I did not read the books. I read a part of the book — the one that started it all — during a dark part of Hurricane Sandy, out loud, to a room full of girls crammed into an apartment that had lost electricity, so we were doing this by candle light. It was a very demented version of Story Time with Mother Goose: I did voices and paused often for effect and lifted my eyes up over my glasses to scan the room while finishing sentences to the crowd. Really hammed it up.
We didn’t get much further than three chapters, maybe. The breathy voice I’d adapted for Anastasia Steele made one girl who didn’t know me well “very uncomfortable,” and my actual friends couldn’t get past the fact that I kept pronouncing Christian Grey’s name as Krishtan Grah when, after around the fourth page, I’d decided that all of this would sound better in a Mid-Atlantic accent.
Once the book closed I never picked it up again. I’d gotten the gist, hated how it was written, do not have repressed BDSM fantasies and besides, the Internet told me everything else I needed to know.
Then came the movie. This part was inevitable, as was the fan-world collectively arguing against who was and was not “right” for the parts, what scenes would be left in — should any be left out? — and would they sneak wine into the theater, or arrive buzzed?
My friends and I arrived buzzed. There’s no point in me defending why I went, but it was an excuse for popcorn with Reese’s Pieces and gave me a reason to ignore my phone. The movie itself was probably in the top tier of worst ones I’ve ever seen besides The Other Women, but what do I know; 50 Shades of Grey has reportedly made 265 million dollars since it opened.
What I do know is that it was weird. Not because of the sex scenes, because whatever. If you have HBO you’ve seen it all and to each their own and we’re a generation of un-shockables. And yes, I found the glazing over of Christian Grey’s childhood abuse uncomfortable and odd though there, at least, I assumed it was one instance where I would’ve “had to” read the book to understand.
But there were at least a handful of instances that no prior book knowledge could have helped. They are as follows:
1. His last name is Grey. Her last name is Steele. If they get married and she chooses to accept his last name while keeping her own with the use of the currently fashionable hyphen, then Anastasia’s last name will be Steele-Grey. Why don’t the two characters find this funny?! My friend once casually mentioned that I should meet her cousin whose last name is Castle and to this day I still wear out the “Diamond-Castle” joke, and he and I haven’t even met. Raw, unused material. What a waste.
2. Why does she work at a hardware store? That’s such a weird fucking job for a college student. Don’t most college students work at the book store or something?
3. Christian Grey sometimes looks like a cat.
4. But not like a cat-cat. A human cat. Like the cats in Cats.
5. Christian Grey exercises control in all aspects of his life except for his attachment to Abercrombie & Fitch circa 2006 jeans. I hope he knows that if he dates Anastasia longer than a year she’s going to “accidentally throw them out” one day.
6. Speaking of which, what year is this movie set in? Why does she have a flip phone? Shouldn’t he then have a Blackberry?
7. Yes, it is creepy that Christian wants Ana to sleep in a room by herself where 15 other women “previously slept” aka he later killed them because he’s a serial killer. What I have a problem with is the strong lack of interior design in comparison to the rest of the house. It looks like the setting for a tampon ad in 1992 Tampa, Florida.
8. While I’m shitting on cities, let’s talk about how excited Anastasia gets when Christian Grey announces he’s flying her to Seattle. I believe her line was, “We’re going to Seattle?!?!” Ana, he did not say “the Bahamas.” He did not even say “skiing.” He said, in less words than more, “We are going to the birth place of Starbucks.”
9. The only person who gets as excited as Ana did about Seattle (and remember, this is a girl who possesses the ability to say “butt plugs,” “anal fisting,” and “Christian Grey” without laughing) is a mega-Twilight nerd. Ana is clearly obsessed with the type of guy who is obsessed with her to the point of slight violence and heavy delusion. In fact, Grey kind of reminds me of a certain Noah Calhoun who threatened to kill himself on a Ferris wheel, all for a date.
10. Neither of them brush their teeth. Not after she barfs, not before their morning make out sessions, never. This was my biggest issue with the film. I am not a prude, but I cannot stand idly by while two people who I know have bad breath swap spit.
And that’s it. That’s my rant. But please guys, now more than ever, I need your opinions down below. Help me work through this. My safe word is yellow, and the light is turning red.