I read Fifty Shades of Grey on the train today to get these chapters read in time to write this post, so all I can say is you guys better really like today’s post.
The chapter opens up with Christian Grey, wearing ripped Levis and holding a leather riding crop, standing over a naked, shackled, spread-eagled Ana. Christian slaps the riding crop directly onto Ana’s clitoris and she wakes up from her dream, all while having an orgasm.
This book has sold ten million copies worldwide.
I didn’t know I could dream sex.
I’m not sure if she means this like where “sex” is the direct object, as in she is dreaming about sex, or that “dream sex” itself is a verb and it’s somehow a thing that she can do. I can dream sex. You can dream sex. He/she/we can dream sex.
Kate goes into the kitchen to encounter Kate, who has the audacity to ask how her date last night went, and Ana responds with this gem:
“We had oysters. Followed by cod, so I’d say it was fishy.”
We then get Ana’s internal conflict on a future with Christian Grey. Ana herself thinks “deep down, it’s the canes and whips that put me off”, which I don’t think is a particularly deep fear, but whatever. On the other hand, Ana’s inner goddess “jumps up and down with cheerleading pom-poms shouting yes” because why the fuck not.
Next Ana’s dad/stepdad/honestly I neither remember nor care/father-figure Ray shows up for her graduation in an ill-fitting suit (in case you were curious) and they have a conversation that is so boring and inconsequential that E L James herself just ends the section in the middle of the conversation. No, seriously. Ana asks Ray like three different questions, there’s a space on the page, and now it’s an hour later and they’re somewhere else doing something different. Even E L James doesn’t care about this book.
But anyway yeah it’s Ana’s college graduation.
I make my way to my seat amongst fellow students whose surnames also begin with S.
I don’t know why, but I actually love that sentence. But then I inevitably stop loving this story when Christian Grey shows up on stage, the girls on either side of Ana talk about how hot he is, and Ana interrupts their conversation to tell them that he’s gay. So, uh, this is kind of a low blow? And very strange? Like how shallow a person do you have to be to try to spread lies about someone’s sexual orientation in an attempt to spite them?
So Kate gives a speech and Ana doesn’t tell us any of it, and then Christian gives a speech and the only part that Ana conveys to us is this really long, very serious bit about third-world poverty and hunger and I kind of want to believe that Fifty Shades of Grey is actually supposed to be a novel about these very serious issues disguised as erotic fiction. And Christian says that he has “known what it’s like to be profoundly hungry” and for some reason Ana wasn’t able to figure out before this point that Christian’s “weird” about finishing all of your food because he had something like this in his past. It even warrants a “holy crap” from our completely-shot-to-hell crap scale!
After the ceremony, Christian takes Ana into a locker room, where, and this may be the biggest twist in this book thus far, they don’t have sex. So it’s boring so I’m moving on. Christian wants to meet Ana’s dad-type-person, and my favorite character, Ana’s subconscious, shows up with some of her usual hilarity!
My subconscious is at her snarky best. So are you going to introduce Ray to the man you’re fucking? She is flaring at me over her wing-shaped spectacles?
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Ana’s subconscious definitely had half-moon spectacles last time. How many pairs of spectacles does Ana’s subconscious own? I’m starting to suspect that she doesn’t even need them!
Christian meets Ray, and Kate introduces Christian as Ana’s boyfriend and OH MY GOD, GUYS, DRAMA. Except Ray and Christian talk about fishing and not sadomasochism so PHEW! Drama avoided!
And so Christian and Ana have what has to be one of the worst define-the-relationship talks ever imagined by anyone ever. I’ll paraphrase for you here, but my paraphrasing will be in brackets ([like so]) and actual things that were written in the book will be in bold (like so) because, like always, I have to emphasize how stupid some of the things that are actually written in this book can be.
Christian Grey: [I want a BDSM relationship with you as my submissive sex slave!]
Anastasia Steele: [I want a normal relationship!]
Christian Grey: It’s not something I know.
Anastasia Steele: [Okay, well, in that case, I’ll go ahead with your thing then.]
Ray (showing up suddenly): Look after my baby girl.
Christian Grey: Oh, I fully intend to. [(twirls handlebar mustache)]
There’s a lot that’s really wrong with this, but there’s one main thing that sticks out that I really want to talk about how stupid it is, but I’m going to save that point until…
Guess what, everybody? We’re officially halfway through this book! Just think about how much you’ve suffered through this book by this point, and that’s more or less exactly how much more suffering you have to go!
So it’s the night of graduation day and instead of, you know, being with family or friends, Ana is alone in her apartment and Christian Grey shows up with a bottle of Rosé, which is weird, because I thought Christian Grey was supposed to have good taste. HAHA LOOK HOW PRETENTIOUS I AM HAHA QUITE.
Basically all you need to know about this chapter is that Christian gives Ana quite a bit to drink while they discuss various soft limits. Amazingly enough, it’s not so much that it isn’t sexy that’s what’s off about this. I mean, sure, I don’t find discussing anal beads and genital clamps all that titillating, but I’m sure plenty of people do and if that’s what they like, hey, to each their own.
Instead, what’s unsettling about this discussion is that the tone is actually incredibly uncomfortable. Ana’s getting mildly intoxicated, both make jokes out of nowhere that fall flat, and the mood in the room itself rapidly flits back and forth between anger and downright depressing.
Almost weirder is that while Ana agrees to try out some of Christian’s BDSM thing, Christian also agrees to try out some of Ana’s “let’s have an actual, normal, boyfriend-girlfriend relationship” thing. This brings me back to my point from earlier, where Christian’s reasoning for not wanting a “normal” relationship is that he’s never done that before and doesn’t know how. Well, tough titties, Christian Grey! They almost solve that whole “we both want to be together, but in different ways OH MAN WHAT DO WE DO” problem right here and right now. Like, it’s really weird, but they’re sort of working towards a sort of compromise where they do some of the stuff each of them wants, like (mostly) normal people, and, you know, the book could have ended right there. But it didn’t. Regrettably.
My point being, at no point is there any sexual tension in any of this, which makes it really weird when they start the foreplay when they’re currently cycling through anger.
Boy, he’s angry. He grabs my hand and leads me back into the apartment and straight into my bedroom […]
“Please don’t be angry with me,” I whisper.
His gaze is impassive; his eyes cold shards of smoky glass.
“I’m sorry about the car and the books…” I trail off. He remains silent and brooding. “You scare me when you’re angry”
What the fuck is sexy about this? THIS IS GODDAMN TERRIFYING. And, per usual, Christian says a lot of really, really disturbing shit, such as:
- “Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”
- “Come on, Anastasia, talking through all this, I want to fuck you into next week, right now.”
- “It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car right now, just to show you that you are mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car.”
- “I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass”
And, also per usual, Ana says a lot of really, really hilariously weird shit.
- “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”
Hell, even Ana’s inner goddess gets some total mindfuckery-type weirdness representative of Ana’s inner goddess:
- “Right – bondage,” he says, returning to the list. I examine the list, and my inner goddess bounces up and down like a small child waiting for ice cream.
- “And… swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that.”
I flush, and my inner goddess smacks her lips together
I almost threw up while reading that.
- “Stop, Ana, stop. I don’t want to come.”
[…] I thought I was in charge? My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream.
Yes, ice cream is used to describe a character’s feelings about sex twice in this chapter. This book is going to ruin ice cream for me.