Textersation Tuesday

… also known as “Funny Shit I Found in My Phone.”

Best friends never forget… ‘cept Gail. She forgets everything.

04-15-15

They never judge.

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They read porn together.

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They watch porn together.

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I’m pretty sure, however, that step-sisters don’t… which is why I mailed the porn to her.

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Five Ways You Offend Women by Insulting Fifty Shades of Grey

Provocative title, isn’t it? Anyone who reads my blog is familiar with my love-to-hate affection for the Fifty Shades of Grey series. After all, I’ve captioned it here, here, here, and in my last entry I showed you my homemade Pin the Penis on Christian Grey game. There are many things wrong with this series, but quite frankly, that’s a topic that’s been exhausted as of late, by individuals willing to take it a lot more seriously than I. In fact, while researching for this blog post, I found this one, which makes a lot of great points and this one, which makes me giggle.

Reba: “Everything makes you giggle, Belle.”


I do have a pretty low threshold.

So, don’t misunderstand my point here. I am not defending the series, as a whole. It’s just that in reading all of the thought-provoking and giggle-inducing critiques, I’ve come across a few criticisms that insult women all on their own. For instance:

Women who read Fifty Shades of Grey are unintelligent.

Zetus lapetus, is this book badly written. The characters are abhorrent, the dialogue is beyond a reasonable suspension of disbelief, and it is just so redundant. I don’t care that Anastasia says “double crap.” I just said “zetus lapetus.” I care that she says it 88 fucking times. It’s just… unreadable, but you know what? That’s just me. I read books about pushy special ops alpha males and werewolf love stories and that one about the sexy alien king. One of the most well-read women I know has a soft spot for hobbit slash fanfiction. Does that make either of us any less intelligent? If your answer is yes, kiss my ass, because I’m also reading The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen; and I devour at least 10 articles a day on everything from current events to the issues facing prison libraries.

If your argument against Fifty Shades of Grey is that intelligent women can’t read poorly written smut, you are one of the reasons reading is not a more popular hobby. Some people don’t watch American Idol or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Some people just Googled “most popular reality show” to make that point. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to turn down their brain to relax. Not everyone considers reading a chore all the time. There are two kinds of librarians: literature snobs and those who hate literature snobs. I am the latter. I am intelligent. Sometimes I read smut.

Ana is only 22.

I’ve seen multiple criticisms of Fifty Shades of Grey fixate on the age of the heroine. For one, they get it wrong. Ana turned 22 in the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, so actually, the character in the movie is supposed to be 21, until otherwise specified. If you’re gonna bitch about something, do it accurately.

fiftydollars

When I was 21 years old, I lost my baby to a nearly second trimester miscarriage. Six months after that, I helped my best friend bury her infant daughter. That year, I accepted over $20,000 in student loans, graduated college, made the decision to enter graduate school, and chose to leave my ex-husband. Perhaps it wasn’t the typical middle-class American 22-year-old experience, but I was unequivocally an adult. By 22 I had bought a car, moved several times, paid my bills, taken out more in student loans than I could possibly earn in a year, and made major decisions about my future career path. That is typical. So, how dare you tell me that I wouldn’t have been of sound mind to enter into a sexual relationship of my choosing? If a woman old enough to vote, marry, drink, be tried as an adult, and sign binding contracts wants to sign a pretend contract before consensual sex, it doesn’t matter how much she giggles or how “mousey” she appears. I was 23 when I learned to apply eyeliner from a YouTube video and actually style my damned hair. That’s not what made me an adult. Being both responsible and accountable for my own choices was. Regardless of where things go in the books (spoiler alert: it ain’t good), Anastasia Steele was both of these when she met Christian Grey. Her age had absolutely no bearing on the situation and it’s disrespectful to young adult women to imply that they are not capable of making their own choices.

Ana is still a virgin.

This article is not the first one to take issue with the fact that Anastasia Steele has never had a sexual experience until she meets Christian Grey. The writer actually suggests that, because Ana has had no genuine interest in a man and doesn’t masturbate, it’s more likely the character is asexual. For one, the lead character in a romance isn’t asexual. That’s not how the genre works. Two, we learn later that Ana has had encounters with the opposite sex and they just haven’t gone anywhere. In regards to masturbation, I do know women who just aren’t interested. A lot of women have trouble reaching orgasm, both by themselves and with a partner. Their bodies just work a bit differently and without an emotional connection, physical stimulation may lack appeal… and that’s okay.

