I’m pretty sure I’ve read this book before, but with vampires in it
August 8, 2013 2:31 PM   Subscribe

"Ana gets super embarrassed when it’s time to get to the main event, because he’s going to “kiss me there!” By all means, let’s continue with the coy use of “there” to indicate your fully adult woman parts, because childish prudery is absolutely not squicky at all when you’re already wearing pigtails and constantly referring to aspects of your sexuality as childlike. " -- Jenny Trout reads the world's best known Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey and doesn't like it. (language, nsfw strangely enough)
posted by MartinWisse (64 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are no good words for anybody's parts that aren't jokey, porny, clinical-sounding or contemptuous when said or written in public. Real couples just have to pick words from amongst the above and say them to each other in private, lovingly.
posted by jfuller at 2:47 PM on August 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


If someone expressed to me a desire that I touch them "down there" I would assume they were requesting a sexual assignation that would take place at a resort in Australia.
posted by elizardbits at 2:52 PM on August 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


"Touch me down there" is the name of the "Everyone needs a hug" note at the bottom of the MetaTalk comment box.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:54 PM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but at least those jokey, porny, et cetera words acknowledge the actual parts. "Down there" implies a certain fear of the sexual organs that just does not belong in erotica. It's like having a dirty story read to you by a slightly prudish grandmother. If that is hot for some people, please carry on, but it does not exactly hold me in thrall, you dig?
posted by palomar at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "Down there" implies a certain fear of the sexual organs that just does not belong in erotica.

Putting the phrase in the, uh, heroine's mouth characterizes her as so young and so inexperienced that she still says "down there" instead of something less sub-adult. It's erotica for the Roman Polanski set.
posted by jfuller at 3:08 PM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Touch me down there! Down! Down! Down! Not that far down!"
posted by dng at 3:08 PM on August 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


This is one of my favorite things on the internet these days. Jenny's killing those books.

Note that she's not taking exception simply to the use of "down there", but its use by a woman in pigtails who uses little-girl words for a number of her emotions and experiences and is intimate with a man who polices her food intake, decides which of her friends she's allowed to communicate with and what kind of job she may have (and then buying the company she works for), brings a gynecologist to his house to give her her first pelvic exam and put her on birth control (which she is unable to manage on her own, through two different versions of contraception), and puts money in her checking account without her knowledge or consent.

Then she digs her toe into the carpet and twists a finger around her pigtail and worries if she's bad "down there." It's pretty gross.

I highly recommend the blog.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:09 PM on August 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


One of my more hilarribly memorable 1ns experiences involved a dude who earnestly entreated me "put my thingy in your mouth!"

no

just no
posted by elizardbits at 3:10 PM on August 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


Maybe... she'd like a foot massage?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:20 PM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what it says about me that I couldn't get past the first chapter because there's an entire paragraph about how she's just gotten out of the shower and she can't go to sleep with her hair wet.

Except she's going out.

So why is she worrying about going to sleep?

This actually stopped me cold. I just couldn't stop focusing on it. You're not going to sleep! Your hair is not going to get tangled! It's all fine, why are you obsessing about it?
posted by Katemonkey at 3:26 PM on August 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


"...puts money in her checking account without her knowledge or consent"

Speaking for myself here - no consent is required for anyone (on the planet) that wants to deposit cash into my checking account.

Feel free to do so anonymously, anyone.
posted by el io at 3:26 PM on August 8, 2013 [39 favorites]


I guess it's slightly better than "front bum"?
posted by jeather at 3:34 PM on August 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The miles slip away as I floor the pedal to the metal."

This is like Sandra Bullock getting 20th Century idioms wrong in Demolition Man.
posted by brundlefly at 3:37 PM on August 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Man, all I really know about 50 Shades of Grey is that at one point there is a sexy, sexy simile involving a baby-eating hamster but these recaps are amazing and I will read them all.
posted by jess at 3:38 PM on August 8, 2013


If someone expressed to me a desire that I touch them "down there" I would assume they were requesting a sexual assignation that would take place at a resort in Australia.

