Wednesday, April 25, 2012

50 Shades of Grey chapter 6 (not, as previously reported, 7) recap, or "Up, Up, and Away In My Beautiful, My Beautiful Helicopter And Sex Dungeon"

Remember yesterday, when I posted about the possibility of a 50 Shades of Grey movie? I'm not saying David Cronenberg has made it, but it does look like he's made the poster for it:


You are absolutely seeing what you are seeing. In the movie, RPattz plays a young billionaire just trying to get through Manhattan traffic to get a haircut. I already call bullshit on the premise, because if you're a billionaire, your barber comes to you. But what I find interesting about this is how the connection was made out there, somewhere, to more than one person: "RPattz would make a good brooding billionaire in a story."

Chapter Six of 50 Shades of Grey starts off with one of my absolute biggest pet peeves in all of fiction. The unrealistic car:
Christian opens the passenger door to the black Audi SUV, and I clamber in. It's a beast of a car.
First of all, Audi makes a few different SUV/crossover-type vehicles, so I'm going to assume that the "beast" Ana is referring to is the largest one Audi makes, the Q7:


That's a 2008, but this is Audi, so they don't change all that much year to year. Nothing about that vehicle screams "beast" to me. It's a classic private school mom's car. That's my first beef. My second beef is, you can get this car new off the line for around 40k. Isn't Christian Grey super rich? He has his own helicopter. So, why is he driving this and not some amazingly expensive sports car, or at the very least, a more expensive SUV (like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, which can run in the neighborhood of 100k)? I see this all the time in romance novels, and I'm not sure what's happening, but if your hero is an Italian tycoon, he's not going to drive a BMW. If he's a centuries old vampire with chests of gold doubloons just sitting around his house, he better not have just a Lincoln Navigator parked in the driveway. I guess you could make the argument that Christian Grey is frugal, but he just bought brand new shoes, jeans, and underthings for Ana to wear, rather than make her wait for hers to come out of the dryer, so I don't know from frugal.

Ana is still reeling from the elevator kiss, but Christian isn't mentioning it, so she figures she must have hallucinated it all. Because if Christian doesn't confirm her thoughts, I guess that makes them invalid somehow. Christian has "The Flower Duet" from Lakme queued up on the MP3. Just for your reference, here is that song, in a mock-up Audi commercial, because sometimes the universe falls into place like pieces in a divine jigsaw puzzle:



Ana thinks that this makes him seem "young, carefree, and heart-stoppingly beautiful". Nothing says "young and carefree" like "I'm a big opera fan." She questions him about his musical tastes, which run from "everything from Thomas Tallis to the Kings of Leon." He puts on Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire," and Ana feels this is "appropriate". Why is it appropriate? Did he give her herpes? Christian gets a lot of phone calls in the car, including one from his brother, Elliot, who asks if he got laid. What kind of a weirdo is Elliot, if he sees his brother wrestling an unconscious woman out of a bar and then asks if he got laid? "Hey, bro, you rape that girl last night? High five!" Ana suggests that Christian refer to her as Ana, instead of Anastasia, because she prefers it, but as we all know, nothing in this story is about what Ana prefers and it's instead all about what Christian prefers for her, so he ignores her request and warns her that he won't be kissing her again, not unless it's "premeditated." He has an easy way with the murder terminology, doesn't he?
He pulls up outside my duplex. I belatedly realize he's not asked me where I live - yet he knows. But then he sent the books, of course he knows where I live. What able, cell-phone-tracking, helicopter owning, stalker wouldn't.
Why won't he kiss me again? I pout at the the thought.
Ana, can you hear yourself when you think, or is it all just the whistle of a vacant, lonely desert wind in there? Christian opens Ana's car door for her (prompting the writing of that HuffPo article I mentioned the other day... if you'd like to gag on your own vomit, here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-isenman/i-cheated-on-my-husband-w_b_1433139.html) and she thinks about him kissing her and the fact that she really didn't get a chance to touch him or anything. They go into the duplex, where Kate and Elliot are sitting at the table:
She has the most un-Kate ridiculous grin on her face, and she looks mussed up in a sexy kind of way. Christian follows me into the living area, and in spite of her I've-been-having-a-good-time-all-night grin, Kate eyes him suspiciously.
"Hi Ana." She leaps up to hug me, then holds me at arm's length so she can examine me. She frowns and turns to Christian.
"Good morning, Christian," she says, and her tone is a little hostile.
I would be more concerned if she wasn't slightly suspicious. When Ana went home with Christian, she was unconscious. They just graduated college, they know what happens when unconscious women are left alone with young men. Elliot kisses Kate goodbye, prompting Ana to think, "Jeez... get a room." What kind of a room, Ana? Like, an elevator? A public place where anyone could walk right in? Hypocritical much?

