50 Shades of Playdate1 Aug 2012
I pull into the condo after a long day. It’s hot, humid, sticky. I drop my keycard and have to stoop to pick it up. The ground is filthy. Plain filthy. I just want to go upstairs, shower and sleep. I’m really not in the mood to talk. Or deal with his… you know…
I get to the front door. Before I can even reach for the handle, it sweeps open in front of me. He is already there. Of course. He kisses me. Once. Then he reaches up for my hand, makes me follow him down the hall. I haven’t said a word. What’s all this? What is he doing? We go into the room…
Within minutes his personality has completely changed. He is so forceful. He hits me. He hits me again. I wonder why I go back, but the truth is that it’s love. I love him and I even love this, this brutality. He is screaming in my face, he is raising his fists for another assault. He’s out of control. I just want him to embrace me and stop but he won’t. And since I first met him, he has had the power to hurt me but he’s never stopped being my man; my divine, devilish, dominating man.
How does he not know how to behave, I think, yet I can’t help myself but smile.
Before I know it, he’s jumped on top of me, grabs my hair and yanks down, bringing my face down to his level. “Mummy! I want ice cream!” he yells, right in my ear.
Welcome to Fifty Shades of Play-date.
This, the expatriate wives’ version of the EL James erotic thriller that simply everyone seems to have read at the moment is obviously a bit tamer than the literary offering, but it’s also a lot more fun, if truth be told. I love play-dates, especially as the kids get a bit older and all I have to do is give them a drink and snack and give them a board game. My daughter has at least one a week during term, and even our two-year-old is starting to see his little buddies, much to the improvement of my social diary, too.
I was a bit worried about admitting I read the trilogy at first, because, well, they’re pretty racy. But then everyone I know was talking about them. Everyone female anyway. I soon realised it wasn’t so much the topic, the sensuality and violent sexual conduct, that I was embarrassed about, it’s actually that as books go, they’re not really all that well written. It’s like The Da Vinci Code: throw a load of unlikely, high intensity scenes one after the other, write in short, moody sentences, and laugh all the way to the bank.
The funny thing about fads like this, whether books, films, music or television, is that thanks to the internet, there are almost instantly millions of spoofs and parodies, many of which get more exposure than the original. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are full of mock accounts and posters sharing jokes based on the book.
The book does make you think about relationships and dominating partners, but with her irritating immaturity, the unlikely fact that she had never been drunk, was still a virgin and is uncomfortable with the internet, added to the annoying style of narration, it’s quite hard to empathise with Anastasia. Maybe, that’s why it’s being called “Mommy Porn”. The storyline is certainly only slightly developed from the old repairman with the falling-down overalls paying a visit to the bored housewife.
Personally, I think we “Mommies” deserve a bit more respect when it comes to literature. The fact that the world thinks we are all sitting at home, devouring 50 Shades.., abandoning ourselves recklessly to its sordid characters, is a little offensive. While I’m not claiming to represent everyone, I suspect the truth is, most people read like me, enjoying the fast-pace of a real page-turner but not really ever engaging my brain. So it washes over me. Give me Steig Larsson any day of the week.
My little boy isn’t really that aggressive, by the way. Even in his wildest tantrums, he won’t really hit. The worst thing he did was pull our highly sensitive cat’s ears, which earned him a scratch to the leg, so I guess that makes them about even. Maybe Anastasia Steele should have just got a cat…