogynistic things in the world. Not saying that second part doesn’t mean you’re criticizing 50SOG as the only sexist thing in the world ever.

    1. Good point. Also when people are like “Why are you wasting your time caring about a, when x, y, and z are going on and that’s MUCH WORSE!” Well, I can care about more than one thing at a time. I can address little things while still being aware of, and concerned for, the larger problems in life.

      1. “Why are you wasting your time caring about a, when x, y, and z are going on and that’s MUCH WORSE!”

        I hate this argument so much. “Why are you complaining about a BOOK when there’s children starving in Somalia?” And it always comes from people who don’t give two shits about world issues unless they’re using them to berate people for complaining about things they like.

  16. Ok, at the comment about an asshole in the mirror staring back at him, all I could think of was this guy from Ugly Americans (and I really hope the image shows up):

  17. The Riddler picture made me happy. :)

    “Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.” I laughed so hard. Sometimes if I can’t go to sleep I play Metallica. It works.

    And I would point out that Ana’s figure is very rare and makes her sound like an anime girl…

  18. I love love love love love that picture from The Last Unicorn. You are wonderful, and I’ve missed this so much. I have missed Abed, too.

  19. …he can find size 7 socks? Is that like a small foot thing because I only ever find 9-11 (size 10 yo).

    So Elliot bleats and has a sharp dick. I’m TERRIFIED here.

  20. The whole “be nice” thing is a particular bugbear of mine; honestly it pisses me right off, especially in the context of something like 50 Shades. Let’s stand back a moment and look at exactly what that writer is saying we should be nice about shall we? At bottom 50 Shades is a nasty tale of stalking and abuse dressed up as romance. As has often been said the only difference between 50 and an episode of Criminal Minds is Christian’s bank balance. The text is chock full of awful stereotypes about women; from the near endless slut shaming of the one female character with a back bone (Kate) to the awfulness of trotting out the “I’m such a virginy virgin I haven’t even touched myself at 21″. The inate linking of this trope with ‘twu luv’ rage pisses me off too; stacked as it is with the implication that only ‘good girls’ (who is that btw? Who decided the criteria and would they like to take a fucking seat?) deserve love. In the first book we saw that Christian is a truly awful person and James totally doubles down on this in Grey whilst pedaling a version of BDSM that (in my admittedly limited knowledge) appears to bear little resemblance to the real thing and is far closer to sleazy non-con than it is to the truth of a Dom/Sub relationship.

    All this was written by a woman. A woman who then went on to shut down abuse survivors, pedal a line of sex toys off the back of her ‘version of BDSM’ and who has shown herself to be highly resistant to anything going vaguely in the direction of criticism and that writer wants me to be nice about it? NOT TODAY SATAN. If anything the place this book has achieved in the collective (albeit Western) consciousness means that it should be called out and questioned more loudly. Yes an awful lot of the media we consume is problematic; particularly in its depiction of women but very little media reaches the saturation point that 50 achieved and anyway here’s a novel thought: I as a sentient human being, am totally capable of thinking critically about more than one thing at one time. Examining a media phenomenon doesn’t automatically exclude every other problematic text out there ffs. As for that rather patronizing implication that those of us who criticize this book justify it by saying its for EL James’ own good? Well no actually. If it was for anyone’s benefit it was my own first and foremost; a way to deal with the rage inducing experience of reading these towering piles of crap. *rant over*

    1. damn, go IN

      Completely agree though, except that I didn’t read these books, just Jenny’s recaps (only way that they are tolerable imo). Still, they’re so pervasive that you don’t even *need* to actually read them to be offended by them, reading them just shuts down the “but how can you critique if you didn’t read every word???” set. But on the flip side, then you get the “if you don’t like, don’t read!” set so critics are pretty much in a Catch-22, lol. So we’re supposed to read something in order to criticize it but if we don’t like it then we have to not read it, but how do we know if we like it or not if we don’t read it? Ahh, defender logic.

  21. Hahaha, he’s going to have just one bra delivered in an estimated size? Any chance of that working out is a total fantasy.

    An actually smart filthy rich dude would have about fifty different bras delivered because that’s how many it takes to try on before you find one that fits enough it doesn’t make you want to rip it off immediately and strangle a puppy with it in frustration.

    1. I honestly feel like for this bit James just googled shit like “What’s a skinny clothing size? What’s a relatively large boob size for a skinny girl? What’s an average shoe size? Do I really have to look up something about sock sizes?”

    2. No kidding! I needed new bras recently and I tried on several styles in the same size. Some were way too big and others wouldn’t fit around my back. WTH!

  22. Holy shit, aside from the shoes I’m basically the same size as her (and I agree with Sunniegreen, as I’m technically a 30DD but I tend to wear 34Cs because there aren’t many stores that stock 30DDs) And also she’s a little taller than me. But seriously. Now I know why I didn’t want to go brunette…

  23. Poor Kate. Chedward is acting like Ana’s got terminal cancer and Kate’s replaced her chemo with Foldger’s crystals. From what Jame’s has told us, Kate and Ana are out at a local bar during graduation, presumably full of friends and aquaintances. As Ana didn’t drink much before this, and Kate is not actually paid to be Ana’s nanny, it makes sense that Kate might not realize how drunk Ana is. If Ana is that inexperienced, she might have been fine the last time Kate saw her and then the liquor hit hard and fast. And Kate knows that Ana is with Jose, who, as far as we know, is a friend to both of them who has never pulled any shit like this before so it’s not like Kate is not justified in thinking Ana’s safe and Jose’s taking care of her.

