I heard about this book from a friend, who spoke in hushed tones over the tops of her children’s heads as we waited in line for tables one Sunday at the local diner. That’s how you know a book is really dirty, by the way, because of the hushed tones. That’s how I found out about Judy Blume and Francine Pascal and V. C. Andrews, the holy trinity of early 1980’s soft porn. Granted, I was 11 at the time, and I didn’t know squat about sex, so I thought reading about it was amazing. I turned down pages where Something Happened (He put his hand into her pants! Shit, he’s her brother!) and re-read them over and over, just enjoying the feelings these words created in me.
“Everyone in Armonk is reading 50 Shades of Grey,” my friend Deena insisted, her hushed tones becoming less hush and more hysterical. “Moms are forgetting to pick up their kids at school! You can’t even get it! It’s sold out at bookstores everywhere!”
What started as a self-published Twilight fan fiction has turned the world of female sexuality upside down. And us guys are left to scratch our heads and wonder why. Apparently bondage and dominant-submissive relationships (yes he is dominant and not always such a nice fella) are a real turn on and totally politically correct as long as they are in the realm of fantasy for the woman in need of stimulation in the loins. What is this all about? The blurb:
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind – until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.
The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too – but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
So, ladies, please. Can you enlighten us men as to why this book has so stirred you to make it into a national craze? And guys, do you have any thoughts on women going bananas over erotica in which kinky sex is featured so prominently?
One thing is for sure. If you haven’t heard of this book yet, you are about to hear more about it. A lot more.