Yes. Hypocritical very much:
Kate just melts. I've never seen her melt before - the words comely and compliant come to mind. Compliant Kate, boy, Elliot must be good.
Excuse me, ma'am, but your ass is showing. Didn't you, just last chapter, finish all the food on your plate, even though you weren't hungry, because Christian asked you to? Let's not be pointing fingers vis-a-vis compliancy, okay? Christian and Elliot leave together, and Ana is jealous because Elliot blows Kate a kiss and Christian doesn't blow her a kiss. Oh, and because Kate had sex:
"So, did you?" Kate asks as we watch them climb into the car and drive off, the burning curiosity evident in her voice.
"No," I snap irritably, hoping that will halt the questions. We head back into the apartment. "You obviously did, though." I can't contain my envy. Kate always manages to ensnare men. She is irresistible, beautiful, sexy, funny, forward... all the things that I'm not. 
Way to slut-shame, Ana. It's not like you weren't just rubbing your no-no with Christian Grey's body wash. Please note, that taking all the circumstances into account, Ana is envious that Kate had sex with Elliot and Christian didn't rape her while she was unconscious.
"And I'm seeing him again this evening." She claps her hands and jumps up and down like a small child. She cannot contain her excitement and happiness, and I can't help but feel happy for her. A happy Kate... this is going to be interesting.
Not as interesting as a happy Ana would be, but I'm sure the existence of such a creature is a statistical improbability. And what is it with references to small children? Especially in the context it keeps getting used in, over and over? Is it intentional, to diminish the characters as women? They're not having fully adult, grown woman feelings about sex, no, they're always suddenly somehow childish. That's really starting to get on my nerves, intentional or not.

Kate pretties Ana up (off screen, thank god, so we don't have to hear about how horrible the ordeal was), and Ana goes to work at Clayton's hardware. Where she thinks back on how Kate prettied her up and how horrible the ordeal was. Double crap. Ana is also not thrilled that she has to convince Kate that she wants to have sex with Christian Grey. Kate has got to be the most inconsistently written character ever committed in the written word. One minute, she's all, "OMIGAWDDOHIM!", then next she's (entirely justifiably), "He's a weirdo and I don't trust him." Ana's would-be rapist, Jose, keeps calling her, leaving three messages and seven missed calls on the cell, and harassing Kate at home. Doesn't he know that the most romantical of stalkers just trace cell phones? Jeez.

