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The Sixth Year: American Sigh Story

Tag: fifty shades of grey recap

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter Seventeen

So, I’m back, no matter how hard you’ve been trying to avoid me (and I know some of you have turned that pastime into a sport). Exams and other mundane life bollocks has been in the way of me writing these recaps but, buoyed up by the fact my blog hits have gone up from around thirty a day to around five hundred, I’m plowing forward. I can see the end; it’s so close to being over. Let’s get this shit on the go.

One more thing: if you’re new to the recaps or just want to remind yourself what’s been happening, I’ve added a Blog Directory (up at the top there) where I’ve organised a bunch of different articles into sections so you can find them quicker, and all the Fifty Shades recaps are there, so get on up on that shit. Make a drinking game when you do a shot every time I despair for humanity. You’ll be slammed by lunchtime.

Chapter seventeen opens with Ana having yet another stupidly metaphorical dream about being Icarus flying too close to the sun, then wakes I’m to find Christian wiggling his eyebrows at her and gesturing to his morning wood. Once again, I’m struck by how pointedly unsexy every sentence of this is. In between recaps, I wrote a piece about my own experiences writing erotica, and this passage comes as a reminder that I basically just tack a post-it note with “The opposite of EL James” on my laptop and bash on. Ooh, yeah, tell me you slept well except for the last hour when you were a little warm!

Jane Lynch tho

Christian hoicks her out of bed after promising to meet up on Sunday, and Ana and him exchanges emails about the spanking that left Ana sobbing and upset the night before. Here are some of the words Ana uses to describe the experience: Punished. Beat. Assaulted. Demeaned. Debased. Abused. Uncomfortable. Guilty. Confused. If you could see me now, I’d be waving my hands in front of my head like a fucking windmill and shouting “THESE ARE NOT WORDS YOU SHOULD BE APPLYING TO A BDSM SCENE WITH YOUR PARTNER”. These are words that, once again, show us that Ana doesn’t understand what she’s getting herself into, and isn’t really enjoying it when she does. These are not words generally applied to pleasant, squicky-in-the-pants feelings. Luckily, Christian is on hand to sort things out;

“Do you think you could just try to embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me?”

Oh yeah, sure, sorry you felt like shit after I spanked you and abandoned you, but you know, just kind of deal with it, babe. I wonder if Christian would feel the same way if Ana told him to “just deal” with his feelings about being touched? Everyone can fuck off. I’d forgotten how painful recapping this book was. No-one in the entire world has it worse than I do right now.

Ana emails him back, saying that if she was actually listening to her feelings she’d be in Alaska by now. Then we get this doozy:

“Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cellphone, remember?”

Look, I’m sure lots of couples joke about being freaked out by their partner enough to run to some ridiculously distant part of the globe to escape them. And it’s funny and it’s cute because that partner probably hasn’t stalked them obsessively- acquiring their home address, tracking their cellphone, turning up places uninvited, etc-up till then. What Christian is saying isn’t a harmless joke. Because he’s stalking Ana.

Ana goes to her last day at work before she moves, and while she’s there, a Blackberry arrives, courtesy of Christian, because he wants to be able to reach her at all times. She endures a hideous emotional speech from the people she’s worked for for three years (which we don’t actually hear because that would require a modicum of writing skill), then goes home to pack.

Jose turns up to bring Kate and Ana takeaway, and then Elliot (Christian’s brother, who’s now fucking Kate) arrives. Ana practically implodes with horror as Kate and Elliot smooch in the doorway  (“I’m appalled by their lack of modesty”), and I remember that time a friend of mine was dating someone who was really physical with them all the time, and how even then I managed not to stare in outright disgust because I have a modicum of respect for my friends and who they choose to date. Also, Christian and Ana were humping in a fucking elevator, but, you know, kissing your boyfriend in your own house is so much more disgusting than dry-humping a creepy murder freak in a lift. Remember, folks: if you’re expressing your sexuality and you’re not Ana or Christian, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Jose and Ana go out for a drink, and when she gets back, there’s a terse email from Christian in which he threatens to call Elliot unless she contacts him. Oh, and five missed calls and a voicemail. With “a deep, curling” dread, Ana calls him back, because it’s definetly healthy to fear a conversation with your partner! After he gets monotone thanks to her not calling him, they literally do the “no, YOU hang up thing” for seventeen lines because, well, you’re not going to stretch this out into a trilogy without some space filler! Did I mention this was the fastest-selling book of all time OH NO WHERE DID THIS NOOSE COME FROM

We cut to the next morning, with Ana and Kate installed in their new apartment. Over dinner, a package arrives from Christian, and Ana explains that he must have acquired their new address thanks to his “stalker-like” tendencies. Kate says she’s worried, and no fucking shit, because if some creep who made my best friend cry every time she saw him had acquired my address without talking to me or my roomate, I’d be freaking the fuck out and demanding he back off. But Kate is fine with it, because Christian sent good champage. So basically, get Kate good booze and she’ll forgive you for anything. I’d like to criticize her for this, but it’s way to close to the way I live my life, so…

Ana prepares to go see Christian, and when she gets there, she’s informed that the ob-gyn will be there the following day to get her on her new contraception. PSA: Don’t let anyone push you into changing your contraception. Sure, talk about it with your partner, but anyone who thinks it’s way cool to just inform their sex partner that they don’t like using condoms so they WILL go on the pill can suck an (unprotected) dick. Seriously, this creeps me out so much I can’t really articulate it.

