Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fifty Shades Freed chapter 14 or "My god. My god, there is actually something CORRECT in this book."

Before we get started, some links!

Sean sent this article about how the Khaleesi might be Ana in the 50 Shades movie. Oh jeez.

Second, check out this video Katharine Coldiron shared with us, in which Ron Charles discusses why E.L. James was named, quite rightly, publishing person of the year.

Then last night, when I was done watching videos of people popping ingrown hairs and cleaning their ear wax out and all that other weird shit I watch on youtube, I watched this video of Stephen King talking about 50 Shades of Grey. This link will start the video at 48:20, which is where he addresses 50 Shades, but if you've got an hour to kill and you're into writing, it's really worth watching the whole Q & A, because he's fucking brilliant and super laid back.




Okay, so when we last left everybody in this clusterfuck, Elliot had just proposed to Kate.
The attention of the entire restaurant is trained on Kate and Elliot, waiting with bated breath as one. The anticipation is unbearable. Silence stretches like a taut rubber band. The atmosphere is oppressive, apprehensive, and yet hopeful.
It's only oppressive to Ana because, as stated, Kate is the center of attention and not her.
Jeez- he could have asked her privately.
Wait, what was that?
Jeez- he could have asked her privately.
Is that... wait. Guys. GUYS.

...

...........

.................

I THINK E.L. JAMES GOT SOMETHING RIGHT!



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Oh fuck, that's right. Even though Ana apparently understands that a private proposal is less embarrassing and exerts a lot less pressure on the person being proposed to, these books are still a steaming pile of shit. I guess it's a good thing I stopped my celebration before posting Liza Minnelli singing "New York, New York," or David Hasselhoff singing "I've Been Looking For Freedom" atop the crumbling Berlin Wall or some shit like that. Because that level of enthusiasm would have been embarrassing.

So, of course Kate says yes, and Elliot gives her the ring he picked out with Gia, which Ana finally gets even though it was telegraphed super fucking hard all through the last chapter.

Christian orders champagne to celebrate and tells Kate:
"I hope you are as happy in your marriage as I am in mine."
That's rude.

Mia wants to go clubbing like, right now.
"I think we should ask Elliot and Kate what they'd like to do."
As one, we turn expectantly to them. Elliot shrugs and Kate turns puce. Her carnal intent toward her fiance is so clear I nearly spit four-hundred-dollar champagne all over the table.
Notice how when Ana is embarrassed about sex stuff, she flushes or blushes, but if Kate is embarrassed, she turns puce, a red-brown color named after, I shit you not, flea droppings. Because Ana can be the only pretty girl in the room.
Zax is the most exclusive nightclub in Aspen- or so says Mia.
It's so exclusive, even the Aspen Chamber of Commerce has no clue it exists. You know, I've never worried that something I wrote might influence tourism or send vacationers to a place that doesn't exist. Because that sounds like crazy talk. Even E.L. James didn't expect her book to become such a success, because no one honestly does. This strikes me as just insanely funny; people are so slavishly devoted to these shitty books that they're trying to track down the most exclusive fictional nightclub in Aspen... if it's so exclusive, how do they think they're getting in?
I glance at my watch- eleven thirty in the evening, and I'm feeling fuzzy. The two glasses of champagne and several glasses of Pouilly-Fume during our meal are starting to have an effect, and I'm grateful Christian has his arm around me.
I get that Ana is a big league alcoholic now, but I'm highly doubting that at an increased altitude she's "fuzzy" and not black-out unconscious after all of that.
"Mr. Grey, welcome back," says a very attractive, leggy blonde in black satin hot pants, matching sleeveless shirt, and a little red bow tie. She smiles broadly, revealing perfect all-American teeth between scarlet lips that match her bow tie.
I like how "all-American" is totally a positive thing in this book, while "European" is used as an insult. It doesn't give insight into how an American character thinks, so much as it gives insight into how a non-American author thinks an American character should think. 
A young man dressed entirely in black, fortunately not satin, smiles as he offers to take my coat. His dark eyes are warm and inviting. I am the only one wearing a coat- Christian insisted I take Mia's trench coat to cover my behind- so Max has to deal only with me.
See, he let her make her own choice with regards to the dress. She just has to wear a fucking trench coat all night, in August.
"Nice coat," he says, gazing at me intently.
He's not flirting, Ana, he's wondering why you're wearing a coat in August when it's clearly so warm that no one else is doing so.
Beside me, Christian bristles and fixes Max with a back-off-now glare. He reddens and quickly hands Christian my coat check ticket.
You can tell the author is really skilled if the only way she can show the romantic connection between two characters is by having them be constantly jealous of people they will never, ever see again and will never have to interact with in day-to-day life.

Ana once again refers to a woman as what she's wearing:
Miss Satin Hot Pants flutters her eyelashes at my husband, flicks her long blonde hair, and sashays through the entryway. I tighten my grip around Christian, and he gazes down at me questioningly for a moment, then smirks as we follow Miss Satin Hot Pants into the bar.
What, is this woman going to literally rip him from your arms? "I touched him last, he's mine now!" Jesus. And when will these two idiots get that people who are waiters and waitresses at bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. are usually flirting for a bigger tip? It's not because they have a genuine interest in their customers. Flirting just loosens up some wallets and you have to make that money somehow.

They go into the nightclub, which Ana describes but I really don't give a shit. The only thing that bothered me was:
The floor and walls vibrate with the music pulsing from the dance floor behind the bar, and lights are whirling and flashing on and off. In my heady state, I idly think it's an epileptic's nightmare.
I'm just super offended by that, and I don't know why. Maybe it's because I have seizures, myself, and I get annoyed with other people who don't decide what will/will not cause seizures. Usually, because it's all the same jokes about flashing lights or Japanese tv. But I could be oversensitive because of all the other stuff I hate in these books.

They go to a booth, where I can give you some writing advice:
Kate and Elliot sit back on the soft velvet seating, hand in hand. They look so happy, their features soft and radiant in the glow from the tea lights flickering in crystal holders on the low table.
Word repetition is a bear for every single writer. In fact, if you ever meet a writer who says they don't have an issue with accidental word repetition, throw holy water on them because they're a gremlin in disguise. Every writer struggles with this. Here's how you get rid of word rep like the one I emphasized above. See the first usage? Name a time when velvet has been, I don't know, sharp or hard as iron. Right. So, if Kate and Elliot just sit back on the velvet seating, we know already that velvet is soft. The first use is unnecessary.

Kate shows Ana her ring, and Christian says he's picking up the tab for the entire table, despite everyone's objections. And Ana thinks:
I gaze at him lovingly. My Fifty Shades... always in control.
The obsessive need to control other people isn't a lovable quality. I'm going to guess that his brother has caught on to Christian's habit of using his money to control other people, and that's why he doesn't want Christian to buy the drinks.

But whatever.

Ana has issues with the waitress, too:
"Thank you, sir. Coming right up." Miss Hot Pants Number Two gives him a gracious smile, but he's spared the fluttering of eyelashes, though her cheeks redden a little. 
I'm sure Christian is super relieved to not have a beautiful waitress flirt with him. Because he's so not-at-all-shallow and totally doesn't get off on other people having a good opinion of him to the point that he's buried his actual personality beneath glass-and-steel office buildings and apartments and lavish excess in public. I also feel compelled to point out that once again, the woman who "flushes" or "blushes" over a hundred times in the first book alone is critical of another woman doing the same thing when meeting a famous person in real life.
I shake my head in resignation. He's mine, girlfriend.
Okay, enough. Just fucking enough with this whole jealousy bullshit. It's stupid and appeals only to jealous people who base their entire self-worth on whether or not someone else wants what they have. To the rest of us, who have realistic amounts of self-esteem and shit? It just looks petty and immature.

Then, there is a whole fucking chunk of page devoted to Ana once again pointing out to Christian that women find him attractive, and Christian once again pretending that he's never noticed, and then both of them deciding that neither of them have anything to be jealous about. THEN WHY DID YOU JUST WASTE MY TIME?

Christian gives Ana water to drink:
"Here," Christian hands me a glass of water. "Drink this."
I frown at him and see, rather than hear, his sigh.
He doesn't say, "I don't want our obvious and overly telegraphed baby to be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome," though.
"Three glasses of white wine at dinner and two of champagne, after a strawberry daiquiri and two glasses of Frascati at lunchtime. Drink. Now, Ana."
I call bullshit. TRIUMPHANTLY, I CALL BULLSHIT. Here's the thing about Colorado: if you're not from there, it tries to murder you the second you get there. I've been to Colorado ONE TIME. It was for a sales conference for Harlequin. Now, I drank a lot at the time. Like, "lie on the form you fill out at the doctor's office when it asks how much you regularly drink" kind of a lot. I had ONE drink in Colorado Springs, a rum and coke, a drink that I regularly had four or five of a night, and it laid me OUT. Like, staggering, can't talk kind of laid out. Because I didn't know about altitude. I also got altitude sickness and was almost strangled to death by my own lymph nodes. I do not buy that Ana could drink that much after being in Aspen for a day and not be in the fucking hospital.
Taking  the glass of water, I down it in a most unladylike manner to register my protest at being told what to do...again. I wipe my hand across the back of my mouth.
Give that last sentence a minute. You're right, Ana, it is pretty "unladylike" to jam your whole hand into your mouth in public.

The women hit the dance floor, where Ana realizes, hey, she actually really likes dancing:
Why did I spend the first twenty years of my life not doing this? I chose reading over dancing. Jane Austen didn't have great music to move to and Thomas Hardy... jeez, he'd have felt guilty as sin that he wasn't dancing with his first wife. I giggle at the thought.
Ana, if you'd ever read any novels by Jane Austen, you would know that Austen herself didn't have a bad opinion of dancing. In fact, dancing was a pastime that women of her class would have endeavored to be good at, because music and dance were such an important part of culture. And yes, Jane Austen had plenty of "great music" in her time; she lived during what is known as the classical period, a time in music when composers like, you know, Mozart and Haydn and Beethoven and Bach and Gluck were writing music. Sure, their works pale in comparison to Britney Spears's "Toxic," but I guess what I'm trying to say is, shut the fuck up, Ana. You aren't as smart as you think you are.

Oh, also? In Pride and Prejudice Austen wrote: "To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love." So, no, she was not of the opinion that one could either dance or read. If Ana were any character in any Austen book, I'd say she was Mary Bennet.
It's Christian. He has given me this confidence in my body and how I can move it.
Well, I'm glad your knight in shining armor rode up to rescue you from such a dull life of reading.

This theme of "Christian knows my body better than me" drives me absolutely bonkers. Maybe if you didn't buy into the patriarchal myth of virtue and virginity being tied to a woman's worth, you'd be more confident about your body. Now, I get it, we're all a product of the culture we're raised in, but Ana is supposed to be this brilliant genius, and she hasn't figured out she has bodily autonomy yet? Hell, I can't reliably follow the plot of The Following, for Christ's sake, and even I know that my accomplishments aren't all creditable to my husband and his influence over me.
Suddenly, there are two hands on my hips. I grin. Christian has joined me. I wiggle, and his hands move to my behind and squeeze, then back to my hips.
I open my eyes. And Mia is gaping at me in horror. Shit... Am I that bad? I reach down to hold Christian's hands. They're hairy. Fuck! They're not his. I whirl around and towering over me is a blond giant with more teeth than is natural and a leering smile to showcase them.
Ana screams and slaps him, then reinforces the rape culture that got her ass groped in the first place:
I thrust my uninjured hand in front of his face, spreading my fingers to show him my rings.
"I'm married, you asshole!"
Yeah, you show him, Ana. He can't just sexually assault you! You're not some kind of whore who's free for the taking! Someone OWNS you!

The fact that someone probably uses that specific scene to defend Ana as a strong female character makes me want to pry out my teeth with a rusty carving fork.

