If you were to ask me what my perfect Valentine’s Day is, I suppose I would describe a quiet evening filled with baby animal butlers bringing me autumnal beers, and fireworks that spell out “Carly, You Look Cute Today” in the Paris sky. But alas, autumnal beers are out of season so time for Plan B (no ‘wink, wink’ to follow).
This year I had a very special Valentine– this blog! And what better way to show my dedication to laughing at my own jokes then to fad it up with a theater filled with lonely single mothers. Enter the idea of going to see the ultimate entering: Fifty Shades of Grey (henceforth known as 50SoG, because I’m not trying to spend my whole night typing out that title).
If you do not know (what are you, some sort of Carly-level hermit??) 50SoG is the first book in the trilogy of erotic works by E.L. James. The story hilariously started as Twilight fan fiction and was written under the name Snowqueen’s Icedragon (!!!!!). Currently it has sold over a HUNDRED FUCKING MILLION COPIES. UGH. In the UK it sold out Harry Potter. KILL.ME.
Inevitably, the book led to a movie deal, and the movie deal opened up 100 million fad doors. There are 50SoG teddy bears. Target is selling 50SoG sex toys. Teachers are getting fired for assigning 50SoG word finds. The trend gods have spoken, and they are saying “LET’S GET WEIRD.”
If you would had asked me two weeks ago what my opinion was on this franchise, I would have ranted along with the rest of the haters about not needing to read fetishized anti-feminist porn before I go to bed (I get enough of that online [loljk, feminist eroticism forever!!!]).
So what brought me to my decision to read this 500 page porn and see this agonizingly long (why can’t all movies be 90 minutes?!) film for my Valentines Day weekend? Well, I thought it would be funny.
Once my copy of the book arrived, I swept it to my boudoir, lit the appropriate amount of candles (1000), and read the first sentence:
E.L. James is a former TV executive, wife, and mother of two based in West London.
Didn’t this book have an editor?! Why is this woman not a wife and a mother anymore?! And what did I do to deserve this shout out in the dedication (I’ll never tell either)
I read on, determined to finish this book before Valentine’s Day. I got about 6 pages in before I got to this sentence:
To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library.
NOPE. I’m out. One can only endure so much before they decide to skip forward to the sex scenes. I decided that if I was to force myself to read this book, I was going to at LEAST get to…the tampon scene. A scene I had heard would not be making it’s way into the film.
I flipped through hundreds of pages searching for the word “tampon” and finally found the infamous scene in which our male “hero” pulls a tampon out of his hot-to-trot Princess Anastasia and whispers this into her ear:
“That’s right, baby,” he rasps as he grinds into me, angling his hips, and it’s enough to send me flying, flying high.
Who is this unicorn of a woman who gets off on bad pet names? THAT sent you “flying, flying high”?! Goodness, grow some standards, ya wimp.
I had made up my mind about the book, and was sure the movie would meet my expectations of providing embarrassing anecdotes that would entertain the masses.
I knew I had to buy tickets to see the movie at a theater where the crowds would be in tip top strangeness. So, naturally, I saw a Valentine’s Day matinee at the Pasadena Arclight.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: this establishment has the best soft pretzel I have ever had in my goddamn life. Already the day was off to a “too good to be funny” start.
Luckily, the Arclight was offering a plethora of 50SoG themed drinks. I ordered the one that sounded the most disgusting: The Red Room- white rum, triple sec, chambord, pineapple and cranberry juice.
That bastard was goddamn delicious. Would this day provide no comedy?!
I entered the theater in quiet anticipation- naturally I would find my article’s muse inside! I expected to see hoards of lonely, book carrying women. But NO. What did I find? Groups of friends looking for laughs! High school co-eds! Elderly couples being freaking adorable! Where were the water bottles secretly filled with wine? Where were the lonely hearts shushing me so they could hear the awkward moans? Nowhere to be found!
This stupidly awesome audience even ENHANCED my movie-going experience by laughing at the camp of the film along with me! How dare they! My only hope was to pray that the movie would be as unpalatable as the book had been.
Finally, we meet the film’s interpretation of Anastasia, the virginal protagonist, and she’s…making me genuinely laugh?? This is not the script I was promised!
As you may know, in the series Christian is a Dominator looking for his Subordinate. From what I had read in the book, I expect Anastasia to be effortlessly swept into that world. The movie proved me wrong.
This woman has genuine struggles with (inexplicably) being in love with a man who wants to control her. You might even find yourself RELATING to how she is feeling! UGHHHHH. She tries to be open minded but ends up being inevitably not up to the challenge of dating this dud. WHAT?! I know!!! She sounds pretty cool! I hated it too!
Now that I’ve given credit where credit is due, let me inform you that these two characters are given absolutely no reason to be into each other (especially because Christian Grey is nothing but a pair of low slung jeans and a side smile). Aside from it being not grossly offensive, this truly is a terrible film. Essentially nothing happens. But, alas, here I am being pissed off at how C- it was (give me an F!).
I left the theater, cursing the fad gods for throwing me something so lackluster. Luckily my friends in humor heaven threw me a bone and made the women’s bathroom flood. CoMeDy!!!!
Looking back on the experience as a whole, I know why it took me so long to write this article: it’s because I knew I would end up making the following rant nobody wants to hear.
I fucking support the shit out of the franchise. I know the book is written like literal poop, but when I went to the theater to see this movie, I saw a group of people unashamed of sexuality. I am proud of the people who read this series unabashedly on the subway! Good for you! Quit hiding your curiosities, America!
Erotic fiction is here to stay, and if the face of that revolution is a women who is struggling with coming to terms with sexuality in her own life, then all the better. For years novels like these have been entertaining women (and men!) with tales of princes sweeping bookish damsels off their feet so they might as well get in a lesson about speaking your mind and standing your ground in there with that.
So there you have it. My Valentine is 50SoG, and I’m super ashamed.
Next week, back to fads that don’t make me out myself as a feminist eroticism enthusiast.