She’s hungry, but not for food, and he gets angry at her for not eating, whatever whatever whatever, the ob-gyn arrives and Christian tells he he can’t way to see her naked. Oh, Fifty Shades of Grey, how I’ve missed you.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 15

Yesterday was a wonderful day, because I finally found myself a comfortable, form-fitting leather jacket in a charity shop after literally four years of searching. I will wear that thing with pride all through the summer, even if it did mean I was sweltering all through this slightly warmish March afternoon whenever I nipped out for a smoke. So, it’s plenty time to ruin my week before it really gets a chance to get going with another chapter of Fifty Shades. If you missed it, Dakota Johnson declared those calling Ana and Christian’s relationship an abusive one were “uneducated”, a term that Fifty Shades apologists have been swarming over like a gleeful pack of wasps, and you can read my response to it here. Revel for a minute in the fact that I’m over halfway through this book, and let’s plough on with Chapter Fifteen. Oh, and as ever, read the rest of my Fifty Shades recraps (heh)  at the blog directory.

We left off with Christian declaring that he was coming round to Ana’s house, and he arrives with a bottle of champers as Ana inwardly thinks of him as a “mountain lion” stalking around her property-

Impossible to resist this, really.

This agonising conversation happens after Ana tries to return the very expensive books that Christian gave her (by the way, I only realize now that he had no way to know her address when he sent these to her, and the thought of the high-level stalkathon he probably went on to find it has just made my soul crawl back up inside itself and refuse to come out).

“I bought these for you,” he says quietly, his gaze impassive. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.”

I swallow convulsively.

“Christian, I can’t accept them, they’re just too much.”

“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me for you to do so.”

“I wasn’t a submissive when you bought them for me,” I whisper.

“No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.”

Praise be, for the glorious Chris Colfer is now free from Glee! Also, rhyming.

Woah, woah, woah, where to start with this passage. Firstly and probably foremostly, when the buggering fuckery did Ana agree to be a submissive? I’ll admit that a lot goes on in between these recaps and occasionally I forget certain details of the chapter I read last, but I flicked back over the last few pages and nowhere did Ana agree to be his submissive. The contract hasn’t been signed, and in fact Christian said he was specifically coming over to discuss it further. Also, for once in her painful little life, Ana is right about something: she wasn’t his submissive when he got these extortiantely expensive presents for her. And since they make her uncomfortable, she has every right to not want them around because the submissive contract doesn’t pull any Back to the Future shit that retroacticely makes Ana Christian’s sub since the beginning of time, to the best of my knowledge. We’re not even one full page in and I’m already exhausted. It’s only afternoon where I am, and I’m already trying to tie a fiver round my cat’s neck and send her to the corner shop for some wine.

The next post may be entirely Bernard Black gifs because YES.

Ana tells Christian she wants to auction the books for charity, which is actually a pretty nice idea, but backs down once Christian starts pouting like the little git he is. He explains that it’s normal for her to have some reservations about their situation because “you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into”. Which is funny because A) I thought Ana already was his submissive and B) Man, I wouldn’t really want to be with someone who didn’t fully understand the extent of the possibly damaging sexual situation I was pressuring them to get into. The first is just bad writing (I feel like this book was editing and chopped and changed and chapters were shifted around, because there are wierd leaps in logic and such which flag that sort of thing up), the second is bad person-ing. One day, EL James is going to come out and announce that she deliberately wrote this book as a social experiment and denounces the abuse in it and we all have a great laugh and get smashed together and the fans of this series sit sadly masturbating in a corner over this abusive manchild and fruitlessly calling Jamie Dornan’s agent to see if he’s doing the next movie (mark my words, he’s not). Ah, back from the world of dreams.

All rise for FAWLTY FUCKING TOWERS.

They drink champagne, and Ana wonders if Christian’s deliberately trying to get her tipsy, the answer to which is yes, yes he almost certainly is. They discuss what publishing house Ana hopes to work at after her move, and Ana rolls her eyes at Christian, whereupon he threatens to take her across his knee if she does that again. Again, no agreement has been made, no real discussion of hard boundaries has been established; this is just a dude, threatening to spank his not-quite-girlfriend for doing something he doesn’t approve of. There’s no hint that he’d be doing it for his or her pleasure, or with her consent; just that he’s going to do it if she displeases him. Hand on heart, I glanced round the room to see if there was anything I could make a noose out of close to hand (there wasn’t) when I realized once again that this is considered a romance book. “Romantic” is the first word on the blurb on the back cover, for fuck’s sake. To the publishers of this novel, and particualrly whoever greenlighted the back-cover blurb:

You know, I used to really dislike Keira Knightley, but she’s probably the person with the most interesting career who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, so there’s that.

They go over some more limits while Ana moves on to what, by my count, is her third glass of champagne. Obviously Ana has a fucking sterling constitution (except when the plot requires her to be drunk so Grey can save her), but three champagnes in doesn’t seem like the best state of mind to be in when discussing the hard and soft limits of your first-ever BDSM relationship with a man who “hopes you never have to use” safewords. Yup, we deal with that doozy later in the chapter, because safewords certainly aren’t there to protect participants from potentially pushing their boundaries in a dangerous or uncomfortable way, or even just to avoid basic physical injury, but for pish-posh people who aren’t IN LOVE when they begin their BDSM fucking. Considering that Christian admitted he hurt someone while they were suspended, I would very much fucking want a safeword thanks very much. The thought of my shoulder popping out halfway through sex because my sexy billionaire fuckbuddy ignores my “red” doesn’t make me all squirty in the nether regions.