So, Christian sees the whole thing and comes over and punches the guy, and of course the guy backs right off because Christian is so scary and fierce and manly and intimidating, and Ana is afraid that he'll literally kill the guy because he's so angry. Because that's LOVE, you guys. Your husband being willing to commit murder with his hands on your behalf is ROMANTIC. I guess I just don't understand the appeal of a violent man, but whatever.
I rub my palm, trying to dispel the sting, and bring my hands down to his chest. My hand is throbbing. I have never slapped anyone before. What possessed me? Touching me wasn't the worst crime against humanity. Was it?
No, but I feel like if someone puts their hands on me in a way I don't want them to, they should be prepared for me to put my hands on them in a way they might not like, either. Men decry this as a double standard, "If we're not allowed to hit women, why are women allowed to hit men?" Well, the simple answer there is, "Some men don't understand any other language, and you have to do what you have to do as a woman to prevent yourself from being fucking assaulted."

Ana, has a different take:
Yet deep down I know why I hit him. It's because I instinctively knew how Christian would react to seeing some stranger pawing me. I knew he'd lose his precious self-control. And the thought that some stupid nobody could derail my husband, my love, well, it makes me mad. Really mad.
So, ladies, remember: it's not okay to hit someone to stop them groping your ass cheeks in public, but it's totally justifiable if you're doing it so your explosively violent husband can save face and not be bested by "some stupid nobody."

For some reason, they haven't been thrown out of the bar for fighting, so Ana asks Christian to dance with her:
"Dance with me." He's still mad. "Dance. Christian, please." I take his hands. Christian glares after the guy, but I start to move against him, weaving myself around him.
Pronoun confusion, Ana. You're moving against the guy, weaving yourself around him.
Oh... Christian can move, really move.
No shit? Because we haven't read that in EVERY SINGLE GODDAMNED SEX SCENE IN THIS SERIES SO FAR.
He makes me graceful, that's his skill. He makes me sexy, because that's what he is. He makes me feel loved, because in spite of his fifty shades, he has a wealth of love to give. 
Usually, I'd be like, "No, the good parts of your personality don't come from other people, they come from you and I'd wish you'd see that," but there are no good parts of Ana's personality to defend. She's just... there. Sucking up space and being awful, like the human embodiment of a tax audit.

They go back to the table, and I assume someone somewhere in the editing process gave E.L. the note, "Hey, they would have gotten kicked out of a club for fighting like that," because Ana thinks:
I'm vaguely surprised we haven't been thrown out.
Because that's how lazy authors handle their edits, folks. "Gosh, this unexplainable thing happened. Huh. How weird. Moving along."

They get ready to leave, and at the coat check Kate and Ana discuss what happened on the dance floor:
"He's rather hot-headed, isn't he?" Kate adds dryly, staring at Christian as he collects my coat.
I snort and smile. "You could say that."
"I think you handle him well."
That's not praise. No one should have to "handle" their spouse because their temper is so explosive they might get into legal trouble for beating on someone. The only "handling" that situation requires is the insistance that the violent person seek treatment and make substantial changes.

Ana falls asleep in the car, and Christian wakes her up when they get home. Then he takes her inside and takes her shoes off for her, because she's a sleepy toddler who just got to Grandma's house:
"I had delightful visions of these around my ears," he murmurs, staring down wistfully at my shoes.
I have delightful visions of them around your ears, too, Christian. With the heels jammed into your ear canals, spearing through your worthless brain.

Hey, speaking of violent impulses, Jenny. Jesus.

Christian takes Ana upstairs, where he removes her makeup for her, because as we have already established, she's a fucking child who can't care for herself.
"Ah. There's the woman I married," he says after a few wipes.
"You don't like makeup?"
"I like it well enough, but I prefer what's beneath it."
I hate that guys feel like they can tell women whether or not to wear makeup. Hey, newsflash? We're not wearing it to impress you. Okay, some of us are. But lots of us wear it because it's fun. Or it makes us feel good to wear it. Why do so many men think women want to hear that they look better without makeup, that it's some kind of compliment to criticize our appearance or give us permission to not use makeup? That's gross, guys. It's gross.
"Let me help you out of what little there is of this dress. It really should come with a health warning." He turns me around and undoes the single button at the neck.
"You were so mad," I murmur.
"Yes. I was."
"At me?"
"No. Not at you." He kisses my shoulder. "For once."
I smile. Not mad at me. This is progress.
It's progress that her husband doesn't hold her responsible for the bad actions of another person. Yes, truly, I see what everyone was saying about Christian getting SOOOOO MUUUUUUCH BEEEETTTTEEEEERRRR in the third book. What was I thinking? Clearly, this is a bastion of feminism and empowerment for women.

But even though Ana wants to have sex with Christian, he won't. Because she's drunk (that's never stopped him before, in fact, he used to get her drunk to get her to consent), because she's tired (even though she's insisting she's not), because of the altitude (didn't bother him in the bathroom earlier). She's being punished, regardless of the "progress" he's made. He won't sleep with her, because she wore slutty makeup and a slutty dress and some other man touched her. Even though he doesn't tell her this, it's pretty fucking transparent; he's ready to ravish her at a moment's notice, until she expresses confidence in her sexuality and her body. Instead, he's going to go work, while on vacation, because that's something he can control.
"Close your eyes. When I come back to bed, I'll expect you to be asleep." It's a threat, a command... it's Christian.
Swoon, ladies. Swooooooon.
I grin widely, the word progress running around my brain as I drift.

And if you couldn't tell from the fact that she's falling asleep, the chapter is over.

192 comments:

  1. As always, I love your recaps, but I must say... speak for yourself on the make-up thing! I mean that in the nicest possible way. I grin from ear to ear when my boyfriend tells me how beautiful I look without makeup on. That doesn't mean he's telling me I shouldn't wear it, or giving me permission not to. It's just a nice compliment that's directed towards me and not what I'm wearing.

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    1. That's perfectly fine, I think she means it more as a jab towards men who go "girls are so much PRETTIER WITHOUT MAKE UP why do they even wear it DAE natural beauty!?"

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    2. To me, a man doesn't have any more of a right to tell you you shouldnt wear makeup than he does to tell you you should. if a man was like "you should really wear makeup when we go out in public" he'd be an asshole, right? it's the same reversed. either way it's a woman's face to do what she wants with!

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    3. Many men have told me they like how I look without makeup. Not one has ever told me, "Don't wear makeup."

      My boyfriend is balding. As long as I've known him, he's always shaved his head. I have, however, seen pictures of him when he didn't and I don't like how he looked as much as I like how he looks when he shaves it. I have told him that. There is nothing wrong with people in committed relationships expressing to their significant others that they find something specific attractive. Sorry, but this is just silly. A man is allowed to say, "I like how you look without makeup." It doesn't make him controlling (obviously, CG aside), a jerk or anything else bad. It makes him a human being with an opinion. And I agree with Crazy, it IS nice to hear sometimes.

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    4. They're not finding something specific that the woman has done attractive though, but desire the lack of it, which goes against how the woman has chosen to present herself. And yes it can be controlling behaviour and I've been the victim of it.

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    5. CAN be and IS are very different things. Expressing a preference about appearance is not controlling. It's an opinion. Seeing every opinion a man expresses about a woman or women, no matter the context, is a bit paranoid. They're human beings, just like we are. Is it controlling if a woman says she prefers a man to be taller than she is? Or younger? Or older? Whatever? Are we NOT allowed to have a preference? Or is it only men who aren't allowed a preference?

      Now, if the man insists that a woman dress a certain way or wear or not wear makeup or is mean about it, then sure, that's controlling. But simply stating, "I prefer the natural look" or "I like how you look without makeup" IS NOT CONTROLLING. And if you think it is, then you have never truly been in an emotionally abusive relationship. You're simply looking for a reason to be offended.

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    6. Hey, let's kindly refrain from telling people if they've been in abusive relationships or not. The point I made in the recap is that I find it misogynistic for men to express an opinion on a woman's makeup either way, not that I find it abusive or a symptom of an abusive relationship. Somewhere, this has gone off the rails, but I really don't want to see arguments about whose relationship was more abusive than whose. We're all more awesomer than that. :)

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    7. I know this is late, and I've never commented before (but I am a reader of these amazing recaps and frequently find myself in hysterics over both your wit, Jenny, and this ridiculous 'book'), but I want to share an experience. I was in an emotional abusive relationship, for quite a while, and he would start our "fights" (fights in quotation marks because they always ended with me in tears after caving into his needs/wishes) about my appearance with a seemingly innocuous "I prefer the natural look" or "When you wear makeup, I can't see your pretty face". Then, when I replied--in a halting manner, because much like Ana, I was afraid of provoking his ire--with a teasing "It's not for you, it's for me!" he'd get angry. Very angry. We actually had arguments about really stupid shit, like which shoes he wanted me to wear and which color my nails were painted. He preferred pink, and once when I wore red, he snapped at me, "That's not pink! I prefer pink!" So, yes, it can be abusive.

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  2. I enjoyed the death-by-heels scenario :)

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  3. The only way I would be OK with Emilia Clarke in this fucking movie is if they changed the plot, had Drogon brutally SPOILER Chedward the first time he met the dragons, and then just got on with the adventures of the Mother of Dragons in Seattle. I'm assuming that, like dogs, dragons can sense when a person is no good.

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    1. That is a plot I could totally get behind! The Khaleesi rules!!! And Drogon taking care of Chedward would be wonderful to watch.

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    2. *Drogon

      The dragon is named Drogon, after Khal Drogo. The others are Rhaegal and Viserion.

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    3. Wouldn't it be awesome if Khal Drogo ripped off Chedward's insides and then fed them to Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion?

      It's not overkilling, it's just making sure the bastard stays dead.

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    4. @Kelsey I really was talking about Drogon, imagining my favorite dragon breathing fire on and burning Chedward up.

      Although the though of Drogo, my favorite Dothraki pouring a pot of molten gold onto Chedward's head isn't bad either...

      And the idea of Drogo ripping out Chedward's insides and feeding them to Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion is definitely not overkill. It's deserved.

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    5. Ah, sorry. I am a little behind, and not realizing that she named a dragon after him, thought you were referring to the way Drogo handled Viserys. ;) My bad!

      (Rereading the comment, I should have realized something was up....)

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  4. There is a scene in the film patriot games where this IRA terrorist is having sex with a man. He asks her if she'll make him wear a condom. He hopes she won't because "It's a sin." She pulls out a gun, and replies."So is this, darlin'!" If only Ana said something similar to Chedward BEFORE thrusting those SHARP POINTY STILLETOS into his ears!

    That's one fantasy I'd love to see. What does EL have against gay men? I for one, have worked with some gay men who are awesome dressers! No, they do NOT wear satin! I know one guy who would come in wearing a suit, tie, shades and very expensive shoes. HIs clothes always looked stylish and very cool. Suave, really. To hear her talk, she's makes it sound like one of those sitcoms where you could always tell the "gay" because he a. whore green lime shoes, hot pink SATIN pants, purple shades, and the obligatory red, red, lip stick.

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    1. whoops, typo "wore" not "whore"Although the fact that in book three Ana STILL thinks all the 'whores" are after her man is verging on parody. Frankly, it's the other way around. In real life, after witnessing his treatment of her, the sensible ones would be running to the nearest POLICE STATION!

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  5. I... I really don't see the point of this chapter. It doesn't advence the "plot", it doesn't add to the "tension." It just shows Christian punching some guy, and Ana not getting laid. E. L. James could have just wrote that they went to the club to celebrate, and then section break to something important.

    Because really, nothing happens that we hadn't seen before: Ana and Christian being unbearable jealous because they are, oh, so in love, Kate practically throwing all her concerns for her friend away because she's engaged now, therefore has her own man to take care of, it was so boring and there's nothing new to rage about.

    Aw, look at me, demanding quality and consistency from E. L. James. I should know better.

    But I laughed like a maniac at your first enthusiastic reaction, because it was the same as mine. I wish we could have held hands and frolicked on the meadows for a little longer, before we had to face this bullshit chapter.