My biggest problem with focusing on this criticism of the series, however, is the assumption that a woman who is not sexually active is asexual or somehow abnormal. I am 27 years old and I have not had sex in five years. Furthermore, I’ve only kissed five people, ever. I am not asexual. I’m just not interested in sharing my body with someone with whom I see no future. I once let a man in a bar kiss me, with tongue, when I’d just met him that night. It makes me uncomfortable even remembering that, because physicality without an emotional connection just doesn’t do it for me. Different women have different needs and it’s just as offensive to shame a woman for not being sexually active as it is to call another a slut.

Fifty Shades of Grey is only popular, because the hero is rich.

While Christian Grey sure isn’t my dreamboat, I can tell you that in the current dating pool of grown men with flat-billed caps and job titles as specific as “n/a,” it’s not so far-fetched to think that, perhaps, it would be easier to repair deep-seated emotional scarring than to motivate a man to get his shit together. Regardless, I’m not convinced that the ability to “buy all the planes” is what appeals to the Fifty Shades of Grey target audience, particularly the over 30 bracket. This article actually suggests a somewhat circular logic: women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey, because women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Finally, a woman with traditional goals (marriage, children, an optional career) can come out and say…

No longer is it only Carrie Bradshaw that gets to talk dirty, but housewives too!

As a librarian, part of my job is analyzing literary trends. This is why I am particularly aware of the rise of the billionaire romance novel. Along with Christian Grey, in the last few years we’ve been introduced to Gideon Cross, Gabriel Emerson, Jesse Ward, and many other laughably wealthy and emotionally damaged heroes. However, long before well-worn copies of Fifty Shades of Grey hit nightstands all over the world, we met the heroes in these series: Rock Chick, KGI, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Psy-Changelings, Immortals After Dark, and The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Every title listed stars leading men who are borderline abusive and financially set. That describes most contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance. This shit ain’t new. Not only does the insistence that this book simply broke new ground with an abusive megabajillionaire give the title far too much credit, it also implies that all women who enjoy romance are gold digging whores. That’s just not nice.

Note: I have been known to declare that I’d let a man string me from the ceiling and whip me if he’d pay off my student loans, but I am hardly the standard by which all women should be measured.

Fifty Shades of Grey is responsible for sex injuries.

This article and many, many more suggest that the rise in bedroom play injuries is the fault of Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe it’s the researcher in me, but…. I call bullshit. You are an adult. You likely have a smartphone on you at all times, meaning you literally have endless information at your fingertips. If you are stupid enough to purchase a spreader bar and use a trashy novel for a user manual, you are the only one to blame for the broken spine. Have some faith that the majority of women are intelligent enough to manage a Google search, y’all.

I can say a lot of bad things about Fifty Shades of Grey. A lot of writers can. I mean, two twenty-somethings e-mailing each other? What is this, Amish country? Between Ana’s “inner goddess” and Christian’s “laters baby” this librarian actually fell out of love with reading for a few days. I love when women ask me to suggest titles “like Fifty Shades of Grey,” because it gives me the opportunity to introduce them to much better written erotica. Perhaps I can get them started on Kristen Ashley’s special-ops-saves girl books. Maybe I can send them back in time with one of Karen Marie Moning’s sexy highlanders. I can even show them more plot-light erotica, but with with steamier scenes that don’t read like a child reporting her molestation – “Then he touched me… down there!” You know what I won’t do, though? Insult them.

Fifty Inappropriate Comments on Fifty Shades of Grey… Give or Take

My father and I, we have… weird boundaries. I mean, one of my most popular posts was titled Looking at T*ts with My Dad. It’s not that we don’t also have a traditional, supportive daddy/daughter relationship. It’s just that he’s the man who gave me my flare for inappropriate humor and general conversational finesse.

Grandmotherly coworker: “My lips are so dry, they’re sticking together.”
Me: “That’s what she said!”