Pictured: the opposite of my nether regions. PS never google search “squirt gif”.

Christian demands sex from Ana, on the basis that she accept his graduation present to her. And I want you all to take a big deep breath and all hold hands in a circle, because what Christian Grey has done is sold Ana’s car and bought her a new one without checking if any of that was alright. Yup, he didn’t like her old Beetle, and decided to scrap it for a red hatchback. Ana is rightly furious, but somehow she ends up apologising to him and he drags her back inside the house to fuck her. As she follows him up the hall, she begs him not to be angry with her, and tells him that he scares her when he’s angry. That line genuinely makes my heart ache, because I’ve been near (thankfully finished) relationships were one partner was scared of the other’s anger, and it’s an awful thing to go through and it makes me physically fucking sick to think that a woman being frightened of her partner’s temper- especially when that temper is bought on by his ignoring her boundaries and wishes- is now a hashtag relationship goal.

They get dirty (well, barely dirty, and we take a step back from the glorious use of the word “clitoris” that only took two hundred pages to turn up and back into the infinitely less sexy “groin”. Anyone else think of Hans Moleman’s movie from The Simpsons whenever they hear the word “groin”?), Ana undresses him, Christian lets her touch him with clothes on, She goes on top, she comes “shouting incoherently”,

And the chapter’s over. This chapter has genuinely been a depressing trial, one where the leading man has ignored his partner’s boundaries, pushed her to get drunk while they discuss vitally important matters of consent, made her uncomfortable with his displays of material affection, and then become so angry he frightened her.  BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE SEXY ORGASM TIMES. Urgh, see you all next week, I’m going to put my new leather jacket on and never leave the house again.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 14

Once more into the breach, dear friends, and no, I’m not talking about Ana’s vagina. Firstly, I thought I’d bring new reader’s attention to my Fifty Shades movie review, in all it’s exasperated glory, and this more in-depth piece I did about Fifty Shades as a love story. After another week of being told I “just want my own Christian Grey” (haha KILL ME) it’s time to throw myself back into the seemingly endless cavalcade of terrible writing and dull sex that is my life. Wait, no, Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah, the second one. Definitely the second one.

OOOH HE’S SO CUTE AND DOCTORY

After Ana weeps herself into a coma (a girl can dream), we open the chapter on a bit of a naughty sleep fantasy that Ana is having about Christian where he hits her clitoris with a riding crop (well done, EL, you’ve once again correctly named the female anatomy!) and the author uses the word leather three times in one paragraph because WRITING. Ana heads through to the kitchen where Kate asks her how her dinner went, and Ana punches her to the ground for being a dirty whoreslut who doesn’t understand that Ana DOESN’T WANT TO BE ASKED ANYTHING EVER DAMMIT. Nah, Ana sidetracks her by asking if she wants to show Ana her speech for today, because Ana and Kate are graduating. Ana takes the time to think about herself some more;

“Deep down, I’m not sure I have the stomach to be his submissive- it’s the canes and whips that put me off. I’m a physical coward, and I will go a long way to avoid pain.”

Ana, ANA, for the last buggering time, if you don’t want to do this, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. Run! Leave forever! If your needs and his needs are so different, somebody is going to have to make some serious compromises to make this work, and it’s not going to end well. Ana’s stepdad turns up, and she mentions that she’s wearing Kate’s dress, probably because that Hidenberg replica is too fat to fit into it from all the sperm she’s eating. I’m a little taken aback by how badly this section is written because, wow, occasionally I forget that EL James understands the difference between compelling plot and shameless page-fillers as well as she understands the difference between romance and abuse. Blah blah blah, Ana goes to her graduation, Christian is there (because he’s a benefactor for the college), the girls in the audience next to Ana comment on how panty-dissolvingly hot he is, blah blah blah. Ana tells them that he’s gay, and then catches his eye.

“Unbidden, I recall my dream for this morning.”

I would tattoo this face on my face.

That’s weird, because here I was picturing Christian demanding that you remember that dream you haven’t told anyone about, so it’s good to know that it just popped into your head like that. Vital use of words there, EL. Ana listens to Kate give her speech, and is surprisingly kind about it, and for some reason every time Ana compliments Kate now I can’t read it as anything but a little sapphic. Damn me and my giant lesbian-tinted glasses. Christian comes on and does his great big speech about saving the world and feeding the hungry (by ordering an entire menu’s worth of food because he couldn’t be bothered sticking his head into the shower, but whatever) because he himself has known what it is like to feel hungry. Look, I know this line has to do with his abusive childhood, but when this happens:

“My jaw falls to the floor. What? Christian was hungry once. Holy crap.”

Look, I don’t know if I should be telling you this, but when the first Harry Potter films came out when I was but a bairne, I had a big crush on Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. There was never anything sexual about it, but I just want him to cuddle me. That Christmas, the only thing I wanted was the Hagrid’ house Lego Set that came with a special Hagrid figure that was slightly bigger than normal Lego figures. I still have Lego Hagrid. This caption kind of got away from me. Why are you still reading this? Go back to the recap.