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    1. [i]I... I really don't see the point of this chapter. It doesn't advence the "plot", it doesn't add to the "tension."[/i]
      The point is that Ana's BFF is going to marry Ana's husband's brother and they GET TO BE SISTERS IN LAW! LIKE OMG!!!!

      Because what this book really is is a 10-year-old girl's idea of the most romantical and perfect relationship like EVER in the history of the whole, wide world.

      In other words, EL James never progressed beyond that mentality.

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    2. Yeah but wasn't that covered in the first few pages? And Ana didn't really seem all that happy, because, oh, my God, PEOPLE STOPPED PAYING ATTENTION OT HER FOR, LIKE, TEN WHOLE MINUTES!

      I have to agree with you about EL's mentality. Who was it that said that to write is to think, so to write clearly is to think clearly?

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  6. Hi Jenny, I really enjoy your recaps of this garbage. Thank you. I have stumbled upon a website you might find interesting. It is called Laters baby, and it is created by two women who are fans of fifty shades. What is really interesting is that they decided to recap Tess of the d’Urbervilles, because like you know, Ana really likes it and stuff. I started reading. I got to chapter four and started to have all sorts of violent urges so I had to stop. I do not think these two women have ever read a novel in their lives. Oh and guess what, they never heard of Thomas Hardy before. Here is the link
    http://latersbaby.net/?page_id=1573#sthash.IfDR23Ry.dpbs

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    1. I LOVE that they describe themselves as "highly intelligent and capable women" and then skip over bits of Hardy because it has "too much flowery old English" in it. The recaps read like the author is in high school. I wouldn't be so harsh, but their self-description is so arrogant I can't help but shake my head at the general (huge) difference between how smart people think they are, and how smart they actually are.

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    2. Oh my god. This is horrific. Terribly written and totally offensive.

      They think May Day is a 'girl's club event' WHAT THE HECK??

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    3. Haha I love in the first chapter recap, they write that Sir John is 'being a prick' for ordering people around and referring to fred as 'boy' ... the irony

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    4. My eyes cannot unsee this. They've got to be trolling us, right? RIGHT? Please, someone tell me this is true.

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    5. http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/427/123/d71.jpg

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    6. God, it's like a parade of ignorance... I don't even have the words...

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    7. Lolz. Just lolz. 'At the end of my last recap, this guy was a prick. Ramble about how I don't get half this shit, and this person's a prick'. Repeat, repeat. I just can't even ... Is this EL James?

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    8. Oh, chapter 4, the inn ... Inns being pub-and-hotel combos 'the only scandal at the inn is that it's not a licenced bar, but a place where you go and drink around a bed.

      Wow.

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    9. Ha, I stopped to come post that line about the scandal being the inn wasn't a licensed bar. This stuff is hilarious/depressing.

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  7. I laughed hysterically with your reaction! But what made me laugh even more is your picture of David Hasselhoff standing on top of the crumbling Berlin Wall. I almost peed my pants!

    And I'm SO sick of Ana and the jealously too. Miss Hot Pants? Come on. It's very annoying.

    Here is something I have to share about the "tourism" comment you made (how people are trying to find this nightclub in Aspen.) I think it's silly to go visit a place that is mentioned in a book. I have a friend who frequently goes to Forks, WA because there is really good fishing up there. He said that people go around wearing vampire fangs and one pair of women told him that they were going to go looking for Edward in the forest that night. Are you f-ing kidding me? It's ridiculous!

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    1. When I was studying abroad in Italy, my flatmate and I went to Montepulciano one afternoon for a day trip. We'd heard the city was breathtakingly gorgeous and had some of the best wine in the country, so we were pretty psyched. What we were not told is that's where they filmed that part of one of the Twilight movies where they go to Italy to fight the Volturi. Assholes in red capes were EVERYWHERE. Kind of ruined the experience.

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    2. I don't know. When my husband and I went to Vegas on our honeymoon, we stayed at the Circus Circus because Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo stayed there in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". We didn't dress up like Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Acosta, though, so maybe it's different.

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    3. One of the funniest experiences on our (European) honeymoon was staying at the Robin Hood Inn in Nottingham Forest and chatting to this young guy who wanted to visit Australia. He told us he had booked a 3 week holiday in Summer Bay and was planning on seeing all the sights from the series and was hoping to be an extra on set. We didn't have the heart to disillusion him.

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  8. Why don't Chedward and Ana just pee on each other and get over their mutual jealousy, having scent-marked their "property" finally?

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  9. Brilliant. Absolutely, fucking brilliant! Particularly the Inigo Montoya pic- which is so perfect in that context!!

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  10. The make-up part really creeped me out. To be fair on EL (not that I want to be)I think she was trying to say either 'i love you just the way you are' or, more likely, 'Ana is so beautiful she doesn't need make up; but Christian really infantilizes Ana throughout this chapter and him wiping off her make up and saying 'ah that's better' just feels wrong.
    And it's interesting how Christian is completely cool with coercing Ana into sex/ using sex as a weapon/ using orgasm denial to punish her, but draws the line at having sex with his drunk wife. The guy has class.

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    1. I haven't read the book -- only Jenny's recaps -- but it seems to me that Chedward is denying Ana sex because she wants it. Not because she's drunk. Because she wants it and that gives him an opportunity to exert control and (bonus!) covertly punish her for the dance-floor incident.

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    2. Given his past actions that does make more sense... these books are so messed up. Listening to el james in interviews though she refuses to acknowledge the relationship is unhealthy. Chedward definitely uses sex as a weapon throughout all the books.

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    3. Wouldn't it have been great if Ana had said ok, got out a vibrator and had a great time without him?

      Maybe in some parallel quantum universe version of this book.

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    4. That would be awesome!

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  11. "In my heady state, I idly think it's an epileptic's nightmare."

    Honestly, the reason that's so offensive to me is because it's written in such a snooty voice. Like with Ana's attitude towards money, she goes out of her way to be all like 'I"m so uncomfortable with this EXCLUSIVE, FANCY stuff" and then turns around and is all "Look at all these other people who can't do the things I do. This must be so terrible for THEM." It's like, shut up Ana. Just enjoy things. Stop thinking (idly) about how all the great things in your life would be so horrible for other people because they couldn't properly enjoy them.

    Ana's such a dick.

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    1. For me, the reason that comment struck a nerve was because she just "idly" thinks that like it's the first thought that popped into her mind. That's not the first thing I think when I see strobe lights on a dance floor. I think of how funny it makes everyone look because it looks like we are all in slow motion. I don't even believe that's the first thing you would think of if it was your first time in a club. It is really insensitive and offensive.

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    2. I can't believe that's her first time in a club. I love to go clubbing and when she says she has never been to a club because she was reading implies (to me) that she thinks only stupid uneducated people would stoop so low as to dance to music with other people. Also, hasn't she been dancing around while cooking before? So she must know what she moves like right? She has got to be the most boring person on the planet, and it seems like she has never done anything before she met Christian because she thinks she's too clever to do any of the things normal students/people do for fun. No wonder she doesn't have friends, can you imagine meeting someone like her? What would you have to talk about?

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    3. True story, I have a friend who has non-epileptic fits. The only clue he's about to go out is when you say something inane like 'hey, what's up?' And he goes monosyllabic. Usually the guy does not shut up, so if he's like 'eh' you have about half an hour until he's on the floor shaking and flailing about. He's broken his hand in a fit before, had one in a supermarket and they had to close the aisle he was so dangerous (and some old lady was like 'I don't care what's happening, I want some bread').

      So a load of us went out, because it was my birthday and another friend's birthday, and someone else's the day before, and we all went to a local club for cheese night. This friend had about ten seizures that night, including one that knocked him off the stage they had in the club. He was being tested at the time for what caused his seizures, but strobe lighting was definitely not one of them. But because the club had pulsing lights, and my friend was fitting, the security in the club were refusing to get him first aid for the exact same uninformed reason Ana gives. It took a lot of us standing there arguing the toss, and maybe seven of his fits before we could convince them to get him medical help.

      Nowadays, he wears a medical band that monitors his heart rate, and when it falls the band beeps so everyone knows he's about to go. The strobe lighting thing is such a crock a lot of the time, I share your rage Jenny.

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    4. The thing is, flashing lights are mostly a danger for people with Photosensitive Epilepsy. There are different types of epilepsy though and there are people who are prone to seizures without being epileptic. And in those instances, flashing lights (usually) aren't the trigger.
      And personally, I'm not any type of epileptic or prone to seizures, but strobe lights are a nightmare. They make me dizzy and really disoriented so I start to stumble and fall down a lot.

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  12. I fully expect that any man who is in a relationship with me would find me attractive, make up or not. If he only thought I was attractive when I was wearing make up that would mean he was really shallow. So a man telling me he likes the way I look without make up comes off as a man bragging about reaching a level of non-shallowness that should be a given, and expecting me to be grateful.

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    1. Yes! Exactly!
      xxx Deidre

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  13. I agree about the make up thing. I don't like the cliché of 'you look so much better with your make up off', it feels tied in to the purity fetish in our culture to me. Your partner should like you either way, and understand that for me it goes together with enjoying wearing pretty clothes to a party. He sees me in my glasses and un made up face plenty.
    xxx Deidre

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  14. And just think, Aspen is at an even higher altitude than Colorado Springs! As someone who lives in Colorado, I've always been amused by friends and family from sea-level bragging about what big drinkers they are and then getting totally wasted from one shot.

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  15. The make-up thing drives me nuts. Thank you so much for saying something about that.
    And omg, the shoes thing was so bizarrely phrased. I didn't get the innuendo at first, I just thought Christian was imagining looping the shoes around his ears with the heel straps. Actually, I'm going to pretend that's what he meant. Chedward's probably got weird fetishes.

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  16. If I could pay you to follow me around all day and make me laugh as hard as you do in these recaps, my rent wouldn't be paid, but I'd be happy.

    I'm also wondering how Anna immediately knew that Zax was the 'most exclusive nightclub in Aspen.' For someone who's only been in Aspen for a day, she probably has some really lucrative job opportunities as a tour guide in Aspen.

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    1. It's not so much exclusive as it is the only one that hasn't banned Christian

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  17. Damnit, there I go with the word repetition.

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  18. The makeup thing doesn't really bother me, but that's probably because I don't wear makeup. Ever. It's not a religious thing or even a thing at all. Well, I guess it's a lazy thing. And an I live in South Texas and am also the sweatiest human alive thing. If I put makeup on, it just melts off of my face because of the sweat. So really, no point. I'm 30 years old and have never really worn the stuff. Maybe if I did, I'd feel different about it.

    I, too, was a bit confused about the shoes hanging from Chedward's ears. WTF was that all about?

    This chapter had no point at all. I read these books maybe a year ago. At the time, I realized they were bad. Primarily, I realized the writing was atrocious (Before my genetic illnesses took me down, I was a journalist, so while I'm no fiction writer, I know terrible writing when I see it. I'm also an avid reader; I read roughly five books a week, so that also helps me recognize terrible writing in fiction.), but aside from that, I realized there was something extremely fucked up about Ana and Christian's relationship. I don't know why Erika can't admit that this is not a healthy relationship when she's done things like devote entire chapters to showing how unhealthy A and C's relationship is. This chapter had no other point other than to show that they are in a toxic marriage. Amiright?

    Aaaaand... Puce? Kate turns puce? Does Erika have a color of the day calendar next to her word of the day calendar? Puce is one letter away from puke for a reason. I can't wait until you get to the really good - and by really good, I mean really bad - parts of this book.

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    1. Just wanted to say hey from a fellow never makeup wearer! I never got very interested when girls usually do, and then decided my face is okay by itself anyhow.

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    2. I just seriously can't be bothered and the few times I have attempted to wear it, it just melts. Lol. And then I have this vision of all of it dripping down my face like running paint. I really do think I'm the sweatiest person in existence.

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    3. I rarely wear make up, but I think it's because my mother and older sister only did for big nights out, like fancy dinners or whatever. It made me think make up was there for special occasions and it's not a face mask. I have friends who slap it on, and others who always wear eye liner, but for me it's definitely either play (I went through a goth phrase) or just for things that stand out.

