Fifty Shades of Grey

Posted on March 3, 2012


Betty of Heifer 12X12, has alerted me to a book touted on the Today Show and across the planet, 50 Shades of Grey I knew it had something to do with eroticism and SM, so I intended to do some deep research before writing this post.  But, like the team on Fox News, I believe that deep research gets in the way, so I decided to just start writing.

Here is everything you need to know about the book: Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel self-published by first-time British author E.L. James.  It has already spawned two sequels, a possible movie deal and a series of children’s action figures. Word on the street is that it is a flagrant take off of the Twilight series.

Next, I went to went to Amazon.  Apparently this book has created more of a sexual release among women than the day chastity belts were outlawed. Comments include:

“I am panting and salivating like a big old furry mongrel in Texas degree heat!”

“I read this while my husband was at work.  By the time he got home, I was naked and had smeared my entire body with I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter!”

“I am hotter than a steaming pile of dog poop but I’m hoping I smell better!”

“I tied myself to the bed and waited for my boyfriend to come home, and I don’t even have a boyfriend!”

Then I read the freebie parts.  Here is what I learned:

E.L.James is a master of describing scenery: “It’s a stunning vista and I’m momentarily paralyzed by the view. Wow.”  It was the “Wow” that did it for me.  I had to read the word several times to take it all in.

She also finds unique ways of stating the mundane: “If this guy is over 30 then I’m a monkey’s uncle.”

But her tour de force is the sexual tension between her heroine, Anastasia Steele, and her hero, Christian Grey (Yes, I know. The names, themselves are rich material for an entire post), one that builds excruciatingly slowly as Anastasia enters Grey’s office for the first time, then climaxes to a shuddering crescendo two sentences later, as they shake hands for the first time.  As Anastasia would say, “Wow.” I can’t do better than that.

That initial five-minute meeting, leaves Anastasia shaken and causes her to reassess her entire life.  She delves ever more deeply into the shallow pond that occupies her brain, as she enters the all glass elevator off the vast glass, steel, and white sandstone hall in the steel skyscraper that houses the zillion dollar global enterprise that Christian Grey has singlehandedly built-in the two decades since he has been potty trained.  The deeper her thoughts go, the more complex they become, until after about 2 inches, she hits her medulla oblongata and is prevented from going any further:

No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why.  Is it his looks? His civility? Wealth? Power? I don’t understand my emotional reaction.”

Tears spilled from my own eyes as I considered the metaphysical ramifications of what she was saying. Like Anastasia, I knew that beneath looks, civility, wealth, power, and a glass elevator, there must be something deeper.  Something that reminds us why we are human.  Something that is so elemental we cannot even begin to describe it, even with Anastasia’s profound use of the word “Wow.”  Perhaps we will never figure it out.  Perhaps, we as humans are too flawed, or perhaps the more we ponder, the connective awareness between being, spirit and energy is doomed to become even more elusive. So screw it.  Let’s just talk about bondage and submission, instead.  In Part 2.