– I can’t help but snigger because now I’m picturing the entire rest of the book being made up of Ana being bowled over by the revelation that Christian has felt things like other humans sometimes. “Christian was sleepy? Christian was a bit thirsty? Christian really fancied a can of fruity Fanta?” (look, my period cravings are my period cravings, shut up). I guess, like me, Ana had assumed he rumbled round like a remote control car on a battery of horniness, occasionally parking to crack one out so he didn’t get overheated. He finishes the speech, and they begin the “tedious process” of collecting their degrees. I can tell you this for free: when I pick up my honours next year, I will be sprinting towards that stand like Barry fucking Allen and vaulting my way into a flat in Spain with my boyfriend and my cat. There will be nothing tedious about it. Christian quizzes her on why she hasn’t returned his emails when she collects her degree, because he can’t bear the thought of anyone knowing about their relationship except the potential hundreds of faculty, students, and family who are at this event. Kate comes to get Ana after the ceremony because Christian wants to see her. He takes her to the men’s locker room, and locks the door. Yeah, that’s right- he takes her away from her friends and family, then locks them in a room together.

Christian demands to know why he hasn’t returned her calls, snaps at Ana when she reveals that Jose services her car (I accidentally wrote that as cat, and just as I did so-)

Kitten will not be having this ignoring her to get work done pish. IT WILL NOT STAND.

Kitten will not be having this ignoring her to get work done pish. IT WILL NOT STAND.

then demands to meet her stepfather. Ray (her stepdad) agrees to grab a drink with Christian and Ana, and Ana internally freaks out when she realizes that the wine at the party is cheap. HEAVEN FUCKING FORFEND THAT ANYTHING LESS THAN LIQUID GOLD SHOULD CARESS THE PILLOWY LIPS OF CHRISTIAN MOTHERFUCKING GREY. Kate’s brother turns up and hugs Ana, and Ana comments that the family resemblance is striking even though she’s met him a few times before. Yeah, every time I see my mother, I think “Wow, don’t we look alike?”. Christian is not happy that Kate’s brother Ethan has his arm around Ana, and holds out his hand to her and calls her “baby”. She swoons internally, because she obviously hasn’t noticed that this certainly isn’t an act performed for the rival rutting male in the group since he hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with the endearments of late.

According to the text, Christian begins outright flirting with Ray while Ana loses her ever-loving shit at Kate for referring to Christian as her boyfriend. Once all the unbearable friends and family have drifted off, Ana and Christian discuss the contract more. Christian tells Ana that she “knows it’s going to be good, don’t you, baby?”, which, without the term of endearment, is more or less how my parents tried to convince me to get braces as a child so my teeth would less fucked up (I never did; my mouth is clinically too small and I’ve had to have a number of teeth removed so they don’t start exploding out of the front of my face or something. I was usually too scared at the dentist to actually pay attention to anything that was being said). This chapter just doesn’t end, does it?

Ray announces that he likes Christian because “anyone who knows and likes fly-fishing” is fine by him. Ignore the fact that your daughter is clearly nervous around him , why don’t you? Ray leaves, Ana cries, Christian makes more comments about how shitty Ana’s car is, and they exchange some more emails wherein Christian announces his coming over (her tits. Kidding, nothing that hardcore happens in this trilogy!). The chapter ends with EL James clicking on that SparkNotes bookmark once again, and quoting directly from Tess of the D’urbevilles.

Fifty Shades of Grey Double Recap: Chapter 11 and 12

Welcome back to another instalment of Fifty Shades of It’s Only BDSM, OMG, You Prude, Do Ur Research XD (amusingly, a couple of weeks ago on Twitter, someone snarled at me to write a damn essay on the abuse in Fifty Shades if I cared so much. FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION THAT). Anyway, we left off with Ana opening the sex contract Christian gave her, and basically the entire chapter is her reading that contract. Shall we begin?

Right off the bat, let’s bear this in mind for later:

“2. The fundamental purpose of this contract is to allow the Submissive to explore her sensuality and her limits safely, with due regard for her and her needs, her limits, and her well-being.”

Seriously, bear that the fuck in mind. Anyway, the contract goes on to cover STDs (not allowed, disappointingly), and what Ana would be expected to do as the submissive. Basically, it outlines that be signing the contract, Ana is comitting herself to three months of being Christian’s sub, at which point they’ll negotiate the terms if they intend to continue the relationship. Three months?! But what if she doesn’t like it? What if she wants out? I’m seriously doubting that this fucking contract would hold water in court, y’all.

Essentially, the contract makes for pretty boring reading, but in a lot of ways in does actually outline what a safe, sane, and consensual BDSm relationship consists of: safewords, the discussion of boundaries, and, um, the dictating of how much sleep Ana would be required to have every night and precisely what she’s supposed to eat from a perscribed list of foods. Help me out, BDSM peeps: is this sort of thing normal? I’m pretty well versed in BDSM but I’ve never been in or near a relationship of this intensity, so is the establishment of rules over eating and sleeping the norm or not?