      I think the better attitude for men to take is the faux-surprise that you were wearing make up, like 'hey, you look the same to me either way, and either way you're amazing' but maybe that's too enlightened for EL James. Or maybe she watches too much Snog, Marry, Avoid and has entirely based Christian on POD (which makes no real sense, because POD doesn't mind make up being used, just not orange slap. Ana must have overdone the fake bake). If you guys haven't had the wonders of POD and SMA then http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lJxAb20Ny5c

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    4. Hahaha POD Omg I had to suppress laughing at work at that. I think the story would be way way better if Ana actually married POD, then they could both shake their heads in utter disgust on all these 'slutty' women who wear too much make-up and have good clothes. Also that show is great!

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    5. I wore makeup in high school and college but after that, I stopped wearing it except for special occasions (doesn't have to be super fancy but I don't wear it on a daily basis), so I've been on both sides of the makeup fence.

      I wore makeup because it was fun. To me, it's the girly equivalent of a guy having a toolbox in the garage. I liked playing with it and tinkering with it to create different looks. But I also liked the way it looked. Now that I don't wear makeup anymore, I like that I don't feel naked if I am in public without it.

      I don't care if other people wear makeup because it doesn't affect me, but I do see certain situations when I think damn, why are you wearing all that makeup? It's mostly when I see people in casual situations with humongous fake eyelashes, a pound of eyeliner, super smoky eyeshadow, gobs of mascara, and caked on foundation/powder (especially in broad daylight). It's just so much. But hey, if that makes you feel beautiful and you don't mind the extra time it takes to put it all on, more power to you. I'd rather spend that extra 20 minutes sleeping in!

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  19. I'm actually surprised Ana's magical twu wuv didn't allow her to recognise the other guy's touch wasn't Chedward's...

    Somewhat OT but I've just finished reading Wuthering Heights and given I've heard of people swooning over Heathcliff I'm frankly not surprised there are those that swoon over Christian. God damn. (Had SMeyer actually read it? because it is an apt choice for her heroine but perhaps not for the reasons she intended.)

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    1. To be fair to SMeyer, when "Wuthering Heights" is discussed it's mostly in terms of how awful and dysfunctional Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship was. (It doesn't really negate all the *other* horrible things about Eclipse, but. Small blessings!)

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    2. Wuthering Heights is my absolute favorite book - I've never read anything as intense - and I love Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship from an "OMG this is so fvcked up what's wrong with them" point of view. That anyone would see Heathcliff as romantic hero is...mind boggling, really. My favorite heroes are anti-heroes, but Heathcliff is not a hero - he's a monster - and that's what he was INTENDED to be. Unlike Chedward, who was intended to be a vampire-esque dream man. Ugh.

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    3. I haven't read Wuthering Heights, but given SMeyer's use of Romeo and Juliet, I'm betting against her having read (or at least understood) anything ever.

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    4. I agree. Wuthering Heights is my favourite book as well, but I always refer to Heathcliff as a bastard and Cathy as a selfish bitch. To me the book is amazing because even though I feel that way about the main characters, I still feel for them so much.

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    5. God yes, Wuthering Heights is fucking fantastic, but I rec it largely to showcase one of the clearest abuse models I've ever seen depicted in what is just some gorgeous intense-as-fuck fiction. Howevs, I absolutely cannot with the idea that Heathcliff was genuinely intended for a romantic hero, not for a second. Just, no. Cat either, those two shits are such absolute monsters, but their development tho, ARGH.
      My WH rambles OH MY how they can go on.

      Right, yes, this is basically just an overly-enthusiastic co-sign so I'll shut up now. XD

      OP: Your Austen!snark was much appreciated.

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    6. It's really interesting how literature gets taught differently in different places. In my 12th grade English class we read Wuthering Heights and our teacher explained that at the time, Heathcliff was considered OMG SOOOOOO HOT and intended to be a Byron-esque hero. I spent the entire unit thinking, "Ugh, these two are such drama queens. I do not give two shits about such unlikeable characters, can we read Shakespeare again?" And that's exactly what 50 Shades feels like.

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  20. Hey All,

    I guess I'm going to be one of the dissenters on the board. I've always thought the "makeup thing" was sweet. I have somewhat bad acne scarring, so for me being told I'm prettier without makeup is actually very nice.

    However, I do agree with an above poster who said that the way Chedward did it is very infantilizing.

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  21. Can anyone tell me how many times Ana asks for sex and Chedward follows through on her initiative? Because I have the feeling it's not a lot.

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    1. there was that one time on his birthday when she kind of initiated, I guess that counts - though as she framed it as an expression of her submission that's not very surprising. part of the problem is that she's incapable of voicing her desires anyway, so she doesn't actually ask often.

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  22. I'm sort of impressed. "Fifty Shades Freed" has even less of a plot than the first two. I didn't think that was even *possible*.

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  23. Jeez- he could have asked her privately.

    I agree with Ana, but at the same time the way Christian makes a big fuss going everywhere with his security detail like he's the President and makes a big show of holidaying on yachts and (supposedly) has paparazzi follow him and going to exclusive nightclubs, it's a little rich at the same time. He might as well exclaim 'look at all this great stuff I have!'

    "Mr. Grey, welcome back," says a very attractive, leggy blonde in black satin hot pants, matching sleeveless shirt, and a little red bow tie. She smiles broadly, revealing perfect all-American teeth between scarlet lips that match her bow tie.

    God, can these two get over themselves already?! Not everybody wants to get with you! It not only says a lot about their pathetic petty jealousies, but Christian and Ana have these rather inflated and self-absorbed views of themselves thinking everyone is just falling over themselves wanting to get with them.

    And can Ana quit it about red lipstick already? I love red, I'm sick of Ana associating it with being 'ew, red's for Slutty McSlut Sluts' >.<

    Why did I spend the first twenty years of my life not doing this? I chose reading over dancing. Jane Austen didn't have great music to move to and Thomas Hardy... jeez, he'd have felt guilty as sin that he wasn't dancing with his first wife. I giggle at the thought.

    Give me a break! For such an Austen uber-fan like Ana, I'm surprised she never saw Becoming Jane, either. She plays the piano and dances with Tom Lefroy in that. Even she got down on the dance floor more than Ana ever did! God, even Austen was never this puritanical like Ana was... *rollseyes* E.L. James has really gotta get out more if she thinks even dancing is somehow uncouth.


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  24. Hell, I can't reliably follow the plot of The Following, for Christ's sake,

    In order for this to be a criteria for anything The Following would have to actually make sense.

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    1. I find the best way to experience the Following is to imagine all of the characters are just going 'blahdiblah, don't worry, James Purefoy will be along in a moment. ooh here he is, cor, phwoar, etc' and then enjoy the view.

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    2. THANK YOU for bringing up the lack of plot in The Following. I've raged to friends about that awful show before...and my rage keeps falling on deaf ears :(

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  25. lol at the dance/music thing. ELJ really is thicker than two short planks sandwiched together with pigshit. Has she not even seen an Austen adaptation on TV? Those are about 45% dancing. she wouldn't even have to open a fucking book.

    And Toxic. It always made me laugh that in their romantic pre dawn trip that cacophony is her chosen romantic soundtrack. Imagine, the soft light, the first golden rays of the dawn, the beautiful cool air, and above all the quiet of that hour, the lovely hush before the rest of the world wakes up, maybe broken gently by the dawn chorus in its melodious natural beauty... and fucking Ana starts blaring out that fucking racket.

    as for the jealousy, jesus. I hate jealousy more than almost anything else, so although I realise that as you point out, it's just because ELJ can't think of another way to say 'they lurve each other' and 'they are both so attractive that no one could possibly not fancy them' it drives me crazy anyway. They should just go and live on an island by themselves. Or somewhere where there are few white people, since I believe both of them only feel threatened by other white people.

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  26. The floor and wall can't vibrate because of a pulse. Either they pulse along with the music, or the music vibrates and thus so do the floor and walls.

    "The floor and walls pulse with the music from the dance floor behind the bar" is a cleaner sentence, even though I think this is an incredibly poorly designed club. It must piss the bartenders off supremely to have the dance floor behind the bar.

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    1. What I want to know is, why are the floor and walls moving anyway? What are they made of, cardboard? I've been in some clubs with music at pretty ear-splitting volumes and never been troubled by the infrastructure vibrating.

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    2. I worked at one of the biggest clubs in San Francisco and when I was upstairs in the dressing room, the floors and walls really did pulse along with the music. You could hear the metal lockers vibrating along with the bass line. But down on the dance floor? No.

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  27. One of the basic problems I have with the "no makeup" comment is that it's often used in the same way many men say "I think women are sexier who don't wear high heels." A lot of times it's NiceGuys™ trying to gain pro-feminist-lady-points by declaring that they think X Aspect of the patriarchy is bad, aren't I enlightened for declaring the more "comfortable" or "less work" way of presenting yourself is better. I know a lot of these guys in college. They think that anything a woman does is done to impress men. Women can't possibly take pleasure in how they present themselves unless a man is looking.

    Hey bro. Sometimes, THE SONG AIN'T ABOUT YOU.

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    1. This, exactly. Before I realized that I'm asexual and aromantic by orientation, I tried dating and, since I never wear make up, those guys loved to flaunt their oh-so-progressive niceguy-ness by saying how much hotter chicks are without makeup. One such fellow also talked about how tolerant he was of small breasts, but that he hated push up bras because it was terrible to think a chick had larger boobs only to get to the bedroom with her and have her chest disappear when she took off her lingerie.

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    2. UHG. I've heard the breast one before. I've also heard "I prefer smaller boobs, anything larger than a handful is a waste." Good to know the physical expression of genes I cannot control is "a waste."

      My freshman year in college I went to the school's anime club and it was mostly by men. The three other girls and I would sit together. If they played something we didn't enjoy, we'd leave and do something else as a group. Once after this happened, the guy running the club approached us and asked why we'd left the previous week. We told him that we really weren't interested in watching fanservice maid cartoons.

      He got very huffy and told us how it's "just entertainment" blah blah blah the maids are innocent/empowered by their sexuality. Then, the real winner. He began telling us how enlightened he really was, how he didn't agree with the impossible beauty standards presented in anime and that's why he liked school girl series (because they were still innocent of objectification, so it's not objectification?) and how he didn't understand why women ALLOWED THEMSELVES to be set against society's standards of beauty. He said, I shit you not, "I don't even understand why women shave their legs. It's so much work. Women are sexier when they don't feel the need to do what society tells them is pretty." This was one of several creepy NiceGuy™ incidents.

      We stopped attending the club for the rest of the year, at which point he'd graduated and someone else took over.

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    3. Wow, that makes my anime club look WAY better.

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    4. My husband doesn't like make up or heels, but that is because he is genuinely more attracted to women in combat boots without makeup. It's kind of a specific fetish. lol

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  28. "You were so mad," I murmur.
    "Yes. I was."
    "At me?"
    "No. Not at you." He kisses my shoulder. "FOR ONCE." (!!!)
    I smile. Not mad at me. This is progress.

    WTF? Am I the only one that was shocked and dismayed by this conversation?

    So, "for once" his anger is not directed at his wife and this is swoon worthy.

    ***Facepalm***

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    1. No. No, you were not :-)
      I wanted to smack the idiots!

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  29. Only Freddie Mercury could have ever gotten away with wearing booty shorts like that.

    I get that Ana is a big league alcoholic now, but I'm highly doubting that at an increased altitude she's "fuzzy" and not black-out unconscious after all of that.

    No shit! I mean, I've got a high tolerance for alcohol, but the amount this chick drinks during the events of these books would put me on the floor in one of those "the room is spinning, but I'm not moving (am I?)" sort of fits. Does James not know how alcohol works, or something? I just don't understand how a character who never drank before the events of the first book could build up such a tolerance in such a short amount of time. I do, however, doubt James knows anything about the whole high altitude thing that goes on in Colorado.

    That brings back memories of woefully failed chocolate chip cookies and flat brownies.