So, naturally, this led to the worst conversation anyone has ever had.

Me: “I have to go to Hobby Lobby after this to get supplies for my party this weekend. I’m having a Fifty Shades of Grey Goose party. We’re going to drink every time it’s stupid.”
Dad: “Lena and I actually went and saw that the other night.”
Me: “No. Stop talking.”
Dad: “Well, just to see what the big deal was, you know.”
Me: “Well, yeah. That’s why we’re going to watch it: to mercilessly mock it.”
Dad: “Well, you know, honestly, that movie wasn’t half bad.”
Me: “I can’t… unhear this.”

Dad: “All’s I’m saying is, when you watch it, go into it with an open mind.”
Me: “What?!? NO. I’ve read the books. I know the story and it’s awful. I am not watching Fifty Shades of Grey with an open mind… especially not at my dad’s insistence.”
Dad: “Well, Lena’s read the books and she said they were bad, but everyone’s talking about how those books are [air quotes], abusive and [I shit you not, more air quotes] offensive to women, but when he takes her to his playroom, he tells her ‘I’m fifty shades of fucked up.’…”
Me: “I’m pretty sure my ears are bleeding. This is, literally, the worst thing that has ever happened to me, listening to you quote Christian Grey.”

Dad: “… but she signs his contract anyway. The whole thing is between consensual adults. How is that abusive?”
Me: “Dad, the reason people call it abusive isn’t because of the BDSM – which is a term I should never use with my dad, by the way – but because of the way he treats her. At least in the books, he has to know her every move and he’s extremely…”
Dad: “Controlling?”
Me: “Yes.”
Dad: “Yeah, but she allows it.”
Me: “Dad, you seriously just defended all abuse!” 
Dad: “Well… huh… yeah. I guess you’re right.”

Me: “Thanks for lunch, daddy. Next time, I’ll tell you all about my favorite erotica.”

My daddy/daughter relationship is not the only unconventional one in my life.

Gramma: “What’s a flogger?”
Me: “It’s a handle with beaded strings and people hit each other with them, in bed, because it’s sexy to hurt. I bought some cord, pink glitter beads, and decorative tape. Then I hot glued them to wooden dalrods for party favors.”
Gramma: “But what are you guys gonna do with ’em?”
Me: “I don’t know… get drunk and hit each other with them, probably.”
Gramma: “That seems like a lot of effort.”
Me: “Yeah. They’re a lot more involved than I thought they would be. I actually have to get back to making my sex toys, now. I love you Gramma.”
Gramma: “Okay, hon, I love you. Have fun.” 

As for the party, we were all pretty drunk, but I did have the presence of mind to record some of the better comments, between people who were more or less strangers before that night. It’s amazing what Jello shots will do for one’s inhibitions when it comes to homemade Pin the Penis on Christian Grey.

Pin the P
Catherine won Charlie Tango… a four dollar helicopter I spray painted.

Gail: “That’s really classy, Belle.”
Me: “Hey. I am Grace Fucking Kelly.”

::Opening Credits::

Catherine: “What the fuck is up with her bangs?”
Me: :showing photo on phone:
cotc

Me: “Wait. Why does he ask if she’s a Girl Scout? She’s cutting rope. Does he just have really low expectations of The Girl Scouts?”

Catherine: “Yeah, cuz there’s totally a dial tone on a fucking cell phone.”

Reba: “Ew, no! That’s Elliot?”
Gail: “He looks like a 90’s drug dealer.”
Me: “He looks like an extra from The Craft.

::Sex toy Camera pan:: six people raise and shake homemade floggers “FLOGGERS!”
Me: “Shit. Is the window still open?”

Gail: “It’s not lovemaking, if there’s a contract.”

Me: “That… that’s literally a scene from Twilight! They’re even in a meadow!”
Gail: “Are they going to play baseball now?”

Reba: “Wait. Is this the scene where she’s just been running and now they’re gonna have sex?”
Me: “Yeah and she’s just been sitting around in her workout clothes making vaginal cheese.”
Reba: “Ewwwww! NO! BELLE!”
Gail: “It’s like FETA!” 