The contract goes on to mention that Ana would be responsible for any “misbehavior” that might cast Christian in an ill light, even though she signed an NDA which means she couldn’t talk about the relationship anyway. She must realize that her behaviour “is a direct reflection on the dominant”, even though no-one but Ana, Christian, and any hapless family members who wander into his house ad nauseum would know about the whole BDSM thing. Urgh. The contract also discusses the fact that Ana will have to go to a trainer four times a week, and commit herself to whatever beauty treatments Christian sees fit. Again: BDSM folks, can you offer comment on this?

And after four pages of that (OOOH YEAH THIS FINE PRINT IS GETTING ME HOT DOWN THERE), we finally get to the stuff about actual sex. Hard limits (things that Christian won’t do, basically) include fireplay, breath play, and anything involving children or animals (if the flat is so small that your cat can hear you while you’re doing it, does that count?). Then the contract goes on to ask what Ana’s into, because the contract is a caring lover that’s interested in Ana’s limits. I’d go to bed with this contract over Christian. They include vaginal and anal fisting, the infliction of pain, bondage, swallowing cum etc. Aw, this isn’t nearly as hardcore as I was expecting!

Now, let’s take a look at Ana’s reaction to all of this. “I shudder at the thought of being flogged or whipped. Spanking wouldn’t be so bad; humiliating though…No, no I can’t do this. I put my head in my hands. This is no way to have a relationship”.

Ana, honey, serious talk now. It’s okay not to be into the same things the guy you like is into. But this reaction to even reading about BDSM suggests that you’re not into it. You’re not turned on by this. You can’t even consider it. And that’s totally okay. But if your sexual appetites are that different, one of you is going to have to be making massive compromises to make the other person happy, and, let’s face it, it’s going to be you.

She goes and brushes her teeth, and remembers “his body inside mine”, thus reminding us he is a Slitheen

And we have to put up with yet another reference to the muscles “deep, deep down” tugging at her. Does EL James just have a smooth bit of plastic between her legs, or is she just so embarrassed about the thought of writing about female sexual arousal she can’t fucking call anything what it actually is? At this point, I’m pulling for the former.

The next morning, a brand new, not-in-the-shops-yet Macbook arrives for Ana and the delivery man sets it up for her while trying to not blow his load all over the exclusive screen. Seriously, the way this is written, I think I’d like to read the sexual exploits of this way too enthusiastic computer fan and his new Macbook. That shit sounds hot as fuck.

“Most women gets flowers or maybe jewellery” says Kate suggestively”

SHUT UP KATE YOU PUTRID SEACOW. Anyway, Christian and Ana exchange some emails and he says “laters, baby” and the last vestige of my faith in humanity withers up inside me  for good. Ana goes to work, and Jose turns up to take her for lunch, and she’s like “you know I could never stay mad at you, friends who repeatedly pushed himself on me after I turned him down!” and I can’t any more. Ana and Christian exchange some more interminable emails in which Christian orders Ana to go to Wikipedia to research BDSM.

Ana ends the unbelievably dull chapter by mentioning that she’s queasy and sick and doesn’t want this kind of stuff in her head, and saying to herself that she needs time to think. You know what, I’m plowing right on with the next chapter because I think that it’s worth putting these two back-to-back just to appreciate what an utter clusterfuck this story is turning into. So, chapter eleven.

Ana goes for a run, and wonders if it was Christian being “seduced” (and certainly not molested!) at such a young age that made him a dominant, because people with sexual fetishes are broken in some way obvs. Ana gets home and is forced to sit through Kate showing Ana what she’s going to be wearing on holiday to Barbados while Ana listens to the white noise in her head. Then- and it’s key you remember this- Ana sends Christian this email.

“Okay, I’ve seen enough.

It was nice knowing you.

Ana”

How I read that email. Jesus, Marilyn Monroe was earth-shatteringly beautiful, wasn’t she?

Ana laugh to herself, because she’s made a joke. But all Christian sees is this: this is an email, for all intents and purposes, that’s politely saying that hey, Ana isn’t into the BDSM stuff she’s seen and doesn’t want to see him again. And no, I’m not twisting that out of context- that’s the only thing Ana sends to him. Just that. Ana bemoans the fact that he doesn’t reply, and then gets on with packing up her room. As she’s re-reading the contract, this:

“I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway to my bedroom, watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel and pants and a white linen shit, gently twirling his car keys. I pull out my earbuds and freeze. Fuck!”

Aside from the fact that this paragrpah sounds like it’s lifted straight out of a horror movie, let’s consider what’s happened here. Ana sent Christian an email that she knows was a joke, but for all intents and purposes is telling him to leave her alone. And what does he do? He turns up uninvited in her room to watch her.

Christian tells her that he thought her email required an in-person response, and sits on her bed. Ana’s thoughts: “I glance around, plotting an escape route”. Because plotting an escape route is exactly how I react to being in the same room as my lover FOR FUCK’S SAKE, HOW CAN PEOPLE NOT SEE THIS IS PROBLEMATIC?!

Christian questions Ana about her email and, before he asks her if it’s okay or if she meant what she said about not wanting to see him again, he’s kissing her and pinning her to the bed. Ana thinks “He wants me…not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen [other submissives], not Mrs Robinson…me”.Yeah, because it’s sooo healthy to take all your self-esteem from a man who’s chosen you over all the other women who totally want to nail him like Kate and her slutty bikinis, that dirty two-dollar whore!

