Darker Chapter 4 (Part 2): Christian Loves Ana, Hates Condoms

Previously, Christian and Ana go to a hotel because Christian’s ex-sub Leila is on the loose, has a gun, and is maybe breaking into Christian’s apartment. Christian and Ana are together now, so we need something to be the plot.

Darker: Chapter 4 (Part 2)

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011

Christian wakes up and immediately starts making Ana’s decisions for her.

My first job is to e-mail Dr. Greene. I ask her if she can come to the hotel to attend to Ana.

Christian is an early bird kind of person, I guess. Ana’s agency isn’t going to ignore itself! Next, Christian calls his boat guy (he’s rich, of course he has a boat guy) and makes plans to take Ana out on his boat. His boat guy, like everyone else in Christian Grey’s life somehow, is deeply curious about Christian’s love life.

“Great. We’ll see you at around lunchtime.”
“Yes, I’m bringing my girlfriend, Anastasia Steele.”
There’s a slight hesitation in Mac’s voice before he says, “Look forward to it.”

I can’t wait until E L James rewrites this book again from Mac’s perspective and we get the scene of Mac furiously scrambling to figure out what the protocol is if a client wants to bring someone else onto their own boat.

every single person who WORKS with Christian, upon learning he’s seeing someone, apparently

Christian gets a text from his mom assuring him it was lovely to meet Anastasia, which I guess is a good enough reason to prompt a Christian Grey flashback.

It was Elliot who was always bringing girls around…not me. Grace couldn’t keep up.

“Elliot, darling, we get attached to them and then they’re history. It’s heartbreaking.”
“Don’t get attached.” He shrugs, chewing with his mouth open. “I don’t,” he mutters so only I can hear him.

Now, I know you’re thinking this is a horrendously cliche flashback (One of the few men in Christian’s life is a disaffected womanizer? His mom disapproves? I’ve never seen this before!), but I assure you it very quickly gets so much weirder.

“Whatever, Mom. At least I bring girls home.” He eyes me with disdain.
“Lots of my friends want to marry Christian. Ask them,” Mia pipes up in my defense.

“Yeah, it’s weird, but this isn’t that weird, Matt- hang on, this is a flashback? How old are they?”

Ugh. What an unpleasant thought—her poisonous little eighth-grade friends. […]
“Boys! Enough! This is your first night home from college.”

SO THE SCENE WE HAVE BEFORE US IS THIS: Elliot, a young man in college, is shamelessly wham, bam, thank you ma’am-ing women, even though he also regularly introduces them to his parents for some reason, all of which he shames his younger brother for not doing, in front of their preteen sister, whose response to all of this is to assert that her preteen friends have frequently expressed interest in marrying her college-aged brother, and his aversion to this is not that they’re fucking middle schoolers, but rather that he finds them annoying. Ok. Yeah. Now I’m kind of amazed the characters in this book aren’t more fucked up than they already are.

Anyway, Ana finally wakes up. At no point does Christian tell her that he scheduled a doctor’s appointment for her that morning, because why does she need to know? Hey, what really matters here is that Christian Grey hates condoms.

Ana wanders in and gives me a disapproving look. I choose to ignore it and close the door, leaving her with Dr. Greene. She can be as annoyed as she likes, but she stopped taking her pills. And she knows I hate condoms.

How much does Christian Grey hate condoms? Well, if you search Darker for the word “hate”, you get 17 mentions. Guess how many of those are about condoms?

Could you tell?

Everyday-level shitty dude behavior: “B-but, I hate condoms! They just don’t feel as good!”
Christian Grey-level shitty dude behavior: “I hate condoms and I’m making you go on birth control. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for you this morning. No, you don’t have time to shower first.”

Half an hour later Ana and Dr. Greene emerge from the bedroom. Ana looks subdued. […] “Let’s shower,” I suggest eventually. She agrees but is hardly enthusiastic.


“Dr. Greene scolded me about missing the pill. She said I could be pregnant.”
And I’m free-falling. Fuck.

