Call me late to the party, but I never read a single page of 50 Shades of Grey. Though single for nearly twenty years before recently remarrying, I’d been tied up much of the time. Flogging, handcuffs, murmured obscenities – they’d become as routine as flossing my teeth before bed. What modern girl hasn’t experienced the unremitting joy of a lover whipping her bare behind until it vibrates like a well-plucked guitar string, or whispering the c-word in her ear over and over to urge himself to climax. 50 Shades of Grey? I’d said, “Enough! Nay, nay!”
But when the movie was about to debut on the silver screen a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to see what forty-five million American women had already embraced so enthusiastically. Weren’t these the same women who likely berated their husbands when they caught them furtively watching porn late at night? What made 50 Shades of Grey not only acceptable to mainstream women but fully embraceable? And didn’t most of my post-50-year-old girlfriends kvetch about having to endure sex with their Viagra-fueled husbands anyway?
I needed answers. So six tennis gal pals and I each downed a couple of bracing cocktails at happy hour and assumed the position – in this case, nearly supine in a luxury theater with reserved leather recliners. We were in good company. Gaggles of giggling women soon filled every row, with a few sheepish looking men in tow. The lights dimmed, the movie began, and in what felt like less than 50 blinks of an eye, I got it!
Lovely yet naïve single girl (hymen intact, last college student on the planet with no email account) meets uber-wealthy eligible bachelor (founder of wildly successful international conglomerate with personal helicopter, multi-level condominium atop glass skyscraper, fleet of luxury cars) who happens to have an insatiable taste for BDSM. For those of you whose only exposure to bondage has been leashing the dog, BDSM is an overlapping abbreviation for Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM). And, in this case, tycoon Christian Grey’s sexual satisfaction depends upon the subjugation and suffering of the reluctant but curious Anastasia Steele.
What’s the big deal? “Flog me, flog ME!” I can nearly hear the whispers all across the packed theater. Who wouldn’t submit to the ministrations, albeit somewhat impertinent, of the illustrious Mr. Grey? I’d happily trade a few subversive swats for a new frock and a four-course meal at Canlis, overlooking Seattle’s Lake Union (likely just a five-minute chopper ride from the 24,000-square-foot pied-a-terre). And, while I have to admit that the rack after rack of restraints, gags, paddles, whips and ticklers revealed when Christian unlocked his Red Room of Pain made me squirm in trepidation, I, like the lovely Anastasia, would set aside my puritanical proclivities and eagerly bare my ass cheeks. I could feel the velvety foie gras on my tongue already.
But nearly two hours later as 50 Shades was drawing to a close, I was more than ready to spank both the insufferable Christian and his blossoming beauty. Anastasia was wising up to her tortured beau’s myriad dysfunctional traits even as she was attaining the unmistakable glow of a well-paddled woman. She wanted snuggles instead of sadism; he chose dominance over domestication. What’s a couple to do? There’s only one solution: Sequel!
It’s not likely, however, that you’ll find me standing in line for 50 Shades Darker, the next film version of author E.L. James’ blockbuster trilogy. One installment of 50 Shades was sufficient punishment for me.