    Not following your adult-ass friend around a local bar every second of the night =/= disloyalty. Really, the only disloyal thing Kate did was not call the cops when Chedward kidnapped Ana.

    1. Him thinking she may have a drinking problem also made me kind of furious.

      I know alcoholism is a problem (and I’m grateful to Jenny for writing about it) and denial is a thing, but most people are not alcoholics.
      Ana is in her early 20s. She has just graduated and is celebrating. It’s perfectly normal for her to get drunk.
      Thinking of sending her to a detox clinic because she got drunk on a graduation party seems extreme.

  24. In Gavin DeGraw’s “The Gift of Fear” (a must-read), he talks about how women are exhorted to “be nice’ and it often leads them into danger. He made a distinction between “niceness” and kindness. Niceness is basically a social strategy, not a character trait or something inherent to a person. Kindness is a character trait and its expressed and proven through one’s actions. Niceness requires no such thing. All niceness requires is that you tell one what they want to hear and do whatever you need to do to further your agenda, whatever it is. When someone is “nice” they usually have an ulterior motive or at the very least they’re not being entirely honest or are withholding.
    If “niceness” dictates that I must keep my opinion with regard to sick, dangerous misogynistic messages in brainless “books”, then no, I will not be “nice”

    1. I learned about that book on this blog. It’s excellent, and I’ve lent it to loads of people since. Highly recommended.

    2. I love that book.

      I wish that whenever a guy tries to step over your boundaries and gets upset when you won’t let him, (because: how dare you be wary and maybe even scared of him, he’s a nice guy, maybe a little bit socially awkward, which results in creepy behaviour, but he’s definitely not a rapist, he really likes you and could be THE ONE and you should trust him otherwise you’re missing out, which serves you right for being a paranoid bitch) you could just sit him down and have him read the first chapter. That’s basically the worst case scenario for women when we are ‘nice.’

    3. Yeah, there’s a world of difference between “nice” and “kind”, “decent”, “compassionate” etc.

      I’m not a nice person, I won’t lie to make people happy. I’m told it is one of my worst qualities. I don’t want to be “nice”, so I refuse to change my terrible ways :)

    4. I wish that 50 Shades (and many other books) came packaged with a copy of The Gift of Fear. If your gut is telling you that someone isn’t trustworthy and might be dangerous, then you should trust your gut (I don’t literally mean your gut, but the part of your brain that unconsciously picks up subtle cues in body language and voice).

    5. Tiny quibble, the author or The Gift of Fear is Gavin De Becker. He also has another really good book called Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)

  25. Uuuuuugh, I can’t believe that I’m going to defend the Eel, but…

    “What the fuck?” is a question.

    Technically it is, due to it starting with a question word. However, in this case (and I think most cases) it works more as an interjection despite the “what,” which means that there’s no required punctuation to end it. Instead, the punctuation tells readers what tone it’s meant to be read in – just like the differences between “way to go!,” “way to go?,” and “way to go.” in tone (preaching to the choir, I know, I know…).

    Of course, Chedward goes with the annoyed/exasperated tone instead of being questioning or confused. Because he’s an asshole who’s first line of defense is exasperation and a short temper, rather than trying to actually understand other people’s actions. Gods damn this series. x.x

  26. Funny how Christian *asks* Taylor to bring up the car. He makes (sometimes unreasonable) demands to every other employee, but is almost respectful to Taylor.

  27. I just want to say that I am already pissed off by the title of that article being, “Women Know Your Place,” first off who the fuck are you to tell me what my place is? No one gets to tell my what my place is EXCEPT FOR ME! Also I know she has to be talking about like James Patterson and maybe like John Grisham (though there are certainly plenty of others who fit that mold), but I find it completely unbelievable that people have never called out James Patterson or those like him for being formulaic or criticized the role of women in his various book series. Also there is a huge difference in genre, how it’s marketed to the public, and so on and so forth but yeah they’re totally the same thing.


    Like how can I take this article seriously when on the one hand we are expected to both be dumb enough never engage in criticism unless of course, “It’ something popular to gossip about,” (quote mine by way of paraphrasing), but on the other hand we are supposed to be canny enough to sniff out the inherent sexism in the way other female authors are treated not by their readers but by the industry. I am rolling my eyes so hard.

    Also yes men aren’t held to the same standard women are, WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN PATRIARCHAL BS SOCIETY WE LIVE IN THAT IS THE DAMN POINT. ALSO I AM DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO BE A NICE TO A WOMAN WHO IS DEFINITELY A BULLY AND HELPS PERPETUATE THAT IDEAL. I am not going to tear into her personally, but I will criticize her writing and the way she treats abuse survivors and the like.

    Alright ending rant, but seriously that article is helping no one.

    Christian Grey continues to be that fucking guy. Urgh, that article though. If only I had a digital bonfire for that article just so I could personally burn it once, god forbid someone accuse me of censorship after all even though I’m not the government.

    1. I have often criticized Patterson. I read ONE of his books and it was awful and I will never pick up another one.

      And he doesn’t even write his books. He puts together an outline and farms it out to ghost writers. I can’t even get through a single chapter of Grisham. But, seriously, neither of them is quite as bad as Eel. I have come across very few professionally published books that sink to that level of awful because before 50, no publishing company would have touched a book that bad.

  28. This may have been in the original series, but I don’t remember Christian owning his brother’s company, or his brother being into environmental housing and stuff.