Hahahahahahahaha, buddy, I got some bad news for you about the next book/this story’s hyper traditional concept of true love.

Well, we’re in Christian’s head now. Any unexpected insights on how he cares for Ana when she’s in need of his support?

In my experience, women feel better after a good cry.

Yeah, I wasn’t expecting much.

This scene leads to them taking a sexy/emotionally devastating shower together where Ana washes off what’s left of the lipstick where she outlined Christian’s no-touch areas, which leads to Christian telling Ana that he loves her for the first time. This was apparently so boring in Fifty Shades Darker that both Ariel and I summarized it in a single paragraph. So, uh, is it any more interesting from Christian’s perspective?

“You’re very easy to love. Don’t you see that?” she says, as the water falls around us.
“No, baby, I don’t.” […] I can’t bear it. I put my finger over her lips and shake my head. “I can’t hear this. I’m nothing, Anastasia.” I’m a lost boy, standing before you. Unloved. Abandoned by the one person who was supposed to protect me, because I’m a monster. […]
“I’m a husk of a man. I don’t have a heart.”
“Yes, you do,” she cries passionately. “And I want it, all of it. […] I know how you feel about me. […] You love me.” […]
Answer her, Grey. Tell her the truth.
“Yes,” I whisper, “I do.” […]
It’s a deep, dark confession wrenched from my soul. And yet as I say the words out loud it all becomes clear. Of course I love her.

Oh my god, no wonder we just skimmed it five years ago. I totally forgot about Ana lowkey pressuring Christian into confessing his love for her, though. Maybe these two monsters are perfect for each other?

Ok, Jesus, let’s get a move on. Let’s quickly recap the rest of – notices the rest of the chapter is a tenth of the whole fucking book – the, uh, middle of this chapter. Shall we? I mean, we totally should. I promise you. Nothing interesting happens. We’re at the part of Fifty Shades where Christian and Ana just do boring couple and/or rich people things.

Christian’s security team calls him to let him know they reviewed the security footage and confirmed Leila is the one who vandalized Ana’s car. (Again, something has to be the plot now.) Christian takes the reader on an adventure as he tries to decide what car he should get for Ana.

Perhaps I should buy her something else.
Yes. Something different. Not an Audi.
A Volvo.
No. My dad has one.
No. My mom has one.

Holy shit, gripping. Okay, what else? Christian and Ana go on his boat, which might be the most hilariously dry part of the book so far with lines like “I may have to deal with you later, but right now I’ve got to drive my boat.” and “Asymmetrical sail. For speed.” Although then we get to the next sex scene and I remember, oh, right, those are dry too.

She’s wearing a thong.
A thong.

Or insane.

“Ah,” she breathes, and the sound is music to my dick.

Somehow this is not the first time E L James has used a totally normal sentence like “music to my dick”. It’s copy/pasted from Grey. E L James wrote “music to my dick” and thought that was too good to use just once. It’s like how Hamlet says “To be, or not to be” twelve times in Hamlet. It’s just like that.

Christian’s security team calls again and explains they figured out that Leila’s been sneaking in through the fire escape, and they’ve changed the locks, so the apartment should be safe now. Christian and Ana reflect on all the fun they had on the boat.

“Captain, eh?” I muse. “Well, I am master of this vessel.”
“You are master of my heart, Mr. Grey.”
I wanted to be your master in a different way, but this is good.

Like I said, it’s mostly boring couple stuff/rich people stuff from here on out. Good thing there’s another book and a half of this!



  1. Jennifer Layton Reply

    There’s so much to hate about Christian that it hasn’t really sunk in for me yet that he’s making her go on birth control. And she says she doesn’t want to, but this is another example of the whole “reluctance” fantasy. If she agrees to go on birth control, it means she’s not a good girl, so she has to be forced into it. I hate everything about this genre.

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      This is a really good way of putting it. Something very similar comes up again later in the chapter – mind if I quote you on this and then expand on the idea?