Few have been touched where beer does flow and men chunder.
posted by Nomyte at 3:43 PM on August 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


MartinWisse: "constantly referring to aspects of your sexuality as childlike"

We need vague adult euphemism instead. "Notarize my papers", she gasped in a low moan, "Yesss, refinance that fukken mortgage you goddamn banker."
posted by boo_radley at 3:59 PM on August 8, 2013 [34 favorites]


Wow, I thought my all time favorite parody via cookbook,50 Shades of Chicken (which btw has some really nice recipes and some great food pictures), was going overboard in it's satire, but if anything they're underplaying just how horrible the writing is. Seriously, they manage to have a roast chicken squawking about being stuffed with a lemon sounding more erotic than a women having sex in a shower, and I don't think the cook book people were really going for that, they're just not horrible at writing.

Jenny Trout has my respect and sympathy for working her way through that so we don't have to.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:00 PM on August 8, 2013


Is Guantamo Bay far enough south to count as "down there"?
posted by chavenet at 4:00 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could gaze at him all day, but I have needs – bathroom needs.
Someone wrote this and thought, "Good enough to share."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:04 PM on August 8, 2013 [24 favorites]


I prefer the Flight-of-the-Conchords inspired 'business time.' As in:

"Hello, sexy. Would you like me to touch you in your...business time area?"

Works every time.
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:07 PM on August 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Someone wrote this and thought, "Good enough to share."

I dunno; I'm thinking of using it at my next meeting -- "excuse me, Dean, but I have needs -- bathroom needs." I am confident it will go over well.

And it's so versatile.

"Hello, cheesemonger," I will say "I have needs -- cheese needs."

"Excuse me," I could say to a waiter "I have needs -- food-paying-for needs."

On the bus "I have needs -- mass transit needs." Also useful for city council sessions.

I think you've put me on to my signature idiom!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:10 PM on August 8, 2013 [45 favorites]


I always enjoy a good takedown of Fifty Shades, but I especially kasnerkled at "I’ll show her the world. Bitches love worlds."
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:10 PM on August 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.

This is the best. And by best I mean, I mean worst.
posted by inertia at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have needs -- tie needs.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I have needs -- cheese needs."

I'm pretty sure that my cat says this to me seven or eight times a day. I'm not positive, though, because it just sounds like "nnnngah."
posted by bakerina at 4:16 PM on August 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.


I have needs -- simile needs.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:27 PM on August 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


When I visit my masseur, I say, "I have needs. Knead needs."
posted by xingcat at 4:46 PM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's funny because my Swiss steak supply store has needles -- knead needles.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it's slightly better than "front bum"?

Front Butt is a very serious medical condition.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:57 PM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Patton Oswalt: There's nothing more offensive and disturbing to me than G-rated filth.
Warning - not G-rated
posted by bibliowench at 5:43 PM on August 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yessssss I've been looking for more literary rip-ups. This is perfect thank you.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2013


"What do you mean he's not alone?"
"He has someone with him"


Ohhhh, so that's what "not alone" means!
posted by windykites at 6:17 PM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


So good.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:22 PM on August 8, 2013


I didn't actually laugh out loud until I got to this:
Through another series of email exchanges that would be charming if I didn’t know so much about the couple in the first place, Ana (the recent 21st century college graduate) asks Christian how to research on the internet, and he (the most powerful young entrepreneur in America) tells her to always try Wikipedia first.
at which point I laughed loudly enough that my upstairs neighbor, chattering on the phone, fell silent a moment.

This actually stopped me cold. I just couldn't stop focusing on it. You're not going to sleep! Your hair is not going to get tangled! It's all fine, why are you obsessing about it?

It's always the little stuff that makes me angry in a poorly-written book. I was reading a not-good book in the bath the other night and I got so incensed that I had to get out of the tub and go to the living room to complain to The Fella about a plot point.

I entered the room swathed in towels, hair dripping, and opened with "If you were a modern-day painter making a super-secret forgery, would buy your super-secret art-forgery supplies for stripping old canvases at the same place where you buy all your other supplies, where the owner knows you by name? WOULD YOU?*"

"... no?"

"NO!"

