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50 shades of fail chapter 4 : Where friends are bad friends and stalking is somehow romantic.

Content Warning: This post has a fairly graphic description of sexual harassment within it and as usual is discussing 50 Shades of Grey which is rife with abusive behaviour including stalking.

The last time I wrote I left you with the breathtakingly romantic image of Ana clutched in Grey’s arms after nearly being run over by a cyclist. In the arms of Grey, their faces inches apart and she stares longingly at his lips, whilst his “hooded” gaze darkens… He’s beginning to sound like a dementor. They stand like that for what I assume is a few seconds, but must feel of course, like an eternity. Alas despite the dark gazing and bosom clutching, Grey lets Ana down the only way he knows how, with cryptic bluntness “Anastasia, you should steer clear of me, I’m not the man for you.”.

Ana is confused about this rejection, after all they were on a date only a few minutes prior (a terrible date, but still). I also love the impeccable timing of this rejection, you were nearly ran over by a cyclist so I saved you and by the way I don’t think we should date.  In true clichéd heroine style Ana is left “bereft” without Grey’s touch and spirals into a mindset that everything went wrong because of her, rather than any weird complexes Grey has. Ah my favourite cliché, if something goes wrong it’s the woman’s fault.

I’m going to just skip ahead now because this book is a tome of bad sentence structure and overblown useless scenes. Ana has a little breakdown in an underpass/underground garage and convinces herself that the reason Grey doesn’t want her is because she’s ugly while he’s mind blowingly hot. Again I can’t help but feel bad for Ana, she clearly has some deep rooted self esteem issues and although she’s not the nicest person, she’s easy prey for Christian Grey.

Skipping forward to Kate and Ana finishing their final exams, Ana can’t wait to go out and celebrate. They get back to their apartment to find a package addressed to Ana containing 3 first editions of Tess of the D’Urbervilles and this delightful quote from said book.

“Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me?
Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…”

This quotation is taken from after Tess is sexually assaulted by Alec D’Urberville and she is speaking with her mother. A disturbing quotation to send with an extravagant gift don’t you think? Ana takes this as a warning, but seems less disturbed by what could easily be seen as a potential threat and more distracted by the image of Grey’s eyes… Refreshingly, Ana isn’t too impressed by the mixed signals Grey is sending so she resolves to send the books back and enjoy her night out.

Whilst out Ana gets drunk really quickly, aided by Kate and her good ‘friend’ José . Despite this she is encouraged to go get more drinks which she does while noting how different she and Kate are.

“She’s all tiny camisole ; tight jeans, and high heels, hair piled high with tendrils hanging down softly around her face, her usual stunning self. Me, I’m more of a Converse and t-shirt kind of girl, but I’m wearing my most flattering jeans.”

Oh Ana you’re so special. As soon as Ana gets up to go get drinks her head spins and she decides maybe a bathroom break is in order. Obviously this is the perfect time for Ana to make a phone call to Grey, the reasoning for which is clumsy at best, convoluted at its worst.

“Anastasia?” He’s surprised to hear from me. Well frankly, I’m surprised to ring him. (Flawless logic).

Then my befuddled brain registers… How does he know it’s me?  (Creepy Mc’ creepster pants strikes again).

Ana then repeatedly asks him why he sent her the books,  only for Grey to ignore her query and ask her where she is, which is none of his business let’s be honest. Ana who is still pretty drunk finds Grey’s attitude funny describing his tone as “dictatorial” which to me just sounds overly aggressive. Indeed this  is what Grey becomes,  even beginning to curse and shout down the phone at Ana. Until she  finally hangs up and gets into a bathroom stall.

I must admit I like this version of Ana taking charge and calling Grey out on his shit, but of course all hope is short lived when reading this book. After the call Ana is at first pleased with herself, but as the reality of what she did dawns on her she falls back into her old self.

My phone rings and it makes me jump. I yelp in surprise.

“Hi,” I bleat (You’re a, a… Say it. A sheep.) timidly into the phone. I hadn’t reckoned on this.

“I’m coming to get you,” he says and hangs up. Only Christian Grey could sound so calm and so threatening at the same time.