Okay, this passage coming up is one that I’ve wanted to analyse for a while, because it’s a quote that I often see in anti-Fifty Shades memes and suchlike (which are basically providing a national service to all of humanity).

“He bends and starts undoing one of my sneakers. Oh no…no…my feet. No. I’ve just been running.

“No!” I protest, trying to kick him off.

” If you struggle, Miss Steele, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.”

Being privy to Ana’s inner monologue, we know that the reason she doesn’t want Christian to take off her shoes is because her feet are sweaty because she’s been running. But think about what Christian hears in this situation. After receiving an email from Ana telling him she didn’t want to see him any more, he turns up at her house. When he begins to undress her, she explicitly says “no” and tries to kick him away from her. In that situation, you fucking STOP AND ASK IF IT’S OKAY TO CONTINUE. If your partner ever says “no” during sexual activity, you stop immediately and check what’s up. Even if Christian had just stopped for a minute and said “is it just your feet or do you want me to stop altogether?” this scene would be less of an issue. But for all the Fifty Shades defenders reading this: Ana says no, and Christian ignores her, then threatens her. That’s what happens right here. She hasn’t signed the contract, hasn’t agreed to any BDSM, they haven’t discussed boundaries at all (the most we got was Christian asking “trust me?” and Ana nodding), there’s no discussed safewords. If you take Ana’s inner monologue out of it, this is an explicit rape scene, because she said no and he carried on.

Christian goes outside and gets a drink for them both after chatting to Kate while he’s half-naked, because if Ana protests about something Christian’s doing it will bring humiliation on everyone involved, but wandering out of the bedroom with only trousers on and chatting away to the roomate doesn’t give the game away. Christian dribble wine over Ana and- HOLD THE FUCK UP! ANA REFERRED TO HER CLITORIS AS A CLITORIS! AND WE’RE ONLY 194 PAGES INTO THE BOOK! Then there’s this as Christian prepares to fuck Ana and Ana refers to it unfortunately as “his sudden assault” and I’m all-

They come, Ana screams Christian’s name (picture it for a second), and Christian says “I thought you were saying no, no discussion at all”. Which, you know, means that he thought Ana was turning down his sexual advances but proceeded to turn up at her house uninvited and ignore her protests during sex because LOVE. Christian offers to introduce Ana to one of his ex-subs so she can learn from them, and Ana throws him out. Finally. Ana runs into her room and bursts into tears. Kate comes in, and asks why Ana is crying-

“I sent him an email.”

“Asking him to drop by?”

“No, saying I didn’t want to see him any more.”

“And he turns up? Ana, that’s genius.”

Is it, though? Is it really genius that the man she asked to stay away from her turned up without asking? Ana sends Christian some emails outlining what she is and isn’t willing to consent to on the contract, and I’m impressed that she’s actually negotiating. Instead of addressing any of her issues, Christian tells her to go to bed. Because mixed signals make me wet.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recap: Chapter Six + Links Bonanza

We return to the magical world of Fifty Shades just after Christian and Blana have shared their first smooch in a lift. As Ana wonders if it ever happened- Grey probably had choloform in his lip-balm, just to be on the safe side- he straps her into his SUV and plays her Sex on Fire, which is a terrible song for a terrible guy and most certainly not the first tune I heard after I lost my virginity.

He then receives a call from his brother, whose first question is if he got laid. Just like the phone conversations me and my big brother have, really, except for the part where any of that happens. I might sound like I’m bored recapping this: I am. Grey’s just being a low-level prick while Ana pouts over the fact that he won’t snog her again. Give me the juicy stuff, dammit! (Not your vagina, Ana, darling).

The first thing that really pisses me off comes after Grey drops Ana back off at the apartment that he knows she lives at despite having never visited or been given an address to. Kate, Ana’s roomate (that BITCH), is there, having just had a roll in the hay with Christian’s brother Elliot. To answer your question, he only seems marginally better than Grey, kissing her hand and saying “Laters, baby” as he leaves. Ana says Kate looks “compliant”, which conjures up images of automatons from Age of Mythology as well as being a bit inexplicable. How does someone LOOK compliant? Grey clearly has a nose for them, but Ana, the great English major, clearly has no fucking clue how words work. Can you fuck someone into general compliance, anyway? I’ve never had sex with my partner and found myself feeling willing to obey anything that anyone told me to do.

Once again, EL demonstrates her complete ignorance at how twenty-somethings communicate-

“Wow, Ana Steele finally falling for a man, and it’s Christian Grey- hot, sexy billionaire.”

“Oh yeah, it’s all about the money.” I smirk, and we both fall into a fit of giggles.

While proving once again that Ana is a fucking hoot, EL takes a second to remind us that Grey is far too good for Ana AND that he’s hot, sexy, and rich. Because we needed to have someone stiltedly reading that off cue cards in the text, again. Bleh. Kate decides to spruce Ana up for her date tonight, and it all turns into a nineteenth century courtship novel, with depillaion-

Under Kate’s tireless and frankly obtrusive instruction, my legs and underarms are shaved to perfection, my eyebrows plucked, and I am buffed all over. It has been a most unpleasant experience. But she assures me that is what men expect these days.

I accept the idea that Ana is a sexual and romantic newbie, but did it really come as a surprise that most gents prefer a shaved lady? It all comes across as making Ana out to be a beautiful untouched virgin, innocent and unschooled in the ways of sexuality and primping. Like Rachel Weisz in The Mummy, only a thousand times less intelligent and appealing.