    The part about Elliot running an environmentally friendly construction company was in FSD, though I don’t recall it being in FSOG. However, Hellspawn doesn’t own it; Elliot does. Elliot just referred to his brother having invested in it.

    Maybe Elliot thought that Ana had woken up? Granted, he knew that Ana was unconscious when his brother left, but Hellspawn said that Ana was with him. A person being “with” someone kind of implies that they were present physically and mentally. Not “she’s unconscious and stripped to her underwear in my bed in my hotel room and I’m lying next to her.” That’s mind-bogglingly creepy.

    1. We actually don’t know that Elliot ever knew Ana was unconscious at all. I don’t know how it’s phrased in Grey, but in 50 Shades Christian speaks to Elliot and then he hustles Ana off the dance floor before she can actually speak with anyone for herself. I posted a fuller quote in another comment, but the relevant line is:

      “Christian propels us off the dance floor in double quick time.”

      So by her own admission, they were off the dance floor when the alcohol really started to hit Ana hard. They were still in the building since the heat and the lights are described as overwhelming, but they wouldn’t necessarily have been nearby anyone who knew Ana enough to question Christian walking out with her in his arms. If Kate and Elliot were in the middle of the dance floor under the strobing lights described earlier and very focused on each other, it’s entirely possible that they aren’t even aware that she lost consciousness to begin with.

      I just don’t think it’s fair that Elliot is being branded as a rapist, or Kate as being a horrible friend because they aren’t more worried about Ana. This is especially true since both of them had to have noticed the two had displayed a sort of chemical interest Christian and Ana had been displaying before they popped up together on the dance floor. So far as we know, the last glimpse they had of her was of Ana possibly dancing with Christian and hanging on to him. In the kind of dance club lighting and high-energy environment, it’s not a guarantee that it would be immediately noticeable that Ana was hanging on to jerkface because she was approaching stupor levels of alcohol rather than because she was really into him.

  29. One of the worst aspects of Tracy Kuhn’s article is that she piggybacks on a genuine problem of women being held to higher standards than men in order to get recognition and on actual discrimination that women face virtually every day at work and elsewhere.

    Sure, it would be wrong if we only criticized women for each and every minor mishandling of sexism while letting everything pass when it comes to men… but that’s not what is going on with 50 Shades. And besides, it’s not like feminists all over the web don’t analyze and criticize misogynistic or sexist parts of movies/books/entertainment that reach great success and are usually made by men (see above about women having difficulties getting recognition for their work).

    1. Preach, friend. I guess in Kuhn’s opinion, you have to make e v e r y article about misogynist entertainment by men or you can’t ever criticize what women make.

  30. I don’t think Christian Grey can be said to be all ‘Working and fucking (as his)… raison d’être.’ We don’t see him put much effort into his work! It seems Elliot is more committed to working.

    1. I don’t think Christian Grey can be said to be all ‘Working and fucking (as his)… raison d’être.’ We don’t see him put much effort into his work! It seems Elliot is more committed to working.

      You’re so right. Christian Grey knows nothing about business and never does any work.

      1) His own PA said in Freed that he had a habit of wandering randomly around the building while he was supposed to be at work.

      2) He told Ana that he had a business meeting in Taiwan but, when asked, had no clue when this meeting was (and ended up not going). Right, because international meetings that employers insist on handling personally aren’t scheduled in advance. Of course he wouldn’t know anything about when he was due to meet businessmen in another country!

      3) He told Ana not to tell anyone that he owned SIP: “The heads of agreement was signed yesterday.”

      According to Investopedia, this is what a heads of agreement is:

      A non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative partnership agreement. Heads of agreement represents the first step on the path to a full legally binding agreement or contract, and serves as a guideline for the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in a potential partnership before any binding documents are drawn up.

      it’s still a NON-BINDING document. The first step on the path to a contract. A guideline to a partnership agreement, not the agreement itself.

      In other words, Hellspawn does NOT own SIP. The people who own SIP have signed an agreement with Hellspawn that does not bind them in any way, saying, “We MIGHT go into partnership with you. MIGHT. We can still change our minds.”

      And he never admits that this is a PARTNERSHIP agreement, not a transfer of ownership.

      4) For that matter, he’s the nominal CEO of a corporation that’s bigger than Microsoft…and he doesn’t know that “Inc.” means “incorporated” and that an incorporated business of that size would, of necessity, have a board of trustees. (It is possible to have an incorporated company with a one-person board, but that’s for sole proprietorships, not for companies of more than 40,000 employees.)

      5) He talks in Darker about “how much nearer he’s getting to perfecting a solar-powered mobile phone.”

      Like the Blue Earth from Samsung in 2009? Or Digicel’s solar phone, also from 2009? Or the X259 from Indian manufacturer Micromax ?

      This is supposed to be his pet project–and he has no idea that he’s two years behind his competition.

      6) He never actually does anything related to running a company. He goes to meetings, shouts at/micromanages his employees, often over the phone, and reads and sends emails. That’s it. I’ve known entry-level clerks that do that. I’ve BEEN the entry-level clerk that does that.

      7) He never has any problem with dropping everything at work to fuck Ana. That’s not how you run a successful company.

      I can think of two more examples, but I’m holding off mentioning them until our spork of Chapter 22 of Freed goes up.

      No matter how often Hellspawn boasts of his skill at business in this book, I will never believe him. I’ve seen his incompetence at business for 3.3 books and the short story “Meet Fifty Shades.” I can’t suspend disbelief when disbelief is all I’ve got.