    • WanderingTranslator Reply

      Longtime reader and admirer here, and I feel like I have to weigh in, because holy crap this is awful:

      Christian’s refusal to wear condoms also amounts to deliberately passing the buck. Anastasia has to take on all the responsibility for sexual health instead, totally unwillingly.

      Also, not all women can take the same kinds of birth control, for one reason or another. The pill, for example, can lead to blood clotting and DVT in migraine sufferers due to its estrogen content.

      Ugh. What about this is supposed to be sexy.

      • WanderingTranslator Reply

        Also, and I should have said this before, I read “lost boy standing before you” in the voice of the lead singer of System of a Down.

  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    This manages to be even more excruciatingly boring from his perspective because at least Ana was describing all the rich stuff with the same enthusiasm that anyone exposed to it for the first time might, which fulfills the escapism aspect of “I’m boning a rich dude” romance. With Christian, he’s just so over it, chuh which is…not fun at all to read. Like…a straight woman reading this is not going to find Ana the only source of light and joy in this novel. James did not think this through at all.

  3. Sarah Dugas Reply

    Jennifer and Matthew, would you be referring to when Ana says she is not ashamed to be naked because Christian loves her? That part makes me SO mad! It is blatant slut-shaming. And I agree about the whole reluctance fantasy bit, too. I hated Christian for forcing birth control on Ana from her perspective, but gosh, from his perspective, it is so much worse the way he goes on about condoms and blatantly doesn’t care at all about her wishes.

    • Jennifer Layton Reply

      There’s another good example. This genre doesn’t allow a woman to love sex and choose her own birth control and enjoy being naked, so it gives her the excuse of a man making her do those things.

  4. Jennifer Layton Reply

    One more thing, and then I’ll shut up. Does E.L. James have any idea what kind of toll the Pill takes on a woman’s body? It’s not just a happy little pill that keeps you from getting pregnant. It keeps your body from going through its natural cycle. It did help me for several years, but my doctor is making me go off it now because I’m starting to lose my hair. So Christian, who claims to love Ana, is making her go back on a bunch of hormones that her body is just getting used to being off of, just because he hates condoms. I HATE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. OK, I’m going away now.

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      She might not. The story ends with Ana getting pregnant because she keeps forgetting to take the pill. (Which is a whole other wtf.)

      • Ly G Reply

        It’s actually because she forgets to get her shot the next month (depo is actually every three months, but that would have been way to long of a time frame for James I suppose). Also I blame the doctor. She really shouldn’t just do what Christian says, and help pressure her into what he wants rather then discussing what is best for her and side effects of all options. Though she is a bit dumb…but that doesn’t make it ok.

  5. Lya Reply

    “I’m a lost boy, standing before you. Unloved. Abandoned by the one person who was supposed to protect me, because I’m a monster.”

    WTF yes you’re like a 30-something-years old lost boy

  6. callmeIndigo Reply

    “Unloved. Abandoned by the one person who was supposed to protect me, because I’m a monster.”

    Way to spell it out there, James. I mean, I do sometimes have super heavy-handed thoughts about my Parental Issues(TM), but that’s after years of working out where they came from and whose fault they really are, which Christian isn’t even trying to do. Maybe there are people who consciously think “My parent didn’t love me because I am evil” without examining those ideas? But in my experience you only really start to describe things that way once you’ve started considering other possibilities, and before that point it’s just an unconscious belief you can’t really articulate.

    Not that I was expecting a nuanced depiction of trauma in this series, but I’m not sure James has ever actually met a traumatized person.

    • wordswithhannah Reply

      Not to mention, he’s been in therapy most of his life. This shouldn’t be an unexamined issue in the slightest. His therapists have been uniformly terrible if they never got around to explaining to Christian that he and his mother were both victims of the same abuser.

  7. Kerry Reply

    It’s not the pill, it’s Depo Provera birth control shots. She gets all busy with her job and not getting killed and doesn’t reschedule her appointment. That’s what happens when you don’t choose the birth control method that is right for you! God, why do I know this?


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