Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter 11

by thethreepennyguignol

Oh God. This chapter opens with a sex scene.

And not just any sex scene, no- it’s the sexy-pool-playing scene with left them in last week. Christian wins the game, so now Ana is at his beck and call nothing like she is in the rest of this oh wait.

It’s also a really fucking wordy sex scene, and not fun, sexy-time description that I usually associate with good erotica. This is the conversation they have about her getting undressed-

““Clothes, Anastasia. You appear to still be wearing them. Take them off—or I will do it for you.”

“You do it.” I finally find my voice, and it sounds low and heated. Christian grins.

“Oh, Miss Steele. It’s a dirty job, but I think I can rise to the challenge.”

“You normally rise to most challenges, Mr. Grey.” I raise an eyebrow at him, and he smirks.

“Why, Miss Steele, whatever do you mean?””

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Like, how is this better than something to-the-point and hot as hell like “I want to see you naked”? And if a dude I was hooking up with called undressing me a dirty job, well, I’d probably be less inclined to let him do it.

Ana describes herself as “damp in all the right places”, because damp is the sexiest word EL can think of and certainly doesn’t muster up images of black mould creeping across the bathroom walls in my old flat. Christian says he wants to be rough, but then explains that he doesn’t want to use a safeword, because ?????

““You said you were worried I’d lost my edge. I’m not sure what you meant by that, and I don’t know how serious you were, but we are going to find out. I don’t want to go back into the playroom yet, so we can try this now, but if you don’t like it, you must promise to tell me.””

Look, this isn’t a horrible sentiment, but if he casts his mind back to the last time he overstepped her boundaries, she was sobbing in his lap while he thrashed her with a belt after she told him that she only wanted to do this shit for him. So maybe Christian could work on picking up on glaring red flags instead of putting all the pressure on Ana to-well, not safeword, apparently, because they don’t need those anymore.

Because, as he explains, “Lovers don’t need safwords”. Which is….just so fucking wrong it actually hurts to think about. No wonder all this BDSM enthusiasts I’ve encountered hate this book so fucking much, because it consistently relates the hallmarks of BDSM (such as safewords) to being in a non-loving relationship which is sooooome nonsense.

Christian bends Ana over the pool table and hits her on the ass with a ruler, and she says it’s “not too bad” because MMM YEAH GETTING ME HOT IN THESE NETHER PORTIONS. She tells him when she’s had enough, and he actually stops and then they fuck. Ana thinks about how the spanking was “so dark, but so him”, which is funny because I’d consider what they just did the prelude to a particularly silly porn parody.

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I quite like the Scooby-Doo porn parody, for what it’s worth.

They shag, and Ana has “a draining, soul-grabbing orgasm” because EL was just plucking words from a top hat at this point we can only assume. They share a bath, and Ana manages to convince Christian not to let his bodyguard spy on her protect her from the very real and not at all easily avoidable danger she’s definetly in every time she leaves the house, and Christian agrees that the bodyguard will just drive her to and from work, because Ana is a fifteen-year-old me and her job is my fucking girl’s football team practice apparently.

Ana and Christian go to bed, then wake up and head to their respective jobs. There’s lots of interminable “Miss Steele” and “Mr Grey”-ing, and this chapter is already setting new levels of boring for this whole series (and that’s saying something).

They start to email (just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse), and Christian hopes Ana “will never leave” which, well-

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HANNIGRAM HANNIGRAM HANNIRGRAM

Ana’s boss tells her that she’ll be accompanying him on an overnight trip for nefarious business purposes (not verbatim), and Christian tells Ana that he wants her to move in. She’s freaked out by this, understandably, because the thought of never being able to escape the interminable insecurity hurricane that is Christian Grey is too hellish to consider. No, wait, she just thinks it’s too soon. My bad.

Ana tells him about the trip with her boss, and Christian tells her “If it’s with the sleazeball you work with, then the answer is no, over my dead body,” which is funny, because it wasn’t phrased as a question NOR SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN. I mean, yes, that guy IS  a creep, but Christian just asked Ana to move in with him so he’s got no right to be commenting on overnight stays with sleazebags. They argue some more, and Ana shouts “No!” real loud in front of the entire office like a fucking crazy person and everyone stares at her.