      1. I enjoyed reading this very much, I really did. Plus, I don’t feel quite as nerdy as I did before, when I posted a lengthy comment about UK clothing which covered both sizing and nomenclature. :)

  31. “Meanwhile we carry on going to see films and read books and watch television programmes that subliminally give out really damaging messages about women and use rape scenes again and again to move a plot forward, but again, who cares about those?”

    The shittest argument ever. Basically, if you can’t critique everything, you should shut up and critique nothing.

    1. I have criticized Game of Thrones for this. The Craster’s Keep episode in season 5 existed for no other reason than to show random rape, female nudity and violence. It did nothing for the story or characters. And I love GOT (well, the books more and the show is starting to annoy, but at the time I did still love the show).

  32. The line about the blouse actually jumped out at me horribly.

    Not only must it be blue, it must specifically be “pretty”. So he’s already taking it upon himself to “improve” her dress sense to his specifications and tastes while she’s unconscious and helpless.

    Guess we should be grateful he got her jeans rather than a more “accessible” skirt, huh? /sarcasm

    1. Hello! First time to comment!
      The “pretty” also got to me, because coming from someone who’s trying to be exact with his orders (which seemed to brag how good he was in details), that description was very subjective. What was “pretty” for him may not be “pretty” for Taylor, nor for Ana. Did he expect that he and Taylor have the same taste in clothes for women? I imagine Taylor rifling through fashion magazines before figuring out which blouse is “pretty”. :)

      1. Of course everyone employed by Grey knows exactly what Grey would consider pretty – they have to be thought readers if they want to keep working from him.

        And of course Ana will find it pretty too. If he tells her the blouse is pretty, then the blouse is pretty.

    2. It’s so weirdly specific while also not at all. Pretty by who’s standards? What kind of blue? Small, but in a loose fit “blouse” or fitted? Can I just get a sack, cut it down the middle and sew some buttons on, paint it TARDIS blue, write an S inside and call it pretty??

  33. I find it funny Christian was blasting The Verve in his car, but then goes on to judge the “indie crap” at the bar. The Verve definitely comes on my Indie Rock pandora station occasionally soooooooo his impeccable taste in music is clearly not worlds apart from the crappy music making him “feel old”.

    Also, it seems like this party is pretty packed and there’s a lot of people dancing, but I don’t recall being to many college parties/bars where people were getting all bump and grind to The Black Keys. That seems like ‘talk loudly to your friends as you play beer pong/pool’ music to me, not so much ‘get busy on the dance floor’ music. But what do I know.

    Finally, that article is trash. I’ve noticed the brand of feminism that says EL James cannot be critiqued because she is a woman has a very strong overlapping Venn diagram with the brand of feminism that says Beyoncé’s not a *real* feminist and Rihanna is a violent misogynist, so there’s that.

    Glad to have a new recap!

  34. This woman’s writing is just so, so, crappy, I can’t even. (That’s my new favorite phrase, “I can’t even.) She writes exclusively in stereotypes without even an atom of a thought going into it. Literally everything that exists in the story is supported by some unrealistic or overexaggerated trope, even if it contradicts what happens earlier or later in the book(s). Elliot and Christian are typical guys, so they make har-de-har talk about clingy, disposable women and getting laid. Christian is a tortured soul, so naturally it’s because he falls short of his father’s expectations. Ana must be a waif of a girl for Christian to carry around and overwhelm, so she has an unrealistic body shape and never eats. And on and on. It’s like the book was written completely on the fly using the first things that popped into the author’s head.

    OT/ Whatever happened to that book/movie deal for the Wattpad One Direction fanfic called After or something like that?

  35. Anaïs Nin wrote amazing erotica. E.L. James doesn’t. That’s not misogyny, Tracy, sweetheart, that’s just a fact.

  36. I have another idea. Why not have a class where they use “The Gift of Fear” and “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft to talk about abuse and the problematic messages in the media and culture about how women are supposed to behave, and perhaps include a lesson on BDSM ethics using something like “The S&M Feminist” by Clarisse Thorne. Everyone has to take a quiz at the end and only those who pass would be allowed to read Fifty Shades, which would come bundled with a copy of “The Boss” so they can start reading that right away, as to try and resuscitate the brain cells that Shitty Shades started to deprive of oxygen. A little over the top, but damn, its a better “over the top” than overwrought fanfic.

    1. I’ve got an idea too. Have them read some classic bodice-rippers by Rosemary Rogers, Laurie McBain, etc, or even have them plow through the proto-rippers, “Gone with the Wind” and “The Fountainhead.” I have been discussing with a friend (male, BTW) why FSOG seems problematic in ways the old kidnapped-by-pirates/highwaymen/Sir-Seduce-a-Slut weren’t, even if the old drugstore rape fantasies had their issues too, and he suggested it was the new wimpy “heroines” that were a good part of the trouble: Viscountess Vixen and Duchess Defiant were always tough cookies who might feel desire for the hero, or rage, preferably both at once, but they were not AFRAID. They sparred with the hero verbally and physically, rather than trying to soothe his anger in classic victim style. To test this theory, I tried to imagine Scarlett or Dominique Francon—two female-created ruthless bitches who thoroughly enjoyed being overpowered (by the right guy—Scarlett doesn’t want to be raped by the guys in Shantytown)–saying the kind of meek crap that Ana does….