*Clearly I am a delight to live with.
posted by Elsa at 6:27 PM on August 8, 2013 [32 favorites]


I was live-tweeting a horrible, horrible book as I read it because it was just that aggravating and my cats don't really give me feedback. It wasn't 50 Shades. Or Twilight.
posted by jeather at 6:59 PM on August 8, 2013


I have no desire to ever read 50 Shades but I am reading the hell out of this takedown and the only thing I can say about it other than how good it is is that it only gets funnier if you imagine that 50 Shades is not thinly-veiled Twilight fanfic but rather thinly-veiled Shopgirl fanfic.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:52 PM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


While we're talking about Jenny Trout, I think her website really criminally underpimps her 50 Shades reaction fiction, The Boss (with two sequels to follow), which was serialized at that link but is also available at "pay what you want" PDF download at jennytrout.com.

It's the same Billionaire Dom trope, but with clear consent and an actual 20-something female protagonist and drama and crises as required but in a less nasty-feeling way. It's hot without feminist guilt. Throw her a few bones if you read it and like it, because that's how we keep thoughtful writers writing. I don't know her, but I kind of idolize her.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:26 PM on August 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


My SO saw a version of Fifty Shades adapted for the stage. Sexual erotism was represented by a pair of dancers tangoing about the stage.

This all falls apart when he 'kisses her there', and begins making "om nomnomnom" noises. Exeunt horrified dancers.
posted by mikurski at 8:54 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once said the word "Netherlands" and my husband heard "nether regions," and I tried to clarify as "No, Dutch country" and so now "dutch country" has come to mean something totally different, and we giggle about it. Which is still more mature than this crap.
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 PM on August 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


That how them taters got started.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:35 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it's taken me a surprisingly (and embarrassingly) long time in reading through these to get what I suppose is the appeal here. My guess is that many women, particularly of an older generation (that would be touting the book as saving their marital sex lives) have desires which range outside of the borders of what they believe they are allowed to want, and thus the idea of a Christian Grey demanding that they submit to those things is hot because the lack of agency absolves them of latent guilt for those desires.

Is that about right? Somebody help me here, because I can't think of a less horrible explanation.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:57 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that about right?

If the women on my mom board are a representative sample, they are sick and tired of having to run all the minutiae of their entire family's daily lives, making breakfast and packing lunches and cooking dinner and picking up and getting Brayden to soccer practice and Lindsey to cheer and Malcolm to chess club and making sure that DH's suits get picked up from the dry cleaner and getting the minivan in for its timing belt change and scheduling Brayden's physical so he can do football in the fall and making sure that Malcolm has a present for his friend's birthday party on Saturday and trying to find room in the budget for the vacation to Disneyland that DH wants to take and getting a guy out to find out why the toilet in the bathroom in the den is making that noise like Moaning Myrtle is trapped in it because DH has been saying he'll look into it for a month but it's still moaning away and trying to get Lindsey to pick up her room and still finding time to get to the gym and the hair salon and the nail salon in the hopes that she can maybe for a minute feel some of the romance, some of the spark that got her INTO this mess in the first place, only for DH to come home and kiss her on the forehead and say "Dinner smells great, can you bring it to me in my office? I have a big deadline coming up". . . and the thought of being in a place where someone else does all the thinking for her and all she has to do is submit and be desired is really, really, really overwhelmingly attractive.

Those are the women on my mom board who have no personal experience with kink. The ones who DO have experience with kink or adventurous sex think that 50SoG is drek.
posted by KathrynT at 12:15 AM on August 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Really? They sound like world-class submissives to me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:19 AM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


> "I could gaze at him all day, but I have needs – bathroom needs."

Is she a Sim?
posted by Jacqueline at 2:09 AM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jeez you guys, didn't you know that ankle bone tonguing is so hot right now?
posted by h00py at 3:27 AM on August 9, 2013


So, if people reading this instead read Story of O, would there be dramatic results? Like would they fling it across the room and resolve to never think about 'down there' again?
posted by angrycat at 3:55 AM on August 9, 2013


It's the same Billionaire Dom trope, but with clear consent and an actual 20-something female protagonist and drama and crises as required but in a less nasty-feeling way. It's hot without feminist guilt.