The only known intersection in the ven diagram of people who me, my boyfriend, and my Dad all fancy.

The only known intersection in the ven diagram of people who me, my boyfriend, and my Dad all fancy.

For no apparent plot-worthy reason, Ana goes to work, then gets picked up by Grey and his driver Taylor to take her to the helipad.

Ana notices that Christian smiles warmly at an older employee at the helipad, and is pretty surprised. Honestly, when you’re surprised that your date is showing a modicum of politeness to those in his employ, it’s not the best sign. Christian straps Ana into the chopper (if only that were literal), and kisses her cheek. She talks about the muscles of her belly contracting again, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some constipation on the go as opposed to arousal. EL seems to have a problem with having Ana just say that she’s super turned-on or horny, and has to have her use endless metaphors in an attempt to establish the depth of her lust for the man who has just told her he likes he in a harness. Ana mentions how awed she is, and Christian reveals that he prefers soaring-well, gliding to the layperson. No shit, these words are written on the page, and I should know as I’m currently trying to tear it out of the book in annoyance. All these pointless double-meanings and posh words aren’t a way of displaying intelligence, they are a way of displaying a predisposition to pretension-in the cases of both the character and the author. Ana and Christian arrive in Seattle.As he unfastens her seatbelt, for no apparent reason, Grey asks

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t to do. You know that, don’t you?”

Well, where were you last chapter when we had the whole passed-out-drunk-and-stripped naked fiasco? What follows is no less than four paragraphs- almost a whole page- describing what the apartment he’s brought her to looks like, and EL’s obsession with talking about glass continues. This exchange occurs.

“Are you hungry?”

I shake my head. Not for food.”It’s a very big place you have here.”

“Big?”

“Big.”

“It’s big” he agrees, and his eyes glow with amusement, I take another sip of wine.

“Do you play?” I point my chin at the piano.

“Yes.”

“Well?”

“Yes.”

Benedict isn't even in character as Sherlock here. THAT'S HOW FUCKING UNSUBTLE THEIR INNUENDO IS.

Benedict isn’t even in character as Sherlock here. THAT’S HOW FUCKING UNSUBTLE THEIR INNUENDO IS.

I really think this is one of the scenes that will work better in the movie, as reading this sucks it desert-dry of the sexual tension and innuendo EL clearly thought it was dripping with. The formatting looks weird, the subject all over the place, and the sheer insignificance and cheesiness of the exchange makes me want to burn a library. In my head, this is just an awkward chat filled with pauses and in-law dinner time-fillers. With Ana unable to take the tension any more, especially after they exchange tidbits about Tess of the D’urbervilles (which is an excellent book that is demaned by it’s mention in these pages). Christian brings out a non disclosure agreement, asking that Ana sign it before they go any further. Aside from paperwork being the singular most sexy thing on earth (I’m doing my taxes right now, and have to take regular breaks to furiously copulate with my harem of lovers), it seems that Ana is far too horny to read anything before she signs it. An intelligent woman in control of her own destiny, ladies and gentlemen!

After explaining that he doesn’t make love, he “fucks…hard” (is it seventies porn o’clock already?), Christian offers to show Ana his playroom. She prances in, unaware that she’s actually just signed her soul in a Faustian deal with the devil and Mephistopholes is waiting within to drag her into hell. The chapter ends with an internal exclamation:

Holy Fuck.

HOLY FUCK!

HOLY FUCK!

LINKS!

What’s up, party people? Like you’re favourite celebrity coming out round the back to sign autographs, I’m bestowing on you a bunch of links that might be of interest. I’ll be updating the About page with these soon enough, but in case I forget, here they are. Do what you will!

Twitter- this is my twitter feed, where I post a bunch of articles from this site and others, and vent about getting up early, my cat, and politics. Follow away.

The Cutprice Jukebox- This is the sister site to the Guignol, where me and the consort review music- it’s a mixture of older bits and pieces along with a bunch of new bands of various genres, with reviews, retrospectives, and top tens a-plenty. You can like that site on Facebook here for more regular updates, and me being a little bitch about Morrissey.

The Interesting People Project- there’s a blog post about it here, because it’s a lot to explain in a few sentences. My interview heavy labour of love, featuring chats with everyone from David Firth, creator of Salad Fingers, to Vic Mignogna, noted voice actor and generally cool guy.

The Man Place– My dad, who is a much better writer than me, blogs about growing up in the sixties-everything from Action Man to playing soldiers. You can also find his other, more niche blog The Gun Place here, if you’re into learning about air pistols and the way that guns are used in movies from a bearded Aberdonian. My mother sells a fictional ebook about life in the Highlands (the genre of the book is fiction, that is- it does exist) here, and I’m sure we could dredge up a poem my brother wrote for English class one time if you want the full set of my family’s writing.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recap: Chapter Five

You realise there are five hundred pages of this to get through, right? Five hundred magnificent pages in this book, which is thick enough to comfortably wrap in pastry and be called a Book Wellington? In happier news, here’s a gif from Vikings featuring Floki, giving the greatest motivational speech in television history. Finding it has been, so far, the highlight of my day (apart from, of course, the heroin).

There literally aren't words. Except these ones.

There literally aren’t words. Except these ones.