      Now try to imagine Scarlett telling Christian he’s an old maid in britches and smacking him, or Dominique saying he’s a duck-waddling whiner…then going off to find a guy who’s REALLY strong, someone who LIKES sassy women, not this loser who needs to dominate spineless women to feel powerful ….

      Reads a lot better, doesn’t it?

      1. And the heroes were strong, too, and basically softies with hard shells. Christian isn’t any of those things. He’s wimpy and gross and creepy.

      2. I think in both of those examples, the circumstances also really underscore the problems in the narrative. Rhett gets fully sober the next morning and is horrified by his own actions. He can’t bear facing Scarlett again and leaves on an extended business trip – even though by the standards of his time and the morality he was raised with, he has done nothing wrong. But he *knows* that he crossed a line and wants to punish himself. If he and Scarlett were able to communicate, the novel wouldn’t be a tragedy. But we know Chedward never once feels remorse for anything he does to Ana.

        In The Fountainhead, Dominique technically never says “Come take me” to Howard Roark… but she does do everything but send him an invitation. It may be weird to our sensibilities to have her dancing around the subject with her obvious hints of trying to get him alone, trying to get him into her bedroom, and trying to get him to notice her sexually without actually saying “I want to have sex with you”, then having her getting all giddy while thinking “I’ve been raped”, but she wasn’t allowed to openly express her sexual desires in her time and place. And while he never shows regret, the novel shows this as being part of their deeper bond and understanding of each other. Which… I don’t have any rape/ravishment fantasies, but Ayn Rand apparently had a peckload, since that’s a recurring trope for her.

        But it would be hilarious to see old Cheddy trying to live out his fantasies with a Scarlett or a Dominique. Scarlett would slap him so hard his teeth would rattle, and Dominique would probably shoot him.

        1. Renee and St. S: You’ve both made good points. Rhett Butler and Howard Roark are ambiguous characters with a surprising core of honor; Chedward is just scum.

          I wonder if Chedward’s cock would agree with me?

      3. Rosemary Rogers was one of my earliest introductions to the racier romance novels because I haunted used book stores a lot. Some of the stuff in them makes me cringe now, and there’s some really problematic stuff, but her characters were strong, independent women who pushed back against both society and the main male character.

        Ana is just a pale shadow of a human being compared to Rosemary’s female characters. She’s just so poorly written, there’s nothing to her but jealousy and swoony feelings for Chedward. Even a well written “doormat” type character would be a million times more interesting.

  37. “[book excerpt ---->]My father is a polymath, a real renaissance man: academic, sporting, at ease in the city, more at ease in the great outdoors. He’d embraced three adopted kids…and I’m the one who didn’t live up to his expectations.

    [Jenny's recap---->]In case Chedward didn’t have enough emotional baggage, he’s also got daddy issues. And I want to know how you fail to live up to a parent’s expectations when you’re literally the richest man in the world and you’re feeding starving children in Africa. What the fuck did daddy Grey expect?”

    I have a question here about how to read a first-person narrative. Should I accept what the narrator tells me as the truth?

    Because I read the passage the book passage above and dismissed it, for pretty much the reasons Jenny describes. I just assumed that this is Christian’s skewed perspective, and something he probably tells himself so he can avoid interacting too much with his family (of course it’s also a factor that I’ve read 50 Shades, so I probably can’t escape comparing perspectives, and Ana’s was the one I read first). Am I supposed to give the narrator the benefit of the doubt?

      1. What you said.

        Not that unreliable narrators should be avoided at all-cost; I believe that any story told in first-person, no matter how good, will always have that because everyone tends to have some sort of bias or doesn’t know the whole story. Plus, it can be done really well when using a narrator who`s a liar or who is delusional.

        The problem with most bad first-person narratives like this is that the author expects the audience to believe everything the narrator says because they’re the narrator.

        1. You’re right, first-person narratives are inherently untrustworthy.

          The deliberate use of the unreliable type can be masterfully handled, to confuse or obscure, or where a character is trying to present a version of the truth that suits their purposes.

          Like everything else in this crappy series though, I don’t believe James set out to present her characters in this way, they are unintentionally untrustworthy because they are so poorly written.

  38. Ugh. One of my biggest problems with the first 50sog book (after the rapes and his abusiveness) is the whole undressing her while she’s passed out drunk and taking her somewhere not her home. As someone who is generally DD (not cause I don’t drink but because I never get the choice of to drink or not if I’m out with friends because they’re all lushes), I couldn’t care less about my car smelling of vomit.

    Yeah it’s not a luxury car. Yeah it’s not expensive. But there’s this thing called febreeze that works well for temporary smells (like driving a car in which someone is vomitting in to get them home). I have a can of it in my car (though not for that reason, more because of when I worked at haunt my shoes would smell and I don’t like my car smelling like my shoes and I needed to take them off when I got to my car because my feet were swollen from being on them so much). Though I do prefer when my friends and I do drink that we drink at someone’s house. I take everyone’s keys away that’s drinking and hide them. And once someone passes out, I take off any clunky jewellery/belts/accessories (basically things that are uncomfortable and/or can hurt my friends) and their shoes.

    If we’re at my house because I have a pull out couch bed in my room, I’ll pull it out and drag them onto the bed and put my trash can next to them in case we can’t get them to the bathroom on time. In the event we can, if they have long hair, I hold it back. I spray febreeze in my room to mask the smell of the vomit (because it lingers on breaths and I’m not going to forcibly wash someone’s mouth out when they’re that inebriated) and make sure there is a cup/bottle of water (depending on how they are about dog hair in their water) next to the couch bed for them. And then I continuously check on them through the night (forgoing my own sleep to make sure no one chokes on their own vomit).

