I first heard about this on The Today Show. They had the author on. I thought, "Why would I be interested in a book that most say isn't even well-written?" Put it out of my thoughts.
Then, a friend of mine posted A LOT about this book on her Facebook page. (Yes, middle-aged people own Facebook, kids). Now, let me introduce this friend. This friend had given me a heads up on some Anne Rice soft porn -- we're talking 20 years ago -- written under an assumed name, for some reason. (But blood-sucking was OK)?
Just to say, those tales kind of bored me.
Still, this is clearly a conversation my 'friend' and I have had over the years, the sexual one. (Let's call her... 'C'). So I wasn't surprised to see the discussion on her Facebook page. She posed certain questions and there was some discussion back and forth about violence and being a feminist. Etc.! I decided not to read more of the conversation, or spoil the plot. I was going to get the book from the public library, which I posted on 'C's' page.
Yes, the public library, my most reliable boyfriend. (After Trader Joe).
But, I'll tell you this, right here and now, that something happened that was very curious, indeed! As I went to the LAPL library page... I found myself pulling off my socks!! One by one. I took off the -- admittedly big and furry -- socks I had been wearing. I put on cute, short pinks socks. With a bauble!! With them, you can see the anklet I wear all the time. Let me describe it to you... no, you can use your imagination.
Wow. '492 out of 492 copies', LAPL? I put my name gamely into the queue.
I found myself checking online, the next few days. I seem to be kind of eager. Is this the way that I am, with books and men? Hmm. But before I have time to fixate on that, I see that my book is 'in transit.' I rush to the library, but it's not there, yet. I have to wait.
C'mon, I put on good socks. Isn't it already making me change my old behaviors?
Finally, finally... it's come. With a coat of Omi 'rock it' color on my toes, I go to pick it up. I'll let you play along, if you want to...
Our heroine's hair is described right on Page One. "I must not sleep with it wet." She's wearing sensible brown boots which rhymes with 'big tits', to me.
She's also a klutz! This I didn't know. I, who would fall down a lot more if I didn't lounge so much on my couch, can relate already.
The heroine has just met -- I'm going to have to assume, the hero -- and she's tripped through the doorway. She's still me. Now, she's assuming he's way under thirty, like she is. I'm going to have to put the book down to grab a spot of tea and Metamucil.
She's come to interview him, for a college magazine. She's unexpectedly 'blushing' as they speak about his paintings. I'm in love with these adjectives. I went myself, last night, to a gallery opening, standing amongst vessels coiled around and around protruding shells. There's a symmetry to vessels, for the very wetness of centering the clay pummels it into a large... organ.
I did flirt with several men while there, but I don't think I myself blushed last night. I am too old and have experienced too much life to blush much, anymore.
I do notice that the hero 'cocks' his head to one side as they are discussing the paintings.
She nervously tucks her hair behind her ear, and he cocks his head to one side, again.
Chapter Two -- OK, so she's left. And in much the same way that guy-porn at this point would be pound, pound, and pound, I am kind of curious how the author is going to get them together again. (Chick). She's just left his office. And though he touched her shoulder when he said 'goodbye,' nothing indicated he felt what she did. So now she's back down on the street. How's this gonna work? How are they gonna meet again?
"My heart is pounding." Not me, that's her, the opening line of Chapter Two, as the elevator doors open.
I'm reading along and -- I'll admit it aloud -- back to semi-slouched socks.
We are halfway through the chapter and we are not hooking them up, again. I can see why guys get frustrated. But suddenly, it takes me by surprise, with no warning -- our hero comes to see her at the hardware store where she works. He's surprised her. "His voice is like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel." Thank God, she's wearing her best jeans, today. I was worried.
He's asking her for masking tape, and for some reason, their voices are both husky. She gasps involuntarily, which for some other reason she feels down somewhere dark and unexplored. I'm no longer waiting for the sex. I'm so happy with these adjectives!
Then, he asks her what she likes. "Books," she says. See! No wonder I liked the adjectives! I don't love this chick. I am this chick.
He finally asks her out for coffee. We're now deep in Chapter Three. And though now she doesn't blush, but flush, I can relax. He takes her hand in the elevator and doesn't let go. This is porn! (If only guys knew)...
She trips again after their coffee date. Thank God he smells like freshly laundered linen. I knew he would.
And Chapter Four -- now I'm getting the device -- starts with "Kiss me, damn it!"
He's left a package for her. She knows immediately it's from him, as she hasn't ordered anything from Amazon, lately. (Sigh). Then, she drunk dials him from the bar. Never a good idea except in a novel. But I -- I'm still waiting to see what happens.
"Gray," all the guys who like her call him. Not a value judgment. It's his last name. Christian Gray.' She -- Ana -- vomits on her date and now I'm even out of the game.
