Chapter 3 of Fifty Shades Darker is Neither Fifty, Nor Shades, Nor Darker. Discuss.

There’s a lot of heavy sighing involved in this chapter, not because of the amazing hawt secks (heavens no!) but because I’m soooo bored by it. Can you die from boredom? Or terribleness? Because I must be pretty close.

It’s the next morning, and Ana listens to her Christian “mix tape” on the bus to work, and is thrilled to bits. It’s like she’s 12 years old. When she gets to work, her little happy bubble is rudely broken by her boss, who tells her how radiant she looks.

How inappropriate! Ana thinks.

Really? That’s your line in the sand? You look radiant? Mister Jeckyl-Hyde isn’t described as leering like a satyr or winking lasciviously. He just says it. And that is just too much for Ana’s delicate sensibilities. But instead of telling him to back off, she thanks him. Because that’s how you let somebody know they are making you uncomfortable. Face. Meet Palm. Oh wait, you already know each other? Have I introduced you to Desk as well?

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Ana is then momentarily horrified that her boss hands her some work. And wants it done! What an unreasonable prick! Ana gets right on it and spends the morning emailing Christian. Gripping, unputdownable emails. Like this one:

“I am eating a banana as I type.”

Of course you are. What else would one eat? Especially if one is a teenage girl who still thinks things like that are funny or sexy. Or whatever.

After a half dozen emails to Christian Ana finally starts to work. After lunch she emails Christian some more, until he tells her to stop because her work emails are monitored. Ana is flabbergasted. Mostly because I like that word. Flabbergasted. She has no idea that work email could be monitored. In 2011, I think this is set, she doesn’t know that work email is monitored? Give me a break.

At the end of the day Ana heads off for that drink she promised to have with her boss, at a bar coincidently called Fifty’s. She is surprised but happy that it is a whole-office affair. Being the self-centred baby that she is. she naturally assumed it was a date between her and her creepy good-morning-saying boss.

Ana heads to the bathroom to check out how amazing she looks, but first, we are “treated” to more email! Four more emails! From her phone! I know you’re as excited as I am.

Why she doesn’t text Christian, I’ll never be sure, but that’s the least of this story’s problems really. Just keep reading, you’ll see why.

Ana heads out to the street and is confronted by a woman, who dares to call out her name. Ana is confused. How can a person know her name? How is this possible? Maybe it’s a candy-gram, I don’t know, but it’s not as crazy out of left field as Ana makes it out to be. Ana describes the woman as pale and “strangely blank” with “flat” brown eyes.

Sweet! E. L. James has sent a cyborg from the future to kill Ana and rip the space-time continuum a new one. Yes! This place just got interesting.

It had you interested there for a moment, right? Me too, but it isn’t to be. In fact something altogether more boring and clichéd happens. Sigh. Mysterious Ghost Woman turns out to be one of Christian’s evil exes, who asks, “What do you have that I don’t?”

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I, for one, am totally stoked to find out what Ana has that evil ex doesn’t. I’m very sure that it has something to do with Ana’s virginal goody-goodness luring Christian toward normality like a moth drawn to an incandescent bulb. Wait. I’m not stoked to find that out at all. In fact, I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Moving right along, evil ex #1 doesn’t actually do anything, just turns and leaves, but Ana is now terrified. The League of evil exes is on to you now Ana! You’d better run! Instead, she heads over to Fifty’s to get her drink on. Ana steers conversation away from herself by asking her co-workers questions about their lives. She calls this her ‘patented distraction technique’. I’m sorry to let you know Ana, but this is a well-known method to get others talking about themselves. Even a socially stunted neckbeard like myself is aware of it.

Ana then is forced to converse with her close-talking boss. Quelle Horreur! To make her discomfort with his presence good and clear Ana makes polite conversation, blushes and giggles. That’ll show him! Of course, Close-talk boss only exists to showcase how jealous and possessive Christian is, so hey presto! Christian shows up to act, you guessed it, jealous and possessive. Ana is relieved that someone here can deal with her boss, but is confused about why there is suddenly so much tension in the room. Christian actually has to tell her that he and her boss were having a pissing match. I get the feeling Ana was raised by those see no evil hear no evil monkeys. It would explain a lot.

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They head out to Christian’s car where Christian announces that he has just bought the company she works for, and threatens to fire Mr. Jeckyl-Hyde if he so much as winks at Ana. Ana is furious. Finally! An appropriate emotion. Because that is beyond creepy. Ana yells at Christian, and then calls it a brain to mouth malfunction. That’s right sister, you’d better keep it quiet or you’re going to end up stuffed in a fridge somewhere.

Our crappy couple repair to Ana’s house to sex it up. Nope. They cook dinner: Ana decides on a stir fry because it’s the fastest thing to make. It might be except that Ana doesn’t have any food in the house, because her roommate personal care assistant, Kate, is on vacation. Christian is furious. Furious! So we get to follow them on a gripping visit to THE STORE.

Christian is all awkward and stupid in the grocery store and Ana briefly gets to feel superior. Savour it baby, it won’t last long. Christian admits that he has no idea who buys his groceries. They just kind of appear. And he’s all “Waaaah! Why can’t I get good wine at a grocery store?!” Welp. Because it’s a grocery store?  Don’t worry Christian, you can just buy the grocery store and have all the employees killed for their blatant non-good-wine-having.

Back at Ana’s apartment, Ana conspires to get Christian into bed by touching him incessantly while she cooks. And it works. Of course it does. This is Fifty Shades of WTF after all. But it gets better! We finally get treated to page after page of that dirty BDSM we’ve been promised!

Lol, no! Not one bit. They do have sex though – regular, boring Harlequin romance style sex. You know you love it!

Christian forces Ana to spell out exactly what she wants, and refuses to do anything to her unless she does. Good idea Christian. I hope you’re recording this because you’ll need it at the trial! Ana is completely mortified (it doesn’t take much) and tells him what to do with a combination of pointing and blushing. A good time is had by all. Or so they tell me.

And that’s it. We can flush another nugget of “gold” down the toilet, and settle in for Chapter 4 of Fifty Shades Darker. Which, I have to say, is not particularly dark. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen episodes of Fairly Odd Parents that are more disturbing. Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. But at least we got through a chapter without mentioning teh gays! It’s not much, but I’ll take it.

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