    If I’m driving them home, I get them in my car and have them surrender car keys, wallets, bulky items/belts and put them in a bag (which I give to them because I know they’re not going to think clearly enough to get them out before passing out). I drive them to their house, park my car, and help them into their house making sure that they get fully inside and lock their door before leaving (and if they pass out just past their door I put them in the rescue position so they don’t choke on vomit) and leave a sticky note on their phone saying to call me when they wake up (because I carry random shit in my car like sticky notes).

    But like, the line of thought Grey has into taking her home or not has always bothered me (even before this book was written and I was merely speculating).

    And the clothing thing is creepy as shit (the knowing ALL of her exact sizes without working in a field that deals with having to size people perfectly and without him being able to check them all… the shirt and pants and shoes since he took them off he can look at the tags. But the underwear and bra? creeps me out)

    1. This is such a great comment, and it also shows how ELJ has no other clue on how to get Chedward and Ana together. Chedward is also a gazillionaire that could probably PAY someone to clean the car for him (like, hell, he doesn’t even wash his own butt plugs!). Plus there’s the lovely invention of baking powder–the savior of many a kid who had to wash their pets’ vomit off the carpet (or Dad’s barbecue grill).

      I never was a DD (I was more of a…designated walker? Meh, I was too poor to own a car and I used to live closer to the city center). Me and my friends would herd our drunk buddies back home, and DO keep them clothed, sometimes I even use bed-wetting pads (I have them because: periods) and lay them on the bed or couch if they’re REALLY drunk. And kudos for mentioning the rescue position, Chedward has no idea that sweet, angelic Ana could vomit in her passed-out state, which is both worrying and stupid of him (but he cares enough to remove her clothes, which IS creepy and unnecessary).

  39. So after reading this chapter again in both Grey and 50 Shades, I’ve gotten the impression that there was a roofie in one of the drinks Ana had. The reaction to all of the alcohol seems like way too much and way too sudden. And with the way Jose followed Ana out of the bar and tried to get into her pants…

    I don’t know. This chapter doesn’t sit right with me for so many reasons, and the fact that she just passes out and needs to be carried just screams “Jose put something in her drink” to me. She didn’t even budge when Chedward was undressing her. If you look through the chapter in both books while keeping in mind that possibility, everything makes much more sense.

    1. That’s an interesting point, and I’m not completely discounting it, but Ana did have a LOT of drinks on an empty stomach and claims to not be a drinker, so with the amount of alcohol she consumed in the amount of time we were there, it’s very feasible to have her puke and pass right the hell out. The most unrealistic thing about all that is that his handling of her didn’t cause her to groan and have a semi-conscious puke session.

    2. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t drink much or often usually, but the couple times I’ve been drunk enough to have a hangover (and the twice when I vomited from it), I did kind of go from pretty tipsy to incredibly drunk quickly. It was the difference of maybe half a drink that put me over the edge. And I know 100% for certain none of those drinks were spiked because of the circumstances.

      And someone who isn’t much of a drinker doesn’t know when that line is being crossed.

    3. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve served drinks, and I’ve let my certification expire, but let’s break this down since so many of us are unimpressed and alarmed with the events that occur during baby’s first drunk scene.
      Ana is based off Bella, who was played by Kristen Stewart in the films. According to various online sources, Kristen weighed about 115 lbs during the Twilight films. So we can assume that Ana at this point weighs about 115 pounds.
      Over the course of the evening, she started with at least a glass of champagne that we know of, 5 margaritas, and a “long sip” of beer. The glasses at bars are a curved design to encourage drinking, so whatever she had it was probably more than she realized. Let’s assume, based on her history of drinking anything set in front of her without even questioning it, the glass shape, her own impaired judgment and the presence of her friends encouraged her “long sip” to take her that a long pull got her to approximately 12 oz.
      A blood alcohol calculator (I used because it was the first one that popped up on Google) puts her blood alcohol concentration at about .29%. Let’s add that based on repeated descriptions she has little to no body fat to absorb any alcohol, her complete inexperience with intoxication, the absence of any mention of drinking water before Christian shoves some down her throat, and the fact that she barely eats enough to keep a baby bird alive in general.
      Based on the symptoms she displays: blurred vision, impaired coordination, impaired judgment, vomiting, dizziness, nausea ( Ana calls herself nauseous rather than nauseated. Honestly the way James manages to hit every single word use peeve I have is almost a gift, really.), vomiting and loss of consciousness, being difficult to wake up (even through being carried through a bar crowd/ jostled into a car/jostled out of a car/carried through a hotel/and disrobed), and lack of memory the day after…
      I would put her BAC closer to somewhere between .30 and .35%. Statistically speaking, I would say it’s unlikely that anyone spiked her drink. Alcohol amplifies the effects of sedatives/muscle relaxers. Honestly, she was so dangerously close to the point of coma and death from her baseline alcohol symptoms that she probably would have died of asphyxiation if either Jose or Christian (who had the opportunity and was equally creepy about the way he forced that glass of water on her) had roofied her.
      This doesn’t make what happened in this chapter any less skeezy. What is much more likely is that Jose (who is a larger and more heavily muscled, probably has a higher tolerance for alcohol from previous exposure, and quite probably has the personal experience to know to eat/drink before going out) was watching for the moment when she was both separated from the group and sufficiently impaired by alcohol to be unable to resist in order make a move on her. The sad truth is that neither would have had to since alcohol is the number one date rape drug.

