50 Shades of Pancakes

Warnings: The Fifty Shades series is extremely sexually explicit and involves BDSM. Because of that, and because they are not exactly well-researched or high-quality literature, I will mention things such as abuse, rape, rape culture, male dominance, sexism, relationship violence, and consensual BDSM. Also, the books began as Twilight fanfic, so I will be mentioning Twilight (which is a major squick for a lot of people just by itself).

Is it me, or is it a little obsessive to be so fixated on sex that one doesn’t want to do anything else?  I understand being in love.  I understand wanting to have sex.  But at the exclusion of everything else whenever you’re with the person?  That doesn’t seem realistic.  Or healthy, actually.  Increasingly, this story is coming across like it can’t decide whether it’s erotica or something else.  I’m leaning toward something else.

After Christian takes Ana flying and then kisses her until she wants to forgo breakfast in favor of humping in a field, they do the most romantic thing ever: they go to IHOP.  No, really.  Even Ana seems surprised.  It’s made even better when she describes the restaurant as smelling like “sweet batter, fried food, and disinfectant.”  Thanks for that disturbing thought, Ana.

Ana says what the rest of us are thinking: “What the hell is Christian Grey doing in IHOP?”  (Okay, not in those exact words.)  Given what we’ve seen of him so far, it does seem a little strange.  Still, that could be a great set-up for something romantic and fun…except that it’s not.

That’s one of the biggest problems I have with the awful writing in this book.  So often it seems like we’re going to get more, and then the author leaves us cold.  All of these great lead-ins end up being disappointing filler between sex scenes.  Instead of Ana and Christian taking this opportunity to get to know each other, all they do is imply that they’d both like to go at it like rabbits in the middle of IHOP.

Fortunately, the server interrupts them and gets all flustered when she sees Christian.  Of course.  I mean, it’s not like this happens every time Ana and Christian go out together because we all need to be reminded how hot he is.  We’re spared Ana’s usual jealous rage over it this time, but after the server leaves, we get Ana’s whining, which makes up for it.  She apparently thinks it’s unfair that he “disarms” women.

He’s apparently both confused and not confused about this.  He says it’s just his looks.  Ana explains that it’s more than that, to which he replies,

You disarm me totally, Miss Steele.  Your innocence.  It cuts through all the crap.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a compliment.

When they finish their meal, Ana offers to pay.  I just love Christian’s reply:

Are you trying to completely emasculate me?

Yes, Christian, that’s exactly what she had in mind.  She obviously knew that her offer to pay would make you feel very, very tiny inside.  I’m so glad we have this book, or we might never advance the cause of feminism, which has a clear goal of emasculating men by having women pick up the tab.

Naturally, Stalker Christian knows where to drop Ana off.  Instead of being completely weirded out by this, she’s disappointed that he can’t take her back to his hotel room and have lots of kinky sex.  She thinks,

Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.

Well, all righty then.

After several pages of annoying chit-chat, emails, and phone calls, Ana discovers that Christian has phoned her while she was accepting a job offer.  When she calls him back, he tells her he has to leave because of a “situation.”  She’s relieved that even though he sounds angry, it’s probably not at her.  On the other hand, she recalls that the last “situation” he dealt with was her virginity, which makes her think,

Jeez, I hope it’s nothing like that.

The chapter concludes with another series of exasperating emails.  The thing I hate about these emails is that they read exactly like things people send in real life.  That is, they really only make sense to the participants.  I hope Christian explains to Ana what she says in her sleep, because I don’t think I could take another round of Gmail.


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