"Tonight is the night," but Ana still has her doubts:
After all this time, am I ready for this? My inner goddess glares at me, tapping her small foot impatiently. She's been ready for this for years, and she's ready for anything with Christian Grey, but I still don't understand what he sees in me... mousey Ana Steele - it makes no sense.
The pairing of ellipses and em-dash doesn't make sense, either. Ana does not strike me as someone, inner goddess or no, who is ready for a sexual relationship with anyone. She's entirely intimidated by Christian Grey and unable to say no to him. She has no self-esteem and what appears to be a very negative view of sex altogether, considering her scathing attitude toward Kate's night with Elliot. She has all the maturity of a under-ripe banana. This is not a person who should be having sex at all, but she's pretty much counting on it the day after her very first real kiss. The fact that she doesn't find it weird that Christian has suggested paperwork will be involved in their sexual relationship is a big, red stop sign. But Christian is waiting for her- and opens her door- after her shift at the hardware store. They chitchat about their day, Ana's voice "husky, too low, and full of need," until they arrive at the heliport.
I wonder where the fabled helicopter might be. We're in a built-up area of the city and even I know helicopters need space to take off and land.
That's planes you're thinking of, Ana. Helicopters are perfect for exactly the situation you're describing, because they do not need a lot of space to take off and land. Come on, this is Helicopters 101 here. No. This is Helicopters 93: Intro To Helicopters. It's the shit you're supposed to know before you take Helicopters 101. They get into an elevator, and they share a little smile thinking about the fact that they made out in an elevator earlier that day. You crazy kids with your elevator BDSM. They're taking the company helicopter, and the guy at the helipad informs them that the checks are already done, so Christian just hops right in. So, we know he's a shitty pilot, then, because what kind of pilot doesn't do his own checks? Especially a pilot who runs a powerful company with tons of money, and people might profit somehow off his death? Then again, I'm not going to complain about not having to sit with Ana's internal monologue while Christian does twenty-minutes of flight safety stuff, because just getting her buckled into the seat is bad enough:
I sit down in my allotted seat, and he crouches beside me to strap me into the harness. It's a four-point harness with all the straps connecting to one central buckle. He tightens both of the upper straps, so I can hardly move.
He's so close and intent on what he's doing. If I could only lean forward, my nose would be in his hair. He smells, clean, fresh, heavenly, but I'm fastened securely into my seat and effectively immobile. He glances up and smiles, like he's enjoying his usual private joke, his gray eyes heated. He's so tantalizingly close. I hold my breath as he pulls at one of the upper straps.
"You're secure, no escaping," he whispers, his eyes are scorching.
It actually keeps going from there, and there's so much to enjoy. From Ana (who constantly refers to children or being childlike whenever the subject of sexuality comes up) being strapped into what is basically a giant car seat, to Christian not knowing what seat belts are actually for (pro tip: They're to keep you from flying out of the vehicle in the event of a crash, not to keep you from escaping), it's like a delicate ballet of unintentional metaphor making too fine a point and intentional metaphor falling as flat as a first time souffle. Lucky for us, the helicopter ride to Seattle takes an hour, so we have plenty of time for this type of thing:
His face is softly illuminated by the lights on the instrument panel. He's concentrating hard, and he's continually glancing at the various dials in front of him. I drink in his features from beneath my lashes. He has a beautiful profile. Straight nose, square jawed - I'd like to run my tongue along his jaw. He hasn't shaved, and his stubble makes the prospect doubly tempting. Hmm... I'd like to feel how rough it is beneath my tongue, my fingers, against my face.
I just want to pause a moment here and say that while I am deeply troubled by most of the rest of this book, I'd like to offer E.L. James a hearty congratulations for articulating exactly what goes through my mind every time I watch James May driving on Top Gear. Good job, E.L.

There is a lot of chatter over the radio about airspace and clearances and such that we don't necessarily need to read. Not because it's not interesting, but because I'm almost 100% certain it's entirely made up and serves no purpose other than to fill the pages and make the helicopter ride seem like it has been an hour long. Then, they're flying into Seattle:
It looks otherworldly - unreal - and I feel like I'm on a giant film set, Jose's favorite film maybe, 'Bladerunner.' The memory of Jose's attempted kiss haunts me. I'm beginning to feel a bit cruel not calling him back. He can wait until tomorrow... surely.
Or, you know, never. If some guy is acting all crazy, putting his hands on you when you're clearly saying "no", you don't have any obligation to speak to him, ever again. Maybe that isn't "polite" of me to say, but with a guy who won't take "no" for an answer, polite is a one way ticket to Rapesville, population YOU. As they're about to land, Ana feels faint, knowing that she's going to let Christian down somehow.
He'll find me lacking in some way. I wish I'd listened to Kate and borrowed one of her dresses, but I like my black jeans, and I'm wearing a soft mint green shirt and Kate's black jacket. I look smart enough.
They still make black jeans? I mean, I was apparently off the mark in my assessment of whether or not people wear jeans with heels (although I stand by my conviction when I say that is totally gross), but seriously? I haven't seen black jeans in a while. Okay, whatever floats your boat. You could have borrowed Kate's dress, instead you're dressed like Marie Osmond trying to sell her dolls on QVC. Go for it.

