Valentine’s Day: Red Roses or Red Room of Pain?

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Red room of pain or red roses. Which would you pick?

I love Valentine's Day.  I am not much of a hearts and flowers, schmoopy romantic kinda girl but I'll admit, I like a dedicated day to be silly and celebrate love with my man.  No, I don't need a commercialized holiday to remind me that I love someone but I've always kind of enjoyed the V-Day hype, from the candy hearts that say stuff like “hubba hubba” to cliché red roses by the dozen.

Red Room of Pain

But this Valentine's Day, I'm gonna spice it up.  Do a little something different and suggest my husband take me to the premiere of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.  Nothing says “I love you” like sitting in a jam packed theater full of people watching a fictional account of an insecure college girl getting spanked, right?

As if. 

The books were bad enough thankyouverymuch.  Here's my rationale behind skipping this movie and why I thought this book belongs on the toilet paper roll.

I read the Twilight Books. Every stinkin’ one. Someone told me “if you liked Twilight, you’ll love 50 Shades of Grey.” I wish I could remember who said that so I could kick their ass. I’m no book critic but I know crap when I see it.

The initial 50 Shades hype has fizzled but the upcoming release of the movie is causing women worldwide to get twitterpated about the hot-hot-hot trailer and the perpetually dysfunctional horndog with mommy issues that is Christian Grey.

By the way, if you’ve been hiding under a rock, haven’t read the book, and you are the type who gets upset about possible movie “spoilers,” then turn around right now.

Don’t pass GO, don’t collect $200.

This book series is fan fiction written by someone who didn’t think Twilight was sexy enough. It’s a little creepy that someone thought a book about high school kids needed more nooky. Granted, one kid had been 17 for a really long time, but still.  Ew.

The storyline mimics Twilight in character description and basic demographics. Awkward girl meets smokin’ hot, emotionally distant rich dude. Girlfriend is drawn to him, like a fly to cow poop, in spite of the fact that he’s a textbook commitment-phobe with (what anyone who can spell “psychology” can recognize) abandonment issues.

There are three books to the series, but I’ll confess I didn’t finish. Somewhere during the first chapter of the third book, I asked myself “why am I reading this crap?” and stepped away from the Kindle.

To give you a short recap, Edward Christian initially tries to push Bella Anastasia away, despite the oh-so-powerful attraction. Once he decided Bellastasia was the gal for him, he handed her a contract specifying how she’d be his on-call sex toy for shenanigans in his “red room of pain.” Anyone who’s seen The Good Wife can figure out this contract isn’t legally binding, but girlfriend fretted over it like it was the Magna Carta.  Do I really need to mention that Christian Grey likes a side order of freaky with his morning grits?

Despite the fact that our commitment-phobic hottie wants a regular romp devoid of emotion, these two predictably fall in love. Although his controlling nature freaks Bellastasia out, their courtship moves at warp speed. They were honeymooning when I decided I said “take this book and shove it.” I’m assuming they lived freakily ever, after but if there was some kind of plot twist, I’m blissfully ignorant.

Why I don’t like this book:

Double standard:

We chuckle about the suburban mom getting hot and bothered reading detailed accounts of BDSM sex while sitting in the carpool line. Mommy porn sounds harmless, right? Flip the script and I bet we’re not okay with a guy reading “daddy porn” at soccer practice.  We’d give that guy major stink eye and get our kids the hell out of there.

[Tweet “Mommy porn sounds harmless but do we see a dude reading “daddy porn” the same way?”]

Bad examples:

This isn’t a healthy ideal for young women.  Girls the world over are romanticizing controlling behavior. Bellastasia lets her man pick her clothes and control her social calendar. She snivels about lack of control, but happily accepts all kind of expensive presents and calls it good. Are we sending the message that it’s okay if the guy is a controlling douchebag if he buys us cool stuff?

Why 50 Shades isn't my idea of Valentine's Day Fun|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

We shouldn’t send the message to young women that absence of autonomy is okay. I understand the allure of having a guy buy you expensive shit when you fret about having a bad day. Having an oh-so-discreet live in maid wash your undies and make you pancakes after a night of debauchery? Who wouldn’t like that? But finding lack of control over your decision making sexy, just because the guy is hot and rich? Just no.

[Tweet “Lack of control over your decision making isn't sexy – not even when the guy is hot & rich”]

Crap writing:

Aside from the fact that the plot is a shameless Twilight copycat, and that it sends an unhealthy message to women, my inner grammar Nazi goes apoplectic by about Chapter Four. A sex scene that reads as if it were written by a fourteen year old isn’t sexy.

I can overlook a few run-on sentences, but the sex in these books isn’t anywhere in the ballpark of realism. These two fools hump like bunnies on blue meth. Won’t your willy fall off if you do it that much?

[Tweet “”These 2 fools hump like bunnies on blue meth.” Me on 50 Shades”]

If the answer is anything other than yes, don’t tell my husband, k? I’m already rocking the low expectations in the bedroom.

If you’re looking for a good dirty book, look elsewhere. If getting lost in the slap and tickle between an insecure college girl and a control freakity freak sounds like a good way to spend a couple of lazy afternoons (trust me, this a quick read) then rock on, but I’ve pretty much just told you the plot so you don’t have to put yourself through the agony. You’re welcome.