Gail: “Taking leggings off of yourself isn’t exactly the easiest and sexiest activity.”
Me: “‘It makes me so hot when you put wet clothes on me.'”

Carla: “I wonder if he had to learn to braid hair for this role.”
Me: “Maybe he already knew how, because he has a daughter.”

::Every single sex scene:: “MY DAD SAW THIS MOVIE!!!!!! I CAN’T!!! I JUST CAN’T!!!”
Gail: “What do you think they did after they got home from the movie?”
Me: “I don’t love you anymore, Gail!”

Gail: “I still think the most pressing question of the night is, where in the world was this movie shown in Russian for six minutes, the rest in English, with all the text in Spanish?”

The fun didn’t even stop after everyone went home.

carla chat

Remember the news stories about firemen preparing for an increase in calls from people attempting the dangerous things done in Fifty Shades? I confess. I tried one myself.

Facebook status: I tried to take off my shirt the way Christian Grey does. I got lost and confused. It was terrifying. People don’t undress that way.

For realz, y’all, I nearly removed my own scalp.

party

That’s a decorate-your-own-tie cookie. Obviously. Bee tea double ewe, tough to explain the leftover cookies at work.

Paranormal Vs. Contemporary Romance: Why It’s Only Hot When a Werewolf is Pissed

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of “contemporary romance”. What can I say? I don’t have cable and wouldn’t know what to watch if I did. You’ve had the chance to read my fifty rants on Fifty Shades, of course, but I’ve also read Bared to You, the Up in the Air series, and like 40% of the first book of the This Man series. Erotica really isn’t my thing and I don’t say that because of all of the dirty sinful sexy sex-sex. I say it because all of that often gets in the way of real character and plot development and then I can’t bring myself to give a shit. I read the above titles out of curiosity and actually liked Bared to You and the Up in the Air series enough to be excited for the next installments. This Man was the depiction of a horrible girl being assaulted pursued by a horrible guy, while living with a horrible friend… yet still, nothing happens. Seriously, I was able to go from dozing off to feeling as if I were witnessing anal rape in just paragraphs. I’m pretty sure the author just wrote a prequel to Sleeping With the Enemy. Amazon refunded my money.

The primary reason I read these books, however, was because I ran out of paranormal romance series suggestions. The sex scenes in these genres differ only in frequency and not in detail, just to clarify. The similiarity that has truly interested me, however, is the male romantic leads; more specifically, why I find them attractive in one genre, but not another. Gideon Cross, James Cavendish, and Christian MotherFucking Grey really just don’t do it for me and I think I’ve figured out why.

They’re not werewolves. They’re just really controlling and bossy men.

alcide
Oh, there’s no real point to this picture… just that I’d let Alcide Herveaux stick in my ear if that’s what he were into.

I love the Alpha Male thing, and I cannot state this clearly enough, in my fucking fiction and any man who actually tells me what to do will lose a gee dee nut. But it’s only fun for me to read in a paranormal world and until recently, I was unsure why that was. I’ll take one of my favorite paranormal Alpha Males, whom you don’t have to be familiar with to get my point, and compare him to a Contemporary Romance Alpha Male (CRAM).

Hawke Snow, as seen in Kiss of Snow, by Nalini Singh. (Gail loves these titles, as she’s not a fan and thinks they’re hilarious.)
and….. Christian MotherFucking Grey, as seen in Fifty Shades of Grey and many a mugshot.

  • messed up childhood
  • position of power and authority
  • known to manhandle when he doesn’t get his way
  • violent temper
  • outsources people to keep an eye on his gal, without her knowledge
  • seen as cold and distant to many

In case you weren’t paying attention, they’re the same… the exact fucking same. However, Christian gets the middle name MotherFucking for it and Hawke does not. Why is that?

In a paranormal setting, such as the one referenced above, the Alpha Male grows up in a war-torn universe and/or is fighting for his species’ survival. Of course his childhood was bleak, as his parents were viciously murdered/abandoned him, leaving him in charge of the well-being of  everyone else (power and authority). He’s literally an animal, so he acts like one (manhandling and violent temper) and he’s charged with protecting aforementioned gal, because this is a dangerous universe and he’s kind of the boss. Additionally, a recurring theme in this genre is the idea of some sort of psychological or biological draw/imprinting/destiny between the romantic couple. She’s actually his, so the whole possessive thing is completely allowable. I know this sounds oddly specific, but it’s actually a really common layout for these books.