      1. “( Ana calls herself nauseous rather than nauseated. Honestly the way James manages to hit every single word use peeve I have is almost a gift, really.)”

        Well, she makes ME sick, so…

        That’s one of my peeves, too.

    1. Man, every time I hear about that worse-than-ass-backwards “church”, all I can think is they obviously have nothing better to do. Is there anything they DON’T freaking protest???

      1. They didn’t show up at Whitney Houston’s funeral in Joisey, because they would have got their asses stomped. Although they ‘shopped some photos to make it look as if they had.

        1. Violence is bad and all, but, boy, would I tear into those asshats if they dare show up at the funeral of someone I love.

          1. Best not to. I heard that the WBC make their living by provoking people, and then bringing lawsuits for assault.

            Counter-protests are the way to go, either absurd (like the ones at San Diego ComicCon) or loving (I heard of one funeral at which some attendees wore huge butterfly wings to shield the mourning family from the sight of the WBC’s hateful signs).

          2. As far as I know, they’ve never dared show up physically in Joisey or Brooklyn, because there wouldn’t be anyone left to bring a suit, especially if they pulled this at a military funeral. And if I know Joisey , if WBC picketed Whitney’s funeral, the cops would have oh gosh golly gee whillickers come to the rescue too late to protect WBC’s First Amendment rights or their worthless asses, shucky darn, guess nothing left to do but clean up the blood and the “God hates fags!” signs.

          3. @shiftercat Yeah, I heard that really is how they get their income. A lot of that family/church are lawyers and there’s actually a theory that they don’t even believe their own garbage. They just wait for lawsuits and donations to pay their bills.

  40. In regards to the link, I do wish more people would talk about really gross male writers like Alan Moore. (Seriously, I had to read a lot of his stuff in college. It’s really annoyingly faux-lisophical, and he has a really shitty track record for how he writes rape. At least two women characters off the top of my head fell in love with a guy who abused her in a sexual manner, one of them straight up fell in love with her rapist. That isn’t how you write a story about sexual assault!!) Doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the female authors who do the same thing!

  41. George Orwell once wrote, “… a man who would write the same book twice could not even write it once.” Excuse Mr Orwell’s sexism, but his point is true, and E.L. James proves it repeatedly.

    Oh, and in the manner of, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times;” “Call me Ishmael;” and, “Lolita, love of my life, fire of my loins;” certainly “This chick is all over my junk,” will resound for centuries through literature.

          1. We probably have some hungover kid on the metro to blame for this whole thing!

  42. ‘To suggest that E.L. James is being unfairly attacked simply because she wrote something women enjoy,…’

    I mean, that IS happening, but you’re not the one doing it. Same for the people who critiqued Twilight. I’ve seen sexist backlash for other series like Hunger Games and Divergent as well. Mostly male audiences like to lump all things with a female protagonist together and shit all over it. But it’s pretty easy to tell who is jumping on the hate train for sexist reasons.

    It’s utterly depressing that a woman wrote such vile misogynistic trash, other women LOVE it without even NOTICING its misogyny, but said women are now claiming it’s misogynistic to tear it down? Please.

    I’m on board if Jen wants to pick a part some trash book a man wrote tho. They do tend to squeak by.

  43. “An omelette” says the supposedly exacting specifications guy.

    You know who did this right? Marvel’s recent Daredevil TV series. Wilson Fisk, as played by Vincent D’Onofrio, seems to be somewhere on the autism spectrum, and we see him carefully making himself the same sort of omelette every morning.

    Of course, part of Daredevil’s strength in making Fisk sympathetic was giving him the kind of romantic relationship we could genuinely cheer for. He tells Vanessa that if she finds his attentions unwelcome, he will leave her alone, and he gives every indication of meaning it. He has violent outbursts — but never, ever at her.

    The Kingpin of Crime is a better person than Chedward.

        1. That reminds me of the episode where Dexter’s victim was a woman (I think she was a cop) who had killed her husband and child simply because they were cramping her style. See for yourself how Dexter reacts when he has her on the table and she brings up rape.

          Yep, Dexter is definitely better than Chedward.

  44. Three cheers for the Last Unicorn pic!!

    Well to be fair, Chedward doesn’t tell Elliot that she’s unconscious. Right? I’ll give her that one.

    And my husband is 47 and he carries a handkerchief always. But I think it’s an uncommon trait.

  45. That article … OK, as a writer and lover of the English language, I find James a travesty and that’s the end of that. She’s a terrible writer and she would be a terrible writer if she were a man and it wouldn’t matter what the book was about.

    As far as the “rape culture” thing and reading and watching other things, I explained it thusly to someone the other day — it isn’t the story that bothers me. It’s the refusal to acknowledge what it is, to be honest about the fact that it’s a story about a creepy stalker stalking a vulnerable, naive woman. If people would just admit that and say, “But this is a fantasy I have and that’s OK,” I would have less of a problem with it. It’s the classifying it as some great romance that really pisses me off. It isn’t a romance.

    “Perhaps she has a problem with alcohol. The thought is worrying, and I consider whether I should call my mother for a referral to a detox clinic.”

    Because this is all such strange behavior for a 21 (22?)-year-old about the graduate from college …

    “Lingerie: Underwear–Size Small. Bra–Estimate 34C

    That’s a pretty decent rack for a woman who’s so dangerously thin.”

    When I was a size 3 and 105 pounds at 5’3″, that was my bra size.

