When I heard about Grey a month or so ago, I was actually kind of interested in seeing Christian’s perspective. Now, having read chapter one, I am no longer interested at all. The chapters are arranged by date rather than number so we start off on:
Monday May 9th, 2011
We start with a dream sequence because why not? Christian is well, less than 4, because he’s back with his birth mother. He plays with some toy cars while she ignores him. When he loses one under the couch, she gets mad at him and calls him a maggot. He can see his little car but can never play with it again.
It’s all very dramatic and emo. We’re obviously supposed to feel sorry for Christian, but it fails to conjure any kind of emotion, except maybe mild repugnance that it is such an obvious narrative ploy. And this is coming from a person who cried her fucking face off at Toy Story 3. An animated movie about sentient possibly immortal toys managed to tug at my heartstrings, while this is tugging at, I don’t know, my colon I guess.
Christian wakes up, thinks “WTF?” and promptly forgets about it. He has a busy day of meetings ahead. He puts on his sweaty sweat-sweats and hits the treadmill. He thinks about calling Elena, since she’s his only friend and he’s recently cut loose his latest submissive.
Then we are at Grey’s office and Christian is dismissing his personal trainer, and is pissed that the trainer is better than him at…whatever it is he does…they don’t specify. Christian sits alone in his office and feels boooored. He’s so bored, even the weather is grey.
IF ONLY THERE WAS SOMETHING INTERESTING THAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!
Christian sighs as he realises that he has to sit through a student interview with Kate Kavanagh, an interview he only agreed to because he knows Kate’s dad and wants to be owed a favour. It’s made clear that Christian views everything through a transactional lens. He only does anything to get something in return.
Then Ana bursts in the door like Kramer. Christian is annoyed that she is not Kate (what about his favour?), and annoyed that she is clumsy, but he helps her up anyway because it would look bad if he didn’t act vaguely like a human being.
Ana looks at him with her baby blues and suddenly Christian feels “exposed.” He doesn’t like it. So he starts thinking about what she would look like after being caned. He’s known her for all of two seconds and he’s ready to pull out the heavy fuck-tillery.
Ana “gapes” at him, and Christian knows it’s because he’s so fucking beautiful. He thinks, “Yeah, yeah, baby, it’s just a face…”
Gross, right? He muses that she’s too young for his tastes, but Christian is bored and she’s annoying so he decides to have some fun messing with her head.
He’s good people.
Christian pretends he doesn’t know Ana isn’t Kate, forcing her to embarrass herself explaining why she’s here in Kate’s place. He thinks about how ugly and cheap her clothes are, and mentally mocks her poor sense of style. He practically facepalms while she fumbles for an entire page to get her voice recorder set up. Instead of snatching it out of her hands and setting it up himself, he amuses himself by thinking about riding crops, and all the things he is going to do to Ana’s mouth.
Finally, Ana gets her tech shit together and asks him if he minds her recording the interview. Christian has to stop himself from laughing in her face. Why not ask before she spent all that time setting the recorder up? Why indeed.
She starts asking questions and Christian realises that Ana is the worst journalist ever. She knows nothing about him and is reading her questions from a sheet. He’s still pretty annoyed but increasingly distracted by her hotness. Then she asks him if he feels lucky.
Well, do you?
No Christian does not feel lucky! He feels livid! He’s fucking furious at her impertinent questions! He worked hard for his success and no one has ever helped him. Not his rich parents, not the elite education they provided him. It was all him, and if he had stayed with his birth mother I’m sure he would have been juuuust as successful.
He’s like all the worst parts of Johnny Bravo, Zapp Brannigan, and Scrooge McDuck all rolled into one, with a liberal peppering of Severus Snape for that brooding emo undertone.
When he calms down from his little tantrum Ana points out that he sounds like a control freak. And since everything she says is an excuse for him to make some kind of gross sexual comment, he says:
“Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele.”
Ana isn’t as impressed by that as Christian had hoped, so he tells her he employs forty thousand people and could destroy their lives at a whim. Ana is shocked and Christian is happy again. If he can’t impress the girl, repulsing her is good enough.
Ana asks if he has any outside interests, and he is all like, Oh baby, you don’t even know about it and imagines her in some kind of sex-dungeon montage. It’s tiresome. Ana pitches softballs (what are his hobbies? Why does he invest in farming?) and Christian gives pat answers while thinking about sex.
The interview goes on like this, all poorly thought out questions and sexual innuendoes until…the question.
“Are you gay, Mr. Grey?”
Everything comes to a screeching halt. I’m just going to quote the text here because it is its own delightful shit show.
What the hell?
I cannot believe she’s said that out loud! Ironically, the question even my own family will not ask. How dare she! I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back. That would answer her ridiculous question.
That’s in there. That’s actually factually what it says. And that, my friends, is why everyone thinks 50 Shades is homophobic. It’s supposed to be 2011 for God’s sake, not 1954. At least he doesn’t verbalise any of this crap. He just answers, that no, he is not gay.
Christian’s secretary knocks on the door just in time to dispel the weirdness in the air – it is time for his next meeting. Christian has her cancel the meeting – he is suddenly desperate for Ana to stay. It’s obvious that Ana doesn’t really like him but he uses his magical billionaire powers to make her be attracted to him. Christian decides it’s time for the smolder.
He is “gratified” when it works.
Christian offers her an internship (he plans on paying her ‘some other way’) but Ana refuses. He offers her a tour of the company, but she refuses that too. He tries every ploy in his book to get her to stay, but Ana makes to leave anyway.
His sexy sex-thoughts having gone into overdrive, Christian tries a desperate last ditch move. He helps her with her coat as a pretense to touch her, and thusly to use his magic sex-telepath powers. It works! She doesn’t stay, but now he’s content to let her leave.
We end the chapter with Christian ordering Welch (the security guy) to run a background check on Anastasia.