Christian MotherFucking Grey and company, though… well… they’re all just really mad. They had messed up childhoods, sure, but that doesn’t explain why they’re broken as people. I had a fucked up childhood too and I don’t want to pop the people I love in the mouth and masturbate with their blood.*

*Every now and then my mind goes to disturbing places, but seriously, read This Man and yours will join.

I’ve got to note, that I just don’t get the BDSM thing. I don’t think it’s a product of a fissure right down the center of your psyche or anything (cough: E.L. :cough). I just don’t really get it. I’ve been hit… a lot. It just hurts and makes me cry. Why is this sexy? It’s not for me. But the issue I have with CRAMs isn’t the bedroom adventures. No one likes Fade-to-Black Seventh Heaven sex all the time. Lovemaking gets old, y’all. Some people are into costumes and roleplay (and they don’t giggle), some are into hair pullling and spanking, some like group sex, swings, or being strung up like super sexy deer. Everybody’s got their preferences and that’s cool. Whatev.

sexy deer

Holy shit, ya’ll have no idea how desperately I wanted to use this picture again.

My issue with the CRAM is his tendency to act like a bag of dicks outside of the bedroom. My shapeshifters are usually super sweet and touchy-feely characters. Christian MotherFucking Grey and Co., withhold love when they’re angry… and they have piss poor reason to be. This is a terrible theme for romance. Whereas a shapeshifter passionately growls (hellz yeah, it’s a thing) and tells his lady she’s in grave danger for her disobedience, because Evil Entity will torture and kill her; Christian MotherFucking Grey emotionally withdraws from Ana, because… wait for it… she doesn’t like her steak.

growl of passion
Google Image Search: “growl of passion”… and it is haaaaawt.

My paranormal Alpha Males have legit reasons to boss their gals around, because pretty much everyone’s about to die. But the thing is… that’s kind of the only way it’s ever acceptable to be treated that way, even in my fantasies. I get that people fantasize things they’d never actually do, like lesbian sex and facials*. I really just can’t get on board with even the fantasy of being treated coldly and cruelly over trivial things until that person wants to feel needed and throws me a desparately yearned for scrap of affection. I’ve had that relationship for the majority of me life. I call her “mom”.

*Facials meaning when a guy finishes all over you, not when you go to the spa and they… wait… what do they do during a facial? Why do I know the former and not the latter?!?!

I’m all for the shapeshifting/vampiric/demonic Alpha Male plotline, because Disney gave me bestial Stockholm Sydrome and it’s hot that he wants to save his lady in this world fraught with danger. However, I just can’t get on board with CRAMs, because they exist in my universe where women carry pepper spray, manage their own finances, and have the option to go to the battered wives shelter.

In defense of E.L. James… from an unlikely source.

So, if you follow my blog, you know it’s no secret that I, like many bloggers, enjoy a good Fifty Shades roast… and by that I mean:

roast

/rōst/
Verb

Cook (food, esp. meat) by prolonged exposure to heat in an oven or over a fire.

burning books

If you follow my blog religiously, you are awesome. You are also aware that I was abused for a good portion of my life; so, I fully recognize the abusive relationship chronicled in this swill. I recognize that it triggers  survivors and it’s painful for them, because the “murcurial” moments of Christian Grey stressed me the fuck out and that whole belt scene was just damned hard to read for personal reasons. I seriously almost stopped reading the first book, despite my curiosity, because it was making me physically sick and giving me nightmares. So I get it.

I’ve also read reports of E.L. James’s response to the claims that this book romanticizes abuse, which pretty much amount to “Nuh huh!” before she blocks them. This and… oh, I don’t know… her writing… are proof that she’s an insensitve moronic twat. I am intensely enjoying this hilariously spot on, chapter by chapter analysis over the entire series. So… maybe I just made a really good case for the execution of E.L. James. All that being said, however:

All she did was write a book…
I’m certain I’m not the first to say that E.L. James did not create domestic violence. Sure, it’s super disturbing that she thinks it’s sexy, but apparently, so do a lot of women. I did read the trilogy, from the library’s e-media collection, because I didn’t want to touch the paperback. I didn’t purchase the book or any of its paraphenalia (I saw that display in the sex store), because I didn’t want to further support E.L. James in her degradation of women, but I was curious. I pretty much came to the conclusion that Fifty is just sexy to people who’ve never been abused or manipulated ever, because I didn’t get the appeal… at all.