    What, is this woman going to literally rip him from your arms? "I touched him last, he's mine now!"

    Why doesn't she just lick the side of his face and get it over with? "I have dibs!"

    I do not buy that Ana could drink that much after being in Aspen for a day and not be in the fucking hospital.

    Again, this is what happens when an author doesn't do any damn research about the place she's got her characters running around. Did you get a nosebleed the first time you went there? Because I did. And it was hell to run the mile for PE as a kid.

    Taking the glass of water, I down it in a most unladylike manner to register my protest at being told what to do…again.

    Wasn't she just extolling the virtues of her idiot husband being all controlling only a paragraph ago? Jesus.

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    1. Also, I keep thinking, this baby that's already inside her is going to have some issues because of all this alcohol O.o

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    2. And she's oh-so-dramatically-Sueishly-thin, which will decrease her tolerance even further.

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  30. The fact that someone probably uses that specific scene to defend Ana as a strong female character makes me want to pry out my teeth with a rusty carving fork.

    Pass it to me when you're done, please.

    I honestly don't know what to rant about. I won't touch the make-up stuff because I'm a guy and therefore it's none of my business, but the fighting bit? Ugh, rape culture at its best. The ring is meaningless. For all onlookers know, maybe it's an open marriage. The reason it was wrong for him to touch her was because she didn't consent to him doing that.

    It's not that hard a concept to grasp.

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    1. But then, nobody in these novels understands anything about consent. Remember in the first book when Ana was surprised that Christian hadn't had sex with her when she was lying, passed out, in his bed? Waiting for consent is surprising for these people.

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    2. You're right, I had forgotten that. What am I thinking, that consent is supremely important or something.

      It's like EL James has active contempt for the idea of consent. Like it's a shameful thing, perhaps.

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  31. So I don't really get why its a douchey move to propose to your girlfriend in front of friends and family? I mean sure, if it were me, I'd like it to be more private, but in saying that if my partner decided to propose infront of my family and friends then I wouldnt think for one second "hey, what a jerk, you only did that so I would HAVE to say yes". I think its ok if a)you know each others family very well and they really like you and b)you've both been together for awhile. I mean , ok, six months is a little to early in my opinion but hey I know of couples getting engaged that early and it all worked out.

    The make-up thing, I get why everyone has a problem with it but like others I don't mind it. I like it when my boyfriend compliments me but he also knows that I'm not doing it for him or anyone else, I'm doing it for myself, and he damn well knows I'm not going to change what makes me feel good for his sake.

    "Yeah, you show him, Ana. He can't just sexually assault you! You're not some kind of whore who's free for the taking! Someone OWNS you!"
    This. I don't know, If I were married I would defintely slap the guy and call him an asshole and then tell him I was married/not available. It's not because I'm using my status because I'd feel owned but more because im telling them 'If I were single, and you werent such a fucking creep, and this is what I wanted then, yeah I might not object to your advancements. but the fact I'm not and you are a fucking creep then you can go fuck yourself'. Its definetly never ok to touch someone when they havent given you permission in any situation or venue, and whoever does intefere with your personal space should definetly be repriminded for it.

    Also, when I used to go to clubs and such I was always with my group of friends and when we danced, we would all dance together, it made it harder for creeps to creep on us. And if some dude advanced on one of us, and it was clear she thought he was a creep and was clearly not interested, then we'd go over and save her. It was not necessary to cause a scene. Where were Ana's friends? why didnt they interefere? Why did Kate or Mia just stand there and 'gape in horror' when they saw that Ana was dancing with someone who clearly was not her husband?

    "Yet deep down I know why I hit him. It's because I instinctively knew how Christian would react to seeing some stranger pawing me. I knew he'd lose his precious self-control. And the thought that some stupid nobody could derail my husband, my love, well, it makes me mad. Really mad."
    I'm sorry? So its everyone else's responsibility to control thier actions because your precious husband doesn't have any self-control? Cause clearly everyone in the whole entire world revolves around him, so everyone better make sure they don't make Christian lose it, or he might throw a tantrum. As much as these books try to hammer down he is always in control and always needs to be in control, he always overeacts to everything single thing. Talk about anger management issues.

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    1. A) It's a douchey move because of the patriarchal notions of romance that portray the man who is "emotionally vulnerable" (or, more accurately, emotionally manipulative) as never wrong, whereas the woman who is not immediately moved by such manipulations as a cold-hearted bitch. Therefore the woman cannot say no without fear of massive social backlash. She cannot even say "gosh, this is so sudden, and such a big decision! I need some time to think about it, I'm sure you understand!" Anything other than a big, emotional "YES!" will be met with inveterate scorn.

      B) The point is not that she is married. It's that you can't walk up to a random woman in a club and grope her without her consent. Whether she's married or not is irrelevant. Her body is not public property. Being groped without her consent is bad because it's a violation of her body, not because he's touching something that belongs to another man.

      C) It's not a woman's responsibility to keep creeps at bay. It's not her friends' responsibility to keep creeps at bay. It's not her fault, or her friends' fault, that she was groped without her consent. The only person who was responsible for what happened was the creep himself. He is not a force of nature who cannot help himself. He is a human being and he is responsible for his own actions.

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    2. Thank you, Shadow Knight!

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    3. I wonder why her friends were 'gaping in horror' - were they also horrified at Christian's property being touched, or were they horrified by the creepiness of the stranger? three guesses.

      the worst bit about the whole 'the really bad thing is that this man might upset Christian, who cannot control his anger' is that I think ELJ thinks this is what passes for 'complex motivation'.

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    4. @shadowknight.

      A) I understand that
      B) I also understand that. As I said, its never ok to touch someone without thier consent available or not . Its not even relevant, im just saying if that was meany would say that but not for the reasons that others tend to think.
      C) I never said it was thier responsibility or Ana's. im just talking about my own personal expexperience in that situation. and I would never blame my friends if they didnt interefere. but im sure any good friend of mine would do something rather than stand there even if it was just to ask if I was ok.
      basically I agree with everything you say, I just think differently thats all.

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    5. sorry for any grammar issues, I'm on my phone which makes it really hard to grammar check.
      Anyway, just to make it clear, I wouldnt slap the guy and shove my wedding band in his face, because yeah that has the wrong connotations But maybe I would say hey asshole apart from the fact you're a jerk for touching me I am married/not available im not single here in this club and im not here to pick up. or something to that effect. I dont know thats just my personal opinion. I get why some people might see it as a problem though.

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    6. @Anonymous: Np! :)

      @Jess: Sorry if it came off sanctimonious or something, it's just that these books get me a bit riled up on consent issues. I do agree that it's totally valid to say "Dude, back off, I'm with someone else", but that wasn't the point Jen was making (and with which I wholly agreed).

      To me, the dude should've been like "*eye contact, smile, waits for reciprocation, walks closer* Hey, gorgeous, wanna dance together?" and THEN you can play the "Sorry, I'm with someone else" card. If the dude just goes right up to you and gropes you, he's crossed the line where being single or not is important, and went straight into Bad Touch City, Population: Him.

      Also yeah, I guess I see your point on Ana's friends not doing shit when they know a stranger is groping a friend. What he does is not their fault, but it's also kind of dickish to just stand idly by.

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    7. @Sophie - I think Mia was gaping with horror at the fact that Ana, without looking around to see who the fuck was touching her, started grinding up against someone not her husband. I'm not condoning the guy in any way, shape or form, but given the entire storyline ... What the hell with Christian's property being all sexual with someone else? Does Ana want a black eye? And fuck you Erika, fuck you for making this a thought in my head.

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    8. @shadowknight, totally agree.

      I've thought a lot about what you wrote actually and I've come to the conclusion that EL james just doesn't know how to portray a proper marriage. I re-read that passage again and it definitely sounds like Ana is saying that its only ok to be touched/groped if she was available. If she had said 'it's not ok to touch me AND I'm also married FYI' then that would be fine. But I don't agree with the concept that marriage means that 'you belong to another man'. To me marriage is about two partners, who are both equals in the relationship to make the decision and commitment to take on that next level in their relationship. And in a way you both make that decision to belong to one another but certainly you're not owned by the other or subservient to the other. Perhaps that's what Ana was trying to say here, but very ignorantly because EL just doesn't know how to write characters well or at all.

      Also I really hate how Christian just had to punch that guy as if to say "oh Ana, you're a woman you're not capable of handling the situation on your own, even though I just saw you resolve that situation all by yourself". It's like he needs to show her up in every situation and undermine her. I'm all for a guy defending his girl, but what a jerk.

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    9. @shadowknight, totally agree.

      I've thought a lot about what you wrote actually and I've come to the conclusion that EL james just doesn't know how to portray a proper marriage. I re-read that passage again and it definitely sounds like Ana is saying that its only ok to be touched/groped if she was available. If she had said 'it's not ok to touch me AND I'm also married FYI' then that would be fine. But I don't agree with the concept that marriage means that 'you belong to another man'. To me marriage is about two partners, who are both equals in the relationship to make the decision and commitment to take on that next level in their relationship. And in a way you both make that decision to belong to one another but certainly you're not owned by the other or subservient to the other. Perhaps that's what Ana was trying to say here, but very ignorantly because EL just doesn't know how to write characters well or at all.

      Also I really hate how Christian just had to punch that guy as if to say "oh Ana, you're a woman you're not capable of handling the situation on your own, even though I just saw you resolve that situation all by yourself". It's like he needs to show her up in every situation and undermine her. I'm all for a guy defending his girl, but what a jerk.

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    10. I couldn't agree more. EL James's idea of marriage is ridiculous. It's fuelled on jealousy and drama instead of companionship and mutual benefit. No marriage can last when it's cemented on drama and endless, petty jealousy.

      Also yeah, "and I'm not single" is perfectly fine to append after the "I didn't let you touch me, fucker" vituperation. Having "I'm married!" being the entirety of the chastisement comes off as if the lack of consent was no big deal.

      Ugh, don't get me started on the douchenozzle that is Christian Asshole Grey. He is physically incapable of letting Ana do anything on her own or display any sort of agency. He MUST be a part (and in control) of every little thing that happens to her. It's horrendous.

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    11. Absolutely - using 'I'm married' as her only objection basically says 'it's OK to grope women who aren't married (because they don't belong to a man yet and so are waiting for a man to take ownership of them, blah blah)'. it's AWFUL.

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    12. I don't like the "I'm married" excuse because it implies that being owned by Chedward is the only reason she objects to being groped by a stranger.

      When I used to go clubbing in college, it didn't matter if I had a boyfriend or not. I didn't like strangers grabbing me (which is why I usually brought at least three guys with me to keep the creepers at bay - and as someone above pointed out, I shouldn't have to bring bodyguards to keep assholes away from me).

      I don't really go to clubs often anymore but the few times I did and got hit on, I didn't bother explaining that I was married. I just shut it down by saying, "Not interested." My marital status has nothing to do with you or with why I don't want to dance with you or talk to you. I came here to dance with my friends. That's all. I don't owe a guy any explanation when I say no.

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  32. I never got the appeal of public proposals anyway. Like why would someone find that romantic? When you think about it it's actually pretty shitty the position it puts the person being proposed to in.

    "See, he let her make her own choice with regards to the dress. She just has to wear a fucking trench coat all night, in August."

    I knew there'd be a catch.

    "The fact that someone probably uses that specific scene to defend Ana as a strong female character"

    I think I just pulled something shaking my head. If anything, this scene proves the opposite!

    "I hate that guys feel like they can tell women whether or not to wear makeup."

    Thanks to K-pop and Hook on Once Upon a Time, I am now exceedingly attracted to eyeliner on men. So if a guy ever gives me grief about my makeup, I'm going to ask him why he won't wear guyliner. He looks so much better with it!

    These books are a fucking mess.

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  33. The thing about Elliot asking Kate to marry him, and Ana thinking he could have done it in private... I actually don't think ELJ got it right at all. Ana's just jealous because for a few seconds the attention is off her and Chedward.

