50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey is coming to a theater near you. There is a ban for those who had hoped to make it a themed viewing. No whips, chains, props or costumes that will make guests uncomfortable.  Outside of the fun that can be had by dressing up and heading over to the local theater with some of your neighbors and friends, there are also bans by some who believe that the movie promotes abuse.

Oh, where to start…where to start….Let me go on the record and say that I read 50 Shades of Grey. Let me add to that shame and admit that I read all three books, but I have an excuse. I believed the hype. I have a friend who read the book one day while we were driving somewhere. I was the driver. She was the passenger reading. There were times she seemed to be into it enough that I asked her if she wanted me to pull over so she could get a room. She thought it was pretty hot. I should have realized that we have vastly different tastes in literature, and while I’m hardly a literature snob, it’s enough of a difference that I should have known better.

I read the books, all three of them, waiting for the story to get good. Go ahead. Laugh at me. It shouldn’t have taken three books to realize that it was the same thing over and over. Young mousy virginal girl given an exotic romance novel name like Anastasia Steele, meets a dashing worldly dude named Christian Grey, and other than the S&M portion, you have the perfect formula for a romance novel. You also know that by book three there will be marriage and kids. Give the author, EL James credit for stretching this out to three books and a movie deal.

The romance isn’t all smooth. I mean, Mouse bites her lip a lot and while the movie is making it sexy, Dashing Worldly Dude was not a fan. Apparently he was not a fan of anything that Mouse did outside of their playroom filled with S&M paraphernalia. Yet, they were soul mates, because great sex is an awesome relationship builder. I mean the self-help sections of every book store are filled with manuals telling you to forget all of the other problems if the sex is great. Or maybe they aren’t but why let that stop you.

I’m not sure why people can’t separate the S&M portion of this story with actual domestic violence. A case can be made that the dashing dude is a creepy stalker  but not because he favored S&M.  The book frustrated me, and not sexually. A young virginal mouse constantly being told what to wear, what to eat, and when, is a red flag, not part of a love story. That same mouse sending emails back and forth with the dashing dude and then worrying that his responses are brooding and not playful…well,  huge red flag. It’s possible to be in synch sexually and not emotionally but then is that really a love story? Then there’s the part where no matter what the dashing dude does,  the mouse is going to forgive him because love is the answer. Um, red flag? Unless you believe things like a baby will save the marriage, he is only stalking you because he really really loves you, or that Chris Brown was making love to Rihanna, just with his fists.

Forget the costumes being banned from theaters. If anything, it just makes for great PR for Universal Pictures. Forget that some people like to get spanked, tie each other up, or even like sex with a safe word. If it’s consensual, who cares? But don’t forget that at the very core, this book sends some messages that aren’t sexy. It’s possible for a mousy young girl to  get swept off her feet by a dashing worldly dude but the dashing worldly dude named Christian Grey needs to take a chill and stop issuing edicts about how the very mousy Ana dresses, eats, spends her free time, when she takes her birth control pill, or even what she’s allowed to joke about. At least, that’s the short list of what makes Christian Grey a control freak and not a romantic hero.

50 Shades has sold millions of books. The movie is widely getting panned though there are no box office numbers yet to show whether the hype will do for the movie what it did for the book. I’m not a fan of bans but I won’t see this movie, not because it’s about S&M, but because I think the non-sexual relationship is creepy. Go get your freak on, just maybe pick someone that’s not a control freak because that’s not love.

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