There’s nothing sexier than a man who sounds like he’s threatening you, am I right?

In fact for once Ana seems to be having a normal reaction to this creepy statement and begins to get quite worked up. Although at this point I’m hard pressed to decide if this is because some oddly threatening and intense guy is coming to find her or because she got stuck thinking about his eyes again. She convinces herself he can’t find her as she didn’t tell him where she was and instead goes to get beer to bring back to Kate and José and some other dude.

José kindly pours Ana another drink despite her clearly being really drunk already, especially as someone who doesn’t drink usually. Feeling the after effects of drinking far too much or perhaps the threatening message from Grey, Ana leaves the table to get a breath of fresh air. I’m going to point out that it’s really weird that Kate doesn’t go with Ana when she leaves, just because every girl I know would never leave another girl by herself whilst quite drunk. Is it girl code? Is it a sixth sense? Or is it a product of our patriarchal society that a woman alone at night is vulnerable?

Hey who knows I’m just making this up as I go.

So now Ana’s outside, alone, feeling a bit worse for wear when who should arrive? But her good ‘friend’ José.

“Ana,” José has joined me. “You okay?”

“I think I’ve just had a bit too much to drink.” I smile weakly at him.

“Me too,” he murmurs, and his dark eyes are watching me intently. “Do you need a hand?” He asks and steps closer, putting his arms around me.

“José I’m okay. I’ve got this.” I try and push him away rather feebly.”

“Ana, please,” He whispers, and now he’s holding me in his arms, pulling me close.

(José you dickbutt.)

“José, what are you doing?”

“You know I like you Ana, please.” He has one hand at the small of my back holding me against him, the other at my chin tipping back my head. Holy fuck… He’s going to kiss me.

Can someone please hit José with a wooden spoon until he understands that liking someone doesn’t mean you have any right to touch them without their consent.

“No José, stop – no.” I push him, but he’s a wall of hard muscle, and I cannot shift him.
(She said no. Literally no. What the hell José?)

I feel panicky, drunk and out of control. The feeling is suffocating.

(This is actually making me feel ill.)

“José, no,” I plead. I don’t want this. You are my friend and I think I’m going to throw up. (Me too Ana)

“I think the lady said no.” A voice in the dark says quietly. (Kate?!)

Holy shit! (Aw damn) Christian Grey, he’s here. How? (I’m sure the answer is completely normal and not creepy or invasive at all.)

José releases me.

So now Grey has turned up José releases Ana because her saying “no” repeatedly wasn’t clear enough. Ana still not feeling great from drinking too much now throws up everywhere.  Oh dear Ana, you are in a tricky situation. José is disgusted and takes a step back from Ana, what a dick, while Grey helps her keep her hair back, less of a dick.

I groan and put my head in my hands. This has to be the single worst moment of my life. My head is still swimming as I try to remember a worse one – and I can only come up with Christian’s rejection (oh dear lord) – and this is so, so many shades darker (eye roll)  in terms of humiliation.

I risk a peek at him. He’s staring down at me, his face composed, giving nothing away. Turning, I glance at José who looks pretty shamefaced himself and, like me, intimidated by Grey. I glare at him. I have a few choice words for my so called friend, none of which I can repeat in front of Christian Grey CEO (Oh please do Ana, that would at least make this a little less awful).

“I’ll err… see you inside.” José mutters, but we both ignore him, and he slinks off back into the building. I’m on my own with Grey. Double crap. What should I say to him?

I don’t know maybe ask what the hell he’s doing here when you haven’t told him where you are?!  Alas no, instead Ana apologises to him for calling him and then him seeing her throw up which isn’t her fault anyway, but oh well. Of course Grey tells her this and doesn’t act like an overbearing douchebag.

“We’ve all been here, perhaps not quite as dramatically as you,” he says dryly. “It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia. I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really this is beyond the pale. Do you make a habit of this kind of behaviour?”

(Well it’s none of your business  you self righteous dick.)