Where’s the personal responsibility in the Fifty Shades of Domestic Violence discussion, though? I am absolutely not referring to the idea that women need to be more vigilant about not-getting-hit. I’m referring to the fact that we’re grown ass women. We schedule our yearly gynecological visits, report the broken faucet to maintenance, pay our bills, make sure there’s food in the kitchen and the oil gets changed, do something-with-children if we’re moms, and oh, I don’t know… hold full-time fucking jobs, but we’re not capable of putting poorly written erotica into perspective and realizing that it’s only good in a fantasy? It’s like when you fantasize about something that would make your grandma cry while you masturbate, but in actuality, you know you’d feel disgusting and degraded if you did that in real life. Fifty Shades of Grey is exactly that… unless you’re stupid and irresponsible.

How is it the fault of a woman who couldn’t come up with another word for “crap” with a gun to her head that our teenagers are secretly reading what has always been dubbed “erotica” cough:: porn:: cough on their Kindles? How is it the fault of a shitty fan-fic writer if we fail to further research the whole dom/sub thing before giving it a go with that guy off Craigslist? If the concern is that this is “normalizing” domestic abuse, then we need to be talking more about what constitutes abuse in society, so people can differentiate fantasy from reality and realize that this book is not a fucking how-to guide. It’s been advertised as one, but again, we’re at fault if we don’t understand how advertising works.  We need to monitor our children’s media better and sit down with them and ask what they’re getting out of Twilight and explain what’s wrong about it. However, we also need to let adults take responsibility for what they’re reading and the ideas they’re getting from it, because they’re fucking adults.

“So help me God, Anastasia, if you don’t eat, I will take you across my knee here in this restaurant, and it will have nothing to do with my sexual gratification. Eat!”

I don’t even kind of fucking get what’s so hot about that, even in a fantasy, but in an actual restaurant, it’s a reason to blow that rape whistle. I think the majority of women who read Fifty do get that.

… that’s been written a hundred times…
This is my biggest defense of E.L James. Sure, it’s been a few years since we heard the whole dom/sub thing, but the Alpha Male shit is prevalent across most romance novels and every other media. It’s not new. From Darrin Stevens to Edward Cullen, this shit is hold fucking hat. Samantha Stevens literally gave up the power to provide for herself so Darrin could feel needed. That’s from an actual damned episode where she conjures herself a fur coat and he’s livid. Edward Cullen regularly told Bella what she was and was not allowed to do and she swooned. E.L. James adding some handcuffs to the mix, doesn’t create a new genre. Men have been abusing women to cheering crowds since caveman days. Does that make it right? Fuck no. It also doesn’t make E.L. James any worse than all of those other authors of books, spanning all genres, where men overpower women who secretly want it. Such as in:

Twilight – young adult
Club Dead – mystery: Bill fucking rapes Sookie in this book and it slips her gee dee mind.
A Hunger Like No Other – paranormal romance
Dark Lover – paranormal romance
Bared to You – erotica (to be fair, this one came after Fifty)

Those are just off the top of my head, but let’s see… how about every single book on this Good Reads list titled “Alpha Male“?

The fact that this book is BDSM related isn’t what makes it abusive. It’s the way he talks to her and treats her and threatens and belittles her. Sadly, though, E.L. James is still no trailblazer in this.

… and that no one was forced to read.
Fuck yeah, it gave me nightmares and made me want to vomit… because I chose to read it. I saw the movie The Collection with the guys not too long ago. It was absolutely disgusting, but I sat through the whole thing, because they were watching it and I wanted to know what totally anatomically implausible thing would happen next and couldn’t stop wondering what the popularity of this gore said about society. That right there is exactly why I read Fifty Shades of Grey. It was offensive and upsetting and I’ll admit, it was a trigger for me in a lot of ways. I could’ve put it down. I didn’t. That is not the fault of E.L. James. That’s the fault of the moron who started it in the first place, knowing what it was after Googling it and loudly asking a coworker “What does BDSM mean?” even though she’s twenty-fucking-five. I swear, I may as well be a virgin.