Then, we see that he's wearing the pinnacle of men's outfits, black jeans, white shirt open so she can see his chest, no surprise. I fell in love with someone for wearing that, once. (I'm back in).
Still, I am SO GLAD we got to Chapter Five with no sex! Relieved. I'm enjoying the pursuit. ...Though I am glad he cocks his head at her, once again. Oh, my God, she's in the shower and she takes the body wash and it smells of him, and she rubs it all over herself. That's hot. I fell in-like with someone, in fact, I did that once in a shower, in...
Oh, he knocks on the door with her breakfast.
They're staying in a hotel, btw -- the penthouse suite. He didn't know what she liked so he's ordered everything from the breakfast menu. Wait a minute, kids! This authoress has clearly seen Pretty Woman!! Isn't that a direct lift?? Who doesn't know that's what Richard Gere says to Julia Roberts shortly after she tells him, "I don't kiss on dates?" (Sigh, sigh).
Oh, my God. Because Ana's eating and telling him what she's doing for the next few days -- they haven't even kissed yet, and he just said to her, "I'd like to bite that lip." Apropos of not a thing!! Dude.
"Where did you sleep last night"?? Ana asks him, looking around the hotel penthouse. "In my bed," he tells her. Can we say, Harrison Ford to Melanie Griffith in Working Girl? (No, he didn't peek at the naked Melanie Griffith, either, as Christian has told her).
Believe it or not, I take time off from my research to go to a dance class and email someone I met at the art show last night. I am a bit flirtatious in the email, have a bit less of my usual cool reserve, which could be entirely due to this book but has certainly always been no more than to cover up my insecurity. I even end with, 'till we meet again.' Poor guy's now part of a huge experiment.
The dance class is called Nia, which might be code for 'sexual.' A class where women are barefoot and could be on Ecstasy. As further information regarding today's class, it's been the death of Donna Summer this week, and we dance to Donna. My heart is shaking as I boogie to "Last Dance." Donna Summer, not-so-proud creator of the eight minute orgasm.
Back to the tale.
OK, now we've reached the Domination. Chapter Six. Now, I see why the book sold to the movies for a million dollars!!! Although shouldn't I say, "now"? I like seeing that 'italics' are some kind of stuffy-destroying sound. Kind of like coming, if one thinks about those kind of things.
I go to 'C's' Facebook page, since I've reached this point in the book, and I now read that discussion about Domination. This handsome, millionaire, and as of Chapter Seven, still freshly laundered smelling but flawed man must have her sign a contract regarding many things. No snacking between meals. Just fruit. (How dare he) ...
To be completely honest, I am a little turned off by the Rules. Pulled me out, a bit. But now that he's found out she's a virgin and he's willing to forgo the rules -- just once -- well, I'm back. This makes the plot even better. He pulls off her Converse sneakers. This guy has me at the labels.
At least, now the biting lip comments make sense.
Interesting, though, now she's cocking her head at him. What is this, some rule -- the author lady -- learned in Soft Porn 1?
Nothing soft about this. In fact, I could write an inventory of the things Ana's Inner Goddess says, (she's wearing pom-pom's about the time the handcuffs arrive, a cheerleader). It's sexy, interestingly, and isn't this interesting and so very female, but the domination part -- yes, that take-it-or-leave-it part of the book that sold for a million dollars -- that part is not that offensive to me (rhymes with consenting adult and/or who cares). But what's interesting -- and so chick -- and what's turning me on more -- is thus far, by Chapter Fourteen -- they've yet to do the Domination thing. No, each time now, some plot twist has driven them to have sex, against his wishes (for Domination), if you will. So that's kinda hot.
But, oh, my God, ladies, he just kissed her deeply AND willingly spent the night, on the aptly named Page 313. And he said just what I did! 'He's breaking all his rules,' he just told Ana. Boy, am I a chick.
Page 318. My Inner Goddess is spinning like a world-class ballerina, pirouette after pirouette. Followed by my subconscious which is furious, Medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch's "The Scream."
Oh, ladies, and fellas. This IS porn. Of the worst kind! For girls, the fantasy is... the guy calls me back! Flies across the country to see me. Makes me meet his parents. Oh, yeah, did I say.... he calls me back!
That's hot. Fantasy, wet-screaming pretend you're having sex outside, hot.
And total crap. In fact, 'C' and I are on Facebook -- she's been emailing with some guy about the book. She loves the emailing, but in HER real life, the guy she was emailing with stepped back when it got too DEEP. (And I never do hear from the art guy).
On Facebook: 'C' -- Christian is rich, handsome, in THERAPY. ME -- He spent the night...
No wonder we love fantasy.
Girl porn also has lots of reference to shoes.
There it is on Page 447. "I never wanted more, until I met you," he says.
Oh, dear God, I am ruined for life.
Every Friday, HuffPost's Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Learn more