Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Seven
It’s been one of those weeks- the kind of weeks where stress piles upon stress piles upon stress, and before you know it it’s time to write another Fifty Shades Darker recap, fight the cat away from the actual book you’re reading, then sleep till Monday morning. We all have those weeks, right? I have some boozy gingerbeer and good company awaiting me when this is over, so let’s spend a lazy Saturday together picking this apart once more. Because I love you.
We left off with Ana bidding the money Christian forced on her at a charity auction. Christian is not best pleased.
“Christian leans over to me, a large fake smile plastered across his face. He kisses my cheek and then moves closer to whisper in my ear in a very cold, controlled voice.”
Mmm, I love it when my man talks to me like a malfunctioning Gigolo Joe bot from AI. He grabs her hand and pulls it on to his dick- bare in mind, they’re sitting at a table with his grandparents, parents, and many other guests- and she starts giving him a rub job right there and then. And not a subtle one, either-
“Taking full advantage, I slowly caress him, letting my fingers explore. Christian keeps his hand over mine, hiding my bold fingers, while his thumb skates softly over the nape of my neck. His mouth opens as he gasps softly…”
So, yeah, everyone knows exactly what’s happening because these dicks have literally no sexual boundaries. “Everything south of [her] navel contracts” again, so I assume she just tips off the chair like a Barbie you can’t get to stand up properly. Christian is about to drag her off for some banging when his sister arrives to take Ana to the first dance auction.
Ana is nervous, but Mia reminds her that Christian will absoloutely for sure not be letting anyone else dance with her, so we’re back to the middle-schoolers exchanging dramatic texts in their lunch hour again. The announcer gets absurdly creepy:
““Now, gentlemen, pray gather round, and take a good look at what could be yours for the first dance. Twelve comely and compliant wenches.””
I don’t care if this is all for fun, actual, legitimate boke at “comely and compliant.” Because all you want a woman to be is hot and agreeable, right? The auction begins, and Mia casually mentions the fact that Christian was a “brawler” in his youth. Ana internally notes that “another piece of the jigsaw falls into place”, which doesn’t really make sense until you realize that she’s referencing Christian’s predilection for non-consensual violence. Ana is called up for auction, and Christian immediately bids ten thousand dollars- which is pretty much triple what any of the other women went for. But wait, some else has bid fifteen thousand!
Ana simply DIES at how EMBARRASSING it is as a bidding war breaks out over her. Shut the fuck up, Ana, we all know you’re the prettiest but also so OBLIVIOUS to your PRETTINESS which makes you NOT LIKE THEM OTHER GIRLS. Christian bids one hundred thousand, wins, and drags Ana off to bone, commenting:
““I’m sure it’ll be worth every single cent.””
Haha, you remember when Ana was complaining about him making her feel like a prostitute? Me neither. He takes her to his old bedroom, where posters for Fight Club and The Matrix are hanging (of COURSE they are, of fucking COURSE they are, Jesus, for someone who’s so soppphiiiistimmcaaated he sure picked the two most generic movie posters to slap up in his bedroom). He tells her that he’s going to spank her, but only on the promise that she’ll use her safeword. Look, just a page or so ago, Ana mentions that she’s had four glasses of wine plus champagne, and I’m not saying that Christian is deliberatley waiting till she’s intoxicated to push her boundaries, just that he’s openly done that before and we should bear that in mind.
He spanks her, then jams his fingers in her and she comes immediatley. He puts on a condom, and whispers the words every woman dreams of hearing in the bedroom into her ear-
““This is going to be quick, baby”
Christian lasts six lines, and they head back to the dancefloor. Yeah, like no one knew what you were just doing. They dance to “I’ve Got You Under my Skin,” and Christian mentions how fitting it is;
Christian’s therapist, Doctor Flynn, who will be played by Hugh Dancy in the movies (HUGH WHY NOOOO), asks for a dance, and Christian allows it. Flynn makes some light conversation;
““I’m glad to finally meet you, Anastasia. Are you enjoying yourself?” he asks.
“I was,” I whisper.”
Well, fuck you too, Ana. I still don’t get why everyone sees her as this wildly charming, sweet, intelligent young woman, when she’s repeatedly been rude, dumb and awkward around pretty much everyone Christian’s introduced her to. Ana admits she just wants to ask him about Christian, and Flynn flippantly replies that they’d be there till Christmas. Obviously Ana doesn’t get the joke, and when, he politely explains it to her:
““You’ve just confirmed what I’ve been saying to Christian . . . that you’re an ex-
Wow, much charming, so kind. He “snorts” his words twice in ten lines, which is an amusing image, and is obviously chaaaaaaaaaarmed by
EL James Ana and her seductive methods of constant sullen insults (to be fair, that did work for me) .Ana jokes with Christian that Flynn told her everything, and we get this:
“Christian tenses. “Well, in that case, I’ll get your bag. I’m sure you want nothing more to do with me,” he says softly.
I stop. “He didn’t tell me anything!” My voice fills with panic.
Christian blinks before relief floods his face. He pulls me into his arms again. “Then let’s enjoy this dance.””
