50 Reasons Why I Won’t be Reading 50 Shades of Grey

Posted on
Jun 5, 2012

I spent the weekend in L.A.

After 48 hours or so, I was run out of town by an impeccably-dressed, gorgeous mob with chiseled abs, all screaming in unison: “DEATH TO THE SQUISHY MORTAL.”

Okay, fine. I’m exaggerating.


Which is way worse, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But hey, a vicious mob is a great way to meet new people.

“You wield a torch like a pro!” or “OMG, that pitchfork matches your earrings!” are good ice breakers.

So is talking about your spouse. He came up several times, and one or two folks were absolutely tickled when they heard that he was a tech CEO in Seattle.

“So, is he Christian Grey?” asked one Los Angeleno. Cue laughter from the crowd.

This is what I’m now up against when I travel. People find out I’m a Seattle native, and that Rand owns a small tech company, and they immediately mention 50 Shades of Grey – the new erotic novel by British author E.L. James that happens to take place in my hometown. I haven’t read the book, and I know how the adage goes, but here I am, judging it by its cover (and its reviews. And the impression it’s left on my friends).

Apparently the lead character, a young, virginal, awkward woman by the name of Anastasia Steele (Sigh. Really?), falls madly in love with Christian Grey, a 26-year-old, fluent-in-French, gorgeous billionaire tech-mogul with a penchant for BDSM.

Forgive me, but everything I’ve heard makes it sound absolutely ridiculous. And while it’s topping everyone’s summer reading lists, I won’t be touching it.

Here are my 50 reasons why:

  1. It started as Twilight fan fiction. Yes, really. For the record, this should never, ever be the inspiration for a book. “I ate a really good sandwich” would be better. Even “I was so moved by the collected works of the cast of The Jersey Shore I decided to put in it words” is more acceptable. “I read Twilight and wanted to make an erotic version of it” is not.
  2. It’s about 20-somethings in the Northwest, but apparently the protagonist talks like this: “I want you very badly, especially now, when you’re biting your lip again.” NO 20-SOMETHING IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST HAS EVER UTTERED A PHRASE EVEN REMOTELY LIKE THAT WHEN COURTING SOMEONE ELSE.
  3. The author doesn’t know what “subconscious” means.
  4. I never finished reading The Great Gatsby.
  5. Not even Paul Allen flies around in a helicopter. It’s dangerous and impractical, and probably invalidates your life insurance. Private jets leaving from Boeing Field are way more “in.”
  6. If I want a really good love story that features bondage, I’ll just watch Secretary.
  7. I can’t actually stress this enough: you cannot sign over your sexual rights via a legal contract. No lawyer in their effing mind would draft that up, and no judge would even consider enforcing it.
  8. I don’t get it: is she is employee or his girlfriend?
  9. If she were really smart, she’d have asked for stock.
  10. I’m willing to bet that no Seattlite has a”Red Room of Pain.” It’s the Northwest. We’re cold and tired and prone to silly dreams. We have “Dingy Basements Where We Grow Pot” and “Garages Where One Day We’re Going to Rehearse With Our Band” and, if we’re lucky, “Kitchens That Smell Like Pie.”

    No, that wasn't a euphemism. I really meant pie.

  11. This book is about Americans and is set in America, yet it’s peppered with Britishisms. Like “rucksack” and “smartly dressed” and “ringing” someone up on the phone. I can only hope “spotted dick” was included, too.
  12. Explain to me how someone’s eyes can be “smoldering embers”. Without sounding stupid.
  13. Apparently one book ends and the other
  14. just starts and there’s no real transition between them.
  15. The female protagonist says “Holy cow!” 84 times throughout the trilogy. Which, you know, is an expression 20-somethings often use. (Also, this Amazon review has compiled other phrases that are overused in the book. It is delightful.)
  16. I bet not even this Christian Grey fellow can get into the secret room above Tavern Law.
  17. Seattle CEOs do not ask their assistants/girlfriends/sex-slaves to make them sandwiches. When they are hungry, they go to Wild Ginger, which apparently they all collectively own.
  18. I have to do laundry.
  19. Apparently the author “borrows” certain scenes – like ordering everything off the hotel room service menu – from Pretty Woman. Which, lest you’ve forgotten, IS A TERRIBLE MOVIE.
  20. I still have to catch up on Sherlock.

