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50 shades of fail Chapter 3: where creepy muffin eating occurs and the intimidation is purposeful

Off we go again.

Together we can defy all reason and continue reading 50 shades of fail.

Chapter 3: where creepy muffin eating occurs and the intimidation is purposeful

We begin with Kate’s delight that Ana has managed to snag a photo shoot with the elusive Mr Grey.  Kate suggests that Grey’s appearance at the store has to be more than mere coincidence, maybe he came to see Ana specifically? This is a trope often used in romance novels, the idea that you just can’t stay away and finding out where someone works to stalk them while they’re at work is perpetuated as romantic. Spoiler alert, it’s not romantic, it’s actually an invasion of that persons working life and is easily construed as stalking. Of course Ana is thrilled by the idea of him coming specifically to see her before dismissing the idea and accepting Grey’s DIY story. Again I have to question who does a spot of DIY shopping after making a business trip?

Ana soon lets slip that Grey has given her his number and “Kate gasps”. Kate also gives us an amusing description of Grey as “The richest, most elusive, most enigmatic bachelor in Washington State”, she makes him sound like a mythical creature of some kind. Ah yes, the elusive tall, dark and spanky, a rare creature who finds comfort in masculinised architecture, piles of money and gazing penetratively. The tall, dark and spanky rarely leaves the confines of the before mentioned masculine lair except for the occasional trip to the DIY store, however it is impossible to interpret what the tall, dark and spanky does with the equipment it procures…

Kate insists that Grey must like Ana, like like her. Cue another chapter of Ana being overwhelmed by the flood of female hormones into her system at the mere idea of Grey like liking her. Kate then instructs Ana to call José to set up the shoot as the usual photographer is unable to do it, what an unfortunate coincidence. I’m sure having two men in a room who like like the same woman can only go swimmingly in this book. After Ana leaves a message for José, Paul turns up again.

Paul asks Ana out for a drink, an apparent ‘tradition’ now, despite Ana always saying no. Lets take a detour down why this is problematic as all hell. If a woman (or any person for that matter) declines your advances, you accept that and move on, you don’t keep on asking. I really hate this trope, that if you just keep trying, just keep going at it, a woman will say yes to you. That’s not how it works. Maybe you see Ana’s reply “some other time” as unfair, as a lead on, as a valid reason to keep asking her out, but after the first 3 attempts I think it’s time to take a hint? Way before this becomes a tradition. In reality these polite responses women offer to men are a way of placating men, of avoiding violence. In Ana’s case it’s more likely she genuinely doesn’t want to hurt Paul, even if he is a penis waving creep. In reality, women are faced with this every day and the more direct “no” we would prefer to use often leads to violence. Be that shouting in our faces, calling us slurs, threatening us or actually committing violence against us.

Well lets carry on with this delightful pile of crap.

Back at Ana’s apartment Kate orders José to take over the Grey photo shoot and Ana has a sexually charged phone call arranging a time with Grey. I’m not going to go into detail about the phone call, rest assured Ana blushed a lot and this excellent simile was used “I can almost hear his sphinx like smile through the phone.”. After the phone call in which Ana is “all gushing and breathy”, Kate is more than a little surprised as Ana historically has never liked anyone before. Yet Kate’s surprise and friendly banter is met only with irritation from Ana, who is as always horrible to Kate. Ana goes to bed and dreams predictably of “gray eyes” alongside “dark, dark unexplored places” (*smirks*).

Gird your loins ladies, damn that smile is something else.

Gird your loins ladies, damn that smile is something else.

The next day they’re setting up the long anticipated photo shoot. Ana is already annoyed with Kate who is apparently “domineering” although it reads more like Kate being a competent journalist. However, once Grey arrives all Ana can think about in excruciating detail, is his appearance from his tussled hair to his “flannel pants”, neatly summarised overall as “freaking hot“. Yet a paragraph just isn’t enough to express his beauty, a more eloquent expression is needed, something along the lines of “Oh my… he really is, quite… wow.” (if read in George Takei’s voice it’s 1000x better).