Ultimately…

Fifty Shades is one of my favorite things to hate, as you can tell, since I said so here, here, here, and here. This post, however, was brought on by reading some blogs trashing E.L. James. Don’t get me wrong. I read what she said about domestic violence and her book…

James says she “freaks out when she hears people say that her book encourages domestic violence. “Nothing freaks me out more than people who say this is about domestic abuse,” she says. “Bringing up my book in this context trivializes the issues, doing women who actually go through it a huge disservice. It also demonizes loads of women who enjoy this lifestyle, and ignores the many, many women who tell me they’ve found the books sexually empowering.”

… and I’ve read reports of her just refusing to discuss this issue with the people who’ve basically said “Um… I don’t feel trivialized by those people. I feel like you’re high-fiving me in the black eye.” I find her horribly inconsiderate. I’ve also been convinced for a while now that she sold her fucking soul to make these books popular, because they’re not even good porn. There is no plot, which is standard for erotica, but even the sex is redundant and awkward. As someone who’s been there, I can admit that yes, it’s upsetting when people call abuse sexy. However, E.L. James is not responsible for domestic abuse and has never actually compared the battered wives shelter to a brothel. Sure, it might be nice for her to come out and say “This book is not a how-to guide. It is meant for your enjoyment, not your replication,” but credit should be given where credit is due.

It’s not the porn industry’s fault that your marriage collapsed. It’s your ex-husband and his chafing dick that resulted from all of those downloads.

It’s not Alpha Male erotica that punched you in the kidneys. It’s a husband with anger problems who needs professional help.

Teenagers are not misinformed about sex because of an inaccurate erotic novel. They’re misinformed because their parents let them read it at 13.

It’s not the fault of a poorly written and irresponsibly advertised novel that someone ended up in the E.R. after misusing a spreader bar. It’s their fault for not taking advantage of the wealth of instantaneous information to research possibly unsafe bedroom activities.

“I’m sorry I offended you. Could you tell me about this rubber butt?”

On Labor Day of 2012, Gail and I had breakfast and went mattress shopping. That, however, was not enough to make us look like lovers, so we stopped into our local sex store (or “novelty store” as the Midwest insists it be called), just for fun. Now, I don’t say “just for fun”, because I’m blushing. I say it, because the one we went to is super trashy, even for what it is. We both much prefer the other one nearby if we’re actually buying anything. This one was strictly giggle-worthy.

Fortunately, we were able to make our jokes and comments without worrying about offending other patrons, as the store was deserted. We laughed over the poorly airbrushed photos: “Where is the rest of her leg?!?!” We recounted the time Gail declared that you’d have to be hit pretty hard with a paddle to brand the word “BITCH” into your skin… just before slapping her arm with it to prove her point and realizing that she was, indeed, getting a “BITCH”-shaped welt. We make these trips a few times a year and this was a pretty standard one. Until…

Me: “‘… and then he touched me down there.’ Seriously. That would make for a great children’s audio book. Read by children for children.”
Gail: grimacing and laughing “Ugh.”
Shopwench: “He didn’t call it that.”
Me: “What?” I was confused since neither of us was talking to her.
Shopwench: “He never called it ‘down there.'”
Me and Gail: in unison “Uh… yeah he did.”
Me: “Like all the time.”
Shopwench: “No. He didn’t. He called it her ‘sex’, but he never called it ‘down there.’ I’ve read all three books.” She said proudly.
Me: “Um… yeah. So have I. He calls it that several times. I know, because we make fun of it all the time.” What can I say? I felt like taunting her.
Shopwench: “Well, no, he doesn’t, but that book has been amazing. That book has saved so many marriages. I’ve had women come in here in tears, because that book has done so much for them.”
Me: “Um… okay. I read it. I liked it well enough to get through it. I preferred Bared to You…”
Shopwench: cuts me off  “Yeah. I’ve read it. Fifty Shades was better. I could’ve done without the three kids and shit, but it was a great book.”
Me: waving a white flag “Um… yeah. I didn’t really care for the two kids at the end. I thought that was unnecessary.”
Shopwench: “No. That book has done so much good. You have no idea.” Yeah… I was just agreeing with your last statement.