[Tweet “I'll stick with hearts & flowers this V-day. I'll take red roses over the red room of pain any day.”]

As for me, this Valentine's Day, I'm going to stick with the hearts and flowers.  My man and I won't be crammed in a theater like sardines with a bunch of heavy breathers hoping to get lucky later on. Maybe we'll catch it on Netflix one of these nights…but I'll never tell a soul!

How 'bout you?

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  1. OMG, I could not have said this better myself. I trudged through the first book – same reason, a friend said, OMG, you have to read this!!! I did. Then, she gave me the second one. I started to read it and into chapter two, I was where you were in book three. I called this trashy novel loving friend and said, “Jesus, do they every stop banging? Is this just the first book written in different words? Does anything actually happen?” She said, “Oh, yeah, at the end!!” Haaayelll NO! I never picked it up again. I have to say I am so happy that Charlie Hunnam stepped down from the role of Christian. I’m sure like the book, the movie will make a lot of money but I think he and his agent realized he’s leagues above a B porn movie that will be a flash in the panties, I mean pan! No interest in seeing it. Plus, the two they cast have absolutely no chemistry, the dude is NOT sexy, he looks too geeky to be hot and the should have cast either Ian Somerholder or Alexander Skarsgard for the role (something about playing a vampire – these two guys exude sexiness and can be “vulneerable” at times, too. After spewing venom about Fifty Shades, I should confess I was a slave to Sons of Anarchy and Charlie Hunnam. Was SOA equal to a trasy porn novel? Maybe, but hell, at least there was a damn plot!!! I LOVE THIS POST!! Have a great Valentine’s Day <3

  2. Sadly, I did read all three books, but you are so right definitely about these books being awful and yet totally sucked me in. So, I will not be going to see the movie and will truly be doing something better with my time. But then again when it comes out on cable all best are off for me, too. I will keep your secret if you keep mine 😉

  3. Thanks for all this. I am that person you talk about who hasn’t read the book. I have heard similar ‘praise’ for it though and will also not be queuing up to watch it at the cinema. I appreciated your ‘what’s good for the goose, should be good for the gander’ part too. Equality has been slipping the other way these days, in some respects. Nice piece. 🙂

  4. Yes.. the writing in that book was so bad, esp the sex scenes. I did read all three, but the whole time I was thinking, “Why am I reading this?” But I have a weird issue if I start a book series I feel the need to finish it.

  5. I actually refuse to read this book for all the reasons you have listed and more! I was a reading comments in a debate that someone else was having over this book, and they basically summed it up as “Those that are negative about the book should just look at it like two people who weren’t in a good relationship together, but apart they can be happy.” WHAT?? From what I have read about the book and the review, it sounds like something 10x worse then that.
    They can go shove their red room of pain, in my opinion.

  6. Well, I know I am in the minority… but I liked the books. There was so much more to the book than porn, so to speak. Yes, Anastasia signed a contract. Yes, she entered the “play room”. Yes, she began to enjoy the life of being sexually controlled. Then there is Grey – a seemingly cold sexual sadist, who only wants her for his sexual pleasures. However, it doesn’t stay that way… does it? His heart warms, they fall in love, and he saves her from a vindictive former employee, who wants to see them dead. I felt there was deeper meaning to this book. I am not normally the Romance Genre type, but this one I read, at the advice of a colleague. Books are meant to take you places and make you feel things you have not before – whether it is in a forest clearing of vampires and wolves, a city of factions, an arena fighting for your life, or a room where fantasies seem real. Many of you call this smut, but if you want to read smut I suggest Emanuelle, The Happy Hooker, Lolita, and we cannot forget Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Fifty Shades of Grey series does not hold a candle to the books I named. There is however one thing I agree with… my Valentine’s Day won’t be spent in the red room of pain, but instead cuddled up to my husband watching a movie and falling asleep soon after.

  7. Im actually going to see it with my friend Ashley on Thursday… never read the books and have no idea what I’m in for, but it’s a movie night/ dildo and anal beads party with other sex toys for purchase. I’m sure we will be entertained. On a side note, I too enjoy Valentines day. An excuse to have a sitter, be lovey dovey and kidless for 5-24 hours. Looking forward to it. I’ll pass on the anal beads though.

  8. So I never thought about it this way – but you are SO right! I mean, why would anyone want to see that movie? And yes it was WAY to hardcore for this closet Nora Roberts fan!

  9. I read all 3, waiting to figure out what the big deal was. And, there wasn’t any. Frankly, I didn’t even find the sex scenes all that big a deal, and the writing was awful.

    Then again, if you’ve read any Laurell K Hamilton, she’s GRAPHIC. I admit to skipping her sex scenes, and wanting to know who the bad guy is, and if she catches him. (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series). And she has sex w/vampires and wereanimals. That can go on for PAGES.

  10. I felt the book was more of an emotionally volatile relationship vs true bdsm. He didn’t respect her safe word, he recruited a relative newby into way more than she knew what to do with and they didn’t have good communication. What could possibly go wrong? other than incredibly lazy writing, of course.