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Like this I assume

Ana writes another angry email, and then recieves a message from Mrs Robinson inviting her out to lunch. Fuck, it’s a solid metaphor for this book that all the interesting conversations happen through the sterile, removed fascimile of communication that is email.

Christian calls Ana, and tells her off from writing about spanking and whipping in her emails to him because- what, apparently his emails are monitored? Couldn’t he use a personal email? Doesn’t he run the company? Does anyone really give a shit that some twenty-something dude is into a bit of impact play? Jesus, these people really believe their lives are the most painfully fascinating things ever to have happened to everyone around them. Ana calls him, and tells him she’s going to New York.

Ana goes to book the flights, but her boss Jack Hyde (JEKYLL AND HYDE DO U GET IT) comes through to tell her that something has come through from the top banning all flight and hotel bookings. So once again, Christian has gone over Ana’s head to undermine her express desires because he’s an insecure, pathetic man-child. But Ana consents to everything in this book, right?!>!!!!!>!>!>!?!LP{!{!?!?!?

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RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT

Ana and Christian email some more, and suddenly the chapter picks up (yay!) with horrible victim blaming (boo). Ana tells him that she doesn’t care if her boss is planning to make a pass at her- she’d turn him down. In response, this:

“I have seen how “effective” you are at fighting off unwanted attention. I remember that’s how I had the pleasure of spending my first night with you. At least the photographer has feelings for you. The sleazeball, on the other hand, does not. He is a serial philanderer, and he will try to seduce you. Ask him what happened to his previous PA and the one before that.

I don’t want to fight about this.”

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I hope David Mitchell signs off emails to Victoria Coren with this gif.

Okay. Point by point.

  1. Ana shouldn’t have to be “effective” at fighting off unwanted attention. It’s not her prerogative not to get sexually assaulted.
  2. “the pleasure of spending my first night with you” when I took you passed-out drunk from a bar after tracking your phone before removing you to my hotel room and undressing you while you were unconscious. If that’s not “unwanted attention”, I don’t know what the fuck qualifies.
  3. Ah, so, if the dude really loves you, that’s fair game for him to force his sexual attention on you after you’ve said no- or at least, gives him more of a reason to than someone else does? Nice.
  4. As Christian says a few emails earlier that he trusts Ana implicitly, we can only assume that this means he believes Hyde will attempt to assault her. Except, no,  he’s still calling it “seduction.”
  5. .HE OWNS THE COMPANY WHY DOESN’T HE FIRE THIS GUY IF HE CONSISTENTLY TREATS WOMEN HE WORKS WITH LIKE SHIT

Moving on. Ana’s boss sends her out for lunch, and she goes out to get it for him. Then Christian calls her and berates her for leaving the office without his permission because OF COURSE he’s watching her. Ana tells him off, and thinks about their relationship-she admits she feels like running away, which is a red flag so fucking huge even in an especially opulent parade for the country of China people might think it was overkill.

And then, lest Christian be wrong about anything, Ana’s boss starts flirting with her hard and getting all up in her personal space. Look, yes, he is a creep, but that doesn’t make anything Christian said okay- he framed it as an impingment on his posession of her, not really concern for her well-being. Ana mentions Christian to him, and her boss lets her leave, impressed at her bagging “Seattle’s richest bachelor” because this is how people talk in EL James land.

Ana goes to meet Christian in his car, and they immediately have sex instead of talking through any of their actual, real problems. It’s boring, bland, and full of “do you have any idea how x you look right now”, a phrase that’s really starting to piss me off as Christian always announces it like the thought of Ana finding herself attractive is so unthinkable to him unless he confirms it to her.

They finally talk about their arguments during the day and Ana promises to move in with him if he lets up some of his control-freak tendencies. Christian tells her that he loves her, and that all that stuff about her boss was oooonly about protecting her (even though he took it as an opportunity to heap victim-blame on her head and imply that she would be defenceless to fight her boss off, even though she just successfully did). And the chapter ends on another scintillating cliffhanger as Mrs Robinson enters the building!

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