    1. And when I was a size 2 at 105 and 5’2″ I was a 36C. I just have a large rib cage. And boobs, obvs.

      The difference is, even then nobody would have described me as frail or even skinny or thin the way Ana is constantly described. Having a larger chest than your frame suggests usually makes your frame appear bigger, especially depending on the style of clothing you wear. I would usually be described by others as curvy, with maybe a preface of “tiny and” or “small and”.

  46. So I finally watched the movie last night and it was interesting reading the recap after watching it. Similarly without Ana’s internal dialogue I found her to be a more likable character. This scene is still rage inducing from any angle. I’m also apparently forgot that she passed/blacked out. For her to be so completely out of it says to me alcohol poisoning instead of roofie. I’ve had something slipped in my drink before and I have large gaps in my memory, but I was awake and reacting. So perhaps Christian shouldn’t have taken her home, but to the hospital.

    Also on an aside, I found the guy who played Taylor much more alluring than Christian Grey.

  47. When people tell me to play nice, my first instinct is to act like as much of a jackass as possible. You hit the nail on the head with this though, and it really baffles me that people still defend her writing.

    Maybe what the author of that article failed to realize is that E.L. James is under such scrutiny because her work reaches more readers than the average book. Just a thought.

    Anyways, thanks for continuing with the recaps! I look forward to reading the next one :)

  48. Re: busy bar, feeling old.

    I kind of understand this. I’m not saying I’m old, but I can’t handle clubs. Can’t stand how loud it is, can’t stand how dark it is, and I mostly just want to go to bed while I’m there. Clubs exhaust me, and they make me feel old (because I already feel like I can’t keep up with other people my age).

    Although, Chedward seems to be using his judgy voice while describing it, so there’s another asshole point for him.

  49. As I shave, the asshole in the mirror stares back at me with cool, gray eyes.
    ^ Glad he’s at least calling himself out on being an asshole.

    Chedward is the kind of dick who will commit to plans with someone, then abandon them halfway through, leaving the person he’s made the plans with no choice but to come along or be stranded.
    ^ *grits teeth* That is exactly like my father-in-law and now I hate him even more.

    he punishes women for treating him the way he treats women.
    ^ gross

    The bar is crowded, full of students determined to have a good time. There’s some indie crap thumping over the sound system and the dance floor is crowded with heaving bodies.

    It makes me feel old.

    ^ To be fair, I don’t see the appeal in clubbing either, but that doesn’t make me old. It makes me a person who doesn’t like clubbing– though I do enjoy indie music and you’re a pretentious cunt, Grey.

    Gosh, I wish I had Rihanna’s talent.

    Swoon. I love a man who’ll inspect my vomit. Chedward should get together with the dude that pregnancy tested his wife’s pee without her foreknowledge.

    Mark my words, there is a woman named Katherine in E.L. James’s past, and Katherine did E.L. some kind of wrong.
    ^ Or maybe she just really hated Cruel Intentions.

    Chedward’s Conscience needs to be its own character in this tripe.

    1. I can kinda relate to the age thing. I won’t mosh to anyone but a Ramone these days, and very few of them are still alive, but it’s sweet to see the punk torch passed to the young’uns. Although it’s sad when crowd-surfing for some bands consists of kids being gently rolled from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock and just as gently let down to the floor by security, while their PARENTS watch from the balcony. Little whippersnappers. Why in MY day….

    1. For the record, that’s not a reference to the not-at-all-funny hungry-but-not-for-food comments throughout the books; that’s just me being sleep-deprived and thinking Christian’s so desperate for food that he’s willing to give sexual favors for it, hence the “what he’d do for food”.

  50. I read that article, and was pretty annoyed. These books are coming under so much more fire because of their substantially heavier influence on society.

    I found a funny pot and kettle for this chapter. It’s so needed.

    Suggesting Portland or a hike made me snicker, and still does. There isn’t exactly any hiking in Portland. In areas around it, yet, but not in Portland.

    I ran the conversation in this chapter past a few guy friends (leaving out the names), and they all asked who the hell wrote it because guys around here don’t talk “dick dick dick” the way the Grey boys do.

    I was drunk-dialed earlier this year by a friend who had some absinthe down in New Orleans. That was an awesome call.

    “I’m starting to see where we desperately needed Christian’s POV throughout the entire series.”

    Oh, Honey, you just wait. I just has a massive rant on my own blog for his May 27th day.

    He gets so bad that I call the fans of these books out personally. I’ve never done that before.

    Something that bothered me about when he got to the hotel with Ana is why no one at all stopped a man carrying an unconscious woman the stall all would know wasn’t with the fauxlebrity when he checked in.

    To Elliott’s defense, I didn’t get the feeling he knew Ana was unconscious, and if Kate was sober enough to dance, he probably thought Ana wasn’t very drunk either. I’ve been almost entirely sober and still woozy in hot clubs. I’m very bothered that Grey was turned on by an unconscious woman in his bed though.

    Looking forward to the next recap!

  51. Even if the argument that you must consume everything before you can rightfully criticize anything made any sense, the other accusations have no basis either. “Meanwhile we…watch television programmes that…use rape scenes again and again to move a plot forward, but again, who cares about those?”
    So I guess I hallucinated what seemed like thousands of thinkpieces that came out the Monday mornings after Sansa and Cersei got raped?

  52. “Let’s see if you can sleep through The Verve”

    Is he kidding?? Whenever that shit comes on the radio, I have trouble staying awake to the end of the song!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>