    Also, the silence was 'long and oppressive'? Geez, Kate was really jumping for joy at the proposal, wasn't she???

    'Oppressive' seems to be another of those words that don't mean what ELJ thinks it means. :(

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    1. Whoops, fumblefingers... *doesn't* mean what ELJ thinks.

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    2. No, it's 'don't'. '[T]hose words don't mean what E.L. James think they mean' would've been completely correct ;)

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    3. Maybe I'm just being obtuse here, but what the actual fuck with this bit anyway? Ana's being condescending about Kate's proposal after a short relationship, the official proposal (with the ring) in front of family members, yes?

      Did I read Ana's own proposal wrong? Short relationship (5 weeks, ish, not 6 months) and he pulled the ring out ... in front of family.

      OMFG, is Ana just jealous that Elliot stole Christian's lame proposal and the atmosphere is oppressive because Elliot and Kate can't have what Ana and Christian have? That's it, isn't it?

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    4. @Zee, that's the way I saw it. Ana's constantly jealous and (hypocritically) judging other couples because, in her mind, their relationships aren't as *MAGICAL* and *SPECIAL* as Ana's and Christian's, so anything another couple does (escpecially things that take the attention away from the Greys' or remotely mirrors them in any way) is wrong. That's the reason Ana had a problem with a public proposal. Other peoples' moments should happen in private.

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    5. Actually, Miba, "doesn't" is correct. It's common to get tripped up by prepositional phrases. A good trick when unsure is to remove the prepositional phrase. "'Oppressive' seems to be another word that doesn't mean what ELG thinks it means."

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  34. Public proposals - depending on the circumstances, there could be hundreds of even thousands of people watching and cheering on the person doing the proposing. They all want the woman (or man) to say yes. Talk about peer pressure! And then there's the guilt of potentially ruining someone's big plans. It would take a lot of strength not to cave in to all this. But I sometimes wonder how many people who say yes during a public proposal turn around and say no as soon as they're out of the spotlight.

    Maybe it's an introvert vs an extrovert thing. I can see some extroverts enjoying the attention.

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    1. Just a single datapoint, but I am a screaming extrovert (I regularly max out the "E vs. I" scale on any personality test I take) and an admitted attention-hog, and I shudder at the idea of a public proposal.

      All the sweet, sweet center-of-attention-ness could not possibly make up for being put in a situation where a positive response is pretty much being coerced out of me by crowd peer pressure. I'd have the choice between publicly humiliating my partner and looking like an evil bitch to lots of people, or saying yes. Even if I would have otherwise wanted to say yes, I would resent being put into a position where I was robbed of the option of making this choice freely.

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    2. I have two friends who got public proposals (I was there for one, head about the other) and they were both thrilled - one's definitely extroverted, the other is somewhere in the middle but on the introvert side. I think the real difference was that they both knew it was coming and knew they'd say yes and their boyfriends just did it that way because they thought their girls would like it.

      I don't remember exactly when the one proposal was but I do know they had to delay their wedding by three months because the rabbi won't marry couples who have been together for less than a year. They're doing okay, though.

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    3. I know I keep bringing this up, but I read a romance once where the mc was proposed to at a basketball game. Like big audience, jumbotron, whole thing.

      She said no, dumped the guy and then the rest of the book got going for reals :P

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    4. I don't think public proposals are a bad thing all the time. If a couple has discussed marriage and the person being proposed to knows it's coming then a public proposal can be more of a special event to share with friends and family. Wanting to share with them the start of your official engagement. The problem with a lot of public proposals though is that they are sudden and unexpected and that is the part that is messed up and putting undue pressure on the woman (usually) to say yes.

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    5. Two tales of proper public proposals?

      One friend and her boyfriend had already discussed marriage and she knew he was designing her a ring. They're both very dramatic and she knew she'd get a very romantic propsal because that's how he was but she was positive that he wouldn't do it in public because she was sure that *he* didn't like the idea.

      Cue a bunch of us (all in the know) at the Renn Faire, in full garb, with King Henry VIII urging her to listen to her suitor's plea.

      My sister-in-law's sister got propsed to on the 4th of July, in front of all the friends and family (and fireworks!) but again, she and her boyfriend had pretty much discussed everything already.

      We tease her to this day because she was getting impatient for the "official" proposal and was making snarky comments when we were out buying fireworks earlier in the day that "at least *someone* was getting something sparkly" -- EVERYONE knew she was getting proposed to that evening and taking unholy glee in her irritation (we mock from a place of love, really).

      TL; DR: if a couple has already decided to get married, an "official" public proposal can be a fun, unexpected surprise shared by family and friends. If they haven't already said their yes's privately, DO NOT WANT.

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    6. A friend of mine, who is very social and extroverted, had a public proposal and was horrified. She said yes because everyone was cheering and expecting her to but then she turned to her boyfriend and said very quietly, "We need to get out of here NOW." Her boyfriend put a lot of thought and effort into setting it up, but she was really embarrassed and uncomfortable.

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    7. Two weeks before our wedding, after I'd been wearing an engagement ring for 4 1/2 of the 5 years we'd been living together, my husband recollected that he had never actually proposed to me. We were slow dancing to Billy Joel in our living room after a romantic dinner out. That was more than 20 years ago.

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  35. Jen,you are fabulous and awesome. And I've felt you could see straight into my brain. Until this: "human embodiment of a tax audit". Here, we must respectfully part ways. I think you've taken it a step too far. That's just too cruel. You see, tax audits have some value in society, no matter how awful and painful they are. Indicating that Ana Useless McAnnoyingperson is like a human embodiment of a tax audit is unfair to tax audits, and those heroes who undertake them.

    Okay, we only parted ways for a moment, but I already feel like I've missed you. I'm so glad to be back in your snarky paradise! I look forward with an apprehensive heart to the next installation.

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  36. I seriously wonder who will take the role of Ana (and to a lesser extent, Christian?) I just think that this movie can be a career breaker if it's a well established actress/actor. I really don't think a big name actress/actor will take the role, for fear of backlash (the books can be awful, but the awfulness may become all the more apparent in film). If anything I think a fairly unknown will be cast.

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    1. I wish you were definitely right, but sadly, I'm really afraid that it's actually going to be a career-maker :-/
      The books are already so inexplicably, crazy popular, I don't think the movies are going to be any different.

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    2. also, my self control is not good enough to wait to be able to, er, borrow the film. knowing me I'll cave and go to see it for knowing the enemy and laughing at how bad it is reasons. which will add to its box office take. I'm sure lots of people will do the same.

      Delete
    3. You know what I would love ? For some really great writer and director to make this film as the book actually is. To show the abuse and not make it all pretty and Hollywood. Then it could win an Oscar ad ELJ would have to admit what these books are really about. The only prolem is the Oscar, but as ELJ wouldn't actually win it, I think I might be able to accept it all.

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    4. So like Truman Capote's version of the Great Gatsby that sadly never got made (Nick was gay, Daisy was a vindictive lesbian. I want this film!)

      I actually think in order to make the film they'll have to make it somewhat true to the abuse, otherwise it won't be anything like the books, and then we'll have 50fanrage, and I am already so done with that.

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  37. I've never liked the "you look so good without makeup" variety of compliments. Basically, it's complimenting me for a bunch of genetic dice-rolls going reasonably well together, and has nothing to do with me as a person. My makeup, on the other hand, is something I have chosen, and a skill I've worked at for more than half my life now. It is much more connected with who I am on the inside than the size of my nose or the colour of my eyes.

    And also, Christian, what an epic asshole. Epic, irresponsible asshole. Epic, immature, irresponsible asshole. I could probably go on all day, but I would end up strangling someone and burning copies of the book in effigy in front of my students.

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    1. That's a really good point. I had never thought of it in those terms before, but you're right. Me, I very rarely compliment people's make-up, unless it's a particularly fabulous colour eyeshadow or something, because I feel uncomfortable with makeup because I'm bad at putting it on/wearing it. I have weird skin colouring and it's very hard to find things that work.

      But i'd love to be able to wear it without feeling self-conscious. As it is, i feel people will look and think 'all that effort and you still look weird' - I'd rather they think I hadn't made an effort than made an effort and failed. But I admire people who can do it very much, and I love how it can make some people look.

      all of which is a long winded way of agreeing with you.

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  38. As a woman who can't stand wearing makeup (except on Halloween), the "you're more beautiful without makeup" didn't bother me too much. Plus, I endured a childhood and adolescence of adults and peers trying to convince me to wear it when I'd made it quite clear I really didn't want to. I don't like the way it looks on me, and I hate the feeling of...stuff on my face. However, I can relate to makeup-wearers in retrospect because I've gotten similar comments regarding my clothing choice. "You look good in anything; you don't need to wear clothes like that!" etc.. I'm glad you think I'd look fine in a burlap sack. Just so happens I prefer velvet miniskirts and brocade corsets. I wear them for me, not for you, so fuck off, and stop trying to tell me to dress in a way that YOU find more appealing.

    Anyway, awesome recap as always.

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    1. Very well said. I keep getting hassled for not wearing designer clothes--when most people tell me, "Dont' you want to even look good for yourself?"

      Funny thing is, I like wearing jeans. I could even only afford it, and for some reason people approach to me positively anyway. If they find me friendly and attractive enough to approach, I don't necessarily need to buy designer clothes just so other people can feel better about me.

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    2. Ugh, and I'm the opposite. While I don't wear designer clothes by any means, I don't wear jeans either. But people are always on my case, telling me I should be more "normal" and just wear jeans. Why? I can admire them on other people, but why do I have to want to wear them?

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    3. See? As a woman there is literally no clothing you can wear that won't be judged negatively in some way or other, which leaves us only the option of dressing in whatever way each of us individually finds comfortable. And people can't just let us do that!

      When I was a kid up to the age of fifteen, I pretty much wore whatever I pulled out of my dresser. My clothes were not very flattering, and I shunned dresses and skirts. My mom hated that, and my peers thought I looked like crap. Then at fifteen, a friend convinced me to try on some form-fitting clothes, and hey I liked the way they looked. At eighteen, I started to develop my own style, and then my family members thought I was showing too much skin. It was like, seriously, I used to hate clothes; don't ruin this for me!

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  39. I do dislike public proposals and would be happy ana said 'jeez he could have done it in private' if she hadn't also said something like 'put the poor man out if his misery'. Surely if you were watching your friend being proposed to publically and it was followed by an 'oppressive silence' you would feel concern for how said friend was feeling rather than think 'I wish she'd just say yes so poor Elliot can relax'. Which leads me to believe that ana is just being an attention seeker and only wishes the proposal was done in private so she could remain the centre of attention. But I might just be reading waaay too much into things... it also broke my heart a little that Kate said yes, I wish her, mia, Mrs Jones and taylor would just escape from this book together...

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  40. Poor Kate. I can only hope she turns around and says "no way am I marrying into the same family as that violent control freak" as soon as she gets Elliot alone.

    I WANT TO BELIEVE.

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  41. Just gotta say, Jen, I have a newfound respect for you. I started reading that POS FSOG. Couldn't make it past chapter two of the first book. YOU READ ALL THREE BOOKS! And took notes and time to recap that crap for our entertainment. You are a saint.

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  42. So this is more in response to one of your earlier posts regarding 50 Shades defenders and their vast misunderstanding of real BDSM relationships - so now what you were saying is also supported by scientific evidence! http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2013/4/29/whos-on-top-power-and-control-in-and-out-of-the-bedroom.html

    The blog is written by a few PhDs, so I imagine they might know what they are talking about than random 50 Shades fans.

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  43. Not only that she never had sex or an e-mail address before she met him. She also has never danced before? Not even when she was home alone? Who is she? Kaspar Hauser? I hate that she is described that way. So she had no own life and only lived through books before she met him. I hate that it sends the message that she needed a man to have a rich, fulfilled life.
    And like you wrote it´s bullshit, that no one in Jane Austens book danced. I do English Country dances and other historic dances. A huge point of the whole dancing thing is, that you have the opportunity to get to know somebody without that it is considered as inappropriate.