Okay, lady, first of all, you are getting awfully offended for someone who is presently standing in front of a vibrating rubber butt. Secondly, it’s just a book. The only reason for you to take this much offense to some light criticism of it, that wasn’t even directed toward you,is if you fucking wrote it. Third, we are your customers. We didn’t ask for your damned opinion and keeping that to yourself is sort of your job title, when you’re selling Fleshlights. I said nothing critical about people who were into bondage, shoving marbles into their lady parts, getting sexy hit, or reading erotic novels. I quoted a poorly written one that I’d obviously read, myself. That’s it. If anyone on this planet is in a field that requires a sense of humor, it’s the gal selling remote control vibrating panties. For all you know, I could’ve bought out your entire stock of wooden and suction cupped dildos, had I received pleasant customer service.

Most importantly, “saved so many marriages”?!?!?! HOW? I mean, sure, it’s nice that these women are realizing it’s okay to be strung up like a super sexy deer, if that’s what gets them going; but if your marriage is truly in jeopardy, it’s not because of a lackluster sex life.

sexy deer
If you’re not impressed by my image search results, you’re wrong.

Marriage takes trust, committment and not stealing hundred dollar bills out of my wallet. Cough: I have issues: Cough. Some satin scarves on the bedpost might spice things up, but they haven’t saved shit. Furthermore, you’ve had women come in “in tears” over Fifty Shades of Grey? Were they sporting black eyes? Did you call the police?!?!?! Gail went to the YWCA charity ball supporting battered women and told me that every story of abuse she heard, from men letting the air out of a woman’s tires so she couldn’t leave, to monitoring their cell phones, reminded her of “that awful book you made me read.” So, while most women are adults and can put that alpha male shit into perspective and realize it’s only sexy in a fantasy, if one were bawling and mumbling about Fifty Shades, I’d be inclined to suggest a nice shelter.

We left the store shortly after this encounter with Gail calling me “honey”, because she thought it would be funny, and I bought my next vibrator elsewhere. In the meantime, this has become a marvelous inside joke that can’t be explained to anyone who asks.

screenshot Im sorry I offended you

How a conversation turns to senseless babble…

On Fifty Shades of Grey:

Me: “I really don’t understand how people like erotica. There’s just not enough plot for me. ‘I loved the plot! I loved the thick and deep plot.'”
Gail: “Yeah. Pretty much.”
Me: “What plot? Tell that story without abusive sex.”
Gail: “Okay, okay. So there’s this girl and she’s like 22 and has a porn star name…”
Me: “Huh. You’re right.”
Gail: “…and she doesn’t know what a computer is and she doesn’t know what a mechanic is. She’s really plain and she meets this guy who’s really hot…”
Me: “She wasn’t really plain. She was hot and just really insecure.”
Gail: “… and she also hates herself. So one day, he says he… wants to hit her and then play Yahtzee and she’s like ‘Oh my gosh! He said he wants to play Yhatzee with me! So they play Yhatzee… a lot of Yhatzee. Then one day he doesn’t want to play Yhatzee anymore and he just wants to hit her and she cries, because she really misses playing Yhatzee.”
Me: “That was… surprisingly dead-on.”
Gail: “OH! And his mom was sexually active.”
Me: “I said without sex. She played Yhatzee for money.”
Gail: “Or it sounded like she was playing Yhatzee for money. All he knows is that his mom would go into another room with a man and then she died.”
Me: “And there was a Yahtzee board in the living room.”
Gail: “And there was blood all over it… I don’t think Yahtzee’s a board game.”
Me: “We’re clearly quite inexperienced at Yahtzee.”
Gail: “Yeah, I haven’t played Yahtzee in a really long time.”
Me: suggestively “I know. I really need to play some Yahtzee.”

What the hell are we even talking about anymore?