"Hi, I'm Ana Steele. Buy this hideous fucking doll."

They land, and Ana is still super nervous. Her breathing is "erratic," but at least she's breathing this time, right?
His look is so intense, half in shadow and half in the bright white light from the landing lights. Dark knight and white knight, it's a fitting metaphor for Christian.
I thought "Hillside Strangler" was a more fitting metaphor for Christian, but by all means, stick with Dark knight. Because every time I see it, I'm going to get to use this:

Yes!

Christian tells her that she doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do, to which Ana responds, "I'd never do anything I didn't want to do, Christian."

List of things Ana has done so far in this book that she didn't want to do:
  • Interview Christian Grey
  • Call Christian Grey
  • Talk about Christian Grey to her roommate
  • Keep the books Christian Grey gave her
  • Be rescued from a bar by Christian Grey
  • Finish her breakfast
  • Get prettied up for Christian Grey
I think we're well past the point in our acquaintance with Ana where we can possibly believe her when she says, "I'd never do anything I didn't want to do." In fact, this entire story stems directly from an incident where she did something despite not wanting to do it.

Christian opens the helicopter door for her (why doesn't my husband open the helicopter door for me? Waaaaah!)  and they get into another elevator, one that's mirrored so she she can see that Christian is "holding me to infinity too". Christian lives in a super modern, super white apartment with a possibly platinum fireplace and a giant sofa. Ana gives us a brief tour of the place, including how many guests the furniture can seat (I shit you not), from kitchen to piano. Of course he plays the piano, silly goose, he's Edward Cullen! He wrote Bella a lullaby! He'll probably write Ana a lullaby, before this book is over. Even after viewing her spectacular throw up the night before, he offers her a glass of wine, and, even though she does not want it, she accepts it. She'd never do something she didn't want to do, remember.

The dialogue in this section is exceptional. Here's an example:
"It's a very big place you have here."
"Big?"
"Big."
"It's big," he agrees, and his eyes glow with amusement. I take another sip of wine.
"Do you play?" I point my chin at the piano.
"Yes."
"Well?"
"Yes."
"Of course you do. Is there anything you can't do well?"
"Not stalk people." That's just, off the top of my head, that's something Christian Grey can't do well. They sit on the couch and Ana makes a reference to Tess of The D'Urbervilles, because if she made a reference to Wuthering Heights we'd have plagiarism on our hands. Ana asks him why he gave her those books, specifically, and then says she'd like him to completely debase her the way Alec does Tess. Christian argues that she couldn't possibly know what she's talking about, while simultaneously telling her that the way she bites her lip is distracting.



When he gets the jist, that Ana is down to get down, he runs and fetches a non-disclosure agreement for her to sign. She can't tell anything about them, to anyone. The non-disclosure agreement seems to be a lot like the end-user license agreement when you buy a video game. See, Christian has this dark secret he thinks is going to scare Ana away. But before she knows what it is, she has to sign this paper. Just like, once you bought the game, you can't return if it you open it, but you can't read the user agreement unless you open the game, but you can't use the game until you agree with the agreement. Oy. She doesn't read it, even though Christian warns her to never sign anything she hasn't read, but she argues with him and signs it anyway, then asks, "Does this mean you're going to make love to me tonight, Christian?" His response:
"No, Anastasia, it doesn't. Firstly, I don't make love. I fuck... hard. Secondly, there's a lot more paperwork to do, and thirdly, you don't yet know what you're in for. You could still run for the hills.[...]"
I've bought cars where I've filled out less paperwork than it takes to fuck Christian Grey. He offers to show Ana his playroom, and she interprets this as wanting to play Xbox. Before he opens the door to the "playroom", he reminds her that they can leave at absolutely any time, he's totally cool with it if she's not down with what's behind door #1. Ana insists he open the door.
And it feels like I've time-traveled back to the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition.
Are you sure it's the Spanish Inquisition? Not the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition or the Christian Grey Inquisition? Ana sure thinks about the Inquisition a lot. I'm adding that to the drinking game.