So, as we plunge headfirst into Ana’s sopping wet personality, let’s pick up the start of chapter five. At the end of the last chapter, Christian had turned up at a bar, declared Ana drunk, and whisked her away to his hotel room where she was hilariously sick everywhere. She takes an entire page to rouse properly, and remembers the hideous events of the night before. Christian arrives, and Ana comments that his jogging bottoms hang off him “In that way” (what way? WHAT FUCKING WAY IS THAT?!), and that the thought of his sweat does strange things to her. To be fair, the thought of my lover’s sweat does strange things to me too, but most of them involve gagging and making rude comments.

They talk for a while, and it’s revealed that Christian decided NOT to take Ana back to her apartment in case she threw up in his car on the way, and undressed her while she was passed out. Let’s repeat that: he undressed her when she was passed out. This is not something a concerned stranger does. A concerned stranger calls you a cab and makes sure you get home okay. He does not travel cross-country to pick you up personally, take you to his hotel, and take your clothes off while you’re comatose. This is not how healthy relationships start. Ana notices this, stunningly.

“You didn’t have to track me down with whatever James Bond technology you’re developing for the highest bidder!” I snap. He stares at me, surprised, and , if I’m not mistaken, a little wounded.

First, the technology to track cell phones is available over the internet.”

200 (1)

Let’s consider this: despite her righteous anger, Christian completely ignores the reason WHY she’s upset and goes on to patronisingly explain how things work as way of excuse. The issue at hand is not how much money he spent on tracking her phone, it’s that he felt the need to track her phone at all, after meeting her-what, twice at this point? He claims that she would have slept with Jose if he hadn’t come to save her, and then it’s just dropped. At this point, I’m getting pretty fucking angry.

Oh wait, there’s more! Christian scolds her for not eating, and tells her that if he had his way she “wouldn’t be able to sit for a week” after the “stunt she pulled”. What, getting drunk and going out with friends should be disciplined with a thrashing that the female lead has in no way consented to or encouraged, much like, I don’t know, all of Christian’s creepy actions so far? CONSISTENCY.

200

My medulla oblongata has neglected to fire synapses” EL, NO TWENTY-SOMETHING TALKS OR THINKS LIKE THIS. Ana’s subconcious sounds like it was written by a fourteen-year-old with a thesaurus and an inferiority complex. After she’s started synapse firing again, he touches her face and she starts “squirming with needy, achy…discomfort”. Sounds like a bladder infection, pal.

She goes for a shower and starts fantasising about Christian feeling her up. He’s sent his bodyguard out to go and buy her new clothes, including a super-fancy bra and pants. Now, forgive me, but if a guy had done all the stuff that Christian had up until this point, and then bought me a sexy underwear that fits perfectly somehow I would probably be calling it a day roundabout then. Because he’s continually invaded Ana’s privacy and personal space in a way that she’s never really given consent to (or been in a sober enough position to give consent too). All this ignorance of the system of consent is making me want to touch my bad parts.

Christian orders them both breakfast, and scolds Ana for having her hair too damp. This is after he’s called her out of a shower to eat breakfast. She offers to pay for the clothes and return his books, but he declines “because [he] can”. Mr Charitable Starving Nations 5000, ladies and gents. Ana asks why he sent her the mysterious books, and he explains.

“”Well, when you were nearly run over by that cyclist-and I was holding you and you were looking up at me- all “Kiss me, kiss me, Christian”….I felt I owed you an apology and a warning”

I feel like this Peter Capaldi gif will be coming in very handy for these recaps.

I feel like this Peter Capaldi gif will be coming in very handy for these recaps.

Yes, I recall, after she was nearly mowed into a paste by that psychopathic man on a pushbike. He tells her he can’t stay away, she tells him he shouldn’t, he gasps. Actually gasps. He tells her “I’d like to bite that lip”

He'd like to bite it, too.

He’d like to bite it, too.

.

Ana basically squirts everywhere, saying “Jeez!” internally. He tells her he’s not going to touch her “till I have your written consent to do so”. WELL FUCKING HALLELUJAH. Yes, it’s fine for Christian to remove her from her friends against her will while apocolyptically drunk, choose not to take her to her apartment but to his hotel room, undress her, sleep next to her, and buy sexy lingerie for her, but God forbid he actually touch her without her consent. I am trying to work with you, EL, I really fucking am.

They agree to a date, but this encounter isn’t over yet! Nope, there’s still time for Christian to ostentatiously order his helicopter, Charlie Tango, and order Ana to finish her breakfast-which is now cold- because he doesn’t like wasted food. Despite, you know, ordering a wide selection of food from the room service menu which Ana clearly could not consume herself because he couldn’t be bothered being all like “Hey, Ana, what would you like for breakfast?”.

After two pages of Ana drying her hair and putting on clothes, they both step into the lift where Christian pins her up against a wall and yanks her hair and makes out with her. Then they seem to start grinding really slowly, while Ana thinks “I’m helpless”, and any sense of sexiness is lost with the notion that our heroine has basically no agency over her own sexual life. Whee, sexual revolution! The chapter draws to a finale with this edifying exchange.

You’ve brushed your teeth” he says, staring at me.

I used your toothbrush”

His lips quirk up in a half smile. “Oh, Anastasia Steele, what am I going to do with you?”

Buy her a fucking toothbrush, you twat.