I stayed up all night only to find it ends on a cliffhanger? I have needs - bedtime needs!
posted by mikurski at 5:18 AM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


because the lack of agency absolves them of latent guilt for those desires.

That's about the size of it. Ana is an underdeveloped cipher who just kind of stumbles through life either without desires or without awareness of them - not only is she bizarrely unaware of sex, she doesn't even remember to feed herself most of the time - and Christian Grey is a magical genie of sex and money and helicopter rides. The plot of Fifty Shades is kind of like someone accidentally bumping into a slot machine that starts spewing all sorts of fabulous prizes, with occasional moments of conflict when the prize-hole gets clogged. Total wish fulfillment, and you didn't even have to ask for it.

Twilight is basically the same thing but with omgtruelove and no sex or money, which either makes it better or worse, I can't tell.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:29 AM on August 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oh no I'm going to read all of these I know it.
posted by bleep-blop at 6:34 AM on August 9, 2013


Also Christian says "laters, babe" a lot because apparently that is how the Ideal Man talks.
posted by elizardbits at 7:23 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


occasional moments of conflict when the prize-hole gets clogged

this is my new favorite metaphor for unsatisfying sexual congress, just FYI
posted by palomar at 7:45 AM on August 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Wait I'm confused is the prize-hole down there or not
posted by ook at 7:51 AM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


and is stuff supposed to come out of it? man have I been doing it wrong all this time?
posted by ook at 7:55 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Favorite line so far:

I’m no medieval historian or anything, but I’m pretty sure nothing about the Inquisition was faintly citrus scented.
posted by bakerina at 8:08 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is she a Sim?

The dialogue would actually be less painfully awkwardly terrible if it was in Simlish.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really? They sound like world-class submissives to me.

No, no, martyrs are something different.
posted by winna at 9:15 AM on August 9, 2013


I am loving these recaps. I've not (and probably will never) read the 50 Shades books, since I've heard enough about them (the Twilight Fanfic link was "enough") to scare me away. But I had no idea they were this bad. No idea a book *could* be this bad. I've been reading these through since I found this post yesterday, and I actually just had to stop reading them at work because I keep randomly laughing out loud, and surely people are going to wonder if I'm getting anything done today.

I'm not.
posted by routergirl at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also Christian says "laters, babe" a lot because apparently that is how the Ideal Man talks.

I really hope he winks and makes double finger-guns when he does it.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:12 PM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I guess it's slightly better than "front bum"?

Funny. My two little girls call their vaginas "bottoms" and their asses "back bottoms."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:27 PM on August 9, 2013


No idea a book *could* be this bad.

After going through Slacktivist's exhaustive recaps of the Left Behind series, I can never be surprised by the infinite depths to which a bar can sink.
posted by Errant at 4:51 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the most unsettling things about getting older is that I am developing nostalgia for things I fucking hated at the time. I was so mad at the Spice Girls back in 1997, but through the filter of time (not to mention Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, what have you) I retroactively appreciate how girl-positive and wholesome they were. We could have done a lot worse! And did, repeatedly.
Similarly, I thought Twilight was regressive and badly written, but it never occurred to me that someone would take Twilight and remove every single sorta-interesting part, amplify all Twilight's worst qualities, and then have the resulting book become a massive, global success. I look forward with apprehension to 10 years from now, when the fan-fiction 50 Shades of Gray knockoff is just 3 books of a sexy man chaining the heroine up in a foot locker.

In any case, Jenny Trout is a goddamn genius.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 8:06 PM on August 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Map of Tasmania
posted by homunculus at 8:15 PM on August 9, 2013


The recaps are hilarious, but I'm not sure I can finish reading them because the stuff in the excerpts keeps making me dry heave. Ugh.
posted by Akhu at 6:06 PM on August 11, 2013


I'm glad to see that 1. 50SoG is encouraging people to seek out better smut that's been around for a while, and 2. that "billionaire dom" is a suddenly growing market segment which is causing better writers are turning their passionate pens towards it. (A writer friend of mine just found out that her very smutty entry in the genre is going to be a featured book at Target, of all places. So, boy howdy, it's all in the mainstream now, I guess.)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:05 AM on August 12, 2013


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