My head buzzes with excess alcohol and irritation. What the hell has it got to do with him? I didn’t invite him here. He sounds like a middle aged man scolding me like an errant child. Part of me wants to say, if I want to get drunk every night like this, then it’s my decision and nothing to do with him (Yes Ana, yes!) – but I’m not brave enough (No Ana, no!). Not now that I’ve thrown up in front of him. Why is he still standing there? (Because he’s Creepy Mc’creepster)

Instead Ana is civil with Grey, oh opportunity lost, and then she nearly faints which means she falls into his arms again. Grey then says he’ll take her home and Ana is too distracted by being in his arms to see that as a problem other than letting Kate know, which is at least moderately sensible. It’s then that we learn Kate is with Grey’s brother Elliot and how Grey found Ana.

“I tracked your cell phone Anastasia.”

 

What. The. Hell.
On what planet is that okay? On what planet do you respond to learning that a strange guy you hardly know has tracked your location by thinking:

“Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s still floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind.”

 

I’m at a loss. Stalking is not romantic, it’s not sexy and in no way is it okay. I think it’s really clear from this point onwards that 50 Shades of Grey is going to show it’s true colours, a story of a horribly abusive relationship thinly veiled by bad porn and silly similes.

Alas we must continue onwards to finish the chapter. After Grey final gives his permission for Ana to tell Kate where she’s going they enter the bar again. Ana continues to ignore all the creep vibes Grey is giving off in favour of getting worked up about holding his hand and a weird moment where she sniffs his hair which causes all sorts of muscle clenching. Grey also orders her to drink a glass of water and is in general very controlling.

Ana’s train of thought is so jumbled and all over the place it’s difficult to read let alone describe. She alternates between thinking he’s a control freak from hell to getting distracted by how handsome he is every few seconds. Knowing that Kate is on the dance floor they go to find her and in doing so Ana is brought into a weird dance with Grey. When one of the most bizarre lines of this book so far is written, “my mother’s often recited warning comes to me: Never trust a man who can dance.”

Or maybe better advice would be never trust a man who tracks your cellphone?!

They dance their way to Kate who is seducing Elliot with her killer dance moves and Grey whispers something in his brothers ear before swiftly moving Ana away. Ana is concerned that she never got to talk to Kate while the club setting with its loud music and flashing lights is making her light headed and this time when she falls into Grey’s arms, she passes out.

Well there you have it, I’ve finally updated you with the next chapter and yes there is more to come, but first a brief note.

The reason I started this read through was to make fun of 50 shades of grey yes, but it was also to highlight the prevalent abusive storyline. This book is awful, it glorifies controlling and abusive behaviour whilst encouraging unsafe ‘sexy’ acts (What is portrayed in 50 shades of grey is not BDSM and the materials used for bondage are unsafe).

So I’m going to ask you not to see this movie, even for the sheer awfulness of it.

We know it’s going to be bad and maybe even a little funny, but the humour in 50 Shades of Grey begins and ends with the bad writing, the actual story is incredibly disturbing. 50 shades of grey is one of the most popular works of fiction of all time, it has gained so much exposure, good and bad, that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of it. Yes the story is a joke in terms of its literary value, but it’s also a disturbing testament to the lack of understanding concerning abusive relationships.

Romanticising abusive behaviour is not okay. The fact that this movie may make billions off the back of a story letting women and men know that such behaviour is ‘sexy’ let alone the misinformation around BDSM culture and safe bedroom practises is wrong. Even if there’s a morbid kind of curiosity around seeing it, it’s not worth the further damage it will do.

So don’t see this movie, why not donate to a charity which aids those in abusive relationships? There are plenty of fundraisers floating around the internet and even a quick google search should come up with national or local charities that need funding. This movie isn’t worth your money and it certainly isn’t worth your time.

All quotations used are taken from 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James 

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floatingmanatee

floatingmanatee

Floatingmanatee also known as Alice, is a certified Zoologist living in Britain and has an unhealthy love of weird creatures. She's bisexual, a lover of books, TV, film and anything else that tells a story. Generally she's either angry or sad or both about the state of the world, but watching youtube videos of cute animals makes her feel better.

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