    Excuse my insufficient English skills, but it is not my mother language.

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    1. I laughed so much when I saw your comparison to Kaspar Hauser, but at least he was interesting. Ana is the most boring woman I've ever read about. Can you imagine having a conversation with her? What would you talk about?

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    2. I wonder if that's why Ana is so unlikable. She did nothing and had no life before Christian. How can any real person relate to that? She never danced, even as a child? Never went to a club? She got through college without the internet? She has no past- no lovers, no friends from childhood, not even any college professors interested enough to keep in touch? Of course she's unlikable- EL hasn't given us anything to like!

      FYI- I love, love, love these recaps. I haven't read the books. I read the first paragraph and a few more paragraphs at a random spot in the middle of the book. The writing was so atrocious I didn't bother with the rest of it.

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  44. I couldn't decide if the xenophobia in this book is from EL herself or because she thinks that this is how Americans think of Europeans.

    I know when I see straight teeth I don't think "That's an All-American smile!" In fact, I, as an American, have never thought that phrase in my life. I'm sure there are plenty of Americans who dislike Europeans, but most 20-something college students from Portland or Seattle aren't going to think in such a xenophobic way.

    I am choosing to nit pick on this point, because the rest of it makes me angry, instead of just tired.

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    1. I may be completely off base here, but it's a thing I have noticed and I wonder if it's playing into EL's craziness. My family is from mainland Europe and there's a certain friction sometimes between "the continent" and "Britain." Like Britain isn't really part of "Europe" proper, they're their own island. They joined the EU but kept their own money, there's always been a certain gentle friction with the French and even though everyone gets along a lot better now, everyone still has jokes and stereotypes for all the neighboring countries.

      I could see EL being pretty European-negative without necessarily seeing it from an American perspective.

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    2. Eh... Switzerland (and a few other countries) kept their money too when the Euro changeover happened, wasn't just us :p And lo, the decision was good ;)

      Perhaps if people voted for us more in the Eurovision Song Contest we might feel differently about Europe? Lol. (Not this year though. Our song is pants.)

      Lol, to be honest though, I've never come across a Brit who has a problem with any mainland nation. :)

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    3. It's *entirely* possible that my exposure to British people has been limited mostly to conservative 50+ aged business types and unstable douchey artists in their 20s, and they're just being unstable douches.

      It just seemed like, "oh, I'm from Europe too, where are you from?" and these guys reply with, "No, I'm not European, I'm ENGLISH."

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    4. I think the mindset is that Europe is much further away than it actually is (like my BFF is from Dover, and she actually lives closer to Calais than London, but she rarely goes over there. Wasted opportunity.)

      It's funny you're picking up on the currency thing, because there's a role-reversal going on with Scotland. Scotland want independence from England, but they want to keep our currency. Cue a lot of 'fuck no's from our politicians.

      But back to the Europe/England thing ... I think the British hear European as Continental and that's why they redefine it, and then there's the whole shebang about the history of the empire and it was England that did that (never mind that France, Denmark and Germany all had a crack at invading us over the years. And um, do the Italians still bang on about the Roman Empire?) England still thinks of itself as desirable, and the continent is the one desiring it. But I live among chavs so that's pretty much dispelled for me.

      Also, see Norway for a little xenophobia, they got their independence a little over 100 years ago, and they refuse to join the euro on that basis. I'm not entirely sure they've even joined the EU, or if it's on the most basic level.

      And I can't believe you mentioned the Eurovision Song Contest. We've been outdated for years, and because we're not a Baltic nation, we will continually get nil points. Even Ireland gives us the finger up. Politics, ugh.

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    5. Yeah well, Switzerland is not in the European Union...

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  45. Brilliant and frustrating as usual! It's so hard to watch feminism get ruined over and over again. Ugh.

    On another note, I look forward to watching the whole Stephen King clip, but at 51:15, doesn't he look like the Grinch listening for the Whos?!

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  46. Funny, my husband and I were discussing the make up thing just last night before I read the recap. It, and all the comments here, prompted me to send him an email (and no, we aren't in the same house!) detailing why the sentiment is so problematic.

    I want some of whatever the people who said Chedward gets better in this book are smoking/drinking. To me he's gotten even worse!

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  47. That...does not sound like what I'd expect the hostess of a super-expensive club to be using. Not that I have the faintest idea what that is, but...not that.

    Also, the coat person has always handed my ticket-thing to me, not my husband. Admittedly I promptly hand it to him, since he has pockets, but it still goes to me first. Is Christian brainwashing *everyone* now?

    Also I hate how she's been mystically aware of him all through this book and it took her that long to figure out it wasn't her husband groping her.

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  48. So, at the most exclusive club in an obvious celebrity hangout town, the staff were that overwhelmed by seeing a good looking rich guy? Sure.
    Them not getting kicked out could have been forced into making sense if Chedward took a moment to pay off the bouncers, and the other guy got kicked out at least.

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  49. I had to stop and post about the color PUCE. Cause all I can think about is James P. "Sulley" Sullivan saying, "Oh. So that's puce"
    How cool would it be if while Ana slept, a monster comes out the closet and scares her to death!! LOL

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    1. That's exactly where my brain went t when I read "puce!"

      Delete
  50. Jenny if it makes you feel better I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Emilia Clarke has a no nudity clause in Game of Thrones now - not that it really means anything but if she doesn't want to get naked on screen anymore that makes it somewhat less likely she'd do what's basically soft core porn? Urgh I am holding out hope anyway, I don't want anyone I like getting involved in this cluster fuck.

    Anyway. So. Basically? The only point of this chapter was to further hammer into the reader that Ana and Chedward are both insecure jealous assholes who have so much trust in their relationship that no member of the opposite sex can be tolerated in their proximity for more than three milliseconds at a time. Yeah that's healthy.

    Also? EL James has obviously never opened a Jane Austen book in her life. Oh my god.

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  51. Blech, as a person with epilepsy, I totally have issues with the "epileptic's nightmare" part too. First of all, not all people with epilepsy have seizures that are triggered by flashing lights. That's a major annoyance to me. Secondly, the term "epileptic" carries major baggage for me, because I've read way to much about the American eugenics movement, and the fact that I would have been sterilized and put into an institution if I lived in the 1920s is kind of horrifying. And thirdly, I'm allowed to joke about seizures. You, Ana, are not. They're fucking scary as shit, so I'd prefer it if you didn't make light of things that you don't understand.

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  52. I'm glad that we are always told exactly what the service personnel is wearing. Surely I would have had trouble understanding what was going on if I hadn't known what color the hostesses' bow tie was.
    Now I wonder if the author has had bad experiences with waitresses and this is her way of getting back at them. "Ha! I'll put you in my story and there's nothing you can do about it. TAKE THAT, YOU BITCH!"

    ReplyDelete
  53. I understand both sides of the "you're more beautiful without makeup" coin. I get it from the perspective of those women who choose not to wear it because they don't like it, or don't think they need it, or find it oppressive, or any of the many reasons women would have for not wearing makeup. I also get it from the perspective of those women who DO choose to wear it because they like it, or think they need it, or find it be creative and fun, or any of the many reasons women would have for wearing makeup. I also get that some guys prefer women without makeup, and that's fine too. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a man telling a woman that he thinks she looks beautiful without it - as long as doesn't somehow demean the woman who does want to wear makeup.
    It's gross in this context because Christian isn't just telling Ana that she's beautiful with or without makeup. He's using it as yet another way to control her, to get her to fit into the mold of what he wants her to be. Wearing makeup (and the thing about dancing and using her body) isn't something Ana needs to do because she's a "Smart Girl", and as such, hasn't needed to do "shallow" things like wear cosmetics or hot dresses or dance at clubs. Everyone knows that a girl who reads can't possibly be interested in anything other than books because women can only be one thing. Christian really sees her as the fumbling virgin who fell into his office and anything she does that deviates from that image (wearing makeup, putting on short dresses - which, if I'm not mistaken, comes up again? Or did that happen already? - etc.) is a problem.
    When Christian tells Ana he prefers her without makeup, it's supposed to be sweet or romantic, but to me it just comes across as yet another douchey move in a long line of douchey moves.
    I think this chapter is actually a perfect example of two equally problematic and oppressive archetypes: the "Nice Guy" and the "Smart Girl." The Nice Guy is the one who says things like, "But, baby, why do you need to wear makeup? I like you just the way you are." And the Smart Girl is the one who reads books and stays in and has no use for things like partying or dancing, not because she isn't genuinely interested in them (because it's totally fine for her not to be), but because it's not something a Smart Girl would do, so she doesn't. Both of these equally gross me out, because they're both things I've encountered so I'm probably taking out my personal frustrations too much on this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christian does check several items on the Nice Guy list (emotionally manipulative, jealous, controlling, inveterate liar, psychologically abusive, subtly undermines his crush's social life, tries to make himself the only thing in his crush's entire life), but he lacks the spineless lurking that characterises the Nice Guy. Maybe if you gave a Nice Guy a fortune and good looks he'd ditch the lurking and become like Christian Grey? The profound, abusive insecurity does fit.

      Interesting food for thought.

      Delete
    2. Even though I'm the one who mentioned, I have to say that the biggest thing keeping Christian from being a Nice Guy is the classic "I don't get why xyz does or doesn't happen; I'm SUCH a nice guy." He's a sort of reverse Nice Guy. He has many of the same qualities but instead he says things like, "I'm so depraved, I'm a monster, etc. etc."

      Hmmm, though both of these things come from the same gross place so yes, I'd agree that Christian Grey could be the next step in Nice Guy.

      Ugh, such deeply upsetting thoughts so early in the morning.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I agree. Also, the whole "I'm a monster!" thing sounds like a Nice Guy trying to be a Bad Boy. You can tell the difference because the Bad Boy archetype doesn't actually care about the woman. He's just as misogynistic as the Nice Guy but his brand of misogyny comes from the whole "using them and throwing them away, maybe even being physically abusive", while the Nice Guy is controlling, jealous, possessive and condescending.

      Though come to think of it, the standard Bad Boy misogyny IS present in Chedward too (with his subs, the way he abuses them, considers them disposable sex objects, cultivates an edgy-dangerous mystique, etc). My goodness, he's an unholy fusion of the two archetypes!

      Ugh, you're right. It's like we're debating the contents of the Necronomicon. "Does this eldritch abomination like to turn people inside out or outside in?"

      Delete
    4. I think he's doing a reverse psychology Nice Guy thing there, kind of like 90 pound girls wailing, "I'm soooooooooo fat," to their friends so that everyone has to say, "No, you're totally skinny!"

      Chedward says he's a depraved monster so that Ana will have a four page inner monologue about how wounded he is and how much she loves him and how perfect he is.

      Delete
  54. The Austen and dancing thing reminded of of this


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTchxR4suto&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hey, Jen, as always - awesome recap, though a little short. You know, there I this biographical TV movie about this woman who is in abusive relationship and ends up (as an accomplice to) killing her husband. It's called Laurie Kellog: lies of the heart (o something like that). I don't remember much (I didn't watch it that carefully), I just remember hating the end (they sentenced her to life in prison and she monologue how even though people wished her to get out and find a good man, she didn't believe such thing exists, because her father and grandfather were also abusive/didn't believe she deserves one/she could love one). Anyway, there was this very unsettling scene more in the begging of the movie, when she celebrates her birthday and after everyone is gone, her husband slaps her and drags her around the house, then makes her take off the slutty clothes and take a shower/wash her face to wash off the slutty make-up, and once she's out of the bathroom he looks t her smiles (she's trying not to cry) and says "That's my wifey." Then some other bullshit proceeds to happen, that I am not going to discuss. The scene for me was one of the most memorable from the movie (though as I said, I haven't watched it too carefully), because it was when he showed his real face and the relationship became 100% unarguably abusive. Until that point there was some emotional abuse, it was kind of "Yeah, he's a jerk, but maybe he'll get better" (very wrong, I know), but after that... there was no arguing. It only got worse.
    Anyway, the reason why I am talking about this is because the scene Christian describes when he removes Ana's make up and says how he doesn't like makeup or whatever - my mind immediately went to this movie. And I even got as far as to think "Did EL James watched this movie half-assed as I did and reached up to that scene and thought to herself "Wow this is really romantic!" I mean, she manages to convey abuse so well..." Yeah, stupid, I know, but I am honestly having a little trouble believing that someone can convey abuse so accurately and it's all "by accident." I mean, am I the only one? I am a bit of a conspiracy nut like that, but I also think that the My Immortal fanfiction is a troll. I guess what I am saying is, isn't exactly "EL James is writing about abuse and she knows it" it's more that she just REALLY doesn't get how abuse works and thinks it's a romantic notion "to change a fallen man by love."
    God, sorry for the long, trailing comment. :DD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OF* the heart
      monologues*
      didn't believe se could love one (non-abuse man)*
      AT her, smiles*
      the scene in which Christian describes how he prefers Ana without make-up etc.*
      sorry, for all the mistakes I was in a hurry.

