Some songs just make you want to have sex. Everyone has those specific little melodies that are personal to them; the ones that, even if they come on during a tube journey, have you sitting up straighter and waking up. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “O’Children” being a prime example, personally. If you don’t know it, at least treat yourself to the last ninety seconds. Or “Fairytale of New York” or “Autumn” by Paolo Nutini or anything by Gin Wigmore. Or “I hope that I don’t fall in love with you” by Tom Waits. That would be a perfect song for this particular “love story”.
Or “The Ice Dance” by Danny Elfman from his score “Edward Scissorhands”. A perfect film and a perfect, achingly beautiful piece of music.
What does Christian Grey have on his playlist? “Toxic” by Britney and “Crazy in Love”.
His music taste says a great deal. Generic and tasteless? Maybe? Too harsh? Probably not.
Anyway….chapter fifteen opens with Christian arriving at Ana’s apartment, just after she’s graduated and agreed to his creepy sex contract, and he’s brought pretentious champagne. He says, “Nothing beats a good Bollinger” and I don’t even have time to roll my eyes before Ana replies, “Interesting choice of words”.
Grey laughs and says, “I like your ready wit, Anastasia”.
Well, I do not. The heroine of this story may be many things but there are also many things that she is not, and witty is one of them. Wit has yet to be shown in this work of fiction, which is fast approaching its halfway point. They talk briefly about the fact that she’s agreed to be his sex puppy on a lead and she expresses weak timidity about the idea and this makes Grey cross. He grumbles on a bit about how he’s going to take care of her and buy her things, and she protests that this behaviour makes her feel cheap.
Good. That’s the right feeling.
Grey however dismisses this and says she’s overthinking it. Translation: I’m the rich, experienced, man. you the naive, frightened woman. I think, you fuck.
Tell him to beat himself for pleasure with the enormous stick up his ass, Ana, and see how he likes pain.
She doesn’t. She simpers and complains.
They sip pink champagne and Grey reveals that he can’t help her move house because he’s picking up his little sister from the airport. Ana reveals that she has some interviews with some publishing houses but refuses to tell him which ones so as he does not interfere.
The guy tracked your phone; I doubt he’ll be deterred by her lack of forthcomingness but at least she’s learning.
They go over the sex contract again FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME. It’s fine. We, the readers, understand. He wants to use sex toys, domination, submission and whips; we understand, E L James. Message well and truly received. Hemingway was more subtle than this. It’s very clear, as they go over details of sexual play in a somewhat clinical manner, that Ana is not truly accepting or comfortable with this lifestyle. This instantly sets off alarm bells in my head. I’m in the minority, in the sense that I’m not feeling any pleasure as yet from this novel, but I thought it was just me. I know some people like the whole master/servant thing and that’s what they liked about this. However, the catch with that must be that both members are fully consenting. Having Ana express inward doubts and fears about the whole thing makes me anxious and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
There’s nothing sexy about hurting yourself or disrespecting yourself to gain the admiration of another person.
There’s no sex at the moment, but that thought stays with me as Grey takes Ana outside to show her the car he bought her as a graduation present. Surprisingly, this is also not that sexy. Buying someone jewellery or perfume or tasteful, classy lingerie is sexy and alluring but a car is just stupid. Only gameshows and members of your family should buy you cars. maybe someone you’ve been going out with for more than five years who will also get use of it.
This is weird and dumb.
When Ana shows some dismay at this gift, Christian Grey gets mad. He threatens to fuck her on the hood of the car just “to show you that you are mine and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I will buy you a fucking car”.
If a guy ever spoke to me like that, I’d probably slash the tyres of said car and draw a nice big ex on the bonnet so he could rule out any notion of coitus, then go upstairs and lock him out forever.
Not sexy, Grey. Signature or no signature, rejection or not, no one has the right over someone else’s body, sexually. As I said earlier, I understand fantasies of control but this isn’t an example of that. It’s something nasty and sick.
Punch him, Ana! We’re halfway through the book, it’s about time!
She does not, however. Instead, she whispers, “Please don’t be angry with me”.
God, I hope there are some impressionable young sixteen year olds reading this novel. Possibly younger. Jesus.
They go back into the flat and he starts undressing her, not aggressively, thank God. He, as usual, talks through everything he does and Ana loves it. It’s dull. I’m sorry, but it is. “Anne of Green Gables” had more sexual tension than this.
Gilbert and Anne…now there was a love story.
Chapter Sixteen starts with them both in bed, having just climaxed in their usual boring fashion, and Grey reiterating to Ana that he doesn’t like to be touched, whether its during sex or not. It’s not a long discussion, just enough for us to remember that he is, in his own words, “fifty shades of fucked up”.
He bossily tells Ana that he doesn’t like wearing condoms so she needs to “sort out some contraception”.
I have an amazing form of contraception for you, Christian. Abstaining. Pure, unadulterated abstaining. Prick.
He doesn’t like sleeping with the women he’s just shagged, so he gets up to leave. Ana wants him to stay and reminds him that, while she’s verbally agreed to his contract, she hadn’t actually signed. Grey takes this as a challenge and so stays for a little bit more hanky-panky.
Thus the first spanking scene unfolds. It’s pretty generic. Take out his erection and it’s a 1950s punishment. It’s nothing to get hot and bothered about, but the two of them seem to enjoy it. They come, they breathe, and he leaves.
Ana then feels somewhat used and abused, as she well should. She lies in bed, thinking about the fact that she was just fucked, spanked and left alone. She calls her mother and starts to cry. She obviously doesn’t tell her mother why she’s crying; just that it’s because of a man. Her mother tells her that she sounds very unhappy and that she should come home for a bit. Kate comes home and Ana hangs up.
She then emails Christian and, after a bit of back and forth between them, she says, “I’m not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment”.
Of course, Grey overreacts and shows up at the flat. Kate, brilliant female that she is, yells at him and tells him to bugger off but he pushes his way into Ana’s room.
He is like a typical guy in this moment, completely oblivious to the many layers of meaning women can find in one incident. However, clueless or not, he’s still a twat.
Ana is fully sobbing at this point and it’s difficult to keep reading. This isn’t a sexy, romantic love story. Nor is it a compelling drama with characters learning and evolving. It’s a woman, a girl my age to be more precise, who is allowing herself to be bullied and belittled and patronised because she’s never been in a relationship before and has not sphere of reference.
I reeeeeeeeally don’t like this.
Christian is flustered by her display of emotion and explains that he doesn’t know why he wants to hurt the women he dominates. She cries a bit more and he gets in the bed to hold her so she can sleep.
Now, I don’t have a good track record with men. My first serious boyfriend was a lot older than I was, that being thirteen years old, and he was not a nice person. By God, he was not. I didn’t have the balls to do much about it at the time, but if I could turn back time, I would yank that little girl out of there quicker than lightning. Luckily, I woke up one day and came to my senses, walking away forever without an explanation because he didn’t deserve one.
The second was a gem. A real diamond. But a very, very ill diamond whose shine faded away.
Since then, it’s been casual dating and unrequited wanting. A feeling of being broken compared to the others; watching people flirt and laugh and experiment without any interest in joining them.
No, Mr Grey. You are nothing.
I…am fifty shades of fucked up.