When Ariel and I decided this chapter was too long and we needed to split it up, we clarified that the last sentence of her section would be “I might get lucky” and the first of mine would be “The A3 is fun to drive, though it’s got less torque than I’m used to”, which are both oddly representative of how bland this book is.
Grey: Thursday, May 26, 2011 (continued)
This half of the chapter is Christian driving to Ana’s and then them discussing their arrangement. On the way he stops at “a liquor store on the outskirts of Portland” and opts to “forgo the Cristal and the Dom Perignon”, which is utterly charming that E L James assumes any random liquor store outside a major city would likely carry Dom Perignon.
[I get the] Bollinger, mostly because it’s the 1999 vintage [but] also because it’s pink… symbolic, I think with a smirk.
Symbolic of what?
“Nothing bears a good Bollinger.”
“Interesting choice of words.” Her voice is sardonic.
“Oh, I like your ready wit, Anastasia.” There she is… my girl.
You know what’s an easy way to make your story come across as a boring one-trick pony? Constantly make referneces to the one thing that could be faintly unique about the story, then have characters constantly comment on it. This is why every Star Wars movie has someone point out “It’s time to go to war… in the stars!”, and then another character says, “I see what you did there.”
The book spends some time with Ana and Christian still debating about the first edition books he gave her, to which Christian thinks, “God, this girl has me on a roller coaster”, which might be the least accurate account of a story from within that same story that I’ve ever read. Par for the course with Grey, it comes complete with details that neither add anything to the story, nor to the notion that words ordered in an intentional sequence convey meaning.
I trace her handwriting with my finger. The letters are small and neat, and I wonder what a graphologist would make of them.
Christian overreacts to Ana not wanting some books.
Here we go, another battle of wills.
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.
Because insisting on quoting things in the original French always makes a person more likeable.
“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. […] I will buy you lots of things, Anastasia. Get used to it. I can afford it. I’m a very wealthy man.”
When it moves on from the books, Christian does the surprisingly rare thing of actually asking Ana about herself. He asks her about what she’s doing for work, and when she tells him she has some interviews, he freaks out that she didn’t tell him earlier. Even though he only just asked her right now. Which sounds about right for Christian Grey.
“Have you eaten anything?”
“Yes. I had a three-course meal with Ray,” she says, exasperated, and rolls her eyes.
Oh, Ana. At least I can do something about this disrespectful habit.
Guys, I sat staring at this line for like ten minutes trying to think of a joke, but I can’t think of anything funnier than the bitter irony that Christian is the rudest person in these books, and that’s knowing that we have an attempted murderer and rapist about to show up in the sequels.
The bulk of the chapter (before the sex, which is so common and uneventful it’s like clarifying what you did for most of the day, aside from sleeping overnight) is about Christian and Ana discussing what they’re comfortable doing sexually. Christian gets Ana to drink alcohol during this talk, which is a totally respectable move, obviously.
I fetch the champagne and refill her cup. She regards me suspiciously. She knows I’m plying her with alcohol.
Totally nothing wrong with this! It’s even got a totally not untoward “suspiciously” in there! Christian just wants to get her to talk about her limits! Which he immediately dismisses or argues with every time she actually explicitly states one.
- She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”
“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”
- “You said no to the genital clamps. That’s fine. It’s caning that hurts the most.”
“We can work up to that,” I state quickly.
“Or not do it at all,” she counters.
“This is part of the deal, baby.”
Christian also demonstrates that he really doesn’t get what a compliment is.
“Swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that.” I expect a smile from her
Christian also demonstrates that he doesn’t really get what apologizing is.
“Don’t laugh at me, but what’s a spreader bar?”
“I promise not to laugh. I’ve apologized twice.” For Christ’s sake. “Don’t make me do it again.”
Ane E L James also demonstrates that she really doesn’t get safe words.
“How will I use safe words if I’m gagged?” She inquires.
“First of all, I hope you never have to use them.”
Christian has his first “romantic” moment where he throws out the possibility of “more”, suggesting that one day a week “outside of the time you’re my sub” they could do something more traditionally romantic, which makes even less sense the more I think about it, because this is the dumbest way I can think of to use labels. He likes her enough to try dating her, which he never does, but not enough to break from his sex-only partnerships, which he only does, except isn’t by definition of his new proposal?
Christian tries giving Ana a new car, which she is angry and annoyed about because “it’s too much”, which makes Christian wonder “why is she so difficult” and declare, “You are one challenging woman”. It culminates in Ana whispering, “Please don’t be angry with me,” and me checking for the umpteenth time that this book was published in 2015, not 1815.
So let’s just skip to the sex scene, yeah? Let’s see what those inexplicable “my panties disintegrated” scenes look like from Christian’s perspective.
I hold her steady and glance down at her panties.
Cotton. White. Easy.
I hook my fingers into them and stretch them as far as they’ll go, then push my thumbs through the seam at the back. They tear apart in my hands and I throw them at Ana’s feet.
Boy, I can’t wait to reread that another dozen times.
I place [her hand] over my erection, which is fighting for space in my jeans.
“This is the effect you have on me, Miss Steele.”
She inhales, hazing at her hand.
Surely by this point she is not this unfamiliar with the process that Christian still has to explain what an erection is.
The sex scene involves an infinitesimal amount of role reversal, where Christian tells Ana that she’s in charge, and he lets her… decide to please him. It can be summed up with one line of Ana’s dialogue:
“If you imagine for one minute that I think you ceded control to me, well, you haven’t taken into account my GPA.”
I mean, no one would actually say it like that, but basically.
The sex itself (ostensibly why anyone’s reading this, right?) is the usual E L James copy/paste garbage, which is only amusing when she accidentally copy/pastes the same thing onto the same page:
Her enthusiasm is disarming. […]
“Your innocence and enthusiasm are very disarming.”
Christian also explains to Ana that he doesn’t like being touched because “I’m fifty shades of fucked up” speech in this scene. It’s the same thing as it is in Fifty Shades, except you paid ten bucks to read it again.
Christian also demands that Ana go on birth control, because condoms are icky.
“When is your period due?” I ask. “I hate wearing these things.” I hold up the knotted condom […] “You need to sort our some contraception. […] Do you have a doctor?” I ask. She shakes her head.
Ana is a college graduate living in the 2010s who has never owned a laptop, so, sure, she doesn’t have a doctor either. Why the fuck not?
Ana rolls her eyes at Christian, which prompts the scene where Christian spanks her. You would think that this would be more disturbing from Christian’s point of view, but it’s mostly just boring, because E L James can’t be bothered to come up with statements that weren’t largely used already in Fifty Shades.
Her ass is pinking up nicely. It looks glorious.
Speaking of E L James’ writing, it’s been a while since we had an exceptionally stupid sentence:
She smells of Ana and apples and sex.
Like every other chapter, it ends with a contrived reason to have Christian suddenly worry that Ana’s going to call it off. Because when the reader is reading the exact same story for a second time, a good way to keep them interested is to throw in cliffhangers that they already know don’t pan out.