    I knew this photo would come in handy someday.

  21. I’m worried it will make me regret being literate.
  22. No self-respecting tech mogul in Seattle would buy a woman an Apple computer.
  23. On that note, why is she a college student without a computer? How does that even happen?
  24. One day I want to hang out with Joss Whedon, Dan Harmon, and Tina Fey, and I don’t want to preemptively lose their respect.
  25. Stupid stories stay with me far longer than good ones. I’m afraid that, like Raising Helen, this book will haunt my dreams.
  26. Because when you think about it, life is really short.
  27. Where do they find the time to have all this sex (and not-sex)? It’s been my personal experience that Seattle entrepreneurs are really busy.
  28. I’m really, really sick of female protagonists who are virgins, waiting to give it up to the perfect guy. Why can’t the heroine be a self-actualized, sexually-active 20-something who decided to get it on with a guy who later turned out to be perfect? I mean, hypothetically speaking.
  29. I already have enough things I’ll need to confess to on my deathbed. Having read this book should not be one of them.
  30. Someone’s mouth cannot “quirk up”. That is not a thing.
  31. Seattle entrepreneurs don’t own ties. Certainly not enough to have a tie-bondage sexfest.
  32. I don’t think loving a person means you should want to change them.
  33. Twilight-author Stephanie Meyer has refused to read it. And it’s not like that woman is a literary snob.
  34. I have a sneaking suspicion the two leads are gonna get hitched. What are the odds they actually include a chapter about prenups? I mean there’s fiction, and then there’s fantasy.

    No it ain't.

  35. Billionaires aren’t in their 20s. And if they are, they aren’t single. Or drop-dead gorgeous. Instead, they’re stressed-out and sleep-deprived and have terrible diets.
  36. It actually contains this line: “My inner goddess is doing the dance of the seven veils.” In the author’s defense, that is comedic gold. Unfortunately, the book is not supposed to be comedic.
  37. The book is set in both Seattle and Vancouver. The author has never been to Seattle. Or Vancouver.

    New rule: you have to visit this town at least once before setting a novel here.

  38. James originally wrote under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon.” (Actually, the more I think about it, Snowqueens Icedragon is kind of an awesome name. I might have actually read the book if it had been released by Ms. Icedragon.)
  39. I’d be way more interested if he was the submissive.

    Pinchy pinchy.

  40. He says she can’t snack between meals? DEALBREAKER.

    You can't simultaneously love someone and tell them they can't have snacks.

  41. I cannot imagine his board of directors would be cool with any of his behavior.
  42. If he were really a tech entrepreneur, there would be a lot more freaking out about servers and code and metrics and budgets, and far fewer nipple clamps.
  43. Why does preferring a BDSM lifestyle automatically necessitate that you had to have a fucked-up childhood?
  44. I lost enough credibility when I read The Hunger Games trilogy. In like, two days. And loved it.
  45. I’m a weensy bit jealous of the author’s success. #thereIsaidit
  46. I’m scared I might like it a little.
  47. Like Twilight‘s Bella, the female protagonist is constantly tripping on things, which is apparently sexy. And, you know, notthe sign of a serious inner ear condition that needs medical attention.

    Me, December 2001, in the hallway of Rand's apartment. I was clearly trying to seduce him.

  48. Because Seattle deserves better.
  49. Because erotic fiction really deserves better.
  50. Because if I really want a good love story about an adorably disheveled Seattle CEO and the absolute mess of a woman that he loves, I need look no further than my own life. You just need to swap out the whips and chains and ball gags and violent sex for cupcakes and cuddling on the couch.

And here’s the one reason why I might read it:

  1. It sounds hilarious.

Weigh in, kids. What do you think? The comments are open.

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