Enough of the ‘electric connection’ rubbish, let’s get onto the introductions. Kate as ever is confident and professional while Ana looks on in “awe”, if only you were so awesome Ana. Then there’s José and the inevitable sizing up, alpha male glaring alongside hooting loudly with Grey. After the photo shoot, Grey asks Ana if she would walk with him whilst José scowls much like a petulant child, because as far as I can see Ana is simply a toy to be argued over.

Grey asks Ana on a coffee date with as much drama as you can expect from Ana, including some snide comments from her subconscious. Unfortunately for the two love birds Ana has to drive everyone home so she can’t make the date, but of course Grey simply can’t take no  for an answer. He orders his body guard Taylor to take the others home and asks Ana again “smil[ing] as if it’s a done deal”. A display of more creepy behaviour with a clear need to control Ana’s decisions, the implication that she will now agree to coffee after removing her way out is disturbing.  Ana however has a far simpler solution of switching cars with Kate causing Grey to give a “dazzling, unguarded, natural, all-teeth-showing, glorious smile.” which sounds absolutely terrifying.

Before leaving for the date Kate lets Ana know about her worries, that Grey isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Alas Ana ignores Kate’s (seriously Kate you’re great)words of warning and marches on into her date with Grey. With shaky knees and her heart “thumping a dramatic uneven beat” (dance Ana, dance) Ana walks with him to the elevator where a “young couple in a passionate clinch” are revealed as the doors open. Oh my, how scandalous! Whatever could this be alluding to? Sexual tension? Surely not!

Once at the coffee shop, Ana takes another opportunity to spend a paragraph describing how hot Grey is. Not five minutes into the incredibly awkward date where Ana thrillingly tells us her favourite tea is English Breakfast, Grey asks if José or Paul is her boyfriend.’ Just to set the mood, ready your probing questions and make her feel intimidated!’-  What I assume are Grey’s dating tips. Ana lets him know that neither are her boyfriend and that she finds him intimidating to which he replies “You should”. Grey just gets  more and more attractive doesn’t he? At the moment he’s a personified red flag blaring alarm signals, how deliciously hot.

The intimidation effect he’s employing seems to work exceedingly well in terms of getting Ana to obey his commands. However, despite all the blushing, breathy sentences and thumping heart beats Ana seems to find some quiet confidence. She calls him out on his “high-handed” behaviour, but any hope of her continuing to question his actions are squashed by Ana focusing on Kate being more suited to Christian. Her focus is entirely on how attractive he is regardless of how controlling and odd his behaviour, which results in her completely misplaced jealousy of Kate. This book is a walking tome of what the patriarchy wants women to be, to seek to please any man no matter how awful he may be and to see fellow women as competition for their attention.

Their stilted date continues with Grey manipulating Ana to tell him more about her family life by bringing up the news paper interview. When Ana asks questions about his family in kind, he responds with “irritation” do I sense a double standard here? Their conversation moves away from family and onto where Ana wants to travel, which happens to be England (Please Ana no.). Alas being reminded of the famous authors from England means Ana remembers she has exams to study for so she must end this wonderful date.

They walk back to the hotel together in silence while Ana feels like she has been “interviewed” for an unknown position. While Ana’s anxiety about how their date went rises, Grey springs an odd question of whether she always wears jeans… Despite this weird question Ana is still worked up about having not impressed him enough and in a panic she asks if he has a girlfriend. An odd question to ask now considering they were meant to be on a date not 5 minutes ago? Grey’s answer only makes the whole situation more awkward and strange, “I don’t  do the girlfriend thing.”. Well I’m confused, but Ana goes into a complete panic and decides she needs to get away from him which results in her nearly falling into an oncoming cyclist.

Luckily Grey was there to pull her back into his big strong arms and rescue her. Held in his arms Ana takes the opportunity to “inhale his scent”, can you guess her reaction? “Oh my”. Grey holds her in his arms and occasionally gasps whilst Ana holds  “his anxious, burning gaze for a moment or maybe it’s forever…” (eeeeew) and “for the first time in twenty-one years. [she] wants to be kissed.” . Huzzah! We have reached the end where we leave Ana in the grasp of a purposely intimidating weirdo whose sole attractive trait is apparently his ‘hot’ bod.

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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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