Fuck, do these two need a slap. Like, as a couple. Not a sexy-spanking-time one, but an actual, honest-to-goodness slap. Why can’t they get through a fucking conversation-with each other or anyone else- without dragging their deep, dark, paaaaainful secrets into it? Is it because without them, we might notice that they’re actually thick, pretentious, hollow shells of characters and not the greatest people of all time as the author would have you believe? We keep on being told how much everyone loves them and how wonderful they both are, except that we’re only really shown them being sullen, rude, indescribably moody and almost comically dramatic. I guess if we stop raking over the fizzling coals of Christian’s “problems”, the reader might suddenly notice that the two of them are amongst the most unintentionally unlikable leading characters ever to turn up in any fiction book ever. I mean, Patrick Bateman ain’t got nothing on this pair, and he put a rat up a dead woman’s vagina. Just sayin’.
They dance some more, and then Mrs Robinson appears to talk to Ana. Mrs Robinson tells her that Christian is in love with her, something which staggers Ana:
“A hundred images dance through my head: the iPad, the gliding, flying to see me, all his actions, his possessiveness, one hundred thousand dollars for a dance. Is this love?”
No. No it FUCKING isn’t. Jesus, is that concept ingrained so much into our culture that this line genuinely didn’t bother most readers of the book? Is it so normal for a man to exercise horrifying jealousy, to stalk his partner (because, yeah, that’s what the “flying to see me” was about), and to throw money at her till she loves him that this sentence is seen as Ana acknowledging how much he loves her, and not how much she desperately needs to get away? “So, yeah, this new guy I’m seeing, his way possesive and forces shit that I’ve actively told him I don’t want on me”. “Sounds like a catch, has he got a friend?” Fucking hell.
Mrs Robinson tells her that she wishes them the best but that if Ana breaks his heart, she’ll come after her. And Ana actually gets in a moderate zinger:
“”And maybe I’ll give you a taste of your own medicine on behalf of the fifteen-year-old child you molested and probably fucked-up even more than he already was.””
I mean, it implies that she’s going to molest her right back, but still, it’s something! Ana storms over to Christian and tells him that she doesn’t want him talking to Mrs Robinson any more, which is probably a fine idea. Ana goes to the bathroom, and comes out to find Christian telling Mrs Robinson to stay away from her. On the phone, for some reason, even though she’s still at the party. Then Ana calls her old, and we’re back to thinking her age and her once-sexual involvement with Christian is the worst thing about her.
Carrick, Christian’s father, asks Ana for a dance, and they discuss Christian’s traumatic childhood. God, is Ana good at a party! The party draws to a close with some fireworks, and Ana basically grins herself to death with excitement. Mia, Christian’s sister, tries to convince them to stay, but Christian insists on leaving. Mia is dissapointed;
““You must come by sometime next week. Maybe we can hit the mall?”
“Sure, Mia.” I grin, though in the back of my mind I’m wondering how since I have to work for a living.”
OH WHAT’S THAT COMING FROM THE GIRL WHO LIVED OFF HER SO-CALLED BEST FRIEND’S MONEY ALL THE WAY THROUGH COLLEGE, I DON’T THINK I CAUGHT IT OVER THE SOUND OF THAT FUCKING IRONY. Anyway, Christian says they have a big day, and once they’re alone, Ana asks why. He tells her that his Doctor is coming round to give her the contraceptive shot.
““It’s my body,” I mutter, annoyed that he hasn’t asked me.
“It’s mine, too,” he whispers.”
Look, I don’t know how I can spell this out more clearly: CHRISTIAN. DOES. NOT. CARE. ABOUT. ANA’S. BODILY. AUTONOMY. He straight-up does not give shit. He considers her body his own and, since he doesn’t like wearing condoms, that means she’s getting the contraceptive shot (which can come with side effects, but WHO CARES). Instead of breaking his fucking nose like she’s entitled to, Ana thinks this:
“Yes, my body is his . . . he knows it better than I do.”
There are so many points that I have wanted to rage-quit this series, but this is one of the most potent. Like, seriously? This is what woman should be desiring? Literally handing over their bodily autonomy to a guy who can’t tell that a woman crying during sexual activity might mean she’s not into it? I wouldn’t trust him with my fucking laptop, let alone my reproductive system.
They get to the car, and Ana finds a note for Mrs Robinson being all, “yo, I misjudged you, you’re amazing and awesome and the prettiest ever and you totally deserve the lead in the school play”, or fucking something, I’ve kind of gone cross-eyed with rage. Ana thinks about how Mrs Robinson “cares for him deeply”, and we’re once again missing the point that if she truly cared for him deeply she wouldn’t have molested him as a child.
They get back to the apartment, and discover that Ana’s car has had it’s tires slashed and paint thrown on it. The bodyguards go into the apartment ahead of them, and Christian barrels in like the idiot he is, ordering Ana to stay outside.
“Holy shit. Christian! All manner of horrific outcomes run through my mind, but all I can do is stand and wait.”
I promise you, Ana, nothing is as horrific as the outcome that would occur if I got my fucking hands on him. Till next time, folks!