      Delete
    2. No, I totally agree, I desperately want to think that this has been done on purpose (because it's less scary than the idea that someone could be so blind to abusive behaviour that they could write a scarily accurate depiction of an abusive relationship and uphold it as a romantic ideal by complete accident), but I don't think EL James is smart enough for that. That's the wrench in the cogs, I fear.

      I also find it stunning how so little misdirection can fool so many people. EL James is a terrible, terrible writer, and yet she can just throw words around like "love" and "romance" and "you're so good for him" and "oh, I have changed him so!" and people swallow that right up. It's frankly terrifying.

      Delete
    3. Omg I've seen this movie! (i'm pretty sure I've seen this movie- the one about the sixteen year old girl who gets involved with a guy in his thirties who abuses her).
      I didn't see the similarities with fifty shades until I read this comment but some of the scenes are chillingly similar (though less blatant). Like Chedward refusing to talk to Ana about problems and him always making reference to her weight and treating her like a child. I think one of the worst parts of fifty shades trilogy is when Ana tells Christian she is pregnant. I do think that Ana is an idiot and irresponsible for not taking birth control properly (Chedward is clearly not in any way fit to be a parent) but the way he acts is unforgivable and, although I dislike Ana intensely, it was actually pretty upsetting to read.

      Delete
    4. @Anon about the scene where Ana tells Christian that she's pregnant -- that scene was absolutely horrible. That was actually the scene that broke me, the one that made me say "I'm not sure if I can finish reading this book." If I had an accidental pregnancy and my real-life partner reacted in the way that Chedward does, it would absolutely be the end of the marriage. There's no apologizing for something like that.

      BUT -- the thing that really chaps my ass about it is that Ana clearly didn't get pregnant because she didn't take her BC properly. Right after the supremely professional Dr. Greene makes a dig at Ana for not getting the shot on time, she finds (via spur-of-the-moment transvaginal ultrasound) that Ana was already 4 to 5 weeks pregnant. That actually means that Ana's birth control failed 8 weeks into her shot (during her August honeymoon), when it should have been good for 12 weeks. (According to Wikipedia it's really, really rare for the shot to fail early in that way.) She was indeed irresponsible for not adhering to her shot schedule on time, but the accidental pregnancy itself wasn't caused by that. NO ONE in the book acknowledges this or apologizes for being shitty to her about it: certainly not Chedward, and not Dr. Greene, either.

      Delete
    5. I'm so confused about why ELJ even bothered to consult a doctor at all (it's even in the acknowledgments section!) if she was so determined to get the birth control all wrong. In the first two books, Anabella and Chedward seem to be under the impression that BC pills magically work the second you start taking them and if you stop taking them partway through a cycle, you can pick up again right where you left off. Like they're only effective for one day at a time or something. Anyone who has ever taken them knows (or ought to) that there should be a backup contraceptive method the first week of the cycle, and if the cycle is interrupted, you should wait until the next cycle to start a new pack. This wouldn't bother me so much if Chedward didn't make such a big fucking deal about making Anabella take her birth control in the WRONG FUCKING WAY.

      Come to think of it, maybe he wanted to impregnate her? A lot of abusers sabotage birth control as a means of controlling their victim. Sure, he's fucking pissed about the pregnancy, but maybe he actually wanted a way to keep Anabella tied to him forever? And then he can control the child like the control freak he is. Hmmm...these books are more bearable if you make up your own subplots and subtexts, like Taylor being Jason Statham in disguise.

      Delete
    6. Omg I never realized that! Also agree that Dr Greene comes across as so judgemental throughout the book series. God I hate Christian. What really pisses me off is, even if Ana did forget to take the pill, Chedward is so damn forceful and controlling about her taking it, you'd think he'd have known when her injection was due. In the last book he just arranged for Doctor Greene to show up and informed Ana of what was going to happen the day before. It's never hinted at that he should have waited for Ana to decide for herself that she is ready to take birth control. Just another example of him always putting himself first and disregarding her opinion and needs.
      I'm amazed E.L James said she consulted a doctor- tbh I'm pretty amazed that she doesn't already know how the pill works. Really hope nobody is taking advice on birth control from this book (or advice on anything for that matter!)
      I am now always picturing Taylor as Jason Stratham :D

      Delete
    7. Last two anons: THIS. SO MUCH THIS. Seriously, the first time I started birth control, I was FOURTEEN. I read the insert, I knew this. And WebMD will tell you this, dude. It's seriously amazing she DIDN'T get pregnant for so long, especially when she was on the pill. And her hormone levels must have been insane. Also when you switch from one hormonal birth control method to another, you're supposed to use backup because it won't be reliable for a couple weeks. Look, another chance she could have gotten pregnant. *twitch*

      Also I think my Yaz pamphlet says 2 weeks... but if I personally was really paranoid about getting pregnant, I'd stick with using multiple types of birth control or wait til at least a full cycle had passed. Ugh, I hate these people so much.

      Delete
    8. The inaccuracies wouldn't be a big deal if ELJ weren't trying to turn it into some sort of plot point. Someone upthread pointed out that the timing of the pregnancy even means that her birth control failed, instead of the problem being her forgetting to take the next shot. Her forgetfulness (with both the pill and the shot) serves no. fucking. point. at all, except to show that she can't be trusted to take care of her own body. It's like ELJ is brainstorming new ways to show how much she hates women.

      Delete
    9. True dat. There is no point at all- I think el partly makes ana forget her birth control to justify Chedwards shitty reaction to the pregnancy, but there is no justification- even if she forgot, it happens. The only way to ensure 100% that you don't get pregnant is to abstain from sex.
      And its so true that when you first go on the birth control pill (i think i must have been about fourteen/ fifteen too) the doctor makes it clear that you always use condoms if you're sick or miss more than two pills in a packet. If you switch birth control pills they would also say 'don't have unprotected sex for a week or you might get pregnant' or else tell you to wait until you reach the end of your cycle and start taking the new pill straight away. I'm really worried that the 'fifty shades baby boom' is more to do with people failing to take birth control correctly after reading these books :/

      Delete
    10. I've never been on the pill and even I know that it's not like Tylenol where you pop one and it starts working 20 minutes later. You'd be surprised how many women on the pill never read any of the information on the insert.

      In college, I worked in a lab and one study we did required females who were not on birth control pills and didn't smoke (among other things), which we clearly stated in the ads. The first thing we had people do when they came in was have them fill out a questionnaire that asked things like "Do you smoke?" and "Are you taking birth control pills?" I could not believe how many girls answered both questions with "yes." So first of all, you clearly didn't read the entire ad that we placed. Secondly, you didn't read the insert that came with your birth control pills because most of them say that it's very dangerous to smoke if you are on these pills. Argh.

      Delete
    11. Now I'm afraid to get to that chapter in the book. I'm sick of women being abused!!!

      And as somebody upthread remarked, how come that Chedward gets to decide which birth control method Ana should use without even bothering to tell her, but then, when things go "wrong", it's suddenly Ana's fault for not keeping up with a method she didn't choose?!

      Also, come on. It's a baby, not a catastrophe. You're married. You're rich. Even if you weren't looking forward for it, it shouldn't be too hard to take care of it. Don't throw a freaking tantrum!!!

      Delete
  56. I was at my neighbor's for one of those Buy Stuff type parties. 50 Shades came up. She says "I bought all the books when all my friends were reading them and haven't read them yet, I need to" I said "Don't waste your time. They're garbage" (knowing full well at least 3 fans were in the room) and she said "But I spent the money on them so I should at least read them" and I said "If you want to read a story about abuse and lame sex, open any newspaper"

    The room just gaped at me. I ignored them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://i.imgur.com/fnCzukI.gif

      http://assets0.ordienetworks.com/images/GifGuide/clapping/audience.gif

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      Delete
    2. Wow, what newspaper do you read that reports on lame sex?

      But seriously, well done. My mum asked me if she should bother reading it and I told her it was probably the worst book I've ever read (I only read the first one for obvious reasons). I'm really glad she's taken my word for it. I'm also really glad that the books are not as popular in Australia as they are in America. To date none of my friends that I know of have read them but then again maybe its not targeted for our demographic. The only shitty thing that I've encountered here in the mass propaganda that is FSOG is that one time at a news agency I saw a FSOG inspired cookbook with chocolate, and it was just naked women lathered in chocolate sauce. I think my face turned into the colour of "puce".
      Anyway, I can't wait to write an essay about this for one of my uni courses. I really feel I need to write my frustrations over this POS in an academic manner.

      Delete
    3. Good on ya, mate and good luck!

      From an American who shares your torment in flat out hating fsog.

      Delete
  57. I just had a thought... can you imagine what this fanfic/book looked like before E.L. ran the spell check?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, God, Anon, why did you have to put that image in my head? I'm picturing an open Word document covered in green and red squiggles, and then EL just clicking the "Ignore All" button.

      I'm going to be having nightmares about that for weeks.

      Delete
    2. Hahaha, now I'm going to picture that every time I start reading these recaps.

      Feel free to picture me going through the entire thing with a red Sharpie.

      Delete
  58. "I have delightful visions of them around your ears, too, Christian. With the heels jammed into your ear canals, spearing through your worthless brain."

    The happy cackle I let out at this.

    ReplyDelete
  59. In the case nobody noticed, the evil evil man, who harassed Ana was BLOND.:-OOOOOO Unexpected, right?

    ReplyDelete
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  61. To me, the most upsetting part of this chapter is finding out my teeth are not American, because they are very far from perfect. I shudder to think how unpatriotic I must look when I smile.

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  68. To be honest, I use "I'm married" to stop guys hitting on me, because I'm unwilling to resort to violence unless I'm sure I will win.

    Why do so many men think women want to hear that they look better without makeup, that it's some kind of compliment to criticize our appearance or give us permission to not use makeup? That's gross, guys. It's gross.

    ^ A lot of women do feel that way. I'm not saying it's right, though. When some of my dormmates did my makeup for prom, I was fascinated because I don't usually wear makeup and Loki has said that he likes my natural face better anyway (my full makeup face is usually Goth). The women doing my makeup immediately started squeeing and telling me what a catch he was. I mean, he did like the job they did on me with makeup, and he thinks I'm cute when I wear light makeup to emphasise my eyes once in a while, but to be honest, on the whole I'm glad he doesn't like me to wear that much makeup because I don't like putting it on, and I don't think it's antifeminist that he is more attracted to me if I don't try to paint my face. I think it's just a good thing we're compatible that way.

    he's ready to ravish her at a moment's notice, until she expresses confidence in her sexuality and her body
    ^ The fuck, Ched? That's the opposite of sexy.

    By the way, if any of my comments come across as pure criticism, that is not my intent. On the whole, I largely agree with what you see in your recaps. I share almost every link to Fifty Shades and Buffy recaps on my Facebook and Google Plus. The thing is that typing comments and navigating pages takes more phone battery than just reading and sharing, so I rarely speak up unless I'm in a chatty mood or disagree with something in particular. You're one of my favourite bloggers, though!

    ReplyDelete

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