Well, against my better judgement I’ve resumed updates on I Read 50 Shades. I’ve had a nice long break and I am unpleasantly surprised to find that 50 Shades Darker is just as bad as I remember.
Here’s the tl:dr – Sex, sex, library, charity ball, temper tantrum, I have a stroke.
So, Chapter 6. They do in fact describe the sex from the last chapter, I guess it just needed to be shunted over to the next chapter so I can enjoy it in loving detail. Lucky me. Somehow, as always, the description of the sex is a bit off. By the end of the first paragraph, the author has to assure us that, ‘it’s heavenly.’
Whatever happened to show, don’t tell? Is that not the first rule of storytelling? Seriously, the first rule of writing club is don’t tell people about writing club. I feel like that should have been part of the dialogue, but then it would be one more thing that made Ana sound uber-British, instead of like the young American girl we are supposed to imagine.
Ana goes all moany and Christian says, “Yes, baby. Let me hear you.” He sounds overly formal for someone in the middle of sex, like Sexy-Talk-Bot 5000. For some reason this particular exchange has led me to hear all Christian’s lines in the voice of Principal Skinner.
Are you adequately prepared to rock?
Ana is. Apparently. Ana ‘can sense his longing, mixed with –what?’ I don’t fucking know! Just tell me. Veneration. It turns out to be veneration. She can also feel his ‘hungry desperation’ and says it has never been like this before. Except every other fucking time. This girl. She forgets quick.
The very thought that she can bring somebody comfort with sex makes her come ‘unravelled.’ I’m not sure she was ever quite ravelled in the first place. Or knitted up. I don’t think ravelled and unravelled are opposites. I don’t know. Whatever.
Christian breaks up her weird inner montage thing by abruptly standing and tossing a condom packet at her. Suave. I imagine it hitting her in the face with a little ‘tschick’ sound.
Then they get it on! Bow-chicka-bow-bow…There’s lots of stilted sounding up-and-downing and in-and-outing, talk of perfect symmetry, and for some inexplicable reason, spinning.
Afterwards, they relax together and Christian remarks that Ana has no idea how beautiful she is. The conversation goes thusly: You’re insecure, don’t know what for. You’re turning heads when you walk through the doooooor…
That’s the gist of it. Listen to some 1D and you’ll get the same creepy, ‘insecurity is soooper hawt’ vibe. Ana notes that she feels totally comfortable sitting naked with Christian in broad daylight. Like a brazen strumpet. Instead of in the shameful, sin-hiding darkness like a proper lady. She doesn’t say that last bit of course, but the implication is there.
Let me step back for a moment and just say, there are soooo many things wrong with the portrayal of sex in this book. So much repressed Catholic guilt. Sex ought to be fun and life-affirming, not a scary dark underworld that good girls get pulled into, like souls into the gaping maw of hell. The words chosen to describe the sex are instructive: dark, growling, forbidden, dangerous, punishing (not in the context of bdsm). These are words appropriate to describing a bunch of werewolves hunched over a kill, not two consenting adults having sex.
And consider: Ana is portrayed as being basically asexual until she meets Christian. She hasn’t had a boyfriend (or girlfriend, but let’s ignore the homophobia I’ve previously noted in this book). She’s never kissed, or even held hands with anyone. Ever. And she had never wanted to. Not even with little Bobby in the first grade. That’s explicitly stated in the first book. She never ever experienced any twinges of any funny feelings “down there” until she meets Christian, who somehow, magically turns her sex switch to the “on” position. And suddenly she’s a full-on nymphomaniac. I am pretty uninformed as to how it works being an asexual, but I don’t think it works that way. Any aces are welcome to correct me here…
Okay, back to the point…they fool around a bit and Christian, “removes the condom, dropping it unceremoniously on the floor.” That is a direct quote. That is also just fucking gross. Rich guy can’t afford a trashcan? Yuck.
They fool around some more and then get it on again. The scene fades out to this exchange:
“Again?” I murmur.
He smiles. “Oh yes, Miss Steele. Again.”
After the sex but before the Charity ball something vaguely unsettling happens. I mean, more unsettling than usual. More unsettling even than the fact that she is careful to leave her hair a gross, knotted, sex-smelling mess when she gets ready for the charity ball. And that’s pretty unsettling.
Christian says, “Come. I want to show you something.”
I get the niggling feeling I’ve heard this somewhere before…then Christian leads her to…
The farther I get into this chapter the more unsettling it gets: little, offhand references to her ‘sexy beast’, and to ‘enchanted kingdoms’ only intensify the creepiness. I get the feeling that the author’s kids were mainlining Beauty and the Beast while she was writing this chapter. At least I hope so. That’s the least icky explanation.
After this, most of the rest of the chapter is pretty uneventful. Somewhere in there, Christian convinces Ana she wants to wear the Ben Wa balls to the charity ball, and that it will be a huge larf (she ends up just taking them out, so that’s a non-starter right there). The event turns out to be a masked ball, which explains the mask on the cover of the book, although the mask described is a lovely silver filigree and cobalt blue, and not the tinfoil dollar store jobby on the front.
They go to the ball, put on by Christian’s mother, and the author assures us all it’s very lovely and opulent, but we’ll have to trust her since it’s only vaguely described. The masqueraders are described as wearing “all manner of masks.” Remember when we had this problem with the sex, above? She doesn’t show us it’s good. She has to assure us that it is. Let me put on my skepticles.
There’s dinner, catty small talk with Christian’s many jilted admirers, and weird faked-up drama. All the things we’ve grown to love! Or expect. Or grudgingly tolerate.
Ana ends the chapter on a note of childish spite. She’s already cranky at only having gotten off a dozen times today, and stunned by the revelation that Christian owns some properties (whuda thunk it), but is stirred to fury that Mrs. Pedo Robinson is on the list of donors. As far as we can tell she isn’t even at the event, but the mere thought of one of Christian’s exes making a donation to the poor enrages Ana. Seriously. She’s pissed.
Ana decides to make Christian pay (literally!) by bidding twenty four thousand dollars on a weekend getaway in Aspen. Ana makes the winning bid, and everyone at the table is properly scandalised since they know she hasn’t got any money of her own.
I’m sure in the next chapter there will be rage, and then angry sex, and then wheedling apologies, and then makeup sex. Here’s a handy chart for you to follow along!
It’s like a textbook abusive relationship. Social workers should have to read this book in college.
See you next time! If I haven’t stabbed my eyes out.