That's all for chapter six, I'm afraid. I very much appreciate the chatter this recap is drumming up. If you want to talk about 50 Shades or Twilight or helicopters or Top Gear or what I had for breakfast, hit me up on my twitter, @JArmintrout. I'm the friendliest misanthrope you'll ever meet. Until tomorrow, good night and good luck.

9 comments:

  1. I'm wearing black jeans as I read this... gasp, and biting my lip :-)

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    Replies
    1. I am wearing black jeans AND heels. I hate myself and wish I could be more like Kate. SHE wouldn't wear black jeans.

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  2. I was drinking water while I was reading your James May comment. The results were not pretty.

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  3. she'd like him to completely debase her the way Alec does Tess.
    Oh god.
    What??
    Alec raped Tess.
    That was why she was in hysterics asking her mother why she hadn't been warned against men after the baby she has from Alex, her rapist, dies.
    I feel a bit sick.
    Going to read Tess and purify it in my mind from this filth. Tess was all about societies oppression of women anyway. Funny how Hardy got that centuries before and this woman still can't get a clue.

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    Replies
    1. I get this sickening feeling that hoards of 50 shades fans are reading Tess and thinking its a romance. But really, apropos choice for literary reference, unintentional as it was. The 'christian didn't rape me while I was unconscious, he must not want me' thing reminded me that Tess was in a sort of sleep-deprived semi-conscious state when she was raped so......... creepy parallel there. Really how are people not getting how messed up this whole series is? Its baffling.

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  4. she'd like him to completely debase her the way Alec does Tess.
    Oh god.
    What??
    Alec raped Tess.
    That was why she was in hysterics asking her mother why she hadn't been warned against men after the baby she has from Alex, her rapist, dies.
    I feel a bit sick.
    Going to read Tess and purify it in my mind from this filth. Tess was all about societies oppression of women anyway. Funny how Hardy got that centuries before and this woman still can't get a clue.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "He hasn't shaved, and his stubble makes the prospect doubly tempting. Hmm... I'd like to feel how rough it is beneath my tongue."

    Not the most pleasant experience to get your pussy wet. E.L. James must have a ravishing sex life in her flannel nighty, I wonder if she takes it off or pulls it up to her waist, for that 5 minutes a week she allows her hubby to climb up and do his thing.

    Yes my language is vulgar......cause, I don't make love. I fuck....hard.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "He hasn't shaved, and his stubble makes the prospect doubly tempting. Hmm... I'd like to feel how rough it is beneath my tongue."

    Not the most pleasant experience to get your pussy wet. E.L. James must have a ravishing sex life in her flannel nighty, I wonder if she takes it off or pulls it up to her waist, for that 5 minutes a week she allows her hubby to climb up and do his thing.

    Yes my language is vulgar......cause, I don't make love. I fuck....hard.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Why do people find it necessary to express "I was eating corn chowder soup while reading this, now my desk and computer are covered in it?" Or "I must remember to not drink coffee while reading this my desk is covered in it?" No one wants to know what liquid or food particles you sprayed from your mouth, if you are going to spray something from your mouth make sure it's a snow ball back into his face. Now that's dirty goodness ;)

    ReplyDelete

Say some stuff! If you can't think of anything to say, leave a link to a cute dog picture. I'm easy.