Jun 212012
 

The parts of Ana and Christian’s relationship that aren’t abusive are tedious. They have a post-coital cuddle and then Christian runs off to a meeting. He does mention that he’s running late for it, a rarity for him, like sleeping with a woman. Ana interprets this as success, that she is making him change for her.

Then they go into another email exchange. Ana says that:

You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply – spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused. And much to my mortification, you’re right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected. As you are well aware, all things sexual are new to me – I only wish I was more experienced and therefore more prepared. I was shocked to feel aroused.
What really worried me was how I felt afterwards. And that’s more difficult to articulate.
I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt – sated. But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m confused as a result. Does that answer your question?

Christian does not respond well.

So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this?
Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

Christian is saying a terrible, terrible thing to Ana: he is blowing off her expression of her problems with jokes. He then tries to guilt her into enduring it, playing the “if you were a real submissive” card.

Punishment spanking hurts far more than sensual spanking – so that’s about as hard as it gets, unless of course you commit some major transgression, in which case I’ll use some implement to punish you with. My hand was very sore. But I like that.

Christian distinguishes between two kinds of spanking, much as I distinguished between “punishment” and punishment. However, “punishment” shouldn’t hurt at all, certainly not in the way that Ana experienced it.

Don’t waste your energy on guilt, feelings of wrongdoing etc. We are consent-ing adults and what we do behind closed doors is between ourselves. You need to free your mind and listen to your body.

Then he dismisses her concerns as being her problems with the rest of the world, instead of acknowledging that she has a problem with him.

When I started reading this book, I anticipated that at some point Ana would have her first scene and she’d start singing “Ah Sweet Mystery of Life” like Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein. More than halfway through this book and I’m still waiting for it to get good for Ana.

For the record – you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do.
You didn’t at any time ask me to stop – you didn’t use either safe word.
You are an adult – you have choices.
Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the next time my palm is ringing with pain.
You’re obviously not listening to the right part of your body.
Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you.
I can track your cell phone – remember?

Then he plays the “you consented” card, followed by the “I know what’s best for you.” Yes, she did. In this case, that is not an excuse. She’s a newbie, who is intimidated or even terrified of him. He has a duty to look after her, to listen to her, and make sure she has a good time.

Then he threatens her. The great romantic lead of 2012, ladies and gentlemen.

Then he blows her off in general, refusing to discuss what she sees as his “stalker tendencies”, and ordering her to go to work.

Ana retaliates by saying she won’t sign the contract.  She’s far bolder by email, but still resorts to passive-aggressive delaying tactics instead of communicating like an adult.

There are so many bad communications in this interaction you could use it as a training exercise.

Driving to work in her new car, Ana thinks:

The problem is, I just want Christian, not all his… baggage – and right now he has a 747 hold’s worth of baggage. Could I just lie back and embrace it? Like a submissive? I’ve said I’d try. It’s an awfully big ask.

Everybody has baggage. You don’t try to surgically remove it from people.  Ana sees Christian’s baggage as his kink (not all the other abusive, stalking stuff).

At work, Christian has a courier deliver her a smartphone. (Why doesn’t he inject an RFID chip in her neck like a dog?) Ana objects to it, but keeps it.

More slice of life stuff, and more emails. (If this book is ever adapted into a movie, all these email exchanges will pose a problem.) Christian sends her snappy emails demanding that he call her.

With a deep dread uncurling in my stomach, I scroll down to his number and press dial. My heart is in my mouth as I wait for him to answer. He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me .  The thought is depressing.

EL James seems to interpret a BDSM relationship as “This person is allowed to hit me at any time for any reason.”

“I went to a fundraising dinner, [Christian says by phone]. It was deathly dull. I left as soon as I could.”
He sounds so sad and resigned. My heart clenches. I picture him all those nights ago sat at the piano in his huge living room and the unbearable bittersweet melancholy of the music he was playing.
“I wish you were here,” I whisper, because I have an urge to hold him. Soothe him.
Even though he won’t let me. I want his proximity.

And this is the “oh, poor baby” card.

A few more pages of Ana and Kate moving to their new place (a modest little three bedroom in the heart of Seattle with view). Then Ana comes to visit Christian for an appointment with an OB/GYN selected by him. Christian jokes about watching her in the stirrups.

For some submissives, this kind of physical intimacy would be exciting. For some reason, EL James made her heroine a person who hates it. It’s like having a Sheikh romance with a heroine who hates the desert and never changes her mind about it.

  One Response to “The Curious Kinky Person’s Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 17”

  1. Sumer 2014. Apparently the plan is just to make porn with a few other scenes tossed in, and already fans of the books are talking about all the Oscars nominations.

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